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Mahesh Ramani
04 Jan 2016 81.5K 2 mins Share

How to write a Statement of Purpose

Don’t know how to write a SOP? We can tell you what the Statement of Purpose is and give you SOP writing tips that you can use to structure your own essay.

04 Jan 2016 81.5K 2 mins Share
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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. 

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