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Common Mistakes: Openning Parahraph

How Important Is the Opening Paragraph When You Write a Statement of Purpose?

The opening paragraph when writing the statement of purpose is a vital part of your writing. You will hopefully be building up the anticipation of the reader to discover something exciting and unusual about you as an applicant. However so many will start with “Ever since I was 6 years old I have wanted to…” or “I am applying to your university because I believe that…” If you fail to get the attention of the admissions committee within your opening paragraph then that vital first impression may not be the one that you really need to make.

A good opening paragraph will fully grab the imagination of the reader and make them truly want to learn more about who you are and what you will have to say. Achieving this excellent opening, however, is a task that is going to require a lot of thought on your part.

How to Go About Writing the Statement of Purpose Opening Paragraph

You want to make an impact right from the start and get their attention when writing an effective statement of purpose. However, this does not mean that you want to open it like a horror movie with blood and gore galore to get their attention. This would be immediately seen as a device to get them to notice you and dismissed as such. Your opening must be real and relevant to the application that you are making. The following are the recommended ways in which you can build your opening:

  • Tell a story about yourself: this is often the easiest and safest way to start your statement. Use it as a way to introduce how you became truly interested in the field that you wish to study. Show through telling the story of how you gained that interest. While there is room for some artistic license you should keep the story truthful to the extent that you will be able to answer questions about it if you are interviewed.
  • Use quotations: this is a more risky opening and can backfire seriously if you use something that is simply overused or totally unrelated to your goals. Try to find something that may be little known and ensure that you relate it to you personally.
  • Humor: almost certainly the riskiest as while you may think that something sounds funny and clever some members of the committee may simply believe that humor is misplaced. Also, avoid anything that could be seen as offensive to anyone.

Next: Lack of Structure

Use our advice for writing the statement of purpose opening and make sure that you get the readers full attention from the start.

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