SOP Writing

What is a Statement of Purpose? How to write it for Visa and University Applications?

What is SOP? SOP for Visa & University Applications

A statement of purpose, often referred as SOP, is a statement written to describe your personality in a way that the selection committee chooses you. To present yourself with a strong profile, you’ll need a good SOP.

SOP or statement of purpose, also known as a research statement or a letter of intent, makes your information regarding your education, interests, goals and contribution presentable to the admission committee. It is generally written as an essay or it can be a question-and-answer basis, depending on the university or organisation.

The importance of the statement of purpose

As the name suggests, a statement of purpose is asked and written to explain the purpose. A written form consists of the gist of one’s personality and what is assumed to show interest in a particular course. Many universities do not ask for your previous year glitches as the selection process is basically depended on present eligibility criteria. So, a well-written statement of purpose or SOP can make you stand out from the crowd of eligible people. Also, a good SOP can be an impressive way to present your writing skills. A great SOP works as a good damage repair for enhancers to your profile.

Since it creates an individual’s presence, increases the chance of getting selected, it is very important to write an impactful SOP.

First of all, write yourself a good introduction, that is going to make a difference. When they read your introduction, they must know what you are aiming to do in your future, what are your ambitions and plans that you want to pursue your higher education from this particular university. Keeping in mind the introduction, be careful that it doesn’t become lengthy. The introduction should be short and to the point.

Take about your previous achievements. Mention your graduation, any research you conducted throughout the terms can be a big hit. Write in a very technical or formal manner to make an impression. Also, include your other papers like thesis or any other important work you’ve done out of the curriculum. Include your work experience, it can be anything a part of research, designing or anything related to your graduation course. Feel free to mention your internships. The work experience and the related certificate can build your personality well.

Now, elaborate your work, indicate your current activities. The graduation studies you’ve done. The process you’ve learnt, your position, your focus that helped you throughout. You have to write in such a way that you convince the selector/faculty. Write your interests in an ample paragraph. Explain your work, ideally, a question mentioned with an apt answer to it. Define the problem, indicate that topic you want to be addressed and questions that arise from contemporary research.

Research a lot, whatever you write must be well-researched. You must be aware of what you include in your statement of purpose. At times, it can be difficult to write an appropriate SOP or letter of intent. You might have done all your work and achieved and are eligible for applying, but to get selected from the crowd, writing a good SOP maybe a big stress. Here, you can get help from companies like Write Right. Write Right is a good choice to get the desired content for your company. It is one of the best companies and ranked and recognized by Good firm and Clutch as best among the other content writing agencies.

The basic traits to consider while writing the statement of purpose to get a structured statement of purpose are

  • What’s your story?
  • What inspires you?
  • What are your areas of expertise?
  • Why do you want to study at that particular university?
  • What are your future plans?

A Statement of Purpose highlights your educational background, achievements, and goals. So, make sure that you share why you would like to study, your desired program at the university of your choice. Mentioning all this, remember these two important rules:

Do not plagiarize matter: Remember, never do that, they want to know about you, learn about you so that your selection can be done. They do not want to tolerate or will not entertain copied material from some website or general template. Write about yourself, make it a genuine introduction of yourself with highlighting your work and achievements. Any kind of plagiarism or copied work is considered a serious offence in post graduate institutes, so make sure you write a proper original statement of purpose. It can be a little tricky to write a SOP like this, but not to worry, just focus on above-mentioned points and write about yourself with utmost clarity and positives mentioned.

Follow instructions: Universities will provide a set of information and a structure to follow, so write according to that. Use good grammar and correct grammar, make the statement of purpose concise and use of clear language must be considered. The guidelines provided by the university or school will be clear on what they want to see on a SOP, it may include the length of the statement of the purpose which, generally, is not longer than one page. The other details like the format, it can be APA format or MLA format. It will particularly include details like word count, spacing and structure. The details totally vary from university to university. It is necessary to follow the provided details to provide the expected SOP to the institution.

What all can be included in a statement of the problem?

Following are a few points to be included while writing a well-informed letter to intent or SOP. Make sure to take note of all to make a good statement of the problem in no time. These points cover introduction, personal and educational history, goals and work & experience. All you need to write in a SOP when written well without skipping any important information will help to stand out of the crowd and achieve success in the selection process:

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

While writing the statement of purpose or letter to intend or SOP in general, make sure that you stick to basic information and the details provided. Of course, the SOP needs you to write your personal details, but not so personal that you include your family history. Know the difference and write what is required for you, it should be point to point.

Alike the previous, do not write down overly personal stuff like sensitive financial information. A proper separate set of rules will be provided along with the instructions. Fill that with utmost honesty, and that is it. Submit the required document when describing your and your family’s financial background. At the end of the day, the university would want to provide scholarships (depends on what kind of help is required) based on your ability, capability and knowledge, not based on a sentimental or over-exposed financial problem.

Remember, no colloquial language or break time talks. Instead, focus on presenting your learning/work experiences. No matter what it may be, a project or a research, write about your role. Include writing about your internships, mention your working experience there, whatever you learnt and observed to make and upgrade your skills. All these matters as the institution wants to know about your capability and get a gist of your vision. When you make it clear with such points, it is clear that it will make the selector, generally a professor, interested in reading it throughout. Making your statement of purpose (SOP) stand out and providing you with a strong ground.

Well, of course you would want to write down everything about you in great detail, but there will be a word limit given. Do not exceed the word limit. While writing down all the important points, be to the point. Make it informative and include everything that’s important. If you have a lot of academic and extra curriculum affairs to address, write down them in shorter sentences so that the information is included and still the matter doesn’t exceed the word limit as per the given guidelines. As mentioned above, write sentences to the point and don’t go for water tank talks, this will simply help you not to waste your words or sentences in other talks and make the essay more interesting and presentable. Writing down about your experiences will only add to your personality.

While writing down the important points as mentioned, make it clear that you do not flatter your language. Use of good and correct grammar is important, but do not use flowery words just to make the statement of purpose or SOP look fancy. Instead, always make sure the sentences are crisp. Your writing should be clear, understandable, formal with a personal touch as you are supposed to introduce and describe yourself, do not make it look like a description of a stranger. Be very precise with what you write, it will only reflect your personality. Make it look great.

Writing about your experiences may make you write a lot of technical words. Please do not do that or, if necessary, explain those technical terms too. This may increase the words and exceed the word limit, which is not acceptable as it doesn’t look promising then. It will be better if you choose not to include a lot of tech words in the essay writing. Somehow, they make the essay writing flowery, exactly what we do not need in the statement of purpose. If it gets necessary to include many technical words, for example, your research was of this kind or your internship was a technical one, it would be suggested to write about them in simple words without skipping any vital information and making your point clear while mentioning your skills and interests.

So, now you have a list of points regarding your education, your interests, your skills, your goals and your experiences. You would want to include each of them, which is a good thing. Just keep in mind that you do not lie at all. Dishonesty can simply show you the exit. Lying in your statement of purpose or letter to intent can simply get you into trouble and may lead to rejection. This will simply break your dream and heart. So, do not lie. Not even a little bit as it will make all your achievements look like a hoax, and why would anyone want that. Remember, honesty is the best policy.

Follow the format provided as per the guidelines to write the SOP. Do not choose fancy or creative fonts, stick to Times New Roman, Calibri and font size 12,14; as these are considered standard in most of the styles. Coloured sheets/papers are a big no-no. Do not try to make it look pretty. There is a difference in making it presentable by adding your precious achievement in it and making it look pretty using calligraphy and coloured papers. It is a statement of purpose whose purpose is to make your profile strong so that the selection committee chooses you. Make it worth it by adding all your valuable achievements earned by blood and sweat, instead of making it inspired by a school project. Go formal, remember no colloquial language or style.

While applying to the university, do not mention that it wasn’t your first choice. The amount of honesty will backfire. Also, take care and be careful of the humour you use. It can simply turn all the hard work into an informal letter. So, make sure to keep in mind the above-mentioned points and write an amazing SOP for yourself to get into that dream university. Understand and move forward.

Published by Shriya Pandey

Shriya Pandey is a lawyer with over 5 years experience in the field of IP law. She is an aspiring content writer who has worked for a variety of Indian and international content writing platforms as a ghostwriter- writing press releases, emails for email marketing, listicles, product reviews, product descriptions, blog articles, travelogues, website content etc. Her special areas of interest are IP law, environmental issues, sustainability and green energy. She is an SEO devotee who is constantly working on acing the Google algorithm and get her work ranked higher. Her biggest dream in life is to own a Tesla and live in a fully solar powered house, far away from civilization. Oh and finally finish her long pending novel.

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