Home StudiesParsonsApplication SOP Preparation for International Students | LIM and Parsons Application ep. 3

SOP Preparation for International Students | LIM and Parsons Application ep. 3

by Diane 黛安
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SOP preparation

Last Updated on 2021-09-09

Hi everyone! I’m an international student studying fashion in New York. CV and SOP preparation is always time-consuming for international students. I will share my experience and recommendations in the following article!


For people visiting the first time, these are the programs that I was admitted to.


Application Requirements of Each School

Parsons School of Design

The information down below is the application requirements of MPS Fashion Management for the 2021 Fall semester.

(For the latest requirements, please look it up on their official website.)

  • Application Deadline: 1/2/2021
  • Application Fee: 50 USD
  • Requirements:
    1. Essay (SOP)
    2. Resume
    3. Recommendation letter*2
    4. Portfolio(Optional)
    5. Official Transcript
    6. English Proficiency Test

LIM College

The information down below is the application requirements of MPS Fashion Marketing for the 2021 Fall semester.

(For the latest requirements, please look it up on their official website.)

  • Application Deadline: Rolling Basis. I turned in my application on 1/14/2021
  • Application Fee: 40 USD
  • Requirements:
    1. Essay (SOP)
    2. Resume
    3. Recommendation letter*1
    4. Portfolio (Optional)
    5. Official Transcript
    6. English Proficiency Test
    7. Interview

The application process of the two schools was alike, so I will talk about it together!

Essay (SOP)

The essays that the two schools required were both similar to Statement of Purpose (SOP), which asked you about your motivation. I would call it “SOP” in the following paragraphs, since most people are more familiar with this word!

How long I prepared

I prepared for Parsons for a month, and focused on preparing LIM College for two weeks. (I think it was too hurry tho)


Topics

1. Parsons School of Design

  • Word count: 500-700 words
  • Topic: Write a letter of intent to the program directors that both provides them a sense of your experience and expertise, and how you’d like to bring this to the MPS-Fashion Management program? How can you use this personal foundation to innovate in the fashion industry? How will your perspective shape your approach to learning and collaboration? And how do you hope to grow and shift personal biases and assumptions throughout the year? 

2. LIM College

  • Word count: 300-500字
  • Topic: Please respond to one of the following prompts.
    1. Describe your specific career aspirations and reasoning for pursuing an MPS degree. (I chose this one.)
    2. Describe a career-related achievement or failure. How has this experience impacted your career?
    3. Discuss your commitment to and passion for working in the fashion industry.

Recommendations

1. Prepare for the SOP (essay) earlier!

SOP is an important material among the application requirements. Moreover, it could be a reference for professors who are writing recommendation letters for you.

You may notice that it didn’t require a lot of materials to apply for fashion management programs. The portfolio was optional, and you didn’t need to take a GRE/GMAT test. What’s more, GPA isn’t the first thing in the fashion industry, so the SOP plays an important role among the materials.

The SOPs that Parsons and LIM required are both similar to the SOP. They want to know your motivation for applying for the program, and why you are worth the admission. I’ve asked for advice from an alumna from FIT, she also emphasized the importance of the SOP. It is important to convey your passion for applying for the program, and your possibility of becoming one of the honored alumni.

Due to the importance, I sincerely recommend you to prepare for it earlier. One month is way too hurry, and it would be better to work on it for one and a half or two months.

After you finish your SOP, it’s time to ask someone to take a look at the paper for you. It only took 2-3 days to finish my first version, but that one was really awful.

What I spent the most time, is the editing process after asking for help from different professionals. You would edit the SOP several times, to improve it to the best version. My friend and I wrote them again and again after receiving suggestions, and the process was what helped us to get the admission letter.

For example, we could only write 500-700 words for the SOP of Parsons. The most important point of view you considered might not be that of others. In my first version, I elaborated on my dream honestly. I always dream of launching a brand that contains Taiwanese elements, and build a representative Taiwanese fashion brand. Through the business. I would like to improve the fashion environment in Taiwan. I also mentioned how I integrated Taiwanese elements into an event in my previous experience.

However, the editing teacher criticized hardly on my content. She said, the professors might even don’t know where Taiwan is, and I didn’t put myself in their shoes at all! (I thought I did though, so I fell wronged at first. After thinking thoroughly, I agreed that it was not the best choice of the content.)

You may think that the revising process afterward should be easy. I also thought that it was only something like fixing the grammar, replacing words, and adding some supplement sentences. In fact, it is common that the editing teachers ask you to rethink your main content, and suggest you rewriting the whole article.

When I finally finished the last version for Parsons, I had rewritten it once, and revised it hundreds of times. My friend, admitted to UCSD, had rewritten her SOP more than two times. Though it was overwhelming and depressing, we both turned out to have great outcomes. I was admitted to both schools, and she was admitted to five schools, including Johns Hopkins!

After I turned in the application materials of Parsons, I started to focus on preparing those of LIM College. I thought that it wouldn’t take much time, since I had done the work for Parsons previously.

The topic of the two schools differed a lot though. What’s more, the word count was limited to 300-500 words, which meant that I had to modify the construction of the paragraphs.

In the beginning, I was confused about why an SOP of hundreds of words should take such a long time. Finally, I realized that how important it was to leave time for revising!

The first version that you finished earlier could also be a reference for recommendation letters, and I would talk more about it in the next episode.


2. Ask someone to look it up for you.

You would find out if you’ve communicated your strength effectively after receiving feedback from others in a short essay.

As an international student, I recommend you to find at least one native speaker that is professional in SOP preparation. Don’t just find your family and friends to help you! The feedback wouldn’t be professional enough.

I asked these people to give suggestions to my SOP:

  1. My friend applying for a master’s degree with me (Taiwanese)
  2. FIT alumna (Taiwanese)
  3. Wife of an elder cousin (American)
  4. Professional editing teacher (American)
  5. Professional editing teacher (Taiwanese staying in the UK for several years)

Firstly, I thank everyone a lot for giving me feedback! Because of their point of view, I knew what I should emphasize more, and make the SOP more attractive. Your family and friends know your experience well, so they could give you ideas that are more customized. Nevertheless, they aren’t professional editors, so there are still limitations. I found two editing teachers, Fiona and Marc, due to the consideration of price. Fiona’s service is more expensive, so I asked her to help with my dream school, Parsons. Marc helped me with documents such as my CVs and the SOP of LIM.

Fiona and Marc are both editing teachers focusing on Taiwanese students. I believe that there are excellent editing teachers in your country! However, if you still feel like contacting them, feel free to comment below, and I will give you their information. They are all available for English service!


3. Write a customized paragraph about the school

I would like to remind you, remember to elaborate on why you choose the school! Compared to business master’s degrees, there aren’t many choices for fashion management in New York. Thus, I thought that I didn’t need to emphasize this part.

After running through the process, I discovered how important it was! In the feedback of editing teachers and the experience of the interview, people want to know why you choose the program specifically.

Here are some reference of Parsons and LIM College.

(1) Parsons School of Design – MPS Fashion Management
(2) LIM College – MPS Fashion Marketing
  • Curriculum and faculty: here
  • Clubs: here
  • Webinar: there are online webinars introducing graduate programs in autumn (start around October)! If needed, please be aware of the latest news on their official website.

I read all of them thoroughly at that time, and also watched a lot of videos on Youtube. As a student of Parsons, I would share my school life in the future, and feel free to follow my Instagram @diane.style.tw!


4. Online resources

Parsons School of Design uploaded official guides of SOP preparation, and remember to look it up!

A Guide from Parsons

Resume (CV)

You might be curious about my resume! However, I had prepared an English one before the application in related courses, so I didn’t spend much time revising it. Thus, I won’t mention too much in this article, but I believe that there are so many excellent resources out there!

I applied for a master’s degree in fashion management, which is more vibrant. Thus, I prepared one that is a little different from the traditional one. You could refer to the image below.

My Resume

To Sum up…

That’s it for today. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

As long as start to work on the SOP preparation earlier, and ask for assistance from professionals, I believe that you would get a satisfying outcome in the end! Work as hard as you can, and don’t regret any choice you’ve made.

Next episode, I will talk about how I got my recommendation letters from my professors.

I also share my New York Life on Instagram @diane.style.tw. Follow me if interested!


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