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An SOP is a long essay that is often asked by universities abroad. The full form of SOP is Statement of Purpose. Usually about 1000 words, this essay seeks to understand the candidate’s life, the motivations for the chosen career path and his/her goals. There are many elements to a Statement of Purpose or a SOP as it is famously referred to. The Universities could ask question-based essays or simply to present your statement of purpose. Until and unless categorically asked, a SOP must include your goals, the career path you have taken up so far as well as your academic progress. Other elements that are further important to the SOP are also the personal motivations that lead you to choose the university/course you have applied to as well as how you intend to use that experience to achieve that goal.

How to write an SOP for abroad Courses

Every Statement of Purpose is different. Each essay is supposed to be individualistic in nature and no one can actually give you a recipe of a great SOP. What works for one individual would not be work for another! However, the process of how to write a SOP remains same across the board. All would include the basic 5 steps of creating a list, following a theme and so on. These processes can be, further customized on the basis of the general course you would be applying for. For instance, the steps on how to write a SOP for a management program would be categorically different from the process of writing a SOP for an undergraduate course. And again, a SOP for a Master’s course would include the 5 steps…but the approach would be different. Let us look at how to write a SOP for a Masters’ program in the same 5 basic steps…but modified.

Step 1 : Prepare a list of your achievements.

Write down your academic achievements, your co-scholastic achievements, and instances as well as a list of your personal instances. Creating separate lists would help you look at them in an objective manner. The lists could be expansive and include anything related to your graduation, your school or even seminars. The lists of what all you can include in your SOP for Abroad Courses are rather comprehensive. Simply think back and list down all the points. You need not worry about the chronology either. You should write whatever comes to your mind.

Step 2 : Think clearly about your goals.

This is one of the biggest differences between a SOP for MBA and a SOP for a Masters’ course. While in MBA you would want to talk about your professional and personal goals in details, a SOP for your Masters need not necessarily be driven towards a professional job/ employment. It could be a continuous journey of learning the subject and simply the next step towards your goals of the research. It could also be a means to find fruitful employment. Whatever the case be, at this stage you need to clearly define what is it that you would want to do and accordingly decide on the theme of your SOP.

Step 3 : Compare, classify and crop the list.

This is perhaps the most important step. Remember, WHILE stating your purpose in life is very important for your SOP, what is even more important is to do so within the specified word limits. Not exceeding the word limit is the most important Don’t of a SOP writing. Hence, it is crucial to at this compare the lists, classify the various points and then crop the lists. You need to find out the right balance of what all you would want to include in the SOP.

Step 4 : Explore the faculty and research projects in the university you are applying to.

Usually, Universities abroad are working on some or the other research project. It would help to find out if you can relate to any of the projects. Linking your SOP with an ongoing research would always be a great add.

Step 5 : Write the SOP, edit it and write again.

This is a principal step to all your statement of purposes. Always and always prepare a rough draft, edit it and let it be. After few days, revisit the draft and write another fresh draft. It is important to write your essay again. Doing this would help you eliminate most of the unwanted elements. Comparing the two drafts would at times inspire you to do more. So, start off and get writing. Just keep in mind what all you must include in a SOP for your Masters and more importantly, what not to include in your SOP for Masters Programs.

Step-by-step method of including information:

  • While developing an SOP for MS or Masters or Graduate Programme, what needs to be considered is the kind of course you are applying to :
  • Discussing about the industry we plan to join and relating it to your long-term.
  • Explaining about your background, academic and professional, highlighting all your related endeavours and achievements when combined with a motivation covers the next almost 2-3 paragraphs.
  • Then explaining about how your background when complemented with the course of your choice will help you in achieving your goals would be the ideal next step.
  • All the information discussed above should lead your decision of applying to the chosen course and college, where you would discuss the opportunities you would get by studying under some professors and contributing to their research work.
  • How you would utilise the college facilities to enhance your knowledge and develop new while sharpening your existing skills needs to be written with precision.
  • This would include talking about the college and country you wish to study in relating to the industry you wish to work in the coming future.

Some universities do not require an SOP, they rather ask for a university-specific essay, the questions asked in which vary from course to college. They would need you answer some specific event your life or some experience you had or anything related or non-related to the field of study. These essays need to be answered very carefully. Your may refer to the different kinds of college essays given by various colleges to assess the profiles of the applicants.

How to Write a Winning Statement of Purpose

Everyone would tell you that statement of purpose is perhaps a very important aspect of your application abroad. The degree of importance might vary but it would be more or less important. Hence, it is important to write a statement of purpose that would help you stand apart. However, before you get started, there are a few things you must be very very clear about. One – statement of purpose is not your resume in a running form; and two, you cannot write it in a day.

The basic rule of a statement of purpose is to understand what to include in a SOP and how to write it. Like every individual, the statement of purpose is also unique in a lot many ways. Needless to say, your experiences would be your own, your thoughts and ideas would be your own and your aspirations would be unique and different too. But when it comes to writing them down, there are a few basics that everyone must follow. We look at them in these 5 basic steps on how to write a winning SOP.

Sample Format for Statement of Purpose

Understanding what to include, what not to include and how to write a statement of purpose is all very well. What is of most importance is getting the format right. Like all professional documents, SOP also has a standard format that is followed by general universities. It is important to note that irrespective of whether you are writing the statement of purpose for an MBA program, or an MS program or even for any of the UG Courses, the format essentially would remain the same. This article takes note of the same.

To begin with, there are two simple pointers to remember.

  • Statement of Purpose is a running paragraph format and follows the general rules that are associated with essay writing. While using bullets are accepted, they are to be avoided and kept only to the bare minimum.
  • Unless otherwise specified, a standard statement of purpose is ideally 2 page long, uses a maximum of 12 point font and is double spaced and normal margins. Hence, depending on the font type, a standard SOP would be about 800 to 1000 words.
  • Apart from the obvious, there are simple templates as to how you can present your statement of purpose. Ideally, a Statement of Purpose should have about 5 paragraphs of about 200 to 250 words each

    Following is a sample format. It is not mandatory to present the information in the manner as suggested in the format. This is only one of many possible ways in which you can present your statement of purpose. No matter how you wish to narrate the story, just remember, it should come together and be cohesive.

    Para 1: Introduction and Statement of Goals.

    Use this space to talk about your goal in life. You can be creative here and use analogy’s or quotes to make it more interesting. But, don’t waste a lot of space in introducing your goal. The sooner you lay it out, the better it is. Remember, it is an essay about your goals in life…so starting with it is always a good idea.

    Para 2 & 3: Career Progression

    This is the para which you usually use to talk about yourself. You can start with a brief history about yourself and career progression starting from your school to your college. This is the paragraph which is usually dedicated to your academic pursuits. If you have work experience, you can limit your school life and talk more about your college in para 2 and move to work experience in para.

  • Use this space to talk about your goal in life. You can be creative here and use analogy’s or quotes to make it more interesting. But, don’t waste a lot of space in introducing your goal. The sooner you lay it out, the better it is. Remember, it is an essay about your goals in life…so starting with it is always a good idea.
  • Para 4: Why?

    This is the most important part of your Statement of Purpose for this is the place where you provide the reason as to why you wish to do what you wish to do. You can make it more interesting by narrating an incident that leads you to the decision or a turning point in your life. The more emphatic and passionate you are in this paragraph, the better your essay.

    Para 5: How You Plan to Achieve Your Goal

    You are finally ending your essay. So far you have talked about what you want to do, what lead you to that decision and why you are moving towards this course. Now, lay down how you plan to achieve your goals. If you wish to get into research, write it. If you plan to work for a certain organization, write it. This goes on to show how well you have thought your life over. Also, give it time periods…for instance, I intend to work in the industry for 2 years before I start my research program.