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How to write a SOP – Guidelines and structure
Gayathri Gopakumar

Meet Gayathri - a Content Editor at Hotcourses India- an IDP company. A once-international student herself- she loves to research & give insights into the world of global education through her writing. When she isn’t working, you'll find her playing, travelling or binge-watching just about anything.


22 Mar 2019 94.6K Book icon 3 mins Share

How to write an SOP – Guidelines and structure

In this article, we tell you everything that you need to know about writing an SOP. Read on to access our exclusive guidelines on structuring the statement of purpose

22 Mar 2019 94.6K Book icon 3 mins Share
How to write a SOP – Guidelines and structure

Did you know that your SOP (statement of purpose) could be the gateway to your dreams? Having a few hiccups with your SOP writing? You’re in the right place! With our services and guidance, you can pen that perfect SOP.

So, what exactly is an SOP?

A statement of purpose — popularly known as an SOP — is an integral part of your international admissions process. While your academic certifications quantify your credentials, an SOP gives universities a glimpse into your personality and helps them gauge your interests and strengths. Basically, it’s your chance to convince them to accept your application.

Now, there are different ways to go about writing an SOP – primarily because the process varies with the country you choose to study in. For example, Australian and New Zealand universities require your SOP only during the visa process, while UK, USA and Canadian universities require it during the admission stage.

Regardless of what your study destination is, we have experts to guide you on how to write an SOP.

*We have some SOP samples and must-know guidelines for you – so stick around till the end.

The art of writing an SOP

Remember, when you apply for a specific programme in a particular international university, you’re competing against thousands of other talented students from all around the world. In order to be successful, you need to stand apart from the rest. This is exactly what you do in your SOP.

Besides SOP, letters of recommendation (LOR) 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 drafting an SOP calls for extra care and effort — it could make all the difference to your admission status. We advise students on what factors to consider while writing a strong SOP.

Here are a few important pointers you need to keep in mind while drafting your SOP:

  • Write a couple of drafts, read, edit and then work on the final SOP
  • Explain your academic credentials
  • Reason out why you chose this programme and in particular this country and university
  • Give demonstrative examples of academic brilliance or professional competence, instead of making vague statements
  • Paint a clear picture of your aim and your aspiration
  • State your career plans for the future – be it higher studies or a job
  • Stick to the word count specified by the university. Never exceed - more is not better here
  • Use simple and clear language; do not over-complicate the SOP
  • Do not be repetitive
  • Be sure to do a spell-check
  • Stick to a readable font-type and size

Guidelines and structure

Some guidelines on how to write and structure that perfect SOP:

  1. You need to sell yourself – pitch your strengths and explain  how you’ll be an asset to the university
  2. Explain how this programme is in line with your career aspirations and interests
  3. Establish why you chose not to do the same programme in India or any other country

And to add to the above, there are over twenty crucial points of information which explain how to structure your SOP - right from an impressive introduction to an effective background and a promising conclusion.  Right here in our downloadable *SOP guidelines document- free of cost and just a click away.

*Sample SOPs

Here are a few *sample SOPs for your reference.

ATTENTION: Universities are very serious when it comes to checking for plagiarism in SOPs. They usually have a specific plagiarism checker to spot copied content. So do NOT PLAGIARISE! Instead if you need help, come to us. We have an expert editor to support you with your SOP needs.

LOR Assistance

Besides the SOP, letters of recommendation (LOR) from your lecturers/reporting managers also play a crucial role. We advise students on what factors to ask their professors or managers to include to help them nail a winning LOR.

The SOP and LOR both help paint a personalised  picture of you to universities- the kind of edge you need to outshine your competition from thousands of students from around the world.

If you need help on these, reach out to us. Our services are personalised – we offer tailored guidelines and specific instructions on what to include - based on your academic profile and destination of study.

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