In the current world where people are exposed to ample opportunities, most of them prefer to take a year-long or more gap from academic profile to pursue their passion or interest, achieve other extracurricular experience, try some hands-on experience or travel, which might not enhance the current skills or experience. Most foreign universities are well aware of students taking a break from mainstream education to obtain professional, academic, or life-transforming goals.
In order to address the same, students have to accurately justify the years of the gap while writing a statement of purpose for the student visa. Sometimes, writing an SOP becomes a hard nut to crack, as students have to justify the gap in the right light. They must demonstrate that gap as a learning and educative experience, highlighting productive and meaningful work, and helping individuals to gain intellectual and personal prowess that showcase positively on the foreign admissions committee.
International universities allow students to justify their reasons for the gap through a Statement of Purpose (SOP) but for that students need to be transparent, honest, authentic, and credible. In order to address the same, students can also demonstrate supporting proof like written documents and letters, highlighting the growth and learning of the students during the academic gap.
To help you write your SOP, here we have created a guide, including samples, tips, and format of writing SOP that can help you showcase the skills and experiences that you have gained during your academic gap.
What is SOP?
SOP is basically a document or a long-written essay required by students when they take admission in any foreign or Indian university. Students need this when they apply for any academic course after a long period of time or gap of years. As the name suggests for itself, SOP is a Statement of Purpose that consists of the gist of who you are, who you want to become, and how ready you are to obtain a particular course in an institution.
The document describes the reason for your academic gap, helping you demonstrate the skill sets and experiences you gained during the gap. Moreover, you may get brownie points if you discuss past incidents that have motivated you to grow your career path by joining a particular course.
Significance of an SOP
For students who aspire to study after a long gap, a well-drafted SOP is extremely critical to their admission process in any institution. There are many other aspects of a candidate’s application that are considered before finalizing a decision. These aspects include academic scorecards, certificates, and other educational documents.
However, SOP is the only document in your application that provides you the allowance to showcase that you have something extraordinary that makes you stand out from the crowd. Hence, it supports your application process while helping you determine your admission.
The ideal length of a statement of purpose
The ideal length of a Statement of Purpose is around 1-2 pages, consisting 800-1000 words approximately. However, the length of this document also depends on the university-specific requirements. Most universities have a predefined length and structure of SOPs, wherein students need to write around 500 words only, even 200 words in some cases. While other universities also ask students to write 800-1000 words, which is also a common number for writing an SOP.
Writing SOP is not a tough task if you know to elaborate details about your life. The length of SOP must consist of all the significant incidents from your past, from academic qualifications to job experience certificates. However, it becomes difficult for students to define their SOP within a defined set of words, asked by universities. In such cases, it is ideal to specify the core achievements from every field and position you have been to such as college, school, office, etc.
What should be included in the Statement of Purpose?
Students need to fill in plenty of information while writing an SOP. Some universities could ask for question-based essays or a para-based general statement of purpose. An ideal SOP must include your career information and the goals that you have achieved so far, describing your academic progress. SOP is the document that includes vital elements of your educational or job experience. To make your SOP much more effective, here we have created a list of essential elements, including:
- Academic details
- Personal background
- Interests, hobbies
- Financial background
- Papers submitted if any
- Professional experience (full/part-time, voluntary)
- Reasons for being interested in the chosen field
- Immediate and long-term goals
- Reasons why you wish to study at this particular institution
- Details about your extra-curricular activities
- Published works, if any
Essential tips to write a successful Statement of Purpose
To make your SOP impressive, effective, and informative, here we have created a list of tips that you must follow. These tips are:
- Stick to generic information and overview. Make sure to be clear, specific, and straightforward, and avoid writing complete family history.
- Avoid sharing sensitive financial details. Make sure to create a separate document, if you are applying for scholarships.
- Avoid using creative fonts or coloured papers
- Make sure to include even the minute professional details and information about your learning experiences.
- Avoid using many technical jargons.
- Make sure to not exceed the given word limit and always follow the writing guidance specified by your university.
- Be crisp, do not flatter in your language.
- Make sure to avoid writing that the institution was not your first choice.
- Be authentic and honest about your experiences and do not lie in your Statement of Purpose
- Beware with humour, it can backfire!
Format of writing an SOP
As a significant document for any study abroad application, an SOP needs to be authentically drafted with all the significant information required by the university. To help you understand the distinctive elements of this document, we have curated a step-by-step procedure that you can follow to create an enticing yet informative statement of purpose.
Step 1 – Start your SOP with an impressive self-introduction. Make sure to include your background, long-term goals/vision and purpose to opt for this university and course. Be authentic and crisp while writing an SOP and remember that the first impression is the last impression.
Step 2 – Past academic background and professional experience.
Step 3– Write details about your strength, academic achievements, opportunities, Academic recognition, and Projects that have helped you enhance your overall career.
Step 4– Write details about all the necessary information, including reasons to study a particular course, future goals, and expectations from this course or program.
Step 5– Discuss your future objectives and your career plans and goals.
Step 6– Describe why you are applying to this university/college. Mention details about different university activities, different departments, infrastructure, faculty members, recognition, awards, the methodology adopted, the environment, etc.
Step 7– End your SOP on a thankful note.
Whether you apply for graduate, undergraduate, or postgraduate programs, the winning strategy of writing a robust statement of purpose should be sound-focused and must be written in a straightforward manner, avoiding unnecessary details. From your academic and professional background to your future goals, you need to be very specific when connecting all the dots.
With the above-mentioned guide, you can easily make your statement of purpose effective and specific. Our team of experts can help you design your SOP as per the standards and structure specified by your university. Make your SOP unique and attractive with the guidelines laid by our experts. For more detailed information, directly contact us at D – Vivid Consultant. Are you looking for SOP for Australia? Please go through our article: SOP for Australia from India.