The hardest thing about writing is getting started. Duh! It’s true. But having a format or an idea of what to write can actually land up into a beautiful piece of writing. Searching for each and every detail separately on the internet will cost time. Without wasting much time, this blog consists of each and every detail of SOP, start from the meaning of writing the first draft for your SOP.
If you’re planning to study any graduate or postgraduate program in Canada or in any other university, it is mandatory to submit your Statement of Purpose (SOP) to your authorities. The effective and nicely written SOP will guarantee your admission to your dream college/university/school.
Here we’ll discuss the A-Z information about – How to make an interesting SOP to study in top Canada Universities?
What is an SOP?
Statement of Purpose or in the short SOP is basically an essay and a very important piece of your application form for your Canadian School. It’s sometimes called an SOP letter, application essay, personal background, and objectives for graduate study, cover letter or, any other names similar to these. The SOP is basically a long essay written for your chosen university to the admission committee.
The SOP tells about 3’W’s –
1. Who you are?
2. Why you’re applying to certain universities and a certain program?
3. What are your future goals and aspirations?
Unless instructed, it is a 1200-1500 word long essay which tells about yourself, why are you good as a candidate, why you deserve this opportunity, what are your achievements, goals, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, your previous qualification, dream job, and so many similar things. The better the SOP, your chances of admission will be higher. It also checks your writing abilities and language skills and gives you the opportunity to shine bright among others. It’s a map of your life and gives you a chance to strengthen your skills and opportunities.
All in one, your experiences, talents, and ideas will lead you to the golden ticket –Acceptance Letter!
Importance of SOP
As mentioned earlier, SOP is a very important aspect of your application process. Your SOP will play a major role either by making or breaking your dreams of studying in Canadian Universities. As we all know, Canadian universities are highly renowned globally for their effective educational learning and offer high employment opportunities. In total there are 96 exceptional and unique universities in Canada that offer more than 1500 programs in French and English language, with academics, professional and vocational programs. From 2014-18, the number of admissions of international students has been increased by 68%, at all levels of courses – the largest growth ever.
With so many international heads moving towards Canadian universities, they probably have tons of SOP with them and it becomes important to make your SOP appealing to stand out apart from rests. The admission committee has never seen you; it’s your only first chance to impress them with your writing. The things that you’ll write in your SOP, about yourself, your background, your motto, your goal, your dreams, and many that will create a deep impact on your admission chances. Your SOP will distinguish yourself from hundreds of people applying to the same university.
An unstructured, copied, or disgusting SOP will land you in a big problem and serious actions can be taken against you. If you don’t have such high academic scores or great achievements, but if you manage to impress your authorities by your writing, then chances of admission get higher.
Note that top Canadian Universities or schools give more importance to your SOP rather than your previous achievements or qualifications. Canadian University admission committee assesses you on the bases of your SOP. Your SOP includes your life, your career goals, beliefs, subject knowledge, and your vision. In short, a well-written SOP paints your personality for the universities. It shows how well you can describe yourself with your writing skills for long-term vision.
General Format to write SOP
In order to get a golden letter of acceptance, keep these points in your mind while writing an SOP for your dream universities –
1. No spelling or grammatical mistakes
2. Strong, clear and concise writing
3. No repetitive language or sentences using different words.
4. Use formal language always
5. Use a positive and confident tone
The format is much similar to any piece of writing:
1. 12 point Times New Roman font
2. 1-inch margin on all sides
3. 1.5 line spacing
If you follow the correct format then your writing will be easy to read, which means the authorities don’t have to brainstorm with your writing. Though you won’t get any bonus points for writing in the format, but definitely it will benefit you to get a good impression from the admission authorities. You also don’t need to write your name on SOP. However, you need to look like the do’s and don’ts of a certain program by the university before writing and SOP.
What goes into SOP?
Well, some Canadian Universities want their students to include some questions and their answers in their SOP. Not only them but when it comes to certain questions and answers in their SOP, they all are the same in every university in the world. We have listed down the top 5 questions that general in every university and the program they select for education.
1. Who are you?
This question generally covers your 1st paragraph. The student has to tell the university about themselves and what they have studied earlier and from where. They also have to mention their work experience, if any. Also, they have to give the general introduction which should be relevant to your specific program like tell about your skills. Talking about your love for dancing won’t really work if you are applying for a medical program. You’re all the introduction about yourself should be related to your aspects of the program.
2. What and why do you want to study?
The second paragraph generally asks to give valuable reasons to choose a specific program and university to study. Don’t give general reasons because so many people do the same, as they won’t help you. The more deep reasons you will write, the better you’ll be able to convince the admission committees that you’re the right choice. In this question, the student has to tell the admission committee about what they want to study and why at this university. You need to mention the full details and name of the program you are applying for. Don’t use short forms like MBA from UoT, rather write Masters in Business Administration from the University of Toronto.
3. Why do you think you’re the right person for this course?
The student needs to tell the committee why he/she wants to study a particular program. Tell the motivation behind choosing the specific program. Also, tell your previous qualification done in the same course and why you wish to study more about the course. Do it briefly as your SOP is not a place to tell long stories. Be reasonable; give enough information that is suitable for the admission criteria. This is only the chance to impress the committee by explaining why you are the best person for this course.
4. What have you done in your chosen field till now?
This is such an important question, as in this you need to mention down your achievements and experiences such as certifications, publications, or research projects. Briefly describe your experience at the previous internships, jobs, and so on that, you have already done.
5. Why have you chosen that particular university?
Convince the committee why this university is apt for you and for your chosen field. You need to praise the university and program. Tell them what one can receive after studying from this university. Mention the facilities and amenities that will benefit you in the future. The opportunities you can get and also mention about two-three university professors. Tell about them and talk about their research work that interests you.
6. What are your future goals?
In the closing paragraph, brief about your long-term goals in a career. Be very clear and concise; mention what you will do after the course or where you want to see yourself after years from now. Write your long-term goals rather than short-term. As they choose those students with clear-vision related to their career.
Students should remember that their answers to the above questions should mix well and not look like answers to five different questions.
How to improve your SOP for Canada Universities?
1. The SOP should not be copied or downloaded from any websites or from other work. You can refer to your senior’s SOP who have got admission but don’t copy and paste. Plagiarism is a big no in all Canadian universities and has severe consequences. Do not have a look at many SOPs as they will confuse you and your original points will be scattered.
2. Always follow a proper structure and format in order to build a good impression in front of your admission committee. Follow guidelines for writing by including a proper intro, body, and conclusion.
3. The first paragraph will be a general introduction about yourself and about your family background. Don’t start with anything. Follow step-by-step instructions to make an SOP more presentable and attractive to the admission committee.
4. The second paragraph should explain your interests in a specific area of study. The third and fourth paragraphs should tell about your past experience related to the field.
5. And finally, the concluding paragraph should tell about your long-term career goals. Also, don’t give them the same information again and again by changing the words.
6. Students should remember that they are writing an SOP to a particular course and its university, so, customized it according to the university you’re applying for. Do good research about the university and its program.
7. Include extra-curricular activities in a smart way to distinguish yourself from other applicants. A good SOP should have an interesting and logical flow. Don’t try to be another Shakespeare; be clear and concise with your lines. Give straight answers and logical reasons.
8. The tone should be normal and formal. The language should be simple, easy to understand, and read. A very important point to avoid grammatical errors.
Avoid these common mistakes
1. Avoid over exaggerating your achievements and abilities. Write about what you have learned and your experiences. Don’t boast about what you have; rather write about what you want to gain.
2. Language is an important aspect of SOP. Don’t use slang or informal words.
3. Avoid copying from others.
4. Avoid writing the monetary benefits you’ll gain from the program. Write about how it will help you to grow and build your personality.
5. Don’t write long boring paragraphs.
6. Avoid using too many technical words in your SOP.
Our experience as counselors can guide you in writing a great SOP to help secure your admission to the institution of your choice. Visit us for our FREE Counseling session (Telephonic/In-person) to help students to connect directly with a list of top universities in Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Singapore, and Dubai. Have everything from your Application forms to Statement of Purpose, Loan Application to Accommodation, and Visa took care of.
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