Your statement of purpose gives form and shape to your credentials. Sure, you have your GRE score, your GPA, your internships, publications, projects, etc. but it’s your statement that gives the reader a perspective to view all of that from. A good SoP makes the reader see the good even in the bad (without doctoring any of the details). Your GPA fell drastically in junior year. Well, yeah but you gained loads of experience organising your college fest! You learnt what went wrong and made sure you did better the next semester. Maybe you were instead focussing on your projects which can clearly be seen in that publication you got or the amazing results of the project or the good project grade! What made you take on research projects suddenly? What was the new found motivation? Why did you score poorly in X course? Don’t try and hide the bad stuff hoping they won’t notice. Given the number of applications they go through, chances are they will and if they’re unable to find a reasonable explanation/mention of it anywhere, your application might be discarded without a second thought.
Grad school applications — What I learned
Nishant Agrawal
16512

SOP:
GPA down. Admit. Explain. Research, project, thinking. Did well in 4th. End.

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