Tips to Write Statement of Purpose (whether You are Studying in Canada, USA, UK)

If you’re applying to universities or grad schools, you’re probably told to provide a statement of purpose or statement of interest. It is an essential document that most of the universities in Canada, the USA, or the UK require. But, the problem is that the admission committee receives thousands of statements of purpose every year. So, unless you stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have less of a chance to get selected. Most of the students pass it off as any other essay about themselves. As a matter of fact, almost 90% of the statements are structured quite similarly. Students often copy the structure from their friends or seniors which makes it even generic. Hence, in order to catch the eyes of the admission committee, you have to write an original and unique statement and we’re going to help you out with writing a kick-ass statement of purpose. 

First of all, what is a statement of purpose? A statement of purpose or SOP is an essay that the universities require, to find out your background, future goals, a reason to apply to that University as well as whether you’ll make a good candidate or not, and your plan after finishing the program. This is the only way you can convey yourself in words as other required documents are your GPA, test scores or other numbers. Hence, the universities put a lot of value in these essays. Many top-rated universities like MIT, Stanford or Berkeley take these essays as a deciding factor. 

There are a lot of factors that can make a statement of purpose worthy of getting accepted. The general idea is that you have to impress the admission committee. For doing that you need to keep in mind some basic rules while writing, which can sum up to: 

  • Preparing your statement of purpose without any typos, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
  • Using strong, clear and precise writing. 
  • Avoiding cliches and word repetition.
  • Not using overly informal language.
  • Keeping a positive and confident tone. 

Besides, you should keep the format of your statement easier to read. Too much colourful background or vivid fonts are best to avoid. Also, it is very important to keep your essay within one page. If really needed, you can go up to one and a half pages, but no more than that. The main reason for keeping the statements short is because the admission committee usually get dozens of applications every day, so they may not have the time or patience to read a long essay. Plus, a concise and straightforward essay will give off the impression that you have better clarity about yourself. However, you may want to check the official website of the University you’re planning to apply to. Usually, the universities mention the conditions regarding the length of the statements of purpose in their websites. 

However, your statement of purpose should answer some basic questions that the admission committee is looking for. To sum up all your answers in the essay we’re recommending you to write a five-paragraph essay. 

Where, first paragraph of the essay will briefly describe who you are and what you want to be. Give a specific idea about your background and career goals or objectives to the admission committee. Whatever information you give in the introduction, try to keep it relevant to the program you’re applying for. Don’t talk about unnecessary things that don’t have anything to do with the program or its coursework. Research the program you’re applying to and its coursework thoroughly and state why it goes with your background and career objectives. 

In the second paragraph, explain why you’re applying here. Why is it that you came to be interested in your specific area of study, may that be law or economics? Now that you’ve made it clear, you have a background and goal related to the program, explain your interest in it. If you’re applying to a law school, don’t just go off saying that you want to bring justice. Explain why you want to bring justice to people and how you think this program and its coursework will help you do that. 

In the third paragraph, you have to show the admission committee that you’re the right candidate. A good way of showing that is by mentioning any experience you may already have in your area of study. Think of any jobs, internships, or projects that you’ve already done which are related to the program. This part is the point of reference of all your experiences. Whatever experience you mention, try to keep it related to your field of study as closely as possible. 

Then, any additional data that you want to share, state them in the fourth paragraph. If you think there’s some insight information that the admission committee should know about yourself, which can increase your chance of getting accepted, include it here. Also, you can describe anything that has helped you to decide on your specific area of study. You can briefly mention any book or literature or any volunteer work that sparked interest in you to choose this path. Although, you have to keep this part short and precise. 

Finally, in the last paragraph or in the closing paragraph you have to describe any long term goals that you have. These goals would be very different from those in the first paragraph. In the first paragraph, you’ve to describe your next goal whereas in this paragraph you have to state what you want to ultimately become or where you want to be years from now. 

Now that you have the basic idea about writing a statement of purpose, the next step for you is to write one. If you want to get more of a practical view on this, you can read some sample statements of purpose. However, you must keep the content of your statement original and unique. Happy writing!

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