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How to write an effective and persuasive SOP?



Praneet Singh

Head - UG Admissions

Dialogue to cover:  

Do you know that an eloquent SOP is 1/3rd the job done for your study abroad admission process? A stimulating SOP is a surefire way to secure a seat in your dream university! For the admission officers, it underpins your personal story and your academic why. 

Interact 1-on-1 with our in-house expert to know more about how you can make your SOP effective, persuasive and compelling!  
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Key points to be covered: 

  1. Articulating an effective SOP
  2. How to shape your story in the SOP
  3. Dos and Don'ts of SOP

Expressing your motivation for University + Course

 Webinar Transcript

The best method to guarantee yourself a spot at the university of your choice is to write an engaging SOP. It serves as the foundation for your academic purpose and personal story in the eyes of the admissions committee. Do you realize that writing a strong SOP will complete 1/3rd of the work required for your study abroad application? To help you understand the important requirements and essential points in an effective SOP, upGrad Abroad organized a webinar.  


Speaker: Ajay Gidwani - Sales Training Manager


What is an SOP?

A statement of purpose (SOP) is integral to your international admission process. Your academic certification quantifies your credential, gives the university a glimpse into your personality and helps them get your interest and strength. As mentioned, it talks about holistic personality; that's why it is also called a letter of intent or a research statement introducing your interest and experience to the admission committee. 

Why do universities ask about SOPs?

The universities need an SOP of a candidate to decide if the applicants are interested in the program, whether they can pursue the program and complete it successfully, and whether they can contribute significantly to the institute. It is vital to understand if you have applied to a reputed university and talked about the college or perhaps about the university in the SOP. For universities, it is important to select and give admission to students who can also add value to the education institution. Hence, an SOP portrays the most significant impression of candidates to the admission offices.


If my GPA is below the requirement, will an SOP help leverage it?

Yes, a good SOP can help you. It helps you in giving an insight into your attitude, ambition, personality, and potential you carry. While writing an SOP, ensure that all your essential requirements are covered, which you will be presenting.


Why do you need an SOP?

An SOP is now a mandatory requirement in the application process for most universities abroad. The university needs a candidate that clearly states why they are interested in coming to its campus and studying a specific course. Not all universities can invest their time and efforts in conducting face-to-face or online interviews with candidates interested in pursuing a course at their campuses abroad. While IELTS/ TOEFL and GRE/GMAT scores show your aptitude and skills; your SOP shows your intent.


What are specific requirements for SOP?

Generally, an SOP is of or about 1000 words, while it may differ according to universities. The SOP should present an actual mirror image of the candidate in front of the universities committee. The SOP needs to cater to specific universities and specific courses option, and you cannot risk making it too vague or too general. You should clearly state your qualification and motivation behind applying to a said course in the university of your choice.


What are the components of an SOP?

The structure of SOP should include three main points: Career goals, Why this university, and the conclusion. Following are the key components to be included in-

  • Personal Background
  • Financial Background
  • Short/Long-term goals
  • Details of academics
  • Professional experience- Full/Part-time/Voluntary
  • Interests and Hobbies
  • Reasons for pursuing a particular course and particular university
  • Reasons for choosing a specific field of study
  • Extracurricular activities, Publications, and Research work, if any.


How to improve the SOP?

Your SOP should have all the accurate information about your work experience and a holistic approach. Describe everything with a clear intent - how many months/years, the subjects you have studied and wish to study further, and the outcome. Make it easy for university representatives to correlate areas of interest with real-life experience.


How to answer, “Why should you select a particular university and Why did you choose a particular course?”.

Emphasize what you admire in the particular university, and see yourself after concluding courses from a specific college. Meaningfully, you shouldtalks more about your personality, aspirations, goals, etc.


How can upGrad help?

We have a team of SOP writers who can help you draft that perfect SOP. We can help you create a lasting first impression in the minds of the university admissions committee with a string, precise and professional SOP. Our team will help you through its years of experience and knows how to match a candidate's profile to the course's university requirements. 

Do's and Donts of SOP- 

  • Your SOP should read smoothly.
  • Proper mention of academic background.
  • Articulate goals and interests well.
  • Use an active voice and a positive tone.
  • Check for grammatical errors.
  • Be consistent, honest, and straightforward.
  • Do not exceed the word limit.
  • Do not use the same SOP for all universities you are applying to.
  • Do not mention scores of IELTS, GRE, etc.
  • Do not mention the interest in any other institution supplement with facts and examples.




This webinar is a one-on-one interaction with an internal expert to learn more about making your SOP attractive and effective, what to do and what not to do. Information such as how to mention your reasons for choosing a particular university or a course, how to structure your SOP, are the significant aspects of SOP in an application for studying abroad. 

Key Questions Answered

Q. Can the same SOP be used in different institutes?

You must write different SOP according to the requirement of the particular university. It would help if you wrote it accordingly, adhering to the guidelines. It should not be plagiarized and should have a perspective of your own.

Q. Should we mention backlog in SOP?

Yes, it would be best to be transparent about your credentials but be factual and relevant.

Q. How to check plagiarism?

You can use different tools available on the internet for free, but when you write it on your own, you won't need such tools for plagiarism check.

Q. Can a medical document be considered for gaps?

Yes, it is okay to mention any gaps due to medical reasons, and you should include supporting documents for that purpose.

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