Statement of Purpose
SOP stands for Statement of Purpose. It is written in paragraph format while following the essay writing format. You must include your purpose of studying abroad while writing a Statement of Purpose. Generally, every university’s word limit for SOP is different and mentioned on their official website but usually, the word limit for writing SOP is 800-1000 words.
Importance of SOP
A well-written SOP can play a major role in making you an equitable candidate for getting admission to your desired university. As we all know there are a number of documents that are required to get admission like a backlog certificate, your graduation degree, school scorecard, etc. Statement of Purpose is the only subjective aspect amongst all the documents that are required for admissions. It is the only document that gives you an opportunity to prove that you have some unique quality that makes you stand out from the crowd.
What do Universities Look for in SOP?
Here is a list of things that universities look for in the SOP’s:
- You should always keep in mind while writing your SOP that there would be a huge number of candidates who must be applying for the same program and same university you’re applying to and the admission committee have to go through all of these SOP’s therefore your SOP not only needs to be short and crisp but also unique.
- Candidates must tell the admission committee why they are unique and equitable candidates to get admission to the university.
Statement of Purpose will eventually reflect your writing capability therefore it must be free from any grammatical, vocabulary, spelling, or any other silly mistakes.
- Candidates must include their long term and short term goals along with their talent, experience, and interest.
- Candidates should also use their SOP as a platform to describe what they can contribute to the university, program, and the students studying there not only in the field of academics but also in extracurricular activities.
- Candidates must tell the admission committee what inspired them to choose the specific program and university.
Guidelines of Writing SOP for Undergraduate Programs
There are several guidelines that a candidate must follow while writing SOP that are mentioned below:
- Candidates can use the catchy openings to begin their essaysCandidates must write short and crisp SOP in such a way that their words hold the attention of the reader
- Candidates can describe or talk about the skill and knowledge of the program you’re applying to
- Remember that you have to use a formal language style while writing your SOP and the font should be professional. Your content should not be flashy
- Candidates should not use too many words for praising the university or the faculty of the university they already know why they are the best
- Use your words to describe your goals and how these goals are aligned with the goals of the university
- You must write in the required word limit. You should always keep in mind that there would be a number of students who are applying in the same university and for the same course therefore the admission committee does not have time to read beyond the word limits. And if you write less than what is required then it will make the admission committee feel that you don’t have enough to talk about
- Talk about a time when you questioned or challenged ideas
- Describe situations where you solved a problem by using examples
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How Long Should a Statement of Purpose be?
The word limit for writing a SOP is usually provided by the respective university. However, if the university has not mentioned word count you should always contact the admission department of the university for finding details regarding word limits. If for any reason you are not able to acquire information regarding the word limit you should try writing your SOP within 800-1000 words.
How to make your SOP different from the Crowd?
Now that we have discovered how important the SOP is. So let’s have a look on how to write an SOP that stands out amongst thousands of applicants every year. There are obviously some basics about SOP writing, which to be kept in mind like general word limit, format, etc.
The most important thing candidates must remember is, for which course they are writing the SOP. For instance, if they want to study Computer Science in a country then they must discuss all their encounters, experiences, and learnings of Computer Science. They must mention all the important aspects and not talk about the rest of the things too much.
Specifically speaking, the SOP for an MBA application would be rather different from the SOP for a Masters course like an MS or an MSc. Similarly, the SOP for a Bachelors course would be widely different from any of the two.
What Should be Included in an SOP?
There are various elements to an SOP which includes the goals and the career path candidates have taken so far as well as their academic progress and the other elements that are essential to the SOP are the personal motivations that leads them to choose the university/course they have applied to as well as how they intend to use that experience to achieve the goal.
When it comes to writing an SOP, there are various questions that come into the minds of candidates. To summarize the entire life and career in 100 words could be a tiresome exercise and with that it is important to understand what to include in the SOP.
What Should not be Included in the SOP
Using informal language in your Statement of Purpose is a bad idea, and it could result in you being denied admission to your selected university. When drafting their SOPs, candidates should use a formal and professional tone. When writing SOP, they should be respectful and courteous. Your writing needs to be clear and concise. Throughout your SOP, make sure you don’t use any abbreviations or slang. Use proper grammar and language when writing.
You should not waste many words complimenting the university or the faculty. Remember that your goal should be telling why you and the university are equitable rather than telling why the university is the best. Over complimenting the university will make you sound like you are trying too hard for it and there are chances looking fake. Being real will play an important role here if you genuinely like something about the university you should mention that while being crisp and precise.
Your content as well as the font you use should not be flashy. It is very good to write about your achievements and good academic record but always remember that it will be better if you don’t sound overconfident and arrogant about the same. A candidate should be humble and polite. Moreover, a candidate should always be eager and open to learning.
Apart from being polite with words, candidates should also use a decent font. Candidates must not use bold, italics, colorful, and underlined fonts. Candidates should use a simple and plain black font while writing SOP.
Do’s for Your SOP Application
These are the few points which should be considered while doing the SOP Application:
- The beginning and ending of Statement of Purpose should be unique and engaging. It must be original and the reflection of the candidate.
- Briefly explain the academic background, present and future aspirations. Through this, candidates must justify their choice of a particular course for masters or doctorate courses.
- Through SOP, the admission officer should be able to understand how a candidate can contribute to the university in terms of research and further scope in their chosen area.
- Always write the SOP in an active voice and ensure it provides information in a manner that reflects the passion and optimism of a candidate. If they have any statements or references, try quoting them with relevant examples rather than being direct.
DON’Ts for your SOP Application
These are the few points which shouldn’t not be considered while doing the SOP Application:
- Don’t mention unnecessary details.
- Don’t make objections to the events and experiences that have happened to you in the past. Rather tell them how you managed those situations.
- Don’t get emotional and sloppy.
- Don’t mention words which reflect your nervous breakdown, depression and other controversial topics.
- Don’t spend too much time writing about your future goals and aspirations. Instead, you can talk about your past experiences.
Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement: Know the Difference
Statement of purpose talks about the things you want to achieve and do on the other hand personal statement describes you. Both statements of purpose and personal statements have their own goals.
The SOP will include points that highlight a candidate’s strengths, academics, career goals, and research interests whereas a personal statement talks about the candidate’s personal motivation for choosing the program and the challenges he/she has gone through.
Despite these differences, the purpose of both statements is to make the admission department feel that you’re a perfect fit for the university and the program.
Format for Writing SOP
1st Paragraph- Introduction
The candidate often confuses this paragraph with self-introduction. This paragraph is not the introduction of you but it’s the introduction of your SOP.
In this paragraph you must include the following points:
- Your long and short term goals
- What inspired you to choose this program
- Your knowledge in this field
- What can you contribute to the program
- Describe your background by using a few words and try to connect it with your future goals
2nd and 3rd Paragraph- Academic and Professional Background
In this paragraph, you must describe your academic background along with your professional work experience (if any). You can describe your projects, research work, certification, qualifications, and achievements in your academics and professional life.
4th Paragraph- Why this Course
In this paragraph, you must discuss the reason that made you choose this particular course. You can also tell the admission committee about your knowledge in the field and can also tell them how this course will get you close to your career goals.
5th Paragraph- Career Goals
This paragraph is the most important paragraph and the admission committee reads this carefully. In this paragraph, you must describe your long and short term goals. Your short term goals would be where you want to work after pursuing this degree program. And your long term goals should talk about where you see yourself in 10-15 years.
6th Paragraph – Why this University
This is the paragraph where you can convince the university that they are suitable for your profile and how you are an equitable candidate for getting admission to that university.
In this paragraph, you should sound focused and prepared for all the challenges that will come your way.
Can I get Scholarships with the Help of SOP?
If a candidate is eligible for any college-specific scholarships, then during the application process they will be required to write a separate essay/SOP. They will be given an essay prompt/ question with a specific word limit or would simply ask for an SOP which includes the reason why they deserve the scholarship and/or what makes them unique from the rest of the candidates? Hence, a generic SOP is different from a scholarship SOP because in a scholarship essay/SOP, they will be required to highlight their unique selling points, major accomplishments, any quality/skill that makes them different from other candidates, and so on.