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Statement of purpose format

Statement of Purpose Format – Layout of an SOP

by Anamika Sharma

Statement of Purpose Format is an important factor that students must know about if they wish to make a good first impression on the admission committee of the university they want to get into. An SOP which tells the admission committee about the applicant, their interests, their future plans, their reasons for wanting to get into a particular college/university and whether they are a good candidate for the school, should be drafted properly to demonstrate all these aspects. More often than not, an SOP is also known as a cover letter, personal background of the applicant, application essay and other such names.

Asked by undergraduate, graduate and research schools, a statement of purpose is an important part of a student’s application that gives weightage to his/her candidature for a particular school. SOP is a key document required during the admission process for study abroad UG-PhD level programs. So, we have drafted this article to get students acquainted with the statement of purpose format so as to help them write a perfect SOP.

Statement of Purpose Format – Introduction

The first point to keep in mind about the statement of purpose format is the introduction of an SOP. So, start your SOP with a compelling introduction that sparks an interest in admission officers. Introduce yourself with a brief background that indicates your career aspirations. Most importantly, your introduction must demonstrate that your career aspirations and other experiences have led you to choose the course you are applying for. However, it should be a recent experience and not something that happened years ago. Writing an anecdote (most probably a thesis/project statement) to start your statement of purpose gives an edge to your copy. Also, the anecdote must reveal your interest in the subject you have applied for.

It is advisable to thoroughly research about the course of study you want to pursue before starting to write an SOP. This research helps in writing specific details that can be related to the course of choice.

Statement of Purpose Format – Program you want to study and reason behind it

In this paragraph, you are required to write about the course of study you want to pursue and what inclined/inspired you to want to study that particular program. You have already stated the experiences in the introduction para that led you to choose the program, now you have to give a specific reason – not a general one which the admission committee gets from most of the students but a real one. Your reasons should be valid. You can talk about your skills that are relevant to the program. Also, state that the study program can enhance your skills and get you ready for your future career. All in all, your SOP should show the admission committee your excitement for the program.

Give a specific reason as why you want to study that particular course in the university.

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Statement of Purpose Format – Academic and professional experience (if any) till now

In this paragraph, write a brief account of your academic experiences that have shaped your opinion about the subject you are choosing now. Talk about any professional experiences, as in any job or internship or projects, that reflect the skills you have gained for the currently selected course of study. The admission committee should think that these experiences have given you a clear understanding of the program you are applying for.

Statement of Purpose Format – Reason for selecting a particular university

Now that you have explained why you want to study a specific course, you need to give some solid reasons for selecting a particular college/university and also justify your reason. The admission officers should feel that you understand how the course is taught in their college/university and it is the best institution where your needs would be met. Give specifics about the course program, write about the curriculum, faculty and scope of enhancing your profile. This will show that you have done your homework, you have done your research about the program and thus, decided to apply for a particular college/university.

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Statement of Purpose Format – Any experience that helped decide the program you want to pursue

Write about all the extracurricular activities you have pursued at school or college level, organisational level such as NGOs, clubs, or personal level. This paragraph should demonstrate that you are ready to take on extracurricular activities organised by the college/university they want to get admitted into. Also, these activities should reflect how they have contributed to shaping you as a person today.

Statement of Purpose Format – Closing paragraph

The closing paragraph of your SOP should be crisp and clear. Write briefly about your long-term goals and the course and college you are applying for is best suited for your aspirations. The admission committee should believe that you have clear visions for your future and you have worked your way up and still working the part to achieve the goal.

Statement of Purpose Format – Tips

There are a few tips that you should keep in mind while writing an SOP so that it does not look untidy and unreadable.

  • While writing in word format, use the ‘Times New Roman’ font with 12 as the font size.
  • Keep at least 1-inch margin on all sides to keep the SOP neat.
  • Choose 1.5 as line spacing to keep considerable space between lines and paragraphs.
  • Check for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Try to avoid repetitive language while writing an SOP.
  • Keep your language formal, clear and positive.
Need an idea how an LOR should be written? CHECK OUT – Letter of Recommendation 

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