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How to write a successful Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Everything you need to know to write an excellent SOP for your application

Universities abroad require you to submit your application with a Statement of Purpose (SOP) that articulates your career path and goals. This helps them in choosing the right candidate for the courses offered by them.

What is a Statement of Purpose (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, interests, 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.

Why is the Statement of Purpose important?

The Statement of Purpose (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 where in 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.

What should be included in the Statement of Purpose?

There are several elements that are vital for your Statement of Purpose. These include:


  • Personal background
  • Financial background
  • Academic details
  • Professional experience (full/part time, voluntary)
  • Immediate and long-term goals
  • Reasons why you wish to study at this particular institution
  • Reasons of being interested in the chosen field
  • About extra-curricular activities
  • Published works, if any
  • Papers submitted, if any
  • Interests, hobbies


Do’s for your SOP application

Undergraduate Postgraduate
Your purpose of taking the program and the opportunities you wish to explore Your short-term and long-term career and personal goals
Your academic journey and accomplishments Evidence of professional achievements
Extracurricular activities Anecdotes of teamwork, leadership and other corporate qualities
Motivation and career aspirations Career expectations from the institutions
Assignments undertaken during studies Noteworthy projects undertaken at work
Internships, if any Volunteer work, if any


How do you write a good Statement of Purpose?

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Review earlier before you send

It’s critical to check what you’ve written. Re-analysing will help correct the flow, vocabulary, sentence creation errors, long sentences and different 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.

10 tips to write a successful Statement of Purpose


  1. Stick to basic information and overview. Don’t write complete family history.
  2. Avoid sensitive financial details. If you are applying for scholarships, a separate document will be required for the same.
  3. Minute professional details. Talk about learning experiences, not about water cooler talks.
  4. Do not exceed the given word limit.
  5. Be crisp, do not flatter in your language.
  6. Avoid too many technical terms.
  7. Do not lie in your Statement of Purpose, dishonesty may lead to rejection.
  8. Avoid using creative fonts or coloured papers
  9. Don’t write that the institution was not your first choice.
  10. Beware with humour, it can backfire!


Our skilled IDP counsellors can guide you in writing a great SOP to help secure your admission in the institution of your choice. Speak with your IDP counsellor today for more details.

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