What is a Statement of Purpose?

A statement of purpose (SOP) is a lengthy essay required by universities abroad (and some Indian universities today) during the application process. Statement of Purpose is the abbreviated form of Statement of Purpose, which aims to highlight a student's motivation for applying to a specific course at a specific university. The objective of a SOP is to comprehend a candidate's life and motivation for his/her chosen career path and goals. This essay provides a summary of what you have done, what you are currently doing, and what your future plans are.

Why is SOP important?

A well-written SOP is one of the many factors that influence the selection of a candidate. While the academic record, other exam scorecards/academic transcripts, and backlog certificates are primarily objective, the statement of purpose is the only subjective component of your application. In addition, the SOP enables you to present your future goals and aspirations to the admissions committee, which helps them determine if you are a good fit for a particular programme.

How to write an Statement Of Purpose (SOP)?

Statement of PurposePersonal Statement
Content-TypeA Statement of Purpose provides additional information about your academic and professional background, highlighting your accomplishments, goals, and why you are a good fit for the programme to which you are applying.A personal statement explains why you wish to attend a particular university and program, as well as what prompted you to apply for the course. It summarises your personal experiences, obstacles, and achievements using examples from your own life.
Writing Style Formal Informal
Length 6-7 Paragraphs in two pages 1-2 paragraphs on one page
Word Limit 1,000-1,500 words 500-800 words

SOP Format

There is a standardised SOP format accepted by colleges and universities worldwide. Although some components of a Statement of Purpose are required and the same for all institutions, the content of each student's SOP for different types of courses varies.

Here are some of the most important common components of your SOP.

  • Your personal background
  • Academic information
  • Financial background
  • Immediate and long-term career objectives
  • Your reasons for selecting a particular course/field
  • Why you chose a particular college/university
  • Professional experience
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Published works/submitted papers, if any
  • Interests & hobbies
  • Each course in each country requires a different SOP format, and each SOP must be distinct. The SOP formats for the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia vary. Ensure you select the correct SOP format required by a specific course and university in a particular country.

    How to Write an SOP?

    A straightforward SOP format will assist you in stringing together disparate pieces of information. It is divided into paragraphs to facilitate comprehension.

    The first paragraph should include a self-introduction, a mention of your academic credentials, and a summary of your motivation for selecting a particular course. You can discuss your goals and how this course will help you achieve them. You must be able to demonstrate your comprehension of the course's content.

    In your second and third paragraphs, you can demonstrate your passion for the subject by describing your academic and extracurricular activities and accomplishments. You can also include your professional experience if you have it.

    Explain in the fourth paragraph why you chose to enrol in this course at this particular university. Justify your decision with pertinent details. You may also include your short- and long-term objectives.

    Add arguments in the fifth paragraph to persuade the admissions committee that you are the ideal candidate for the course.

    In a short paragraph, Mention your extracurricular activities, projects, volunteer work, papers, industry visits, workshops attended, interests, and dissertations in a brief paragraph.

    In your final paragraph, you should demonstrate to the admissions committee that you possess the qualities and qualifications necessary for success in the course and that your success will have a positive impact on society.

    SOP for UG Courses vs PG Courses

    A Statement of Purpose for an undergraduate application differs from a Statement of Purpose for a postgraduate application. A student applying for an undergraduate course will have a different background than a student applying for a graduate course. The following table compares the requirements for a SOP for UG courses and a SOP for PG courses:

    TopicStatement of Purpose for UGStatement of Purpose for PG
    BackgroundAcademic achievements and challengesAcademic Professional achievements and challenges
    Career goalsReasons and vision for your intended career pathShort-term and long-term goals
    Reasons to pursue a particular courseMotivation or any field that you wish to exploreMust be tied to your background, interest, and career goals with the help of logic
    Extra achievementsAcademic assignments or internshipsResearch work, volunteering, or any project
    Extracurricular activitiesAt the school level or outside the schoolMay include activities from school to the workplace

    University Requirements for an SOP

    | Always keep in mind that the admissions committee will be reviewing thousands of applications for the same course for which you have applied, and that your statement of purpose should be distinct from other profiles. Ensure that your SOP is concise and precise when writing it.

    The admissions committee typically looks for the following in a student's SOP.

  • Your SOP should be devoid of any grammatical errors, as it reflects your writing abilities. Utilize high-quality vocabulary in a way that is simple and straightforward for them to comprehend. Also, try to avoid using an excessively large vocabulary, as it may render your point superfluous and prevent you from conveying the precise meaning of what you intend to say.
  • Always emphasise your unique personality in the SOP that sets you apart from other applicants. Through your SOP, the University Admissions Committee should be able to distinguish your profile from others. Write your interests and goals in a clear and concise manner so that they can better evaluate your personality.
  • Explain how and what your skills, interests, and prior experiences can benefit the specific department and university. Try to provide a lucid explanation in two ways: one on receiving admission, the benefits to the college/department through your efforts and participation after beginning your career, and the second on contributing to the community through community service, sports, societies/clubs, etc.
  • Persuade the committee that you are knowledgeable about the course, curriculum, and university facilities. Consider the student programs, faculty, internship opportunities, facilities, communities, and other factors that distinguish your preferred university from others.
  • Keep your SOP original, genuine, and devoid of any assertive statements. Your motivation and interest in pursuing a particular course should be evident, clear, and well-supported.
  • The Dos: Tips for writing a good SOP

  • Be clear and concise: Your SOP should be well-structured, easy to read, and to the point. Use simple language and avoid using complicated jargon that might confuse the reader.
  • Tailor your SOP to the institution: Your SOP should be tailored to the institution and program you're applying for. This means doing research on the institution and the program, and customizing your SOP to highlight why you're a good fit for that particular institution and program.
  • Start with a strong introduction: The introduction of your SOP is your chance to capture the reader's attention and make them interested in reading the rest of your statement. Start with a strong and engaging opening sentence that will grab their attention.
  • Focus on your strengths: Your SOP should highlight your strengths, skills, and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the program. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points and provide evidence of your qualifications.
  • Be honest and authentic: Your SOP should reflect who you are and what you're passionate about. Don't try to be someone you're not or exaggerate your accomplishments. Admissions committees can usually spot insincerity, so be authentic and genuine in your writing.
  • Include your goals and aspirations: Your SOP should include your short-term and long-term goals and aspirations, and how the program you're applying for will help you achieve them.
  • Proofread and edit: Make sure to proofread and edit your SOP several times to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors, and that the content flows smoothly. Before submitting, have someone else read it and provide feedback.
  • The Don’ts: Common mistakes to avoid while writing an SOP

  • Don't use a generic template: Avoid using a generic template for your SOP, as it can make your statement sound impersonal and unoriginal. Instead, write a customized SOP that reflects your own experiences, interests, and goals.
  • Don't exceed the word limit: Most institutions have a specific word limit for SOPs, and exceeding it can give the impression that you can't follow instructions. Make sure to stay within the word limit, and focus on being concise and to the point.
  • Don't be negative or critical: Avoid being negative or critical in your SOP, as it can make you sound unprofessional and unenthusiastic. Instead, focus on highlighting your strengths and achievements, and how they make you a good fit for the program.
  • Don't plagiarize: Plagiarism is a serious offense, and can result in your application being rejected. Make sure to write your own original content, and cite any sources you use properly.
  • Don't make it too personal: While it's important to be authentic and honest in your SOP, it's also important to maintain a professional tone. Avoid oversharing personal details that are not relevant to your application.
  • Don't make assumptions: Don't assume that the admissions committee knows about your achievements or experiences. Make sure to provide enough detail and context, and explain how they relate to your interest in the program.
  • Don't rush: Writing a good SOP takes time and effort. Avoid rushing through it, and make sure to give yourself enough time to write, proofread, and edit your statement before submitting it.
  • SOP Format

    Name of Student

    International Graduate Applicant

    MSc Bio-Manufacturing

    “Waste is not waste if we learn to extract life out of it” – Kiran Majumdar Shaw

    With the successful flight testing of an aircraft on bio-fuel by Boeing, the giant aircraft manufacturer has triggered a new race in the innovation of flying machine’s engines. This time, this race will not add to carbon credits. My sensitivity towards carbon emission and fondness of biological engineering keeps me engrossed with the ideas of what all bio-energy can do. In the same quest, I want to pursue a career where research is more organized. MSc in Bio-Manufacturing will transcendent me among the minds trained in taking this industry to next level. Hence applying for MSc in Bio-Manufacturing from University of XXX has become my top priority.

    The first challenge of innovation is to develop an ecosystem where innovation is assumed possible. Larger shell of our society doesn’t endorse risk taking. University of XXX is s place where taking risk is a praiseworthy deed. Ever since I selected my UG course as Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology, I am in search of the cohort where the new is not negated to be a small thing. India is fond of producing engineers and doctors. In our imagination, Biology is for doctors and mathematics is for engineers. When I took up Biotechnology opting Mathematics and Biology simultaneously, it bifurcated my society. One half declared it bravery another half illogical. So, I walked on the thin line in between. This is a reason why my being a topnotch performer in my academics becomes more significant. I was handling peer pressure and new subjects simultaneously. It is during my UG, I decided that I will do my graduation from the University offering me favorable ecology where I can focus on browsing knowledge. University of XXX is one such destination where Faculties and Alumni have touched the zenith of this industry. I want to study biology and engineering combination because it delivers on human healthcare and general benefits. Biotechnology is a vast subject having a large number of topics under its wings. Bachelors just gave me a good idea of what those topics are about. I believe, doing Masters (MS) in the area of my interest will give me a deeper understanding of concepts and give my career a good and strong direction. Renewable energy is the need of the hour and Bio-energy seems the best bet.

    All the products that are made with fossils like plastics, glues, adhesives, sweeteners etc can be made with biomass, a cheaper and abundant raw material. Indian government has signed many pacts between Boeing and Airbus to explore the possibilities of Bio-Fuels. Indian Railway one of the world’s largest employers has several R&D projects in India where Bio-Fuel is under repeated testing at different levels. Though the biomass is low-cost and easily available, handling it is a problem. Plants for Bio-processing have a different design and equipment needs. As an Engineer, I would like to work towards solving this industrial problem.

    After graduation, I see myself working in the Development and Manufacturing department of any leading organization of the Industry. This will be my real testing ground, where I will contribute all my learning and skill sets towards the common objective of the organization. My personal goal will be earning good will and knowledge of industry with real time problem solving skills. My long term objective is to explore likeminded yet mutually complementing talent of industry having ambitious goals in their lives. Forming a team with these talented people, I wish to move up for my own entrepreneurial aspirations. I believe right after this, I will be able to pay back to my society and thereby to mankind.

    During my UG, I found Environmental BT, Bioprocess Principles & Calculations and Bioprocess Control and Automation subjects interesting as I could apply my core Biotechnology as well as engineering skills in these subjects. I even learnt some Chemical Engineering concepts during the course.

    I did my summer project on “Use of Bio-sorbents (roots of Calotropis procera, Banana peel and Aspergillus niger) for removal of Heavy Metals (Cd2+ and Pb2+) from Waste Water”. It was a Comparative study where roots of commonly found flowering plant Calotropis procera, Banana peel and Aspergillus niger were used as bio-sorbent for the bio-sorption of cadmium and lead ions from aqueous solution. Stock solutions of lead and cadmium were prepared using their compounds. In the batch studies, various parameters studied were contact time, temperature, pH and adsorbent dose. The calibration curve was drawn and the concentration of metal ions adsorbed was measured by Dithizone method using UV spectrophotometer. The efficiency of each adsorbent was compared based on the amount of metal ions adsorbed. Petroleum refinery Effluent was collected, pre-treated and heavy metals ions were removed using above mentioned bio-sorbents. A reactor was also designed according to the industrial requirements and results.

    I did my summer training in the fields of Recombinant DNA Technology, PCR, Plant Tissue Culture and Immunotechnology at XXXX. Also, I did Hands-on-training at XXXX Ltd., Verna, Goa. I have participated in PCR Approach in Molecular Diagnostics Workshop at XXXX.

    I presented my own research paper on the topic ‘Removal of Heavy Metals (Pb and Cd) using Biosorbents (Banana peel, Calotropis procera roots and Aspergillus niger) - a comparative study’ at CHEMOVATION’14 organized by XXXX.

    I did my schooling in a school where students from all over the country came together. So, at a very young age, I was exposed to different cultures and personalities. My lesson of sharing and adjusting began right then and there. This helped me in my all round personality development which is elucidated by my achievements.

    I was awarded Rajyapuruskar Award, second highest rank in Scout and Guide Association. I secured Silver Medal in Avantika Talent Search Essay Competition by Avantika, Group of contemporary Artist and Intellectuals, New Delhi 2005. First position in Elocution, conducted by XXXX, was secured by me. Also, I won 1st place in Debate conducted by XXXX. In sports, I emerged as Runner-up in Basketball Annual Sports Meet, XXXX 2012-2013.

    (Univ para)

    In conclusion, I am innovative and I have strong people skills and can perform in adverse circumstances. I have learnt to perform in high peer and social pressure and have developed the capability of being among the top, if not top absolutely. I am determined to explore future in green world and hence want to partner in its development. If selected, I will be an asset to the institute as a student and an alumnus thereby. Thanks for your precious time in examining my candidature.


    [Name of Student]

    For more information on the SOP and studying abroad, please contact us at 7447499762. We specialise in facilitating straightforward VISA applications. In addition, we provide free consultations to help students realise their study abroad objectives. Students can visit our website, schedule a video consultation with a counselor, or can visit our nearest branches.

    Start your Journey with Maxxcell


    Although we have shared all the information with you on our website, if there are any queries that are unaddressed,
    you can find the answers to them below in our FAQs:

    An SOP should be written by someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in the task or activity being documented. This could be a subject matter expert, a team leader, or a technical writer.

    An SOP should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it is still accurate and relevant. The frequency of review will depend on the nature of the task or activity, but it is typically recommended that SOPs be reviewed at least once a year.

    An SOP should be maintained in a controlled environment to ensure that all changes are documented and approved. This could be a document management system or a shared drive with version control.

    An SOP should be implemented through training and communication. All stakeholders should be informed of the new SOP and provided with the necessary training to ensure that they understand how to perform the task or activity correctly.

    Some common challenges include resistance to change, lack of buy-in from stakeholders, insufficient training, and difficulty in keeping the SOP up to date. To address these challenges, it is important to involve stakeholders in the development and implementation of the SOP and to provide ongoing support and training.