What is a Statement of Purpose?
A 'Statement of Purpose' — popularly known as 'SOP' — is an integral part of the international admissions process. Most international Universities require students to submit a statement of purpose along with their completed admission form. The SOP should explain in a crisp and clear manner — 'Why you are choosing the course that you want to study and what you plan to do on completing the course.'
A well-written SOP with a good academic score is a winning combination. The SOP gives you an opportunity to convince the Admissions Officer/Team that is examining application forms on why you should be granted admission.
Writing the SOP
Most institutions specify a word-count; usually between 3000 to 4000 words. Ensure that your SOP does not exceed the prescribed word-limit.
Your SOP should explain your academic credentials, and the reasoning behind your University and course choices. The SOP should paint a clear picture of your aim, your aspiration, and go on to explain what you intend to do on course completion. Be it higher-study or a job; be clear in stating your plans in the SOP.
Some Tips for Writing the SOP
- Stick to a readable font-type and size.
- Write a couple of drafts, read, edit and then work on a final SOP.
- Do not be repetitive.
- Use simple and clear language; do not over-complicate the SOP and be sure to do a spell-check.
- Again we stress (this is of paramount importance) the word-limit — do not go overboard; more is not better here.
- Give demonstrative examples of academic brilliance or professional competence; instead of making vague statements.
Why a Well-Written SOP Matters?
Remember when you apply for a specific course at a popular international University; you are competing with a number of talented students from around the world; who applied for the same course that you have selected.
‘So what is it that should set you apart from other applicants?’
The SOP gives you a chance to impress the Admissions Team and convince the institution to accept your application. A well-written SOP along with an impressive academic score in qualifying exams offers credibility to your study-abroad aspirations. In addition to the SOP; letters of recommendation from your lecturers/reporting managers also play an important part. There have been numerous cases where applicants with good academic scores and glowing recommendation letters were rejected by the institution, owing to a poorly written SOP. So please take extra care when you write your SOP — it could make all the difference to your admission status!
The SOP is not just a mere document; it serves as a roadmap to your academic and professional growth and will impress the admissions team. The SOP is not a place for you to just repeat all your academic achievements. It should elucidate with clarity, your passion for the subject and your career plans on completing the course. ‘Would you like to share your experiences on writing the perfect SOP?’ Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.