You've decided to study overseas. You're excited about how this new adventure will change your life in so many ways. But one requirement might be bothering you: learning how to write a statement of purpose that makes sense and gets noticed by admissions officers.
We are here to provide tips and more through our in-depth guide on how to write an SOP. Hopefully, you can convince admissions officers to decide to accept you into the university or college of your dreams!
What Is a Statement of Purpose?
SOP stands for “statement of purpose” and is also called a personal statement. It is a vital part of your application when applying to study abroad. It is a formal explanation of your relevant experience and education, your motivations for studying abroad, and your plans for the future.
Why Do Universities Require a Statement of Purpose?
Universities will use the experiences and skills outlined in the SOP to assess students and decide if they are suitable for the programme to which they have applied. You will have to convince the admissions department that you meet the requirements of the course you’re applying to and that you have performed well in your previous studies.
How to Begin a Statement of Purpose?
Before learning how to write a statement of purpose, you should consider the following:
Make Sure That The Programme Is Relevant to Your Future Career Plans.
Will there be an internship or opportunity to work with a particular company? You can take note of this part of the programme so your school can understand your career goals.
Check the University’s Website for Their Guidelines on Writing SOPs.
Take a look at the university’s official website to see if they offer any guidance regarding word count or length, any particular questions they may want you to answer and the deadline by which you need to submit the SOP.
Read Through the Programme Details for More Information.
Read up on the departments and universities to which you are applying. Carefully read the details of the programs you hope to apply to—for example, the school’s ranking, reputation, facilities, and location.
Most SOPs are roughly 500 words or one page in length. Please be sure to check if the programme you’re applying to has any guidelines for writing an SOP. Generally speaking, if a university does not specify a word or page limit, you can write one or at most two pages A4.
Format of a Statement of Purpose
Learning how to write a statement of purpose has a storytelling element to it. For this reason, we suggest breaking it down into five paragraphs, as this will make the whole process simpler and easier to adjust. A logically structured and successful SOP should have these 5 key components:
How should you start a statement of purpose? You want to use this opportunity to let the admissions department know about you. Introduce yourself and the course you want to apply to while highlighting your previous study and work experience.
Highlight Your Key Achievements
Include both academic and non-academic achievements. You can also emphasise how you will contribute to the school as a student and future alumni.
Why Are You Interested in This Course?
Explain why you want to study on this programme, including the content of courses/modules you’re interested in or professors’ research interests. Highlight your previous studies and work experience to make it clear why you are well-suited to this programme.
Why Do You Want to Study at This School?
You may want to check the school’s areas of specialisation, reputation, location, and facilities. You can express how they are relevant to the interests that you mentioned earlier.
How Will This Programme Help You Achieve Your Future Career Goals?
Provide some details about your future career plan. Explain how the programme will help you gain relevant skills and knowledge that will be useful to you in the future.
A Few Notes about How to Write a Statement of Purpose
Here are a few reminders for writing an SOP, so be sure to keep them in mind when writing:
Write an Honest Draft from Scratch and Structure Your Work from There.
An excellent way to start a draft is by writing the key points first, arranging them into an outline, and then explaining the details afterwards. Do not copy your SOP from any examples you find online or from any other sources. If it is discovered that you have included sentences that are exactly the same as other students' SOPs, this will be considered plagiarism.
Present Yourself as a Friendly yet Authentic Person.
Do not use unnecessary words or jargon that you don't fully understand. It will only increase your stress levels and the chances of making mistakes, resulting in a poorly written SOP. Instead, it is better to write your SOP in a slightly more relaxed tone but still, stick with how you usually speak in your professional field.
Make Sure to Give Yourself Enough Time to Complete Your SOP.
Include brief details of your previous academic performance and work experience in the SOP. Use precise wording and make sure the whole SOP flows logically from beginning to end. You can also cut out unnecessary parts to emphasise key information without being too long.
Polish Your Work as a Display of Professionalism.
Check grammar and spelling. Always use a positive tone and describe your experiences in an active rather than a passive way. Check everything more than once before submitting it.
Avoid Submitting the Same SOP to Different Programmes or Schools.
Submitting the same SOP to different universities or programmes might be tempting you. However, avoid doing this unless you are applying for specific programmes that require a similar SOP.
How To Write A Statement Of Purpose: Getting Help from Experts
Most people will only ever need to write a statement of purpose once in their lives. In the course of helping students with their applications, we have noticed that many of them find writing an SOP to be somewhat tricky. Asking experts for advice on writing your SOP can make the process easier and result in a better SOP.
At Intake, we have many years of experience and can provide a solid support for our students. If you have any questions about the application process or the required documents, you can make an appointment to consult with one of our advisors. Let us help you overcome any difficulties you might have with your overseas study application.