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Statement of Purpose Format

An expertly crafted Statement of Purpose can tilt the admission scales in your favor. However, writing a compelling SOP is easier said than done. It is a good idea to refer to some sop examples and templates and with that prepare yourself for writing your own statement of purpose. Referring to our Statement of Purpose format will set you off to a good start. After all “Well begun is half done”.

Let’s start with the most basic questions in your mind –

  • What is the statement of purpose?
    • A SOP is arguably the most important aspect of your application. It will inform the admission committee about you, factors which have influenced your career path, your professional aspirations and your future plans.
    • In your Statement of Purpose, you can explain how you came about to highly regard the university you have applied for. You can state your qualifications and your other abilities that have led you down this path and how you are a good candidate for graduate study. This is a polite brag to showcase your qualities and must be drafted carefully. Refer to the sop format ahead to understand this fine line to tread upon. Thereafter you can mention your future aspirations and how you intend to use the education you would receive if admitted towards the culmination of your goals for yourself, your family, the society and others.
    • Take your SOP as an opportunity of showcasing the best version of yourself. A positive mind-set reflects in the tone of your writing in this personal statement to the university.
  • What is the general Statement of Purpose format?
    • A well formatted SOP shows your ability to structure your thoughts and present them in a lucid manner. This is important as the admissions committee will be reading through a lot of Statements of Purpose and you want to interest them in yourself and keep the document reader friendly.
    • A Statement of Purpose should be about 1-2 pages long at the most. For undergraduate studies, it can be one page long and for post graduate studies it can be from one and half page to two pages long and 1.5 line spacing. The Times New Roman Font in the size 12, has been proven to be the easiest to read and should be used with single or double spacing and normal margins or 1” on all sides of the document. An ideal SOP format should be divided into paragraphs, with each paragraph being used for conveying particular information. What information should be presented in each paragraph is detailed below. This does not make your SOP stand out on its own, but not using this standard format can impact the ease of reading and make a negative impression.
    • You do not need to put your name on the SOP as it is part of the larger admissions document package and is more on the lines of an essay than a letter.
  • Information – what should be put and also what shouldn’t?
    • There are certain things that you should mention and some things you definitely shouldn’t. Mention your background, relevant experience and achievements. Also present incidents that have set you upon your path, so you become relatable instead of merely sounding like you are spouting washed out platitudes. The two things that you should avoid are giving the impression that you are planning to stay in the country for a long time and that you would be applying for the purpose of a scholarship grant. These do not make a good impression for a foreign student.
  • Tips on writing a great Statement of Purpose
    • Give evidence of your past experience, success and other achievements: - When you write about your past education and experiences you should sound appreciative and thankful of the background that you come from, whatever that might be. After all you are a product of your experiences and you should highlight the positive growth that you have garnered from all experiences – good and bad. Be sure to highlight the experiences gained academically, in cultural activities, in positions of responsibility given to you etc.
    • Present Clear Articulation of your Goals and Interests: – You should have a clear plan for moving forward and what you aim for. A diverse range of subject choices should portray an interesting and complex individual and not a confused one.
    • You should be able to show how your interests and skill sets make a good fit with the course of study offered by the university: - The admissions committee should know that their university or college is your preferred one for specific reasons that you have researched and are well aware of. These could be the facilities, the professors, the internship opportunities etc. Your sop shouldn’t read like you would be happy to be accepted anywhere but why that particular school is important to you. Your knowledge will show your personal interest instead of sounding like superficial praise for the university.
    • Strong and powerful writing: - You are writing to impress and yes your admission may depend on it. Write, read, and edit. Do this a few times. Replace plain and generic words with interesting and powerful adjectives and nouns. Weed out the over long sentences. You can pro-actively ask and answer questions that you feel the admission team may have about you. Make your writing vivid and the imagery powerful.

Statement of Purpose Format
  • BEGINNING – Paragraph 1 – Tell the story of you and your interests

    • In the Introductory paragraph – you should enumerate your academic performance and the trigger that set you down the path of study in the field you have applied for. In this paragraph if you can speak about these more as an incident you can create visual imagery that makes the counsellor relate to you as a person and not just a piece of paper that has crossed their desk for evaluation.
    • The details included are:
      • The field and course of study that holds your interest
      • The subject knowledge you already possess
      • Your background which may be the reason you see yourself in the field chosen
      • And your passion for the subject – as incidents, events or achievements (not as generic sentences if possible).
    • Impression points:
      • You can start your paragraph with a quote on or from the relevant field that you are applying for, to make your writing more colourful.
      • You can mention important books or theories that show your knowledge and caliber in the field of your choice.
    • SOP example:
      • “The Alchemist left me with an outwardly sensation. One where I felt the lightness of knowledge seeing through the heavy weight of the mundane. I knew that literature was my calling as with every good book I felt my mind reform and arrange itself in more complex ways than ever before. The famous author Paulo Coelho is an honorary graduate of your university and that emboldens me to imagine I may follow into the steps on creating my own footprints in the sands of time”.

  • BODY OF THE SOP ESSAY – Paragraphs 2 &3 – Your academic, extracurricular and work experience details.

    • Your academic background is also stated in your other admission documents. But here you make it a more 3D experience instead of just the simple information conveyed in filling the form. You talk about your college emphasizing on the subjects that made you come alive and feel like contributing something extra to the world. You can talk about specific projects that you have worked upon, and if you are applying for postgraduate studies, then you can talk about the work experience you have gained and projects that you were involved in. Mentorships if any with well-known figures from the same field as the one you have applied for will hold a lot of weight. These show a consistent and abiding interest in the field and a desire to delve deeper into the subject.
    • Sop formats for MS are more dependent on academic qualifications and that can be explained in further detail in such applications. For MBA and other applications the SOP format should show other activities that are not purely academic.
    • Grad school is no cake walk. It can be an intense and grueling. Along with your academic aptitude, the admissions officers will also be interested to know if you have the mental and physical fortitude to pass through the school. The extra internships, research exercises undertaken, papers written and additional reading material analysed by you all shows the depth of your interest and your ability to work hard. The admission officer wants to offer the seat to someone who has the capability to take on the challenges of graduate school.
    • Impression points:
      • Talk about your well received thesis, well acknowledged internships, key workshops attended and mentorships by key people.
      • Talk about your well received thesis, well acknowledged internships, key workshops attended and mentorships by key people.
      • Co-curricular activities show a well-rounded individual.
      • Make sure that your information and document is not plagiarized, a good impression is hard to create but a bad impression is irreversible.
    • SOP example:
      • “The Alchemist left me with an outwardly sensation. One where I felt the lightness of knowledge seeing through the heavy weight of the mundane. I knew that literature was my calling as with every good book I felt my mind reform and arrange itself in more complex ways than ever before. The famous author Paulo Coelho is an honorary graduate of your university and that emboldens me to imagine I may follow into the steps on creating my own footprints in the sands of time”.

  • PARAGRAPH 4 – Why you, the university and the field applied for are a good fit for each other?

    • There are two things that you can express in this paragraph on your statement of purpose. Firstly, the direction of your interests and secondly, the particular qualities of the university which make it your number one choice and a dream school for you. You should be able to talk about some of the assets that are specific to the particular university that the application is going to. The research papers or online discussions posted by a particular or well renowned professor, shows that you have spent time and gained knowledge even from afar and would really benefit from entering the university. The reference to particular research laboratories or libraries show that you are well aware of the other colleges and have analysed how this particular one is beneficial to you, and so on. Now you re-iterate the qualities you bring to the table – and how the two would be a symbiotic relationship, where you would make the most of the opportunities given and contribute by performing well and raising the bar of knowledge and discussions.
  • Impression points:
    • Having knowledge about the current developments and opportunities on the chosen course of study, shows clarity and research involved.
    • When you know your own strengths it shows self-awareness and focus.
    • Knowing which resources of the college are valuable to you shows that you intend to use your time at university.
  • SOP example:
    • “The cutting edge technology that is proprietary to the Adams College is a game changer and I look forward to working under the guidance of Professor Smith. This technology used with the current research should be able to able to state the percentage that genetics are responsible for particular traits with much greater ease. The way mapping DNA has changed sciences this will be the next step to truly understanding the map laid out before us.”


    • The question “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” is almost a cliché, but there is a reason it has found its way in all interviews across the globe. Every admission committee wants to know that the pupils it admits, should ideally utilise the opportunities presented to them and in the future may be their illustrious alumni. Your SOP conclusion should give an idea about the goals you are working towards and hope to achieve in your life. You should end on a positive note, after proving that you would be a valuable and dedicated person to bring within the folds of the university. You can talk about the renowned faculty and the illustrious alumni of the university whose steps you hope to follow and cogently bring together the goal of a good education leading to strong achievements. You can state how you are well prepared in every way to give it your all and are more than capable of taking up the challenges of graduate school. Your conclusion should make the admission committee see you as a potential student with the potential to make the university proud in the future.
  • Impression points:
    • Having a clear vision and goal is a trait that shows you are a person more likely to achieve them.
    • Your goals should encompass what you hope to achieve for yourself in your future career and the larger picture too. I hope to be a partner in a law firm is not a good example of a goal even if that’s what you are thinking.
    • You should know some of the illustrious alumni of the school or college you are aiming for.
  • SOP example:
    • “With the future laid out before us – I find myself asking the question, what it that I will bring to the table. Armed with the knowledge that I hope to gain from your esteemed university under the guidance of Professors Blake and King, I hope to extend the application of artificial intelligence in extending facilities of education and the latest health care in far flung and rural communities in India. The world is growing smaller and our goals must encompass more than ourselves.”

Statement Of Purpose format for MS, MBA, UG, and PhD

The Statement of Purpose Format for undergraduate studies is shorter and has more information about your academics, background, extracurriculars and social work. Your outstanding support to or strong focus on a different cause can make your SOP stand out from others. It is alright to not have a complete and specific goal and you could mention the fields of study that holds your interest.

An ideal statement of purpose format for post graduate studies includes your experience in university. It shares the evolution of your interest and goals into sharply laid out trajectories at definite goals and attaining clear skill sets. Your SOP should show you now know your path and your steps taken to achieve them so far. The work experience gained in internships and after college also holds a lot of weight. Post graduate studies may be for MBA, PhD, MS or others.

The sop format for MS and PhD rely more on your academic achievements. The goal for MS may simply be the garnering of further knowledge for your research interests and knowledge building. A cohesive business plan is not compulsorily required as part of your future planning.

The statement of purpose format for MBA requires you to display a well-rounded persona and a clear path towards your future career. The co-curricular activities are important in such SOP’s. You can show your knowledge towards the different clubs and activities of the universities as being a part of student group activities is an important part of management studies.

How to optimise the use of the SOP Format and use them effectively:

In the SOP essay, there can be no perfect structure which would be ideal for all. Your life, your qualifications, your goals with the twists and turns must be laid out in a way that is most impressive for you and most intriguing to the admission counselor.

The Statement of Purpose format outlined above is a great guideline to follow, while structuring your essay. Tabulate your points, arrange them under the correct paragraph heads and commence the effort of writing an impressive SOP. After writing read and edit, not once but a few times. Often when we have written something we become too invested in it and cannot see the errors. Have someone else also read it and give you their corrections and pointers.

AdmitEDGE and your SOP

This sop format and template should be taken as a guideline or outline but is certainly not a one suit fits all structure. You can take the guidance of our professionals while writing your own SOP. Your SOP is a picture of yourself and your own personality. But, we can help you make it more cohesive, well-structured and impressive. At AdmitEDGE you will find the most comprehensive SOP writing and editing packages.

FAQ Section

Question 1: How to write a perfect Statement of Purpose?

Answer 1: So now you know what a SOP is – and what it should include. Is this enough – for you to start writing a Statement of Purpose which is successful at making that important first impression? You may peruse and find Statement of Purpose Formats and Statement of Purpose Samples. There are some interesting points below on how to write an SOP in a compelling way, that you could well keep in mind while you write your Statement – to avoid making the usual errors and to write a truly excellent SOP.

Question 2: What is SOP format?

Answer 2:

  • BEGINNING – Paragraph 1 – Tell the story of you and your interests.
  • BODY OF THE SOP ESSAY – Paragraphs 2 &3 – Your academic, extracurricular and work experience details.
  • PARAGRAPH 4 – Why you, the university and the field applied for are a good fit for each other?

Question 3: How do you write a statement of purpose?

Answer 3:

  1. Your Introduction: A normal introduction reads like a biodata. For uniquely introducing yourself, try writing it like a story versus a bullet point list.
  2. Reveal your passion for your chosen subject – rather than stating it: Show rather than tell is always a compelling argument. A way to do this is to dig deep within yourself and bring out incidents and instances that have shaped your interests.
  3. Now quantify your experiences and achievements – instead of listing it: One may end up writing several pages, but fail to give an inkling about one’s experience.
  4. Emphasize on your Co-curricular and Extracurricular activities.
  5. Be specific.
  6. Your contribution: Getting a graduate degree is certainly your short term goal – but the admissions committee would like to know about what you intend to do with this education once imparted.
  7. Evaluate your Statement Of Purpose empathetically.
  8. Ask your support group to evaluate your Statement Of Purpose.

Question 4: What should be the font size for SOP?

Answer 4: Approximately 1000 to 1300 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is needed for the Master SOP. Whereas, some universities need the SOP of around 500-1000 words as well.

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