Statement of Purpose (SOP) with Samples, & Format

Updated on 09 May, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

For students planning to study abroad, writing an SOP is a crucial part of their admission application process. Thus, one should have a clear idea about the usage, function, format, and importance of the SOP (statement of purpose). In this blog, we will break down the SOP format and talk about the tips that can help in writing an impressive SOP. Also, we will look at the statement of purpose samples.

What is an SOP?

The SOP (statement of purpose) is an essay cum application that needs to be written by students who want to take admission to courses at international universities. The main aim of the SOP is to introduce yourself, your academic background, career goals, and qualities that make you a meritorious candidate for the selected course. It is important to have a readable statement of purpose format.

The admission committee and supervisors go through the statement of purpose to check your thought process and how good you are at expressing yourself. It allows them to know more about you through you. It also tells the supervisors about your maturity level and your plans for the future.

The candidates need to express their strengths and achievements to impress the faculty members and admission officers. This is an important step to get admission at overseas universities.

The SOP comprises various elements – starting from academic qualifications to personal experiences. However, the format of SOP differs according to the course, objectives, institution, and country. Though, the basics remain the same for all.

Learn More about SOPs: 

Difference Between SOP and Personal Statement | SOP Writing Tips
Course-Wise SOPs

SOPs for MS

SOPs for MBA

Other Course-Wise SOPs

Country-Wise SOPs

Statement of Purpose (SOP) Format

Here are some points that you need to keep in your SOP review checklist:

1. The SOP should be written in precise paragraphs like an essay. You can use bullet points but you need to limit them to a bare minimum.

2. Usually, an SOP is two pages long, written in 12-point fonts, and double-spaced. Depending upon the size and type of font used, you can write 800-1000 words.

3. The complete SOP lies between 5-7 paragraphs of 150-250 words each.

4. You should keep your SOP simple and avoid using colorful text and images. If you are using pen and paper, use black ink.

Why is SOP so important?

The SOP has to be written by all students applying for graduate and undergraduate courses. It is, in a way, a direct connection with the selection committee of the university. Your application and resume majorly answer all the questions of panel members but it is the SOP that will let the panel know about you as a person and your plans.

A well-written SOP can downplay your weaknesses and convince the admission committee to accept your application. It is the best way to stand out among applicants who, like you, also want to study the same course. It also highlights your extracurricular achievements and enthusiasm for new opportunities and challenges. Most importantly, it can get your application selected or rejected.

Writing an SOP can be a daunting task but do not worry, as we are here to help you.

How to Write an SOP?

A simple SOP format will help you string together various pieces of information in a steady flow. It is divided into different paragraphs for better understanding.

A simple SOP looks like this:

1st paragraph: Introduction

This section is often confused with self-introduction. However, you should only introduce your chosen academic field. You need to express your future expectations from this course. Once you have selected a course, you are expected to gain some knowledge about that particular field. You need to express your interest in the selected program.

Alternatively, you can discuss your long-term goals, connect your goals with the course of your choice and describe your understanding of the course. You also need to mention your interest in your post-study work or study opportunities. For instance, some candidates prefer to start working after the completion of the course while some prefer to pursue higher education and research.

2nd Paragraph: Academic background

You need to provide information about your school or college. In case, you do not have work experience, try to emphasize your published reports or achievements in any project or assignment.

3rd Paragraph: Professional experience

Students interested in study abroad generally have some kind of work experience. It may be a part-time job, training projects, internships, freelancing work, or a full-time job. Share your work experience along with your skills.

4th paragraph: Reasons to pursue the particular course

Specify the reasons why you want to pursue the particular course. Mention the syllabus of the course and explain the skills you want to improve. Explain how it will help you achieve your goals and benefit your plans.

5th paragraph: Career goals

This is the most important section where you should explain the job profile you will be working on. Try to explain your long-term career goals and plans. Do not mention anything which might make the supervisors feel that you want to study abroad so that you can settle in a foreign country.

You may speak about your desire to work in a top company or if you want to start your own business. You can also discuss your business ideas, aims,  ethics, and what impact they will have on the industry.

6th paragraph: Why did you choose the particular university?

This is the paragraph where you need to tell the academic committee why you are an ideal candidate for the university. You should also mention faculty names, course curriculum, research work, as well as university-specific activities that will help you to enhance your profile.

Closing paragraph:

In the final paragraph, you need to seem focused and prepared for the challenges that can come in your way of studying abroad. You should also show the panel that you are confident enough to succeed in the field of your interest and will bring a tangible difference in the industry from a global point of view.

Personality traits:

You also need to highlight the personality traits and qualities that make you a unique applicant. Avoid using adjectives like interested, dedicated, etc. Explain why you chose the particular university. Your suitability for the program does not depend only on your achievements.

Is there any Need to Write my Name on SOP?

In a traditional SOP, you need not write your name or course details anywhere in the application. But here, the SOP is a part of your application that already has your name and all other relevant details like the course name, etc. However, some universities require names and course details to be mentioned in the SOP. These international universities provide clear instructions on how you should write your details in the SOP. Read and follow the instructions mentioned on the university’s website.

Tips to Write an SOP

Students struggle a lot in writing an SOP that sounds original and gives them an advantage over other applicants. The best way to do this is to write the answer to the questions in a way the admission committee wants. They may not ask directly but there are certain questions that you are expected to answer in a well-written manner. They are:

  1. What is the best international course you want to study for graduation?
  2. Why do you want to choose a particular university or college? Why did you choose us?
  3. Why do you want to get this degree?
  4. Why did you choose a particular country? What is it that attracted you?
  5. Do you have any experience related to the choice of degree?
  6. How much job experience (part-time/full-time) do you have?
  7. If you already have job experience in a particular course, then what are the additional skills that you want to learn from this course?
  8. What are your plans after completion of the course?
  9. Would you continue your studies or prefer to take up a job after the course?
  10. What are your expectations from the course and the university?
  11. Do you want to study or do research with a particular professor? If yes, why only that professor?
  12. What are the specific skills that make you a perfect candidate for the particular course?
  13. In addition to academics, what are your other interests, hobbies, and habits that make you an ideal candidate?
  14. What is your unique characteristic that should be known by us and other fellow students?

Try to build a story that the admissions committee will love reading. For the graduation program, candidates need not go for a personal interview, so, the only way to impress the panel is by telling your true story through the SOP. If your SOP is interesting enough then you will not only get admission to a particular university but can also get a decent scholarship.

For a winning SOP, it is important to make a perfect strategy before drafting. Though most people write whatever comes to their minds, you should not follow in their footsteps. You are going to write an original and eye-catching SOP. Here are some tips and tricks:

Frame Original Stories:

If you have a choice to read a novel or a newspaper. You are likely to choose the novel.

Because a newspaper updates you about current affairs but a novel will tell you a well-written story with which you will feel emotionally connected. The human feeling in your storyline will connect you to the committee and explain them as to why you took the decisions you took. It increases your chances of selection.

Stories Connect Humans but Statements do Not:

Your story should have relevant and true experiences of your life. It should not be seen as a thesis. Instead, it should act as a genuine source of information about yourself. Your stories should have an analysis of you and should contain measurable experiences. Suppose you have worked with an NGO teaching maths to primary kids. You can write, “During my college days, I worked with an NGO and taught maths to needy children. I also taught basic English concepts.” This statement not only sounds good but also makes an academic committee think about your valuable impact on children.

Be Specific:

Your SOP should contain specific information. Whatever you write needs to be backed up with proper details. Don’t just write things like, “I chose this degree/course because I love it.” Elaborate on the reasons why you love this field and what made you choose it.

Try to pick relevant answers that can help you in getting admission to the university of your choice.

Statement of Purpose Format Example/Sample

I’ve maintained a healthy academic track record – from school to college. With a 97 percent in the 12th standard, I have been among the top few names in my college. I have also won merit-based awards which have further encouraged my undergraduate studies.

My undergraduate course in computer science from XXXXXX(institution) helped me learn about various fields like artificial intelligence, programming, algorithms, and cyber-security. However, I haven’t limited my learning to classroom lessons. I have worked on multiple software projects along with a few of my friends. Our best achievement has been building an app and web interface for school management. It is being used by many schools in my home district.

This has allowed me to stay in touch with the latest technologies and learn from many communities on the internet.

I’ve participated in several competitions and hackathons in my state and have won many awards and cash prizes. Along with my team of friends, I have also organized many such competitions in my college and outside.

My graduation course has helped me lay down a strong fundamental base in computer science and now I want to gain more knowledge in the field. I believe the Master’s course in computer science at the IU University of Germany will help me achieve this goal. Such a course from a global university will not only help me get a quality education but also exposure to a wide range of research work from around the world.

I am applying to this university because it has a proven track record of creating some of the best professionals in the field of science and technology worldwide. In addition, your practical teaching methods and updated learning modules will provide me with a new learning experience.

I have a deep interest in sustainability, green energy, and health tech. I wish to contribute to these areas with my knowledge and skills.

I hope you will grant me the privilege of pursuing my Master’s degree from your prestigious university. I look forward to your response and wish to join a fruitful association with the IU University of Germany.

Thank you,


Frequently Asked Questions

How to give a final polish to my SOP?

Once you have written down your SOP, double-check the document for grammatical errors and careless mistakes. Your next step should be to find someone who can analyze your essay and can spot errors. Check your SOP through the eyes of the admission panel and look for what you are lacking. For more corrections, you can ask your friends and family members to read the SOP and react to it. Accordingly, make some changes and modify your format. In the end, you can look out for the spacing errors and save the final application.

How to write a perfect SOP that could win the heart of an academic committee?

You should follow the above-listed guidelines to write a good SOP. Check out some of our other blogs and samples that will help you write a good copy.

What is the difference between SOP and motivational letters?

The statement of purpose is almost the same as a motivation letter. Both are often referred to as the same thing but there is a thin line of difference. The letter of motivation is written specifically to help the admission department understand your objectives and career goals related to the course and your future plans. It is generally short and factual. On the other hand, the SOP can include personal details about your past learning experiences, anecdotes, and how they connect with your current plans. It can be more detailed and longer than the letter of motivation.

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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