How to write statement of Purpose?

SOP of a Chemical Engineer

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This is a Statement of Purpose written by a Chemical Engineer who successfully applied to top 10 universities in Germany.

Aatish is a youthful Chemical Engineer who is passionate about his studies and wanted to apply to the best universities in the world. However, like a typical 20 something year old, he was a bit confused about his choices and wanted to know what can he do. Upon enquiry, we got to know that he is the topper of his class and stands in top 10 in University of Pune. He has interned in National Chemical Laboratory. Now, with such achievements we expected a great GRE score. However, Aatish had managed a score of around 310 in his first attempt.

According his profile, Aatish wanted apply to top 10 universities but he was not very happy about his performance on GRE. At the back of his mind, he wanted to re-write the exam. In our opinion it was unnecessary since he had managed to score well on quant section. We told him that his loss on GRE verbal can be compensated with really healthy TOEFL scores. Accordingly, he managed to score 110+ on TOEFL.

In the process, what helped us was the fact that Aatish was open to suggestions. In fact, we worked on his SOP for more than a month. During this period we had 6 major brainstorming sessions that helped him immensely.

As a result of all these efforts, he was admitted in 2 of his dream universities including TU Dortmound.

To write an effective SOP, you need to have patience to correct it again and again till the essay clearly states your purpose and your plan to achieve it.

Letter of Motivation

I was in awe of Chemistry since my eighth grade and as I went to higher grades, my interest in Chemistry developed over the years. When I saw a chemical industry for the first time during my school’s industrial visit, I was captivated. I completed Chemistry Laboratory practical in highest grade and then in my under-graduation, I opted for Chemical Engineering at MIT AOE, one of the top colleges under University of Pune.

During my undergraduate studies, I was introduced to different courses like Process Modelling and Simulation, Heat Transfer, Mass Transfer, Fluid Dynamics, Mechanical Operation and Transport Phenomena. In order to complement my studies in these courses, I also completed certifications in Matlab and Simulink, AutoCAD, Principles & study of shell and tube heat exchanger and Chemical reactor design. I was the topper of my college which itself underlines my passion in Chemical Engineering. I was the winner of “PRAKALP-2014″ a national level paper presentation and the winner of “SCHEMCON-2015”, an annual National Level Engineering Exhibition for best poster.

In the second year, I had an industrial visit for 1 week in ‘Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCF)’ where I completed my training program on ‘Unit operation and Unit processes with plant visit’. Here, I learned the different unit operations which are an integral part of chemical industries as well as the importance of instrumentation in the process industry. While I was observing the manufacturing as well as research here, my curiosity in Chemical Engineering reached a peak.

My first encounter with the research was in the third year of engineering during a mini-project. I was a Team Leader of a team of 3. We picked the challenging project on ‘Photo-bioreactor’, as it is an upcoming technology and we could study the topic closely. Our task was mainly cut out on the conversion of microalgae to biofuel; a clean technology which is really important in today’s world. During the project, we learned the working of different instruments especially hemocytometer. Here, I was introduced to planning and execution skills required for the research as we had to study available literature and based on previous attempts we also had to design the basic prototype. I could also appreciate the importance of team-skills in research.

During Bachelor’s, I developed an interest in Chemical Process Technology and Membrane Technology. I was fascinated by them as their applications present numerous possibilities to make the Earth a much better place to live. Keeping this close to heart, our team of three, led by myself decided to pursue the project on “Studies of the effect of methanol crossover on Direct Methanol Fuel cell (DMFC)” in the field of membrane technology. DMFC can be used in a wide range from mobile phones to the car engine. It is an eco-friendly and renewable energy source. The main challenge during the project was to control the methanol crossover and optimize the fuel cell. To overcome this hurdle, we prepared a composite membrane of PTFE Nafion which is a very unique membrane because it can stop methanol crossover and increase the DMFC efficiency. The main advantages of this technology are easy refuelling and transportation. We were able to achieve the highest voltage of 1.2V which is among the highest voltage that has been recorded in the world by using DMFC; as a result, our project was highly recognized by the University of Pune and we received a grant from BCUD for further research. The project was also selected for “AVISHKAR-2015” which is an inter-university research competition arranged in Pune.

After completing my graduation, I joined the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. I have been working as a Project Trainee since <Month-year>. I am working on a project of “production Soda ash from Sodium Sulphate” which is about converting the low cost of Sodium Sulphate into soda ash; a raw material in glass manufacturing industries. The project was highly challenging as Sodium Sulphate is highly stable and hence to convert it to soda ash we developed an innovative technology using sodium dichromate solution as a solvent. Sodium sulfate and calcium carbonate were taken as raw material. The reaction was a double-replacement reaction in which sulfate group of sodium sulfate was replaced by carbonate group. This project was highly successful as we were able to develop a low-cost process. During my stint here, I have worked on X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning electron microscope with EDX and High-pressure reactor.

Currently, in NCL Pune,  I am working on a technology on the treatment of wastewater in which the wastewater from industry was treated using Fenton and coagulation process in which ferrous sulfate and hydrogen peroxide were added as a Fenton reagent due to which the water contaminants were oxidized then we tried different coagulants such as poly-aluminium chloride, aluminium chloride hexahydrate, anionic polymer, kaolin, etc. due to which water contaminants were settled down which can be easily separated and from which we were able to reduce COD, BOD, TOC, pH to a permissible limit. Hence, this water can be reused in multiple effect evaporator, reboiler, cooling tower, etc.

Looking back, I am at the initial phase of my career and have exposure to the best Chemical Engineering institutes of my country. However, I would like to pursue higher education that shall help me align my provincial chemical engineering knowledge with global standards. Now on the threshold of completing 6 months in relevant research, I think I am ready to embrace Master’s in Chemical engineering for energy and environment in your university that will help me to gain expertise in handling modern toolset analyze various processes. Also, the program will help me devise new methods for energy storage, purification, and treatment of drinking water. I realize that a Master’s in Chemical Engineering for energy and environment will enrich me by transforming me into an accomplished professional and providing me with tools necessary to get a winning edge over others.

To sum up, it is clear that I have an unquenchable thirst and drive to continue my career in Chemical Engineering. My curricular, as well as extra-curricular track, suggests that I not only have the desire but tools to join your course. I bring live case studies and technical expertise of working in Research Institute to the table. Hence, I can certainly say that I am one of the best aspirants for this prestigious course.

After the course, I wish to work with an organization which is dedicated to transforming lives of billions through these revolutionary technologies, I hope to see myself in a position of a senior engineer 10 years down the line in one of the reputed Companies like BASF, Bayer or Dow chemicals.

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SOP of a Chemical Engineer


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