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Blog entry by Lanka Academy

What Is a Statement Of Purpose (SOP) ?

What Is a Statement Of Purpose (SOP) ?

What Is a Statement of Purpose?

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a personal essay that introduces the prospective student to the institution, and explores why the student would be a positive addition to the program/course and institution that they’re applying to. An SOP is an essay strictly written in the students' own words.

Statement of Purpose Vs. Personal Statement

Please note: A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is also sometimes referred to as a Personal Statement. Both terms are interchangeable, and they mean the same thing. Some applications may require an SOP, while some may ask for a Personal Statement. Please follow the institution’s guidelines when writing and submitting either a Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement.

Best Practices When Writing a Statement of Purpose

If your student is looking for support when working on their Statement of Purpose, there are a few simple suggestions that you can make to ensure that they write their best possible SOP.

What to Include in a Statement of Purpose

Be sure to look at other high-quality Statement of Purpose (SOP) examples in order to understand what's needed. The institution may have specific questions that should be addressed in the SOP and it's important to meet those requirements by reading their conditions carefully. When guiding your student, you might encourage them to answer the following questions in their Statement of Purpose:

  • Who are you, and why are you a good candidate for this program/course?
  • Why do you want to apply for this specific program/course?
  • Where do you want your degree to take you?
  • How will your past experiences, including your educational background, help you to succeed?
  • Why are you choosing this specific institution?

When researching the institution, be sure to also look into their core values and qualities and incorporate this into your Statement of Purpose (SOP).

Formatting the Statement of Purpose

Please be advised that students must write their own SOPs, and cannot repurpose a pre-written essay or have someone else write it for them. Most SOPs follow a general structure, and should include the following:

  • Introduction: The student’s introduction will tell the institution who they are, and about their background.
  • Body paragraphs: Each body paragraph should elaborate on one main point.
  • Conclusion: The student should briefly summarize the information they presented in their SOP.

Tip: Most SOP essays are generally between 800–2,500 words.

Experiences to Include in a Statement of Purpose

Your student can strengthen their SOP by elaborating on events they’ve experienced in their life. They might want to explore how these events led them to apply to this specific program/course and institution. Some examples of life events that can be elaborated on in their SOP may include:

  • Relevant extracurricular activities
  • Past accomplishments, both personal and educational
  • Personal and educational challenges

Don’t Forget to Keep It Original!

It is crucial that your student writes their own Statement of Purpose. They must not copy or plagiarize someone else's work. This means they cannot have someone else write their SOP, and they cannot purchase a pre-written SOP. If the student does not write their own SOP they are committing a serious offence with severe consequences. Likewise, there are resources that students can use that will check if their work has been plagiarized. Keep in mind that, when using online resources, it’s best to remove personal information before copying and pasting the content.

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