How to Write an Amazing SOP: If you’re looking for international admission into any school of your choice, writing a statement of purpose is an undeniable requirement that undergraduates, masters, and PhD students must present to be considered for admission.
90% of schools abroad will require an SOP because it’s a piece of information that tells the Admission Committee about you before they meet you.
Your SOP determines whether or not you will gain admission into your choice school or not.
The goal of SOP is not to tell the admission who you are, but what makes you different and the perfect student for their school.
So undergraduates, master’s and PhD students seeking to gain admission into any of the top schools in the world must know how to write an amazing SOP that will stand out among the pool of other good SOPs.
In that regard, we deem it fit to help you who are applying to study abroad for master’s study programs, Ph.D., and undergraduate programs to know how to tick this requirement off for good.
In this guide, you will find out the mistakes you must avoid if you’re going to write an amazing statement of purpose (SOP).
We also let you know what a “bad SOP” is and why you may never get an email from the school you applied to because of it.
Also, we give you tips on how to make your SOP stand out in a step-by-step guide that you do not require the help of an expert.
Let’s get you informed.
Welcome Aboard Scholar!!!
What is a Statement of Purpose?
You just checked out the requirements to apply for an ongoing admission process in your choice school and you were asked to provide an SOP.
What is that?
‘Never heard of it” you said.
An SOP in full is known as a statement of purpose. And as its name suggests, it’s a document that states your intent about why you’re applying to a school.
SOP is one of the university requirements you need during your application. It’s a long essay that describes why you are applying for a particular course at a particular university.
It’s a personal statement about your intent that reveals to the admission committee who you are, your academic strength, who you want to become through the course of choice you just chose, and how ready you are to pursue the course in their institution.
See an SOP as your introductory letter. It introduces you before the admission committee when there is no face to the application.
Most people say that a statement of purpose is an interview in written form read by a committee of high intellectuals who you must impress if you’re to gain admission into the school of choice.
Because the admission process of most universities is stringent, your SOP is your first chance of impressing the admission committee.
And you can only impress them if your SOP is strong and outstanding.
Why You Need a Statement of Purpose.
An SOP is a necessary evil in the admission application process.
It is your gate pass to secure admission to a study abroad destination.
Undergraduates, masters, and PhD students who have an impressive academic record without an amazing statement of purpose (SOP) may never gain admission into their choice school.
You need an SOP or statement of purpose to prove why you need to be selected from among the pool of other great students.
What makes you exceptional?
Writing an amazing SOP is needful if you’re going to impress the admission committee who are hardly impressed. It gives you a chance to prove you are the perfect student from the crowd.
Other prospective students can be within the GPA, IELTS, GRE, ACT, SAT, and fulfill other requirements as you have, the filter is the SOP.
Do Prospective Undergraduate Students Need an SOP?
Yes, prospective undergraduates seeking admission to a study abroad destination will require an SOP same as masters and PhD students as well.
Although important, not all schools may require a statement of purpose.
Therefore, ensure you seek the application requirements for the program you are applying for in your school and put together the requirements they require.
List Of Questions you’re Expected to Answer in your SOP?
Just before we let you know how to write an amazing statement of purpose(SOP) for undergraduates, masters, and PhD students, you have to know that this is technical writing.
And to that regard, you have to understand that there are questions you must answer if you’re going to write an amazing SOP.
Now, the Admission committee of your choice of university is going to expect you to answer the following questions, especially for undergraduate applicants;
- Why do you want to study at this college?
- What specific skills do you bring to the table?
- Why did you choose to study in this country?
- What do you want to study at graduate school?
- Why do you want to study only for this degree, not something else?
- 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?
- Apart from work and education, what are your hobbies, interests, and habits?
- What do you understand about our student community and culture?
- Why do you think you will fit in?
Phewww!! That sounds like a lot right?
Understanding and expecting these questions is one way to get prepared for how to write an amazing yet compelling SOP.
Ensure you center your SOP on the above questions.
If you do, you will catch the attention of the admission committee.
10 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Writing An SOP
Keep in mind that there is something called a “bad SOP”.
Bad SOPs make it to the trash and never be reviewed again.
To have your SOP last in the hands of the Admission Committee and come back for possible consideration, you need to avoid the following mistakes;
- Do not lie.
- Avoid excessive flattery
- Ensure your essay is error-free.
- Do not include irrelevant information
- Do not start writing your essay at the last minute.
- Avoid weak introduction and boring conclusions.
- Do not use a colloquial, cliche, or informal words.
- Do not exceed the word limit. Most schools give a word range, stick to it.
- Lastly, do not dwell on your low GPA, scores, and all. No one wants to admit a pessimist
Ensure you avoid these mistakes, there is a red flag and will only take your energy written essay into the trash can.
Tips On How To Write An Amazing Statement Of Purpose.
The goal of SOPs is to present you as a perfect candidate for admission into any school you apply to.
Therefore, you have to know the ropes to pull and the language to use to attract and keep the attention of the admission committee glued to you.
You want to make them request an audience with you by scheduling an interview with you.
To make that happen, you need to know how to write an amazing compelling Statement of Purpose (SOP).
So, here are the tips we have seen work over the years for undergraduates, masters, and PhD students whose statement of purpose (SOP) gained them admission into their choice school;
#1. Avoid Copy And Paste When Writing SOP.
Trust me admission committees have seen lots of SOPs over the years and they can easily spot one that is a “copy and paste” work.
99% of SOP are copied, words and structure all the same.
Do not make the mistake of going to copy an SOP online, it’s fake and does not talk about you.
Remember an SOP is about you. Let your SOP be original, use your own words to tell your own story.
#2. Let Your Essay Be Engaging.
Remember, you’re writing to impress a team of high intellectuals.
It takes something more than good words to keep them another minute on your document.
Let your essay be engaging. Write stories, not statements.
Tell them about your commitments that make you outstanding.
#3. Your SOP Should Be Precise And Crisp.
Yes, but not chicken crispy.
If you’re going to write an amazing SOP, keep it simple, convincing, and unique.
Remember the admission committee is going to review many other SOPs, keeping it simple and engaging is a plus.
#4. Highlight Your Uniqueness.
Undergraduates, masters, and PhD students about to write a statement of purpose should write their uniqueness.
In your essay, ensure you answer the question “Why should we admit you?”
There are tons of good GPA holders applying for the same course, in the same school.
What makes you unique?
#5. No Ambiguity! Write in Simple And Clear Language.
Do not make the mistake of using high-profile words. What do you hope to achieve by that?
Find the right words and convey your uniqueness in simple and clear language.
Depending on the school language requirement, you may write in English or any other language as requested.
#6. Avoid Clichés And Colloquials.
This is serious business!!!
You do not want the admission committee to see you as unserious even though you intend to keep the essay conversational.
If you’re going to write an amazing SOP, avoid clichés and colloquial.
#7. No Grammatical Errors.
When you write your amazing statement of purpose (SOP), show a high level of expertise, and avoid grammatical errors.
You can put your work on Grammarly or other grammatical error checkers to help you spot errors you couldn’t see.
#8. Highlight Your Interest And Goals.
Remember, your SOP is an introductory document, let the admission committee know who you are personally by sharing your interests and goals.
Do not talk about how you love cakes. The interests you should share should relate to your course of study or community development.
#9. Use Past Victorious Events in Your Life To Show Your Strength.
If you’ve ever had one successful victory, leverage on it to exfoliate your capabilities and areas of strength.
For instance, you hosted a program as an undergraduate that was one of the most referenced events in your locality.
That’s an area of strength. Leverage it as a measure to show what you can contribute to the university.
#10. Know the University’s Curriculum And Reviews.
Writing an amazing SOP will mean you have to know the school you are applying to.
Familiarizing yourself with the school’s curriculum is one way to say “I have already become a part of your institution, just fast track it”
You can put lines like “Knowing this University is passionate about excellence, I myself have been able to …”
The Admission Committee will go like “Ah he knows what we are working towards”
That’s a plus!!!
#11. Let your SOP Centre On Your Course Of Application.
Although there is a need to go personal, do not talk about cakes, hiking, and surfing, that’s not relevant in an SOP.
Ensure you center your discussion on your course of study.
#12. Write Your SOP To State The Reason Why You Chose Your Preferred Course.
Your reason to study your selected course at the University should be clear and justified.
For instance, “I want to study Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine because I want to help those with kidney problems in my locality have access to the artificial kidneys to reduce death caused by kidney failures”.
#13. State How You Intend to Contribute To The Institution.
No school wants to admit one who does not have leadership abilities or one who does not have impacting abilities.
State clearly how you intend to contribute to your prospective department and school at large.
#14. Do Not Brag.
Of course, to write an amazing SOP will mean sharing your uniqueness and why you are the perfect candidate to be selected.
But do not brag about your uniqueness.
There’s a thin line between stating your abilities and being arrogant and overly confident.
If the admission committee senses pride, it will land your application in a trash can.
Never to be reviewed again!!!
Keep it simple, free, and humble.
#15. The Essay Should Be In Sequence.
Do not write an SOP without direction.
No Admission Committee has the time to be taken back and forth trying to know you.
The flow should be from your experience, and present involvements, to your future goals.
#16. Divide Your Essay Into Paragraphs.
Paragraphs help you direct your essay. So, divide what you want to communicate into paragraphs.
Each paragraph should cover one pointer example of your experience.
#17. Customize your SOP.
Although the regular white page is used by all and sundry, you can give the admission committee something different.
Use a good template so it doesn’t look like the regular.
But do not be dramatic.
#18. Use a Formal Yet Conversational Tone In Your Writing.
Remember, these people are not seeing you but they can see your SOP.
An amazing statement of purpose (SOP) whether for undergraduate masters and PhD students should be conversational.
Let the essay be as if they are speaking to you in person.
#19. Proofread Again And Again.
You may not get all the facts, English, and communication right in the first writing.
Proofreading, again and again, will help you pick out the faults in writing and note things you did not add.
You can also give it to other persons to read to have their view of it.
#20. Seek Professional Advice.
If it’s your first time writing an SOP, chances are that you may be frustrated when you write your first amazing document.
So, a professional guide will help you stay on track especially if it’s someone who has reviewed a lot of sops before.
That will do you a lot of good.
Undergraduates, masters, and PhD students can adopt the above tips when writing a statement of purpose.
Although these tips are not all there is, they could serve as a background check to guide you write an amazing SOP.
How Do I Write an Amazing Compelling Statement of Purpose (SOP)?
Now you know what is obtainable, what to do and what makes a bad SOP, so how do you write one?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling statement of purpose for undergraduates, masters, and PhD students anywhere in the world;
Paragraph 1: Introduction of SOP
Remember, one of the tips for writing a compelling statement of purpose is to divide your essay into paragraphs.
Your first paragraph will describe the following:
- A general overview of what you are about to discuss in your SOP.
- Talk about your long-term goal and connect it with your intention of pursuing your course of choice.
- You could share what made you realize your professional interest in the chosen field.
- Then write how you want to contribute to that field.
DISCLAIMER: It is not a self introductory part.
Paragraphs 2 and 3: Academic Background and Professional Experience
Once you have specified an overview of your interest in simple, convincing, and clear words, it’s time to talk about your academics.
The 2nd and 3rd paragraph of the essay describes the following;
- An extensive yet simple talk about your academic background and qualifications.
- Discuss any current project you’re carrying out, academic strengths, industrial attachment, or training.
NOTE: These should come in sequence.
Paragraph 4: Why this Course?
This section of your SOP determines whether or not it will be considered amazing or trashy.
For someone interested in Tissue Engineering And Regenerative Medicine, your reason for applying may be to help those with kidney problems have access to artificial kidneys to reduce death caused by kidney failures.
For someone interested in Artificial intelligence, your reason for applying might be to help humanity think and produce faster and more efficient results via the use of artificial intelligence.
So you see, this aspect is very important.
Also do not forget to present your current skills and the ones you hope to gain in this duration.
Paragraph 5: Career Goals
If you’re able to tick off paragraph 4 good, paragraph 5 will come easy.
Here, you’re expected to connect your reason for choosing your course with your career goals and plans.
For example, the Tissue Engineer will say “if I’m able to learn this course, I’ll be able to reduce the number of deaths caused by kidney failure in my locality”.
This section is actually more important than paragraph four.
Also, discuss your short- and long-term goals. Name some companies you see yourself working in.
Or, you can state if you are interested in further studies like a masters or PhD.
Here is also the place to state if you have intentions of becoming a professor or researcher.
The essence is to portray how you plan to make a difference in your field of study and your contribution to emerging industries.
Paragraph 6: Why This University?
Of all schools why did you choose this school?
Are there not better schools out there?
Now here is the time to be wise. Rate the school high.
Let the admission committee know that the school is the only school suitable to train you.
Add some information you know about the school, course curricula, etc.
You can bring in the names of some of the notable alumnus of the university that has made an impact in today’s society.
Let the admission committee know that they are the best in training exceptional students.
Lat Paragraph: Conclusion
Now you’ve done a good job writing one of the most amazing SOP.
At this juncture, you should express how ready you are to become a part of the university.
Let the Adcom know how eager you face the challenges that might suffice.
Ensure you sound focused and highly spirited.
State how you will be able to succeed in your chosen course with the help of the university.
For undergraduates writing this Statement of purpose, show reasons why you need this admission.
How to Write A Statement Of Purpose For MBA and Masters Students
- Highlight the feature you want to add to your SOP.
- Finish all lists of requirements.
- Research the club that is relevant to your interest.
- Write the first draft, edit and rewrite
How to Write A Statement Of Purpose For Masters Students
- Checklist your achievements
- State your goals clearly.
- Compare, sort, and trim
- Explore and research university faculties and projects you are applying for
- Write, edit and rewrite your SOP
How to write a Statement Of Purpose For Undergraduate Students.
- List your achievements in school life.
- Think about the journey of your life, forget the subject
- Write your first draft
- Discuss your list and the first draft
- Touch up your essay and finalize
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Write An Amazing Statement Of Purpose (SOP)
What’s the Difference between the Statement of Purpose for Undergraduates and that of Masters and PhD Students?
There is a difference between a statement of purpose for undergraduates, masters, and Ph.D. students in the content.
For undergraduate’s statement of purpose, here is what the content will require;
- Internships, if any
- Extracurricular activities.
- Motivation and career aspirations.
- Assignments undertaken during studies.
- Your academic journey and accomplishments
- Your purpose for taking the program and the opportunities you wish to explore.
For a statement of purpose for Masters’s or PhD programs, the content will require;
- Volunteer work, if any
- Evidence of professional achievements.
- Noteworthy projects are undertaken at work
- Career expectations from the institutions.
- Short and long-term career and personal goals.
- Anecdotes of teamwork, leadership, and other corporate qualities
Do I Need To Write My Name On the SOP?
No, you don’t need to write your name on your SOP.
Your SOP is a part of a larger application.
Do all SOPs Come With The Same Format?
No, a statement of purpose for undergraduates will have different content than that of graduate students.
And that will definitely change the format.
How Long Should A Statement of Purpose Be?
SOPs should not be more than 1-2 pages long between 500-1000 word count.
That’s why we emphasize the use of simple words.
The admission committee gets to review over 50,000 applications, which means work.
Don’t bore them with a lengthy essay. Economize your words.
What is the General Visual Format for Writing an SOP?
The format of writing an SOP is like other academic writings. Use the format below;
- 1.5 line spacing
- 1-inch margins on all sides
- 12 point Times New Roman font
Your statement of purpose is an important document you should take care of in writing because it’s important.
Ensure you avoid the mistakes we have outlined, follow the tips we gave you and seek professional advice if you get hitched along the way.
We hope you found this piece enlightening.
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- How to Write an Amazing Statement of Purpose and Gain Admission into Top School
- How to Write an Amazing SOP and Gain Admission to Top Schools