I'm about to write a SOP. I have sketched some points that I want convey through it, then I will develop them to their own paragraphs. Here they are:

  • I believe that I was born for scientific research.
  • I think I have been familiar to the scientific activities.
  • I want to shift the discipline to biology after spending 4 years in physics.

And I want them to stand in the beginning of their paragraph so that the readers can know which point they are reading. For my personal taste, I want to find another way to connecting the paragraphs without using transition words. For me, everything seems to be ok, I don't find any trouble to read it (I'm the one create it, of course). However, when I gave my sample of SOP to my mentor, she said that she didn't see the connection between them and made her feel lost. I have asked in writers.SE How to indicate the topic has been changed without using words?, and Chris Sunami suggests me to...

...include an introductory paragraph that summarizes your overall structure

While this is a great advice in general, I don't think that it will be applicable in SOPs, since you don't have enough space to write one.

So, do I need an introductory paragraph in SOP?

  • 7
    I just had to say: including the idea "I believe I was born for scientific research" is a terrible idea. Did no one tell you to avoid cliches? Try to change that to "I have done / am doing X, Y and Z, all of which demonstrate an aptitude and passion for scientific research" instead.
    – user141592
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 4:00
  • 1
    Didn't you already write your SOP like two months ago? Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 4:27
  • 3
    @Johanna we have, in fact, more than once (e.g. here, here)
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 5:14
  • 2
    None of your points are especially interesting to an admissions committee. The point you should be trying to convey (if you want to be admitted) is: "I would be extremely successful and productive in your program" (followed by specific evidence supporting that assertion)
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 5:17
  • @Johanna I have opened a separate question instead of asking in here. Hope to see you there.
    – Ooker
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 8:44

1 Answer 1


Three things.

(1) From the little information you have shared I believe the problem may lie with your structure; either in your individual sentences, your overall essay or both.

(2) The reasons you have provided for applying into the programme you're interested in are not strong enough. Inadvertently, I t might decrease your chance to get into the programme. My suggestion is to demonstrate (a) passion (b) initiative you have taken to deepen/affirm your interest in the programme and (c) why specifically that programme at that university.

(3) Finally to answer your question. Essays generally have three basic components: introduction, body and conclusion. So yes you need an introduction. To say that "there is not enough space" is to say you've not been critical to your essay and cut 'fat' sentences.

I hope this helps.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .