Sample SOPs Statement of Purpose for studying abroad
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


15 Nov 2022 134K Book icon 8 mins Share

Sample SOPs (Statement of Purpose) for Indian students to study abroad

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) should convince the admission committee that you are an ideal candidate. Get the SOP format, sample SOPs, and dos & don'ts.

15 Nov 2022 134K Book icon 8 mins Share
Sample SOPs Statement of Purpose for studying abroad

What’s covered in this article?

  1. What is an SOP?
  2. Why is an SOP important
  3. What makes a good SOP?
  4. What is the basic format of an SOP
  5. Sample SOPs
  6. The Dos: Tips for writing a good SOP or Statement of Purpose
  7. The Don’ts: Common mistakes to avoid while writing an SOP
  8. FAQs on SOPs

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What is a Statement of Purpose or an SOP?

An SOP or a Statement of Purpose is a letter written by the applicant conveying their intent for choosing a particular course, their interests, goals and career plans. It is addressed to the admission committee. It is also known as a research statement or a letter of intent.

Through the SOP, you should be able to clearly articulate what made you choose a particular course and what you aim to gain through the course. Your passion for the subject should reflect in your SOP. The admission team should also get a glimpse of the positive aspects of your character through the SOP.

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Why is an SOP important?

When applying for your studies abroad, all you are worried about is getting a good offer from a reputable institution, but you may not realise what goes on at the admissions office when they receive your applications. An SOP is crucial because:

  • It is perhaps the first document that attracts the admissions team to your profile. Hence, drafting a powerful SOP must be on your priority list.
  • Several candidates might have similar academic qualifications to yours. An SOP is your opportunity to make your application stand out from the rest.
  • It is also a reflection of how well you can articulate your thoughts, ambitions and plans.
  • Your SOP will give the admission committee a subjective view.

What makes a good SOP?

  • It Should be original. There are plenty of sample SOPs available on the internet and it is not advisable to copy them verbatim.
  • Your Statement of Purpose should be free of grammatical errors
  • Your SOP should have answers to some crucial questions that the admission committee might have about you.
  • If the institution has requested the SOP in a particular format, make sure you follow it.
  • A good SOP will demonstrate your passion for the subject, your potential and your purpose for choosing the particular course.

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What is the basic format of an SOP?

It is not an easy task to create an SOP or Statement of Purpose from scratch. Getting ready for an incisive SOP is going to take some time, probably weeks or months. But writing an SOP without following any guidelines will not help because most SOP rejections happen when those don’t comply with standard requirements.

Every SOP must have an introduction, body and conclusion. These three parts need to be clearly defined with the necessary information.

It should be written in the form of an essay, with paragraphs.

The first paragraph should introduce yourself, mention your academic qualification and give a gist of your purpose for choosing a particular course. You can talk about your goals and how this course can help fulfil your dreams. You should be able to demonstrate your understanding of what the course comprises.

In your second and third paragraphs, you can talk about your passion for the subject and mention your academic and related activities and achievements that prove this. If you have professional experience, you can mention that too.

In the fourth paragraph, write about why you decided to pursue this course, at this particular university. Justify your choice with relevant points. You can point out your immediate and long-term goals too.

In the fifth paragraph, add points to convince the admission committee that you make an ideal candidate for the course.

In a short paragraph, mention your extra-curricular activities, projects you have undertaken, voluntary work, papers submitted if any, industry visits, workshops attended, dissertations and your interests and hobbies.

In your final paragraph, you should show the admission committee that you have the qualities and qualifications needed for succeeding in the course and that you will be able to make a difference in society with your success.

Please use this as a reference and not as a strict format to follow. 

Check out our article for more detailed information on how to write a convincing SOP for studying abroad.

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Sample SOP (Statement of Purpose) for studying abroad

Here is a sample SOP or Statement of Purpose to support your college application. Please note that these are just templates to help you gain an idea of how to draft an SOP. Please do not use them directly.

Name of the applicant: [Name]

Course applied: [Course name]

I am set to complete my undergraduate programme in [course name] in a few months’ time and I realised that this is a crucial stage in my career when I should decide the direction for my successful future. I have a great interest in the [subject], and this is the reason I am looking to pursue a graduate degree in the same. In addition, the rapid changes in [subject area] in recent times have made the role of a [Job name] a very indispensable one. In order to reach my goal of being a successful [Job role], it is of utmost necessity that I consider studying at [university name] with its rewarding research programme, excellent research facilities and inspiring environment.

I have always shown a keen interest in [subjects], which has enhanced my [skills]. These are my areas of strength which have helped me acquire [scores in the subject]% in my [last study level]. I scored [scores]% in senior secondary school with [score]% in [relevant subject] and [score]% in [relevant subject]. My overall percentage in [subjects] is [score]%.

Given my love towards [field of interest], pursuing higher studies in [subject] was quite natural. To study the course, I had to prove myself through [Competetive examinations]. I passed the examination with flying colours, being placed among the top X% of all the students who had attempted the test. I took up [course] in [College name] College affiliated with the prestigious [University name] in [Locality]. I chose [course] for my undergraduate major as I believed it has tremendous potential to help me realise my goal and also contribute to society. Throughout my undergraduate programme, I’ve maintained an excellent academic record.

My undergraduate programme has given me a comprehensive exposure to numerous courses that I found interesting – [Topics covered as part of the programme]. I strongly believe in practical learning; it is the hope of finding path-breaking results through experimentation that I find very fascinating. I took my study beyond the walls of my classroom – keeping myself occupied with numerous industrial visits. This helped me get a closer look at the application of various aspects of the subject. I presented [paper presentation numbers/topics] at the national and state levels, and also organised various technical events in college. I was elected the president of my department, taking into consideration my leadership qualities, communication skills and performance. I was also an active participant in [relevant topic] competitions organised by my university.

During the final year of my undergraduate degree, I undertook two projects – [Project names]. I was the [Your role in the project], and I learnt how to overcome numerous practical difficulties – with access to limited resources. I successfully completed both projects on time, with the guidance of technical experts in my college.

My objective in pursuing an MS in [subject] is to acquire in-depth knowledge and hone my intellectual ability. Ten years down the line, I envision myself in the manufacturing sector. I would like to apply what I learn in [The industry name] and contribute towards its development.

I find that your esteemed institution with its world-renowned high-tech facilities will be the ideal place for my graduate studies. I look forward to your acceptance of my application so that I can gain admission to [Programme name] programme.

Here are more samples for you to look at:

Sample SOPs for students looking for graduate studies in engineering abroad

Sample SOP for students looking for MBA admissions abroad

Sample SOPs for applying to medicine courses abroad

Sample SOPs for students looking to study MS courses abroad

The Dos: Tips for writing a good SOP or Statement of Purpose

  1. Font style and size are vital while drafting an SOP. These are often missed or not followed by students while drafting an SOP.
  2. Write your SOP in the active voice and let it have a positive feel altogether.
  3. The SOP should have a formal tone, but keep it conversational.
  4. It should have continuity.
  5. Follow the instructions, if any, given by the institution. For example, you might be asked to limit your SOP to one page.
  6. Use examples in your SOP to garner the attention of the reader. These will stand out more than generic statements.
  7. Keep editing and rewriting, till the last date you send it across. The more you edit, the better your work becomes. If you are running out of words, let the draft sit in one corner for a few days, and then get back to it with a fresh mind.
  8. Your SOP should be tweaked based on the institution or course that you are applying to.

The Don’ts: Common mistakes to avoid while writing an SOP

  1. Avoid using commonly used adjectives while writing an SOP. For example, hard-working and challenging
  2. Do not make vague and generic statements. It should be followed by specific instances from your life.
  3. Do not repeat the information in your SOP. Also if you have mentioned something in your resume, please do not copy-paste or repeat it in your SOP. Let the information in your resume be distinct from that in your SOP.
  4. It is difficult to pull off humour and sarcasm in writing. Hence, it is safe to stay clear of those.
  5. Most importantly, never copy anyone’s SOP and pass it on as your own. There are tools that can catch plagiarism, which is a serious offence.
  6. Though your confident persona should show through the SOP, make sure you won’t be mistaken as an arrogant and self-obsessed person.
  7. Do not draw attention to your drawback or failures, unless you highlight that those were your learning experiences and you did something about it.
  8. Do not include information that is not necessary or relevant to your college education.

You may like: common do’s and don’ts while writing an SOP!

FAQs on SOPs

1. What is an SOP or Statement of Purpose meant for?

An SOP or Statement of Purpose should say exactly what it asks for – elaborate on your purpose for selecting the particular course. The letter should highlight your passion for the subject and present yourself as an ideal candidate for the course.

2. Should I write the SOP or Statement of Purpose on my own?

Only you have first-hand knowledge of your skills, passion, academic performance, and other personal details. Hence it is best to write the SOP on your own. You can of course get it edited or proofread by others to ensure that you meet all the SOP requirements and that it is free of errors.

3. What is SOP in overseas education?

SOP stands for Statement of Purpose which is a document that accompanies the university applications. It is a letter written by the candidate to highlight facts about them that are not captured in the resume and academic documents. It is an opportunity for the student to make their application stand out.

4. What should I avoid in an SOP?

Repeating information that is available in other documents that accompany your application, providing vague or generic information, writing in a casual tone and not sticking to the basic SOP requirements should be avoided.

5. Do SOPs have a word limit?

Unless specified by the university, your SOP can range from 800 – 1500 words. It is best to limit it to 1 page as the admission committee will have to go through hundreds of SOPs and will be pressed for time.

Here are related topics you might be interested in:

How to justify your backlogs in an SOP

Other documents required for studying abroad

 Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2018. Our content writer Roshna Mohan has edited it to include up-to-date information and made it comprehensive.

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