11 Most Common Mistakes in SOP

6 minute read
Common mistakes in sop

The admissions season is around the corner and the pressure of writing an outstanding Statement of Purpose is every student’s aspiration and source of worry. A statement of purpose is one sure-shot way of making your application stand out and getting into your dream university. Yet your statement of purpose can also be your downfall if it’s not written well but do not worry. In this blog, we will cover some common mistakes while writing an SOP so you don’t make the same errors!   

Rushing your SOP

Rushing your SOP is the most common mistake in SOP writing, an applicant can make. An SOP is a reflection of you as a person, your achievements and your future plan. Give yourself ample time to write, research, brainstorm ideas and properly articulate your purpose and aim. Edit the document multiple times before submitting it to make sure you are not repeating yourself or dwelling on unnecessary details.  

Writing without a Structure

Don’t be overambitious and try to wing it! A common mistake in SOP writing students make is writing without a structure in mind. It’s always better to jot down a proper structure before you start writing. Try to think about extracurriculars or hobbies that stand out in your personal history and are also relevant to your future and in line with your course. 

Adding False Information

Adding false information is a big no. Do not try to oversell yourself or lie about your achievements because this can get you in serious trouble. Admission offices at universities verify every claim you make in your application, statement of purpose and letters of recommendation so omitting information or lying about your CGPA or hiding backlogs will simply get you debarred from the university.    

Must Read: How to Write an SOP? Tips and Tricks!

Bragging about Your Achievements

It is extremely important to strike the right balance between sounding humble and braggy while writing an SOP.  While your achievements are crucial in making your SOP stand out, they have to be broached in an organic manner and in a proper context. Including your accomplishments is necessary but try not to include every single accomplishment; you do not have to include your past time hobbies when applying for an MBA. Instead, focus on work experience, projects, volunteer work which reflect your leadership and management skills. 

Focusing on Insignificant Details

Universities receive thousands of SOPs every year for every course and they do not have the time to filter through your document. That is why it is vital to get to the point immediately. You can easily circumvent this problem by developing a proper structure and jotting down points you hope to cover. You should avoid rambling, using flowery language, abbreviations and childhood fantasies or inane hobbies. It is also important to not include common phrases or generic sentences such as I am an honest, hard-working person or I am a go-getter. Instead, write about your future plans, what you hope to achieve with the course and how you will contribute to the university.     

common mistakes in sop

Not Respecting the Word Limit

This is easily the most common mistake in sop writing among applicants. In order to look smart or well-accomplished, applicants go the extra mile and exceed the word limit. This is a mistake everyone must avoid. SOPs that exceed the word count does not make the applicant good instead it might reduce your chances. So adhere to the limit and choose your words wisely.

Focusing on the Negatives

This can be a slippery slope while it is important to acknowledge your failures, it is equally important not to stress on them. You must find a healthy way to introduce your failures so that the reader knows that you have the capacity to overcome defeat and rally on.     

Also Read: How to Write a Statement of Purpose for MBA?

Using the Same SOP

On average, students apply to multiple universities simultaneously and make the error of using the same SOP for all of them. It is best to curate a different SOP for every university you’re applying for. This way you will be able to address the specific university, their programme and what you hope to achieve there and the document will look well-researched. 

Not Proofreading the Document

Proofreading your SOP is the most essential thing. You must read it multiple times to make sure you get the correct spelling, grammar and consistency. Proofreading also helps in eliminating bland, repetitive sentences that don’t add value to your piece. Use free writing tools available online to filter out errors and read the document manually so you don’t miss out on any mistakes. Make someone you trust read it before actually submitting it. 


Another huge mistake that will get any applicant debarred from any university. Plagiarism is a serious crime and universities will reject your application if you have plagiarized content. There are multiple ways of avoiding this mistake, firstly, write your own statement and personalise it. Use plagiarism tools available on the internet to make sure your document is original and if there are any quotes in your piece then do give credit.  

Not Asking for Help

Another common mistake in SOP writing is not asking for help. People often make the mistake of writing a statement of purpose without having anyone review it. Approach anyone you trust, a senior who has applied to the same course or a family member. You can seek professional help with your SOP, it is the ideal approach because it will significantly enhance your chances.

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SOP Format for Students and Graduates!

Common mistakes in SOP Format

Reference Books on SOP Writing

Here are some books to craft the best SOP for your college application:

Books Links
Hacking Your Statement of Purpose: A Concise Guide to Writing Your SOP  Click Here to Buy!
50 Successful Harvard Application Essays: What Worked for Them Can Help You Get into the College of Your Choice Click Here to Buy!
Graduate Admissions Essays, Fourth Edition: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice (Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way Into the) Click Here to Buy!
Statement of Purpose, Structure and Research Goals Click Here to Buy!


What should not be written in SOP?

Here are some common mistakes to avoid while writing your SOP
Adding False Information
Bragging about Your Achievements
Focusing on Insignificant Details
Not Respecting the Word Limit
Focusing on the Negatives
Using the Same SOP
Not Proofreading the Document
Plagiarising Content
Not Asking for Help

Can we lie in SOP?

No, you should never lie in your SOP. A statement of purpose is a reflection of your ambition, achievements and person. In order to get admission or visa approval or even a job, it is wise to lay all true facts and explain your intent in your words to the authority.

Is 400 words enough for SOP?

The word limit for an SOP is generally 500 to 1000 words and students are required to adhere to the word limit set by the institution she/he is applying to.

What are the things to keep in mind while writing an introduction for SOP?

It is important to a create foundation and argument for your purpose from the start. Writing about your field of academic interest and the reason behind your application in the introduction in every important. Students should avoid writing stories or expanding on irrelevant trivia related to their life while crafting an SOP.

Hopefully, this blog will help you in writing a stellar Statement of Purpose and avoid the most common mistakes in SOP writing. If you need any guidance during your application process then get in touch with our experts at Leverage Edu on 1800 572 000!

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