Statement of Purpose- Importance and Mistakes to Be Avoided

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Statement Of Purpose or the SOP plays a pivotal role in determining whether a student will get admission to a foreign university or not. SOP is the profile of a student, and it comprises a broad outline of a student’s intention to study a particular course at an abroad university.

Students have to give an account of their goals, the reason for studying, and all the other details that help authorities assess the student visa application. A number of times, students end up overly loading their SOPs with unnecessary information and, at the same time, missing the important ones. So it’s advised to take the SOP seriously as this will have an instrumental role in the visa application.

A balanced approach should be taken while writing the Statement Of Purpose. It should be explicitly concentrated on the intention of studying, the reason for getting interested, and any other information that might interest authorities. Overly high claims should always be avoided, and to the maximum possible extent, the genuine information should be preserved.

However, this doesn’t mean that a student visa applicant shouldn’t be listing all their achievements. But overloading of information should be avoided, and only the top achievement that somehow makes a strong case for the intended field of study should be mentioned.

Importance of Statement Of Purpose 

The art of writing is very crucial for writing a well-articulated Statement Of Purpose. Students spend considerable time and energy trying to incorporate maximum details in minimum words. The whole writing should be done in such a way that it makes a strong case for the student visa application.

Since this is the first interaction between students and the authorities, it is of utmost importance to take care of the language. It should be clearly shown the student’s intention to study at the university, and any element of ambiguity should be avoided in SOPs as redundancy in personal information is always the top reason for rejection of the application.

Several elements are highlighted in the SOP. The details regarding the academic achievements, family background, financial stability, areas of interest in the concerned field of study, etc. One of the most crucial pieces of information that need a lot of care while writing is the reason for choosing a particular course.

A student must craft the SOP in a way that looks compelling enough to the authorities to give the go-ahead to the student visa application. A good thing associated with foreign universities is that they allow a diverse range of interdisciplinary courses.

For instance, students studying mathematics or computer science engineering go on to pursue courses in biotechnology. So, if a student can write a convincing SOP, the authorities usually allow student visas for such applicants.

Another crucial factor is the intent of a student to put the requisite effort into completing a course in a foreign university. SOP plays a significant role in establishing the intention of the students to pursue a course and that they will be willing to do the hard work required for a particular course.

The SOP includes information on the student’s academics, the course they wish to pursue in a foreign university, but the real test of all these claims is reflected in the content of the draft prepared by the student. It is through the SOP that a student can convince the authorities about their intent to study abroad.

This is a one-way communication, so there is no scope for any further course correction. Whatever is written in the SOP will be communicated to the authorities, and there is no scope for further clarifying the content of the draft.

Do’s and Don’ts While Writing the SOP

Authorities receive thousands of applications, and it is a cumbersome task for them to choose the right candidate among the pool. An official going through the application will not be paying much attention if the application’s content is somewhat bland and doesn’t reflect the applicant’s willingness to pursue a course.

Every application that is sent to the authorities is processed very carefully, but to stand out, one must do something that the rest aren’t doing. But there is a note of caution as one shouldn’t make hyperbolic claims just to make their application look different, and it is, in fact, one of the reasons for rejection of visa applications.

So, we are providing certain dos and Don’ts that will help students in eloquently drafting the Statement Of Purpose so that the dream of studying abroad goes beyond a mere dream.

Do’s For SOP

  • Never even think of copying someone else’s SOP. In fact, to the maximum possible extent, keep the content of the SOP unique and avoid plagiarism at any cost.
  • Those applying for postgraduate or doctoral programs should put the impetus on their prior achievements in their field of study.
  • Those applying for undergraduate courses must put the impetus on their short-term and long-term goals when studying at the university.
  • Write clearly about the things you have achieved and things you intend to achieve post-completion of the course. This helps the admission committee in getting a complete picture of an applicant’s intent to pursue a course.
  • Always connect the dots between the things studied in the past, things studying in the present, and how it led to stir interest in the course for which the student has applied. Correlation is very important.
  • Wherever possible, back the achievement with some concrete evidence that can be verified at once without any hassle.

Don’ts For SOP

  • The word limit prescribed by the authorities must have been strictly adhered to as it is the first test of the applicant’s seriousness to pursue a course.
  • If a student is applying for more than one university, then don’t use the “one size fits all” approach. Curate different SOPs for different universities so that it will indicate a genuine effort to pursue a course at a particular educational institution.
  • Don’t mention the IELTS, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, etc., scores in the SOP. These scores are already there in the application. So, one should always avoid the repetition of information.
  • Always ensure that letter spacing, the spaces between paragraphs, the fonts, the size of the heading, and subheadings are in a standard format. The SOP must have a visual appeal too.
  • While writing the SOP, one should never mention the name of another institution to which the applicant might have applied. This gives a wrong impression about the intent of an applicant to pursue a particular course at a university.
  • Don’t overload the SOP with irrelevant details that might take up most of the space. It is very important to judiciously use the word limit without affecting the qualitative aspect of the SOP.

SOP should always give a complete picture of the student’s profile. But this doesn’t mean that the authorities are expecting a Shakespearean picture or something superficial. A simple yet straightforward SOP is more than sufficient for a student to land in the dream university.

The beginning of SOP should reflect the inspiration behind pursuing a course. The mid should give a roadmap with all the details. The end should substantiate the fact that it will bring an instrumental change to the applicant’s outlook.

Just avoiding overly hyperbolic claims and sticking to the basics is all that is needed. Several institutions help students draft SOPs, and if the student feels the need, they must approach these institutions to get the proper guidance.


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