Statement of Purpose (SOP) - A Complete Guide

15 minutes reading time (2914 words)

What is SOP (Statement of Purpose)?

"The man without a purpose is neither master of his fate nor the captain of his soul. He is merely a minion, a pawn, and a tool for men and women who know what they want out of life and who are determined to get it." This is a well-known quote from Bruce Bryans concerning the significance of goals in life. This quote has been adapted for graduate school admissions: "A student who lacks a strong statement of purpose is similar to an application that lacks intent."

Some graduate schools place a high value on a student's statement of purpose since it demonstrates their motivation. Most graduate institutions, however, use the statement of purpose as a deciding factor between two students who have the same qualifications.

If you want to know what a statement of purpose is, then you have come to the right place!

An SOP, commonly known as a Statement of Purpose (SOP full form), is a representation of your personality that you provide to the admission committee (Adcom) while applying to colleges abroad. It is your opportunity to impress the committee by strongly presenting your profile through an essay that describes your personality attributes that are not included in your academic records.

It becomes quite impossible to recognize between multiple highly qualified students. In such a case, a Statement of Purpose that separates you from the crowd can go a long way toward securing your admittance.

Importance of SOP

Here is the Importance of SOP: Your application's Statement of Purpose (SOP) is the deciding factor. It assists the admissions committee in determining your outlook on life, job objectives, beliefs, topic expertise, and vision. In a nutshell, a well-written SOP portrays your overall personality to universities. It is an opportunity for you to pitch the committee on your purpose and why they should choose you over other applications. An excellent SOP is ideal for people with poor academic records, as you can compensate by emphasising your future aspirations and desires. A well-written SOP demonstrates your ability to explain yourself verbally as well as in writing.

SOP Guidelines

There are various key points of information that describe how to arrange your SOP, starting with an impressive introduction and progressing to an excellent backdrop and a promising conclusion.

  • Begin the SOP with an anecdote (meaning an instance/example) on what inspired you to seek further study in this field.
  • Mention your source of inspiration, as well as an incident or a tale about it. To accomplish this, you will need to recall a major event or personal experience that influenced your academic or career decisions. Choose a tale that is relevant to the theme of your programme.
  • Provide context for what you learned in college - through practical experiences and projects that demonstrate your knowledge of the subjects. Explain how all of this influenced your decision to pursue higher studies in that profession.
  • The SOP should include information about why you want to pursue higher study in this field at this moment. Mention a study area or topic of specialisation of interest to you (if any).
  • Discuss the skills you hope to gain from this programme and how enrolling in it will help you achieve your career objectives.
  • Mention your short-term professional objective. Explain your plans after you finish your degree, including the type of job you want to get, the type of firm you want to work for, and the industry you want to be a part of.
  • Mention your exact long-term objective. Explain your professional goals for the next 10-15 years, as well as how you intend to contribute to the industry over that time. Because the SOP is all about providing particular information, you must be very explicit.
  • Explain why you chose this country over your native country or any other international location.
  • Explain why you chose this university in particular. Mention the university's unique features that meet your needs. Mention the name of the faculty that delivers this programme as well as their research interests (if applicable). Discuss how the university's research centers/laboratories, activities, clubs, and topic areas/electives match with your study objectives. To obtain these facts, conduct extensive research on the university's website.
  • Extend your voluntary work, community service, or extracurricular activities in a paragraph, and describe how these experiences have helped you grow. You can also describe how you might be able to help the university's student organisation.

Statement of Purpose (SOP) Format 

You may be confused as to what can and cannot be included in a SOP. It might be beneficial to reflect on the various activities that you participated in during your school or college years and then determine whether or not to mention those in your SOP. Here are some items to consider and include in your SOP:

  1. Why did you select this programme?
  2. Your family history – only if it has influenced your academic/career plans
  3. Brief academic background: schooling/undergraduate studies, notable academic/extracurricular accomplishments
  4. All applicable industry visits, internships, projects, workshops, and dissertations completed during your academic year. If at all feasible, attempt to connect them to the programme for which you are applying.
  5. Connect relevant work experience (if any) to the intended programme of study, and include work awards/achievements (if any).
  6. Community service, charitable work, personal interests, social clubs, hobbies, sports, and so on.
  7. If your education will assist you in running your family business more effectively, make sure to emphasise the scope and applicability of the programme expertise on the family business.
  8. Your future professional plans in relation to the curriculum and after graduation. Also, describe how an international education would help you reach your short and long-term employment goals.
  9. Justify your choice of university/country.
  10. Conclusion

How to Write Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

The fundamental guideline of a statement of purpose is to understand what to include in one and how to create one. The statement of purpose, like every human, is distinctive in many ways. Needless to say, your experiences would be distinct and different, as would your views and ideas, as well as your aspirations. When it comes to writing them down, however, there are a few rules that everyone must stick to. We'll look at them in these 5 essential steps for writing a great SOP.

Step 1: Make a list of your major accomplishments in school

What you have to give at the UG level is not three years of work experience or four to five years of college experience. Instead, you have approximately 12 years of growth. Because your journey has been longer, you have so much more to include. Consider the last 12 years, imagining the smallest delights and the greatest teachers, the difficulties and the joyful successes. It may be your victory at the State Volleyball Tournament or your first victory in an intra-class debate competition in fifth grade. Whatever it is, you have a 12-year track record to build on. So consider all of the situations, and if you can recall them, there is a strong reason to include them in your list.

Step 2: Don't hunt for a topic; instead, reflect on your life's path thus far

In contrast to the five fundamentals of writing a SOP, this is the only step that is absolutely invalid. At this point, we recommend that you refrain from thinking about anything other than your life's tale. This is, in fact, the platform where you will be able to discuss all you have done and how you got to this decision. You're still researching, deciphering, and eager to learn. You must include everything, therefore don't start looking for examples of leadership or any one characteristic. You are still moldable; be flexible in your SOP and avoid picking a specific instance.

Step 3: Make your first draft

At the UG level, we bring this step forward and ask you to begin by writing it down. This is critical even before you begin trimming your lists. We recommend that you start writing a copy as soon as possible, even before you have a chance to consider what you want to add.

Step 4: Discuss your lists and the first draft

Talking with friends, family, and, if you have a good relationship with your professors, is a terrific approach to start narrowing your choices. Find out what they think of your writing, which incident they would prefer you to leave out, and what else they believe you should discuss. Request assistance in having your ideas evaluated and questioned. Remember that they will be able to look at your accomplishments from afar and find something more entertaining than others.

Step 5: Complete your essay

It is now time to conclude your essay once you have discussed the copy and the lists. We usually advise writing a piece. Once you've finished, just rewrite your statement of purpose. Keep in mind what you want to include in your SOP for the UG course and be extremely clear about your goal. After you've finished, modify the paper to remove any grammatical or typographical issues. There is no limit to how many times you can write and rewrite your essay. We recommend that you continue until you have read it and have the feeling that this is it.

Statement of Purpose Sample


I, [Student's Name] S/o Sh. [Father/Mother's Name] comes from a middle-class family residing at [State,Country]. My father and mother both are engaged in agriculture. I have a younger sister Ms. BNG, who is studying in class VIII in [Name of school]

Academic Background and Language Proficiency:

I passed Class X from [Name of school] with [CGPA Obtained] CGPA in 2016 and Class XII from [Name of school] with [Percentage obtained] in [Chosen subject/stream].

I'm an active sportsman who has played sports such as basketball, swimming and judo. I have also gained honors in co-curricular activities like painting, writing essays, spell bees, contests, debates, and quizzes, as well as in athletics. I participated and won several competitions for which I have obtained achievements in accordance with certificates of excellence, merit or participation.

In 2016, I travelled to the United States for a brief period of 25 days, gaining 22 days Astronaut training from the (respective) Centre, and completing HSA tutoring training on topics such as Business Organization, accounts and economics, under the (Respective) University.

I did IELTS with a total band score of 6.5 in 2018. In listening, reading and writing I scored 6, and in speakers I scored 7.5.

Why an Automotive Business Course?
I was born and raised in Nepal at first and since childhood I have developed a liking for racing cars. A course combination of cars and business is specially designed for me, with business skills inherited by my dad and love for cars as a natural feature. I'm an enthusiastic student and I'm looking for my profession with passion. So I leaped at the opportunity to learn a course in the automotive industry.

The Study Program for Automotive Business (AUBU) established by the (respective) College, which offers a programme for general business and provides me with a deep understanding about the industry. Appropriate for practical experience in the automobile industry, the Collège of Australia is actively supported. I tend to set up my own company on the world market in the automotive industry which I can't request a more appropriate course.

Why Australia and (respective) College?

I have had international education in my infancy which meant that I have chosen an Australian degree programme that is widely acknowledged. The education system in Australia is superb and is one of the best in the world. Australia is an internationally renowned multicultural country. The (respective) College offers one of the greatest courses in business and automotive education, backed by the automobile industry. My nature matches the lively and vibrant nature of the country. I have opted to study at the (respective) college in order to get ready for the future as a student, who will provide me with foreign education and exposure.

Financial Status:

My parents are engaged in agriculture and also receive earnings by leasing the land and property owned by my family. The annual income of my family is around  _____. I have already opened a GIC account with to take care of boarding and lodging expenses for the first six months after my arrival in Australia and submitted my second year's fee at the college. My parents will be supporting my education in Australia.

Post Study Opportunities:

Nepal is an increasing economy and the labour market. The car business in Nepal has experienced growth in the past five years. The greatest number of sales was recorded by commercial vehicles, respectively, followed by two- and four-wheelers (passenger vehicles). I want to start my career in the car industry after the successful completion of the Automotive Business course. As it is in this fast-growing area there is no lack of opportunity. After completing specialist study, this sector offers paid employment.

My father has a well-established and thrived financial position in Nepal, yet I wish to bear the consequences of my car career. After receiving world-class education, I have my origins and family in Nepal and have the ambition to do something big for my country.

I know it takes a lot of discipline and determination to study in Australia. I am a citizen who respects the law and I'm a really responsible person.

I ask you to offer me a chance in Australia to study, so it will assist me to make my dreams come true.

Thank you! 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Statement of Purpose

  1. Stick to basic information and overview. Don't write the whole family history.
  2. Avoid disclosing any sensitive financial information. If you are applying for scholarships, a second document will be required for the same.
  3. Minute professional details. Talk about learning experiences, not about water cooler chats.
  4. Don't go above the word limit.
  5. Be direct and avoid using flattering phrases.
  6. Excessive use of technical jargon should be avoided.
  7. Dishonesty in your Statement of Purpose may result in rejection.
  8. Avoid using unusual fonts or coloured paper.
  9. Don't say that the institution was not your first choice.
  10. Be cautious when using humour; it can backfire!

Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement

How does a statement of purpose vary from a statement of person? Those who plan to study abroad are concerned about this question. In addition to some elements, an individual declaration appears to be similar to a declaration of purpose. SOP contains a two-page essay on your motivation, objectives, experience, extracurricular activities etc. On the other side, an essay on your motivation, inspiration, ambitions and achievements is a short, one-page Personal Statement. A personal statement is more personal than an SOP hence your ambitions and motivations should be described in a personal statement. An SOP is the personal statement considerably more extensive.

Students often confuse a statement of purpose with a personal statement. But the two serve various roles and are not interchangeable. Here is a table to make it more clear for you to understand:

ElementsPersonal StatementStatement of Purpose
ThemeYour own experience storyCombining your long-term job experiences and objectives
Word Count500-600 words1000-1500 words
General ContentPersonal incentives, how your study interests are established, any relevant experiences, obstacles or achievementsUniversities and professional backgrounds, skills and achievements; research interests; academic/career objectives; why the programme is suited for you
Level of FormalityLess FormalFormal
PurposeAssess your suitability for the college of studentsAssess your suitability for the program applied
RequirementsUG admissions & selective PG coursesPG admissions

Statement of Purpose for MBA

It is not going to be a cake if you know which points to address, how to structure your SOP and which type of writing to employ to write your MBA Statement. The software for an MBA programme is generally more detailed than other master's software. This is because MBA candidates are usually a few years older and already possess several years of professional experience. They can draw more history, therefore the admission departments want a more full, comprehensive statement of mission. Your resume and GMAT scores can be viewed by the Admission Committee to make your skills and life-story clear.

SOP for MS

The purpose statement of MS (SOP) is an essay which describes applicants' abilities, experiences and motivation. Unlike a SOP for an MBA, the MS course statement can entirely be focused upon your academic achievements and the next step towards your academic goals is that you have picked a degree. MS can widely split the format of an explanation of purpose into 4 main elements or four purposes, past experience, programme, and personality. Guidance may differ with programmes and colleges world-wide, but in a cover letter or personal declaration, the admittance committee usually searches for these four sections. 

You are now ready to submit your statement of purpose application!

This was about The Statement of purpose (SOP) for International students, looking to study abroad. We hope that this blog will benefit you. Register for AECC Global to learn more and Contact Us and book a free meeting with our experienced guide!

Related Posts


Let's get social.

Copyright © 2023 aecc. Useful Links | Glossary | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Speak to UsAECC SearchAECC StudentCall Us