What is a Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of your application that will tell the admissions committee/ visa officer/ case officer who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here.

The SOP is your chance to talk directly to the admissions committee/ visa officer/ case officer. To make yourself stand out from among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates. To convince that you have the spark, the thirst for knowledge that could add value to your class.

Tips for writing a statement of purpose:

  1. Be as honest as you can. Essay evaluators can read between the lines, do not underestimate them.

  2. Keep it short. Concise writing is always appreciated, it could be anything upto 2 pages.

  3. Layout of SOP. Use 12 point font. Use a simple font such as Times New Roman, Arial etc. Justify the text (i.e. align to both left and right margins).

  4. Write the essay yourself. Don't get an expert or your best friend to write for you. The admissions officers can compare your essay style with your grades, test scores, and writing samples. If they suspect fraud, the application will be thrown out.

  5. Get the essay checked. The writing must be your own, but you are allowed to get advice. A parent, friend or counselor can give an opinion on how the essay sounds. You can also get help on grammar, spelling and layout.

  6. Evaluate rather than narrate. When writing about your experiences it is important to discuss what you have learned. Don't just "tell stories".

  7. Keep the language simple. Avoid quotes because the examiner wants to hear your words. Don't use flowery language.

  8. Be logical. Make sure the essay flows well with a proper beginning, middle and end. Each paragraph should follow logically from the previous one.

  9. Focus. Focus on specific points that only you could have written, and which show your unique personality. Avoid general statements.

  10. Be positive. Never complain about your school, family or country. If you want to explain why you have bad grades, do so without blaming others.

 

Statement Of Purpose

If you are applying for a degree or diploma you will usually be required to write a statement of purpose (SOP). The SOP is a fairly long essay (600-1000 words), in which you give an honest and carefully considered presentation of your goals. You also need to show that you have an aptitude for the subject you have chosen, and have a background that fits you for the subject and level you are applying for. The SOP should also give a good indication of the type of person you are.

In all SOPs the way you analyze your experiences is more important than the experiences themselves & you don't need to invent exciting experiences. You just need to show that you have introspected about the events in your own life, and know how you have been shaped by them. You should cover something of your educational experience and interest in the subject. You might choose to write about a particular project, internship, book, etc. that reveals your passion for your area of study. You should explain the reasons behind the choices you have made, especially the choices that have led you to the decision to pursue a degree/diploma.

Students often make the mistake of writing too much about the past. The 'purpose' in statement of purpose refers to your goals.

  • Why do you want the course you are applying for?

  • Why now?

  • What will you do after the course?

  • What do you want to do in the long term?

These questions must be answered clearly. If you cannot explain how the course of study will help you get closer to your goals, then you have probably chosen the wrong course.

 

The admissions committee/visa officer wants to know that the college or university and country will be the right place for you and will be able to help you achieve your purpose.

While you will want to show that you know all about the course and college you are applying to, resist the temptation to tell them what they already know. Try to show what particular courses, clubs, and other experiences you are looking forward to, but avoid general statements such as "your university is renowned for the quality of its teaching and facilities".

In general, things that everyone could write have no place in your own SOP.

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