One of the entry requirements to apply to any school is the SOP or Statement of Purpose. Your statement of purpose comes in handy when using it to study abroad in Master’s study programs, Ph.D. programs, and undergraduate programs. We cannot overstate its importance; we have carefully written step-by-step procedures to write a remarkable statement of purpose for undergraduates, Masters, and Ph.D. programs.
In resonance, we have answered all the questions you asked about SOP. We hope to help you secure admission to your school of choice and not be declined because of a “bad SOP.”
Let’s polish that!
Introduction: What’s an SOP?
Abbreviated as SOP, a statement of purpose is one document universities require during application. Like the name, it’s an extended essay that states your purpose or reason for applying for a particular course at a particular university. In simple terms, the SOP answers the question, “Why do you want to study this course with us (the university).”
An SOP tells the admission committee who you are, the stuff you’re made of academically, who you want to become, and how ready you are to pursue your course of choice in their institution. This essay will introduce you in your absence, hence the essence of making it topnotch.
Your SOP reflects your personality. It portrays YOU before your in-person interview in front of the admission committee (Adcom). Your SOP is your chance to impress Adcom. You can only impress them if your profile is vital.
So think of the statement of purpose as an interview written by a committee of high intellectuals. Think of it as your gate pass to secure admission to a study-abroad destination.
Why Do I need a Statement of Purpose?
As earlier stated, you need an SOP to impress the Adcom of your school of choice. The SOP is the only document in your application requirements that allows you to prove exceptional from the crowd.
You need an SOP because it’s the document that hugely determines your admission, aside from the motivation letter.
Many other prospective students can be within the GPA, IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, ACT, SAT, and different score ranges, same as you. The filter is the SOP; it serves as the distinguishing document between the needed and the wanted.
Who Needs an SOP?
They only require a Statement of purpose for some applications. Majorly the statement of purpose is for students who seek to study abroad either for undergraduates, Master or Ph.D. programs.
If not required by your prospective school, we recommend you follow and put together the requirements they need.
How do I Write a Statement of Purpose?
This is where this post comes in handy. You need to know how to write an SOP; it’s your profile, and you can report it well. So whether you are writing a statement of purpose for undergraduate, Master’s, or Ph.D. programs, here are some tips for writing an impressive SOP.
20 Tips to Write a Great SOP
- Do not “copy and paste.” 99% of SOP are copied, and most are similar in words and structure. Let your SOP be original; use your own words.
- Let your essay be engaging. Write stories, not statements.
- Your SOP should be precise and crisp. The Adcom would review many other SOPs; keeping it simple, convincing, and unique is a plus.
- Highlight your uniqueness in this essay. Answer the question, “Why should we admit you.”
- Write in simple English, with no ambiguity.
- You’re just one of many applying. Find the right words. Avoid clichés and colloquials.
- You should show a high level of expertise in writing, with no grammatical errors.
- Highlight your interest and goals. It will help them know you personally.
- Leverage your past events and victories to exfoliate your capabilities and areas of strength. Gear it towards a capability you can leverage to contribute substantively to the university.
- Familiarise yourself with the university’s curriculum and reviews; it’s one way to say, “I have already become a part of your institution; just fast-track it” (Check out some of our School Reviews)
- Let your SOP center on your course of application.
- Your reason for studying a selected course should be apparent and justified.
- Be clear on how you intend to contribute to the department and school.
- Do not brag. Being arrogant and overly confident will land your application in a trash can. Keep it simple, accessible, and humble.
- The essay should be in sequence. The flow should be from your experience, present involvement, and future goals.
- Divide your essay into paragraphs. Each paragraph should cover all pointers.
- Customize your SOP. Use a good template, so it looks different from the regular one.
- Use a formal yet conversational tone in your writing.
- Proofread again and again. Seek professional advice.
At https://academicrelated.com, we believe there is nothing expert advice cannot fix. These tips will guide you when writing your SOP. We do not limit an excellent SOP to the information above, but these could serve as a good background for writing a compelling SOP.
Procedures on how to Write a Statement of Purpose
The strategy of writing a powerful statement of purpose would be to be sound focused throughout the essay, be it for undergraduates, master’s, Ph.D., or post-graduate programs. Carefully connect the dots of how studying in your choice of school will help you reach your goal.
Follow these steps to write a top-notch SOP.
1st Paragraph: Introduction of SOP
This paragraph discusses what you are about to discuss in your SOP. You could approach this paragraph by discussing your long-term goal and connecting it with your intention to pursue the course you are applying to. Also, you could come up with ideas by presenting your understanding of the chosen field and explaining how you want to contribute. You could begin by writing about an anecdote that made you realize your professional interest in the chosen field.
Make sure to make this a self-introductory part.
2nd and 3rd Paragraphs of SOP: Academic Background and Professional Experience
Present your academic background and qualifications. Talk extensively about what you’ve done, any current project you’re carrying out, academic strengths, industrial attachment, or training. Remember, it should come in sequence; this makes your SOP look organized.
4th Paragraph: Why this Course?
This section answers the question, “Why do you want to study this course?” Someone applying for artificial intelligence might do so to help humanity think and produce faster and more efficient results via artificial intelligence.
Also, present your skills and the ones you hope to gain in this duration.
5th Paragraph: Career Goals
Answering the question in the above paragraph, you should be able to connect it with your career goals and plans. This is the most important session of the SOP.
Discuss your short- and long-term goals. You should name some companies you see yourself working in. This should explain the job profile you would work on. Or if you are interested in further studies like a Master’s or Ph.D., this is the place to state it.
If you desire to become a professor or researcher, you can also write it down here. Portray how you plan to make a difference in your field of study and contribute to emerging industries. Show how keen and industrious you are. Make them see that if they train you, you will become a valuable addition to any endeavor you find yourself in.
Do this in moderation, do not brag about yourself and your skills.
6th Paragraph: Why This University?
Rate the high school as the only school suitable to train you. Add some information about the school, course curricula, etc. You could talk about a notable university alum that has impacted today’s society and relates it to how they are the best in training exceptional students.
Express your readiness and desire to be a part of the university. Talk about how eager you will face the challenges that might suffice. Sound-focused and highly spirited. Also, show that you have the zest in you to succeed, and with the help of the chosen course and university, you will make a difference in the industry from a global perspective.
For the statement of purpose for undergraduates, show why you need this admission.
Questions you’re Expected to Answer in your SOP.
The admission committee of your choice of university expects you to answer the following questions;
- What do you want to study at graduate school?
- Why do you want to study only this degree, not something else?
- Why do you want to study at this college?
- Why did you choose us?
- Why did you choose to study in this country?
- How much and what kind of experience do you have in your field?
- If you are experienced, what additional skills are you planning to gain from the degree?
- What do you plan to do with your degree after graduation?
- Would you choose to get a job or be involved in research?
- Would you like to study or do research under any professor? If yes, who and why only them?
- How can you contribute to our university and our program?
- What specific skills do you bring to the table?
- What are your hobbies, interests, and habits besides work and education?
- What do you understand about our student community and culture?
- Why do you think you will fit in?
Center your SOP on these questions; you will catch the admission committee’s attention. This applies to the statement of purpose for undergraduates too.
Mistakes to avoid when Writing an SOP?
We have x-rayed the guidelines and measures to aid you in writing a good SOP. Avoid the following mistakes.
- Wait to start writing your essay at the last minute. Prepare on time. Get it ready months before sending in your application. This limits the chances of error.
- Avoid weak introductions and boring conclusions. The first impression lasts a long. Start with good energy and end with a bouncer.
- Do not use colloquial, cliche, or informal words. It’s formal; keep it accurate.
- Stay within the word limit. Most schools give a word range; stick to it.
- Do not dwell on your low GPA, scores, and all. No one wants to admit a pessimist.
- Do not lie.
- Avoid excessive flattery
- Do not include irrelevant information.
- Ensure your essay is error-free.
What’s the Difference between an Undergraduate SOP and a Graduate SOP?
In writing a statement of purpose for undergraduates, put these into consideration;
- Your purpose for taking the program and the opportunities you wish to explore
- Your academic journey and accomplishments
- Extracurricular activities
- Motivation and career aspirations
- Assignments undertaken during studies.
- Internships, if any.
For a Statement of purpose for Master’s or Ph.D. programs, consider these;
- Your short-term and long-term career and personal goals
- Evidence of professional achievements
- Anecdotes of teamwork, leadership, and other corporate qualities
- Career expectations from the institutions
- Noteworthy projects are undertaken at work
- Volunteer work, if any
Frequently Asked Questions About the SOP
Do I need to write my name on the SOP?
Simple but straight. The answer is No. No, because your SOP is a part of a more extensive application. Writing your name would make your essay longer when you have a lot to write.
Do all SOPs come with the same format?
Writing formats for SOPs differ. An undergraduate SOP wouldn’t contain the same information as a graduate SOP. Yes, they could be similar in content but different in reason.
How long should an SOP be?
SOPs should be at most 1-2 pages long. Keep it simple. We say this because the Adcom of any university gets over 50,000 applications, making it 50,000 SOPs to read. Refrain from boring them with a lengthy essay. Be economical with your words.
The Word range should be between 500-1000 word count.
What is the General Visual Format for Writing an SOP?
The format of writing an SOP is like other academic writings. Use the form below;
1.5 line spacing
1-inch margins on all sides
12-point Times New Roman font
Note: The visual format will not add a bonus point to you. It’s so it could loom presentable and able to read.
Your statement of purpose is your gate pass to secure admission to your school of choice. Statement of purpose for undergraduates, Master’s and Ph.D. programs are similar but have a minor difference. We hope you found this piece enlightening.
We also recommend you read Easy ways to write a motivational letter.