A Statement of Purpose, or a SOP, is what gives the universities a look into how your past experiences, projects and choices lead to your desired goal. The SOP is a subjective view of the candidate, instead of an objective one that is available to the university through the scorecard and other academic records. The universities sometimes ask question based essays or simply to submit a statement of purpose. The statement of purpose must include one’s goals, career path that one has opted for, in addition to the relevant academic progress. Another important aspect of a statement of purpose is what all are the motivations that have driven you to apply for the university or program that you have decided to apply for.

A statement of purpose is a chance that an individual has to present themselves in the best light. Unlike other documents which are set in stone and have no way of being altered, a statement of purpose is the candidate’s chance to show their versatility and uniqueness. It really pays off to show how your goals, with your experiences and academics, align best with the university in which you aspire to study.


Often times, seemingly impeccable and grammatically correct statement of purpose’s are rejected simply because the aspirant had added all sorts of unnecessary information which was not at all relevant to their statement of purpose or to the university they were applying to.  So, read on to find out what does not add weight to your statement of purpose.

Your sports achievements which include a gazillion medals that you won in some random tournament, the teacher’s recommendation from school and that one time that you made the best out of waste article and won, and all such feats are, understandably, actions that you are proud of and would love to include in your statement of purpose but, how is any of that relevant to your goals? Surely, your university can’t make anything of your best out of waste article! So avoid adding such details to your SOP and making it arduously long and prone to rejection. One more pitfall to avoid is listing your financial details. Most of the universities make you fill separate forms for that and hence it is of no use to mention it in your precious statement of purpose, which usually comes with a specified word limit.

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Statement of Purpose: Essential Guidelines

The usual aim of the Statement of Purpose is to indicate a strong research interest and  your potential for conducting advanced research.

Below, we have assembled a list of guidelines necessary to be kept in mind while making a Statement of Purpose:

About Self and family (100 words)

  • Write about yourself in brief
  • The place where you are from
  • Your family background – for instance, the occupation of your parents
  • Describe specific interests

Academic Achievements / Projects / Research papers  (In 300 Words)

  • Write about your academic achievements
  • Include the subjects you have studied
  • Write about the Academic Projects, Seminars, and Research Papers you have completed (for eg. Academic competitions in Mathematics/Science/English/National Level and State Level Scholarship Exams/Special Merit in School/College Examination.)
  • Do not forget to mention what impact these have had on you and what you have learned from them

Keep the following in mind while writing about your academic achievements:

  • For Projects:Mention the projects you did at the time of higher studies (Graduation/Post-Graduation/Ph.D.). Think about how this project helped you prepare for the course you selected for your higher studies (Graduation/Post-Graduation/Ph.D.)
  • For seminar: Give details of all paper presentations/seminars/training workshops attended during your studies.
  • For Research Paper: Provide details of any research papers published by you during the course of your study.

Extra-Curricular Activities (100 Words)

  • Mention the extracurricular activities you participated in at school, college, or professional level.
  • Write about how these activities have helped you evolve and contributed to your growth. Think about and write how these activities have prepared you for any student organization/program in the university

Work Experience + Gap Explanation – If Any (In 200 words)

  • For Work Experience: Mention all the organizations you have worked in after your graduation. Do not forget to mention the projects/roles and responsibilities you handled. Again, the focus should be on what you have gained in terms of experience and skills.
  • For Gap Explanation:Mention the time and reasons for the Gap period. Also, write about what productive activities you did during this Gap period and with what aim.

Why this Program? (300 Words)

  • You knowledge about the program
  • How the program is related to your previous studies
  • If the program is not related to your prior studies, mention why you have changed your career path
  • Reasons for pursuing a master’s at that point of time

Why this Country? (In 200 words)

  • Provide reasons of choosing that specific country and how this helps your future
  • You could provide the details of your research done on other countries which led you to choosing the particular country as a suitable study destination
  • Write about the selected country having a specific course or University you want to go to

Why not India? (100 Words)

(Remember to NOT comment negatively about India)

  • You could be asked to provide reasons for not studying in India, if the selected program is also available in India
  • Or, you could be asked how the education system in the specific country is different than India, and what you stand to gain from it

Why this University And Course? (200 Words)

  • Write about how studying in that specific country benefit your future
  • Mention your research on other Universities that ultimately led you to choose the specific University as your study destination
  • Additional value the specific university is providing you. For instance, specific features of the University that suit your requirements
  • Write about any faculty member and their research areas within this program (Provide names), research labs, clubs, activities, subjects in the curriculum and what scope these hold of enhancing your profile

Why this Course at Specific University? (150 Words)

Here you could mention details like the following:

  • What you like about the Course structure or Course accreditation if any
  • What is the special about this program in this university as compared to others
  • Write the names of any research area or areas of specialization of your interest
  • Skills that you want to develop through the course
  • How the program benefits you in terms of your future aspirations

Short and Long term goals (150 Words)

Short Term 

  • Short-term goals include what you want to do right after completing this specific program
  • The kind of work profile that you are aiming for
  • What you expect to be doing in the job
  • Expected monthly salary after the completion of your degree
  • In terms of the company, what you prefer and the kind of work you want to do after that (This can include industry jobs, research jobs, or a combination of both)

Long Term 

  • This is about where you see yourself 5-10 years from now
  • The contributions that you would be making to the industry or the world at large. This information should be specific. Provide technical information to support your statement.


For this, write 4-5 lines in conclusion to show your preparedness for the task at hand.

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