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A winning Statement of Purpose!

By Rituparna Roy Chowdhury
Last updated on: June 09, 2005 19:39 IST
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You often wonder what is it that wins students seats at reputed universities abroad.

Here is one such essay that could help you understand application strategies better.

This is the essay of Sheela Kulkarni*, who was accepted at Wharton Business School. They show how she outgrew her circumstances and how she was motivated towards improving the lot of others through her innovation and leadership skills.

Is your academic performance to date an accurate predictor of your potential for success at WBS? Why or why not? (50 words)

Although my academic parameters indicate brilliance, it is only one of the benchmarks of measuring my deemed success at WBS.

What defines me is my motivation towards accomplishment, which has enabled me to dramatically outgrow my stiff hurdles and reach the pinnacle of professional excellence from a modest rural background.

Describe an impact you have had on an individual, group or an organisation. What did you do? How has this experience been valuable to you or others? (500 words)

The spirit of growth has been the cornerstone of my success, which has enabled me to dramatically outgrow my stiff hurdles and reach the pinnacle of professional excellence from a modest rural background.

Quintessentially, I had to weather through the bondage of paternalistic rural India mindset, where women are not encouraged for higher education, or for that matter even school education. Even today, the birth of a girl child is treated with contempt. The girl to boy ratio in the federal state of Punjab is as low as 774:1000. The nearest school was 6 km away from my village. Education especially that of a girl was never encouraged.

I had in my childhood itself decided to break free from this traditional mould. I studied hard and secured admission in a good engineering college. I then braved the emotional blackmail of my family, who never wanted me to stay in a hostel. I became an engineer and started earning. My intermittent visits to my village when I was doing extremely well on the career front, inspired many girls and opened up before the village community the virtues of education.

Thus I emerged as a role model in the village, and numerous others started following my footsteps who would have otherwise remained uneducated, carrying on the family chores in their post-marital lives. Today my village boasts of a number of medical, law and engineering girl students. The whole village has started taking the education more seriously and looks forwards to me for advice.

While I would not like to take complete credit for the same since the wheels of change had already started in Modern India, someone in the female community needed to take the plunge…I took that plunge and then assisted others around me in doing so.

I got married to the guy of my own choice and without any dowry, something unheard of in our remote village. I built up a group of young married couples who have taken the initiative of educating people on female infanticide. Our efforts have certainly resulted in lesser number of infanticides.

I took advantage of the fact that now I was the highest educated person in the village and people wanted my company. I have become a natural leader of these people. I started motivating the village panchayat (the rural democratic government at the grass root level in India)to get at least a primary school opened within the village and that exists now. I educated the village farmers on water harvesting and its benefits. I also introduced the concept of contract farming to the farmers and now they earn more than they used to and get timely payments. Now we intend to create our village as a model village by introducing the solar energy.

I keep on growing the seeds of new ideas in the minds of village youth who keep on nurturing them by their sheer hard work and faith in me. What has helped me is the simplicity of my villagers and the like-minded new generation youth.


Rituparna Roy Chowdhury specialises in helping students  frame essays/ SOPs and edits theses for Ph D students, conveying their themes with better communication skills. He is currently working on a short-term project for Kaplan, a Washington Post Company, and a leading Test Preparation Company in the US, to edit content for their simulated tests on SAT, TOEFL, GRE and GMAT. He has worked with The Princeton Review, a leading MNC in the GRE/ GMAT/ SAT training segment. He can be contacted at

* Name changed on request

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Rituparna Roy Chowdhury