Statement of Purpose: Format, Samples and Tips

Rating:
5
(1)
SOP - Statement of Purpose

To aesthetically present a movie on screen, great actors are the requisites. Similar is the case when one is carving their own career path. From choosing the right course to getting into your dream university, you need to take each step carefully. As a crucial part of the eligibility criteria, the universities often demand LORs, SOPs or entrance test scores to assess the candidates and their suitability for the chosen course. A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one such element which beholds great value in the admission process of those aspiring to study abroad. Creating an alluring SOP is essential to help the assessment committee understand your willingness for the program you have applied for. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide on drafting a statement of purpose that can help you sail smoothly through the assessment process and get entry into your dream academic institution.

What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

A Statement of Purpose can be referred to as an informative document, containing personal statements, and is essentially required as part of the admission procedure of study abroad programs. Also referred to as an application essay, it comprises of the basic details of a candidate along with their professional and personal interests, academic highlights as well as future aspirations. An SOP plays an integral role in the application process of a study abroad program as it provides the admission board with the key information about the candidate and why they want to study a particular course at their institution. It not only describes who you are as an individual but also gives an idea about your writing skills and proficiency in the English language.   Here is a sample SOP for Business Analytics:

SOP for Business Analytics

Sample Statement of Purpose

Here are some sample SOPs for your reference:

SOP Format

As such, there is no particular or proper format for writing a statement of purpose or an SOP. Students have to write an SOP just like an elaborative and descriptive English essay dividing the whole context into different paragraphs. Each paragraph must be having distinctive feature describing different scenarios, features or characteristics about yourself. You can take help of the below-provided structure and get started with writing an SOP for the university you want to study in. 

SOP Format
Paragraph  Distinctive feature to describe 
Paragraph 1 Self-introduction Your background, in brief, Your long term goals/vision Purpose to opt for this university and course (briefly)Remember: the first impression is the last impression 
Paragraph 2  Past academic background Professional experience (if any)
Paragraph 3  Academic achievements Strengths Opportunities Academic recognition Projects undertaken Professional achievements Industrial exposure 
Paragraph 4  Discuss in detail, Why do you want to study this course or program. Discuss your goals and your future expectations from this course or program.
Paragraph 5  Where do you see yourself in 5 years after you will be graduated from this university/college?Discuss your future objectives and your career plans and goals.
Paragraph 6  Why this university/college?Mention about different departments, different university activities, recognition, awards, faculty members, environment, infrastructure, the methodology adopted etc. 
Paragraph 7  Ending/ closure of the SOP on a thankful note. 

How to Write a Statement of Purpose?

As a pivotal document for any study abroad application, an SOP needs to be precisely well-written. To help you understand the different elements of this document, we have curated a step-by-step procedure that you can follow to curate an impressive statement of purpose.

1. Ponder

The first step of the process of drafting a statement of purpose is to think about the varied aspects of your candidature that you should mention in it. The mandatory inclusions of an SOP are academic achievements (especially at undergraduate level), prior work exposure or volunteering experiences. Start with framing an outline for the document and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which field of study excites me the most?
  • Why do I want to pursue this degree?
  • What are my expectations from this degree?
  • What outgrowth can this degree offer me?
  • Where can this degree take me, personally and professionally? 
  • Through my pre-requisites, what values can I add to this program?

Once you have made key pointers for most of the questions mentioned above, you can begin jotting them down in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

2. Formulate

Now that you know what you want to mention in your SOP, it’s time to curate a rough outline for the document. Here is a list of some essential tips you need to keep in mind while formulating your statement of purpose:

  • Since the admission committee strives to understand your candidature through the SOP, you need to be honest in describing your career aspirations and objectives. Focus centrally on maintaining the authenticity of your mentioned details. Duly elaborate on your advantageous perception of the chosen course.
  • Creatively cite your personal and professional interests. Mention what you are passionate about and what excites you. Then, sensibly connect it with your chosen program and how it will assist you in grooming your skills. For instance, you can state that you are aspiring to gain experiential learning or training in your desired industry through the course.
  • What brought you here should be a sure-shot mention in your SOP. You can begin with stating those features of your chosen course that convinced you to opt for it. Then, write down the objectives you want to fulfil by studying the program. It can be personal growth or professional upliftment or even both. Try to be unique and precise when listing your reasons. 

3. Revise and Modify

Once you have jotted down your SOP as per the above-mentioned necessary tips, the final and concluding step is to revise and make changes accordingly. Go through the list that you created in the beginning and ensure that you have added all of them.

  • The word limit for a statement of purpose is between 500-1000. 
  • Do not miss out the predefined sizes for spacing, margins and font size.
  • Try getting a second opinion but getting your SOP read from a friend or an experienced professional.

To know more, read our blog on – How to Write an SOP?

How To Write A Perfect Statement of Purpose (SOP / Admissions Essay) | ChetChat MasterClass

What do Colleges Look for in an SOP?

Many foreign and even national universities ask for a Statement of Purpose (SOP) from candidates wanting to enrol in suitable courses that university has to offer. They ask for the SOP from candidates in order to check and look at the following things:

  • The writing capabilities of the writer or the candidate 
  • The X factor that makes their writing stand out from the crowd
  • Choice of thoughts and ideas that has been explained in the SOP
  • The unique personality of the candidate 
  • Candidate’s talent, previous experiences, interests and potential
  • How and what can the candidate contribute to the department of the college/university
  • Candidate’s motivation or inspiration to study a selected course must be evident and justified
  • The reason behind to choose a particular university/college and a particular course of study
  • Academic and extracurricular achievements and recognitions (if any)
  • Originality and clarity of the SOP as a whole. 

How long should be an SOP?

Ideally, if considering an internationally renowned university, then the statement of purpose should be at least 1-2 pages long. In terms of word count, then the same should be around 1000 words. Having said that, the word limit and the length may also sometimes depend on the university that the candidate is targeting and also on the level of degree. Like for example a candidate who is writing an SOP for an undergraduate program may not exceed beyond 800 to 1000 words whereas a candidate who is writing an SOP for a PhD or M.Phil degree course has to write it in around 1200 words and sometimes even more. Some universities even have a fixed length and word count which is uniform for all the programs and courses. 

Degree Level  Word Count  Page Limit 
Bachelors and Masters  800-1000 1-2 pages
Doctoral (Ph.D)/ Research 1000-1200 2-3 pages 

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an SOP

If you are planning to study abroad and want to write a good and an outstanding statement of purpose for the university that you are targeting, then here are some of the common mistakes that you can avoid from the very beginning while writing an SOP:

  1. Writing the SOP at the last moment without any plan of action or a roadmap
  2. Writing a weak and vague introduction and conclusion 
  3. Using informal language, slangs, short forms in your SOP
  4. Exceeding the word limit and not reaching the correct word limit at all
  5. Making your SOP excessively flashy and flattery

Must Read: LOR: Types, Format, Sample and Tips

Hence, we hope that now you are geared up with all the quintessential tips to start carving out your SOP. If you still have doubts or need further professional guidance, you can always reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll assist you throughout the admission process, be it selecting a suitable course and university or drafting impressive SOPs and LORs. Follow us on InstagramYoutubeLinkedInQuora and Facebook for more educational content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert for FREE

You May Also Like

Sample SOP for MS in CS
Read More

Sample SOP for MS in CS

How to write SOP for MS in Computer Science? There are certain rules, formatting as well as writing…
SOP for Business Analytics
Read More

SOP for Business Analytics

A Statement of Purpose, as the name suggests, is your identity statement. Your academic qualifications, professional interests, future…