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Statement of Purpose (SOP) - Everything you need to know

The most important aspect of your application!

Universities abroad require you to submit your application with a statement that articulates your career path and goals. This helps them in ensuring the right candidate for the courses offered by them.

What is a SOP ?

A Statement of Purpose (SOP), also known as a research statement or a letter of intent, is written to the admission panel and talks about your career path, interest, professional contributions, goals and the driving force behind pursuing a particular program. This is usually submitted in the form of an essay, however, certain universities may also keep it question-based. It is the most integral part of your application that decides your admission in your preferred institution. 

Purpose of a SOP 

The SOP is the decision-maker of your application. It helps the admission committee assess your take on life, your career goals, beliefs, subject knowledge, and your vision. In short, a well-written SOP paints your overall personality for the universities. It is an opportunity to pitch your purpose to the committee and reasons why they should choose you over other applicants. A good SOP works great for weak academic profiles wherein you can compensate by highlighting your future goals and ambitions. A well-written SOP also reflects how well you can express your thoughts using your writing skills.

How to write a great SOP?

Here are the three major steps you need to keep in mind when writing your SOP

  • Plan it well 
    Create an outline for your SOP and work accordingly. Sharing an anecdote that developed your interest in your subject is a good way to build your introduction. Create pointers and categories, list down your relevant achievements and expertise, and most importantly, your reason behind choosing the course and the university.  
  • Work on the draft
    Focus on sharing your learnings and knowledge during your education and industry experience. Limit the use of technical terms, and use active voice when writing your SOP. If there is a gap year or an academic issue, address them in an optimistic manner. Make sure your SOP has a clear introduction and conclusion. Remember, you should always write your SOP in reverse chronological order.   
  • Review before you send
    It’s important to review what you’ve written. Re-analysing will help correct the flow, vocabulary, sentence construction errors, long sentences and other grammar issues. Get a second opinion, may be from your professor, senior or an IDP counsellor. Make sure you proofread properly and double check before submission.

Top 5 things your university expects in your SOP

1

Keep your language positive, precise and free from grammatical errors. Use active voice.

2

Highlight unique qualities that demonstrate your interest and goals. 

3

Mention how your talent, interests or experience will contribute to the institution.

4

Talk about your motivation to pursue a particular course at the university. 

5

Use examples to validate your pointers.


Our experienced IDP counsellors can guide you in writing a great SOP to help secure your admission in the institution of your choice. Visit us for a free counselling session or walk into your nearest IDP office to discuss it in detail. 

Schedule my free counselling session

Updated on June 10, 2020

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