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How to Write a Statement of Purpose | Example

Published on February 13, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 1, 2023.

When you apply for graduate programs or scholarships, the admissions committee is looking for more than just a list of grades. The statement of purpose (also known as a statement of intent or motivation letter) is your chance to stand out from the crowd and showcase your motivation, skills and potential. It should:

  • Outline your academic or professional interests and goals
  • Discuss relevant skills, experience and achievements
  • Demonstrate why you’d be a good fit for the program

Table of contents

Successful statement of purpose example, requirements and prompts, personal introduction, experience and achievements, goals and motivations, fit with the program, tips for an effective statement of purpose, other interesting articles.

The torment of the Founding Fathers is responsible for my interest in Classics. My desire to learn Latin stemmed from reading American Revolutionary-era history during junior high and high school, and particularly from the countless Latin quotations I found in John Adams’ writings. Always eager for a challenge, I was intrigued by the American founders’ accounts of the torture of learning such a difficult language. In my first semester at university, I started learning Latin and thoroughly loved it. As I learned more and more about classical civilization through the language, I realized that I was passionately interested in many aspects of the field of Classics. I have since taken courses on mythology, art and archaeology, and religion, on ancient history, and on the classical tradition. I have also learned Greek, of course, starting with an intensive two-semester course at the university’s summer school. My experience studying abroad in Florence and traveling through Italy and Greece intensified my zeal for the field and, in particular, fueled my ambition to specialize in classical archaeology.

My personal philosophy of life is that everything is connected, and this conviction drives my desire to study Classics. The most rewarding moments for me are discovering and investigating connections – both broad ones, between fields and disciplines, and more specific ones, like the relationship between a piece of literature and an object of material culture. My liberal arts education has equipped me with a broad base of knowledge in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts, and in the honors program I pursued independent projects exploring academic and personal connections, including a paper on ancient Mayan astronomy, a self-observation study on the effects of nutrition and hydration on exercise performance, and a paper on the influence of political context on the changing artistic representations of John Adams. By seeking out connections between seemingly unrelated areas of academia, I have acquired a well-rounded outlook which helps me approach new ideas with both a range of prior experiences and a mind always open to different interpretations.

In accordance with my personal philosophy, I have also continued to explore connections within Classics and between Classics and other fields. In 2007, I published an article in my university’s undergraduate humanities journal; inspired by my studies in Florence, I compared representations of the birth of Venus in ancient and Renaissance literature and art. My major academic achievement to date, however, has been my senior honor thesis on John Adams’ connection to the Classics. Funded by a Hilldale Research Fellowship, I conducted research in the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society and in John Adams’ personal library at the Boston Public Library on the influence of the classical tradition on Adams’ worldview and how he consciously modeled himself on classical ideals. It was particularly fulfilling to connect historical and classical research in writing about the figure most responsible for instigating my study of the Classics.

As well as my research skills, I have demonstrated proficiency in the classical languages, winning prizes for both Latin and Greek translation from the Classics Department, as well as receiving an enthusiastic nomination from the department for the Pearson Fellowship from the American Philological Association. I am also the president of the undergraduate Classics Society, which allows me to share my enthusiasm for Classics with other students and the larger community.

One of the most appealing aspects of studying Classics is the vast range of topics encompassed by the field. Because my interests are broad and I value an interdisciplinary approach, I would like to pursue graduate study ultimately leading to a PhD in Classical Archaeology. Archaeology in itself is, of course, a multi-faceted field, requiring knowledge of history, language, anthropology, and various scientific and technological methods. I have already started building my skills in this area: I participated in a microartifact analysis from the excavation of a Maya site in Belize as part of an honors project, and this summer I will take part in two archaeological projects in Turkey after working as a research assistant on related material in the spring semester. This PhD program includes many other opportunities I am eager to explore, such as palaeography and papyrology courses, and especially the variety of fieldwork and museum experiences available. I believe that my strong background in the classical languages and wide range of courses on classical civilization and archaeological methods have prepared me well for this program, and I am convinced that, guided by my philosophy of interconnectedness, I will flourish in this program.

The first step is to read the application instructions. These should include the length of the document (usually 1-2 pages), any formatting requirements, and often a question or prompt that indicates what you should focus on.

In some cases, you might also be asked to submit a personal statement . Similar advice applies to both of these documents—both should give a sense of who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. But a statement of purpose is often more formal, tightly focused on your academic background and your suitability for the program.

If you are working on multiple applications, don’t try to write a one-size-fits-all text—tailor your statement of purpose to each program. Make sure to respond to the prompt and include all the information you’re asked for. A typical statement of purpose prompt looks like this:

Your focus will be slightly different depending on whether you’re applying for research-based academic programs (such as a PhD ) or professional qualifications (such as an MBA). But all statements of purpose should contain the following elements.

This is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and let them hear your voice. The statement of purpose shouldn’t tell your life story, but it should give a glimpse into who you are.

Academic and personal background

Give an overview of your academic background, and show what drives your interest in this field or profession. You might want to include some personal background too—your family history, social circumstances, personal relationships and life experiences have all shaped your trajectory and perspective. What unique insights will you bring with you?

Characteristics and personality

Think about aspects of your character that make you well-suited for graduate school. Don’t just list generic adjectives—give examples that demonstrate your strengths and show why they’re relevant.

  • Are you organized enough to handle a high-pressure workload?
  • Do you have the creativity needed to develop original ideas, or a systematic mindset perfect for problem-solving?
  • Do you have strong leadership skills, or are you great at working collaboratively?

Avoid including irrelevant autobiographical detail in the statement of purpose. Everything you include should be aimed at showing why you’d be a strong candidate for the program.

Your experience shows that you have the necessary skills to succeed in graduate school. Don’t just summarize everything you’ve done—pick out some highlights to build a clear picture of your strengths and priorities, illustrating how you’ve learned and developed along the way.

Academic experience

If you’re applying for a research-focused program, such as a PhD, show your knowledge of the field and outline your research experience. This might include:

  • A brief summary of your thesis or final project
  • Courses that you found particularly valuable
  • Projects you contributed to
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Extracurriculars that gave you relevant skills or experience

Professional experience

If you’re applying for a professional program, such as an MBA, outline your experience so far and show how it relates to your career plans. This might include:

  • Past or current job roles
  • Projects you led or participated in
  • Internships
  • Voluntary work
  • Training courses

In all cases, give specific examples with details of what you worked on, what you achieved, and what you got out of the experience.

As well as showing that you’re prepared for the program, explain what you expect to get out of it. What are your motivations for applying? How do you plan to make the most of its opportunities, and how will it help you achieve your goals?

Academic motivations

For academic programs, indicate your research interests, showing how they follow from and build upon what you have studied so far. This might include:

  • A subfield that you want to strengthen your expertise in
  • A specific problem or question that you’d like to address
  • An initial idea for a research project
  • A theoretical or methodological approach that you want to develop

This isn’t the place for an in-depth research plan, but it’s a chance to show your enthusiasm and knowledge of your field.

Professional motivations

For professional programs, outline your career aspirations and show how your experience informs your goals. This might include:

  • The next step you want to take in your career. What position are you aiming for and how will the program help you achieve it?
  • Your motivations for a career change. Can you make a link between your previous experience and your new direction?
  • Your long-term goals. Where do you want to be in five or ten years, and how do you see yourself getting there?

The admissions committee wants to know that you’re genuinely motivated to complete the program, and the clearer your plans, the more convincing your commitment.

It’s important to show not only why you want to study this subject, but also why you want to do it in this particular institution and department.

  • Do your research, and mention particular classes, specialisms or faculty that attracted you.
  • Show why you’re a good fit. Do your priorities align with the values and culture of the institution? What will you contribute to the department?
  • Discuss the specific skills, knowledge and experience you expect to get from the program.

The statement of purpose isn’t only about selling yourself—it’s about illustrating an ideal match between you and the program.

Once you’ve made sure to cover all the key elements, you can work on strengthening and polishing the text. Follow these tips to make your application the best it can be.

Stay focused

It can be tempting to try to cram in everything you’ve done, but a good statement of purpose requires careful selection to craft a focused narrative. One way to do this is by building your text around a central theme—for example, a character trait, an intellectual interest, or a career goal.

This strategy helps structure your text and puts your priorities centre stage. Link each paragraph back to the central idea, making it clear how everything fits together.

Think about your structure

The structure of a statement of purpose is somewhat flexible, as long as you include all the relevant information in an order that makes sense.

For example, you might start with a chronological story of where your interests began, or you might open with your goals and then select a series of examples that show your capacity to achieve them. If you’re desperate to study in this specific program, you could lead with a summary of why it’s your ideal choice, and then elaborate on each aspect to show why you’re a perfect fit.

The important thing is that the text showcases your strengths and motivations in a compelling, coherent way. As in any other piece of academic writing, make sure each paragraph communicates one main idea, and that each sentence flows smoothly and logically from the last. Use transition words and topic sentences to move between paragraphs.

Add meaning to your resume

The bare facts of your achievements—grades, prizes, work experience—are already included in your graduate school resume and transcripts. Use the statement of purpose not to repeat yourself, but to add personal meaning and texture to these facts.

If you got top marks for your thesis, describe the research process and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic. If you completed an internship or participated in a project, explain what new skills you learned and which aspects you found most valuable. If you already have lots of experience in the field, show how each step developed your skills and shaped your current plans.

Revise, edit, proofread

Your statement of purpose isn’t only about the content—it’s also a chance to show that you can express yourself fluently, confidently and coherently in writing. Spend plenty of time revising, editing and proofreading your text before you submit.

Make sure you stay within the recommended length, and check if there are any specific formatting requirements. If not, use a standard 12pt font, 1-inch margins and 1.5 line spacing.

When you have a final draft, our professional statement of purpose proofreading service can offer an extra pair of eyes to make sure every sentence is perfect.

Proofread my statement of purpose

Checklist: Statement of purpose

My statement of purpose clearly responds to the prompt.

I have introduced my academic, professional and/or personal background.

I have described any relevant experience and shown my development over time.

I have highlighted key achievements that demonstrate my talents.

There is a clear connection between my previous experience and my future plans.

I have explained how the program will help me achieve my goals.

I have mentioned specific aspects of the program, department and institution that appeal to me.

Every paragraph focuses on one central idea.

The paragraphs are organized in a logical order and tell a clear, coherent story.

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Northeastern University Graduate Programs

How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Graduate School

How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Graduate School

Congrats! You’ve chosen a graduate program , read up on tips for applying to grad school , and even wrote a focused grad school resumé . But if you’re like many students, you’ve left the most daunting part of the application process for last—writing a statement of purpose. The good news is, the task doesn’t have to feel so overwhelming, as long as you break the process down into simple, actionable steps. Below, learn how to write a strong, unique statement of purpose that will impress admissions committees and increase your chances of getting into your dream school.

What is a statement of purpose?

A statement of purpose (SOP), sometimes referred to as a personal statement, is a critical piece of a graduate school application that tells admissions committees who you are, what your academic and professional interests are, and how you’ll add value to the graduate program you’re applying to.

Jared Pierce, associate director of enrollment services at Northeastern University, says a strong statement of purpose can be the deciding factor in a graduate student’s admission.  

“Your statement of purpose is where you tell your story about who you are and why you deserve to be a part of the [university’s] community. It gives the admissions committee the chance to get to know you and understand how you’ll add value to the classroom,” he says.

How long should a statement of purpose be?

“A statement of purpose should be between 500 and 1,000 words,” Pierce says, noting that it should typically not exceed a single page. He advises that students use a traditional font at a readable size (11- or 12-pt) and leave enough whitespace in the margins to make the statement easy-to-read. Make sure to double-space the statement if the university has requested it, he adds. 

Interested in learning more about Northeastern’s graduate programs?

Get your questions answered by our enrollment team.


How to Write a Statement of Purpose: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you understand how to format a statement of purpose, you can begin drafting your own. Getting started can feel daunting, but Pierce suggests making the process more manageable by breaking down the writing process into four easy steps.

1. Brainstorm your ideas.

First, he says, try to reframe the task at hand and get excited for the opportunity to write your statement of purpose. He explains:

“Throughout the application process, you’re afforded few opportunities to address the committee directly. Here is your chance to truly speak directly to them. Each student arrives at this process with a unique story, including prior jobs, volunteer experience, or undergraduate studies. Think about what makes you you and start outlining.”

When writing your statement of purpose, he suggests asking yourself these key questions:

  • Why do I want this degree?
  • What are my expectations for this degree?
  • What courses or program features excite me the most?
  • Where do I want this degree to take me, professionally and personally?
  • How will my unique professional and personal experiences add value to the program?

Jot these responses down to get your initial thoughts on paper. This will act as your starting point that you’ll use to create an outline and your first draft.

2. Develop an outline.

Next, you’ll want to take the ideas that you’ve identified during the brainstorming process and plug them into an outline that will guide your writing. 

An effective outline for your statement of purpose might look something like this:

  • An attention-grabbing hook
  • A brief introduction of yourself and your background as it relates to your motivation behind applying to graduate school 
  • Your professional goals as they relate to the program you’re applying to
  • Why you’re interested in the specific school and what you can bring to the table
  • A brief summary of the information presented in the body that emphasizes your qualifications and compatibility with the school

An outline like the one above will give you a roadmap to follow so that your statement of purpose is well-organized and concise. 

3. Write the first draft.

Your statement of purpose should communicate who you are and why you are interested in a particular program, but it also needs to be positioned in a way that differentiates you from other applicants. 

Admissions professionals already have your transcripts, resumé, and test scores; the statement of purpose is your chance to tell your story in your own words.

When you begin drafting content, make sure to:

  • Provide insight into what drives you , whether that’s professional advancement, personal growth, or both.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the school by addressing the unique features of the program that interest you most. For Northeastern, he says, maybe it’s experiential learning; you’re excited to tackle real-world projects in your desired industry. Or perhaps it’s learning from faculty who are experts in your field of study.
  • Be yourself. It helps to keep your audience in mind while writing, but don’t forget to let your personality shine through. It’s important to be authentic when writing your statement to show the admissions committee who you are and why your unique perspective will add value to the program.

4. Edit and refine your work.

Before you submit your statement of purpose:

  • Make sure you’ve followed all directions thoroughly , including requirements about margins, spacing, and font size.
  • Proofread carefully for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Remember that a statement of purpose should be between 500 and 1,000 words. If you’ve written far more than this, read through your statement again and edit for clarity and conciseness. Less is often more; articulate your main points strongly and get rid of any “clutter.”
  • Walk away and come back later with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes your best ideas come when you’re not sitting and staring at your computer.
  • Ask someone you trust to read your statement before you submit it.

Making a Lasting Impression

Your statement of purpose can leave a lasting impression if done well, Pierce says. It provides you with the opportunity to highlight your unique background and skills so that admissions professionals understand why you’re the ideal candidate for the program that you’re applying to. If nothing else, stay focused on what you uniquely bring to the classroom, the program, and the campus community. If you do that, you’ll excel.

To learn more tricks and tips for submitting an impressive graduate school application, explore our related Grad School Success articles .

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2017. It has since been updated for thoroughness and accuracy.

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SOP (Statement of Purpose): Format, Samples, and Tips

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  • Updated on  
  • Feb 17, 2024

sop statement of purpose

To aesthetically present a movie on the screen, great actors are the requisites. Similar is the case when one is carving their own career path. From choosing the right course to getting into your dream university, you need to take each step carefully. As a crucial part of the eligibility criteria, the universities often demand LOR s, SOPs or entrance test scores to assess the candidates and their suitability for the chosen course. A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one such element that beholds great value in the admission process of those aspiring to study abroad. Creating an alluring SOP is essential to help the assessment committee understand your willingness for the program you have applied for. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide on drafting a statement of purpose that can help you sail smoothly through the assessment process and get entry into your dream academic institution.

This Blog Includes:

What is a statement of purpose (sop), why is sop important, sop format, 2. formulate, 3. revise and modify, what do colleges look for in an sop, how to write a perfect statement of purpose (sop / admissions essay), introduction, academic background and professional experience, career goals, why this course, why this university, how long should an sop be, what to include in an sop, what not to include in an sop, 10 tips to write a successful statement of purpose, sop sample for business analytics, sample statement of purpose for mba , sample statement of purpose for masters, sop formats for usa, canada, uk, and australia, top 5 mistakes to avoid while writing an sop, how can you reduce your chances of rejection from your chosen university, can sops help with scholarships, sop vs letter of motivation, sop vs personal statement.

A Statement of Purpose can be referred to as an informative document, containing personal statements, and is essentially required as part of the admission procedure of study abroad programs. Also referred to as an application essay, it comprises the basic details of a candidate along with their professional and personal interests, academic highlights as well as future aspirations. An SOP plays an integral role in the application process of a study abroad program as it provides the admission board with the key information about the candidate and why they want to study a particular course at their institution. It not only describes who you are as an individual but also gives an idea about your writing skills and proficiency in the English language.   

A well-written SOP is an extremely significant element during your admission process. While the academic record and other exam scorecards, academic transcripts and backlog certificates are essentially objective in nature, an SOP is the only truly subjective aspect of your application. It is the only document in your application that allows you to prove that you have something unique which makes you stand out from the crowd. As such, it is the document of your application docket that can hugely determine your admission.

Also Read: Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement

As such, there is no particular or proper format for writing a statement of purpose or an SOP. Students have to write an SOP just like an elaborative and descriptive English essay dividing the whole context into different paragraphs. Each paragraph must be having distinctive features describing different scenarios, features or characteristics about yourself. You can take the help of the below-provided structure and get started with writing an SOP for the university you want to study in. 

How to Write a Statement of Purpose?

As a pivotal document for any study abroad application, an SOP needs to be precisely well-written. To help you understand the different elements of this document, we have curated a step-by-step procedure that you can follow to curate an impressive statement of purpose.

The first step of the process of drafting a statement of purpose is to think about the varied aspects of your candidature that you should mention in it. The mandatory inclusions of an SOP are academic achievements (especially at the undergraduate level), prior work exposure or volunteering experiences. Start with framing an outline for the document and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which field of study excites me the most?
  • Why do I want to pursue this degree?
  • What are my expectations from this degree?
  • What outgrowth can this degree offer me?
  • Where can this degree take me, personally and professionally? 
  • Through my pre-requisites, what values can I add to this program?

Once you have made key pointers for most of the questions mentioned above, you can begin jotting them down in a thorough and comprehensive manner.

Now that you know what you want to mention in your SOP, it’s time to curate a rough outline for the document. Here is a list of some essential tips you need to keep in mind while formulating your statement of purpose:

  • Since the admission committee strives to understand your candidature through the SOP, you need to be honest in describing your career aspirations and objectives. Focus centrally on maintaining the authenticity of your mentioned details. Duly elaborate on your advantageous perception of the chosen course.
  • Creatively cite your personal and professional interests. Mention what you are passionate about and what excites you. Then, sensibly connect it with your chosen program and how it will assist you in grooming your skills. For instance, you can state that you are aspiring to gain experiential learning or training in your desired industry through the course.
  • What brought you here should be a sure-shot mention in your SOP. You can begin with stating those features of your chosen course that convinced you to opt for it. Then, write down the objectives you want to fulfil by studying the program. It can be personal growth or professional upliftment or even both. Try to be unique and precise when listing your reasons. 

Once you have jotted down your SOP as per the above-mentioned necessary tips, the final and concluding step is to revise and make changes accordingly. Go through the list that you created in the beginning and ensure that you have added all of them.

  • The word limit for a statement of purpose is between 500-1000. 
  • Do not miss out the predefined sizes for spacing, margins and font size.
  • Try getting a second opinion but getting your SOP read from a friend or an experienced professional.

Many foreign and even national universities ask for a Statement of Purpose (SOP) from candidates wanting to enrol in suitable courses that the university has to offer. They ask for the SOP from candidates in order to check and look at the following things:

  • The writing capabilities of the writer or the candidate 
  • The X factor that makes their writing stand out from the crowd
  • Choice of thoughts and ideas that has been explained in the SOP
  • The unique personality of the candidate 
  • Candidate’s talent, previous experiences, interests and potential
  • How and what can the candidate contribute to the department of the college/university
  • Candidate’s motivation or inspiration to study a selected course must be evident and justified
  • The reason behind to choose a particular university/college and a particular course of study
  • Academic and extracurricular achievements and recognitions (if any)
  • Originality and clarity of the SOP as a whole. 

To know more, read our blog on – How to Write an SOP?

Check out the video on the same below!

How to Write a Powerful and Convincing SOP?

Whether applying for undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate programmes, the strategy of writing a powerful statement of purpose should be sound focused throughout. Starting from your academic and professional background to your career aspirations, you need to carefully connect all the dots between reaching your goals through your choice of school and course. The essay should always go in a flow covering your past experience, present involvements, and future plans. An important point to remember while writing your SOP would be to divide it into paragraphs that cover all the pointers. Here is a look at how you may write the SOP presenting your profile strongly:

This paragraph is often confused with self-introduction. It should not introduce you but should discuss what you are about to discuss in your SOP. There are multiple approaches you may adopt to go about this paragraph:

  • Discuss your long-term goal and connect it with your idea of pursuing the course you are applying to
  • Present your understanding of the chosen field and write how you want to contribute to that field
  • Explain your background in 2-3 lines and connect it with your future goals
  • Write about an anecdote that helped you realise your professional interest in the chosen field

This comprises of your academic background: what you have done so far, what you are currently pursuing, your academic strengths and projects, and the industrial exposure you have attained.

This is the most important paragraph, where you should discuss your short and long-term goals. Your immediate goal would be where you would want to work right after completing this course. You should be able to name some companies within India along with the designation you see yourself working at. This should explain the kind of job profile you would be working on.

Then comes your long-term goal, wherein you should mention where you see yourself from 10-12 or 15 years down the line. This may include your desire of working at the CEO/CFO/CTO level or maybe establish a firm that you own. It may also include your dream of expanding your existing family business overseas. You may also be interested in further studies like a PhD which can be included here.

More in this section may include your desire of becoming a professor or researcher. In any case, it is suggested that you discuss your business aim, principles, and core values or how you would influence the young aspirants of this industry. You should be able to portray ‘how you wish to make a difference in the industry keeping in mind the current industrial scenarios and emerging trends.

In this paragraph, you should discuss why you want to join a course and what modules would you tap during this course. It should also cover the skills you would acquire in this duration along with the exposure that would help in developing the skills desired to realise your goals.

This is a specific paragraph wherein you can convince a university as in how they are suitable for your profile and you are an ideal candidate for their university. You should discuss the course curriculum, research work, faculty names, as well as the university-specific activities that would help you in enhancing your profile.

Also Read: How to Write a Best Statement of Purpose?

Ideally, if considering an internationally renowned university, then the statement of purpose should be at least 1-2 pages long. In terms of word count, then the same should be around 1000 words. Having said that, the word limit and the length may also sometimes depend on the university that the candidate is targeting and also on the level of degree. Like for example, a candidate who is writing an SOP for an undergraduate program may not exceed 800 to 1000 words whereas a candidate who is writing an SOP for a PhD or M.Phil degree course has to write it in around 1200 words and sometimes even more. Some universities even have a fixed length and word count which is uniform for all the programs and courses. 

There are many elements to an SOP. Universities could ask question-based essays or simply a general statement of purpose. Until and unless categorically asked, an SOP must include your goals and the career path you have taken up so far as well as your academic progress. Other elements that are further important to the SOP are also the personal motivations that lead you to choose the university/course you have applied to as well as how you intend to use that experience to achieve that goal.

Following are a few things that you must do in order to make your SOP application strong:

  • Your Statement of Purpose should have a unique and engaging beginning as well as an end. It must be original, a reflection of you. 
  • Explain your academic background, present and future aspirations. Through this, you must justify your choice of a particular course for masters or doctorate courses.
  • Upon reading your SOP, the admission officer should be able to understand how you can contribute to the university in terms of research and further scope in your chosen area. 
  • Always write your SOP in an active voice and ensure you provide information in a manner that is a reflection of your passion and optimism. If you have any statements or references, try quoting them with relevant examples rather than being direct.

Often universities come across a lengthy statement of purpose and yet they reject it. Even when you cannot find one grammatical error, the seemingly excellent SOP would be rejected. And the primary reason is – too much unnecessary information. For instance, just because you might want to talk about your family, does not mean you go on and on to talk about only your family. While your SOP should be a brag sheet, it should be a brag sheet with a substance. You need to pick and choose what to include. Pick a theme and mention the accomplishments that make the most sense to your candidacy.

  • Weave your career path into a story, not statements.
  • Do not write what you think should be written. Personalise the SOP and make it your own.
  • Do not stress over it. Although it is an important part of your application, the SOP should be a direct reflection of you.
  • Find the deeper meaning behind the events of your life and pen them down.
  • Give a strong reason as to why you chose the particular school and course.
  • Be specific in the timeline of events.
  • Use a formal but conversational tone.
  • Accept your mistakes and explain how you are willing to act on improving. Use action items.
  • Give yourself enough time to write the SOP and edit it constantly. 
  • Proofread, edit, re-edit and then edit it again! There is always room for improvement, remember that.

Also Read: SOP for Scholarship

Statement of Purpose Samples

Here are some good examples of well structured SOPs that you can refer to while writing your own.

“ A successful career in Business Management requires adequate knowledge to utilise the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. In my undergraduate degree, I majored in economics and psychology because I believe that understanding these two fields is important for leading a successful business. I want to increase my experiences and knowledge further by pursuing an Executive MBA, which will equip me with advanced skills that are necessary to achieve my career goals.

As I have carried out various leadership positions, I have learned how to efficiently work in teams and pursue the specified goals. In my previous company, ABC, I successfully implemented the strength-cum-weakness finder software which helped us assign projects to the groups based on the mapped data. As employees got allotted tasks as per their efficiency, it resulted in a 30% net gain for the company over the following year. I believe that a successful business leader understands the importance of strategically utilizing a company’s resources to ensure the maximum potential and development of the company. Further, the pivotal thing I learned about myself by taking up leadership roles is that teamwork is a crucial element of successfully achieving an organisation’s objectives. An Executive MBA will help me furnish my leadership skills imparting me with the knowledge of hierarchical structures and how to work with other leaders of different domains in an effective manner.

Studying for an Executive MBA, I plan to take charge of multiple team projects throughout the duration of the degree so that I can polish my teamwork skills. I aspire to work under industry leaders and attain global exposure. Pursuing this degree from your institution, I aim to gain professional as well as personal skills that can help me soar through my career journey. ”

I had a keen interest in Biology since childhood. I was eager to learn about the living organisms around my surroundings and how they function. I took this interest forward and decided to pursue my higher education in biology. When I was first introduced to the field of biotechnology, I was mesmerized by what technology can do to improve the life of any living organism. This inspired me to look at various research programmes in biotechnology and how we are moving towards a phase where technology can alter even the basic fragments of any living organism and change the course of life an organism goes through. I observed the various research patterns that have been taking place in the agricultural industry with the advent of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) giving birth to the Green Revolution. This was only one potential achievement in the extensive list of achievements that biotechnology was progressing towards. I worked with a reputed biotech firm which gave me an insight into how fast-paced the research in biotechnology is. The firm gave me the necessary exposure leading me to decide that I want to pursue MS in Biotechnology. My ambition to work in this field lies essentially in bringing changes in the lifestyle of people in a way that I can research and extensively study the required positive steps towards climate change. My goal is to achieve a sustainable lifestyle for every individual. The exposure that your esteemed institution will give me in the field of research will help me achieve this goal by working at a reputed platform

  • Sample SOP for Australian Student Visa
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  • Sample SOP for MS in CS
  • SOP for PG Diploma in Canada
  • SOP for MBA: Essentials to Mention & Samples
  • SOP for Australia

Here is the basic format for USA, Canada, UK and Australia:

statement of purpose admission

If you are planning to study abroad and want to write a good and outstanding statement of purpose for the university that you are targeting, then here are some of the common mistakes that you can avoid from the very beginning while writing an SOP:

  • Writing the SOP at the last moment without any plan of action or a roadmap
  • Writing a weak and vague introduction and conclusion 
  • Using informal language, slangs, short forms in your SOP
  • Exceeding the word limit and not reaching the correct word limit at all
  • Making your SOP excessively flashy and flattery


If you are eligible for any college-specific scholarships, then during the application process you will be required to write a separate essay/SOP. Either you will be given an essay prompt/question along with a word limit or they would simply ask for an SOP stating the reasons why you think you deserve this scholarship and/or what makes you unique from the rest of the candidates? Thus, a generic SOP is different from a scholarship SOP.

Must Read: LOR: Types, Format, Sample and Tip s

A Letter of Motivation is a letter directly addressed to the admission committee/department faculty explaining your objectives, motivation and goals related to the course. The SOP is not addressed to any specific person or department, it is drafted in an essay format, whereas, the motivational letter is always addressed to a professor or department under whose guidance you will be studying.

Also Read: How to Write a Motivation Letter?

Very much similar to an SOP, Personal Statements are an on-page essay where you write about your motivation, inspiration, goals, and achievements. Personal Statements usually have a more intimate tone than SOP as it talks about the highlighted incidents of your life. Another crucial difference between an SOP and a Personal Statement is that an SOP is addressed to no one in particular, while a Personal Statement is addressed to a professor or department under who you choose to study.

Relevant Reads:

Only your LORs need to be attested by your college or company. An SOP need not be attested/self-attested until and unless specified by the university. If you take a LOR from your college professor/school teacher or a Principal/Dean, then that LOR needs to be signed by the recommender along with the college/school stamp and letterhead. Similarly, for professional LORs, they need to be signed by their respective recommenders on the company’s letterhead and company stamp.

Once you have finalised your SOP draft, give it a double-check for grammatical and formatting mistakes. Your next step should be to analyse and critique your essay. Look at your SOP through the eyes of the Adcom and see what you find lacking. For more effective inputs, you can show your drafts to your friends and family and see how they react to them. Accordingly, you can make some changes but do not overdo it or deviate from the format. Lastly, check for spacing errors and save the final SOP which you will be using for the application process.

You should avoid mentioning any low marks or shortcomings about yourself in any of the application documents, including SOP. There are very few universities that ask you about your gap year. For them, you can mention the reason for the gap between your studies. Generally, no university asks about low grades during your study period as your selection depends on various criteria like exam scores, student profile, financials, and so on. Thus, it is advised against mentioning any flaws or low marks.

Hence, we hope that now you are geared up with all the quintessential tips to start carving out your SOP. If you still have doubts or need further professional guidance, you can always reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll assist you throughout the admission process, be it selecting a suitable course and university or drafting impressive SOPs and LORs. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session. Further, also follow us on  Instagram ,  Youtube ,  LinkedIn ,  Quora   and  Facebook   for more educational content.

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I was really impressed and happy with the informations I was able to get reading through your well documented page.

I am really impressed reading through your sample and guides in writing an SOP.I was able to put mine together and I have submitted awaiting feedback from the Admissions office. Thanks so much.

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statement of purpose admission

Not sure what graduate schools are looking for in a statement of purpose? Looking at successful graduate school statement of purpose samples can help! In this guide, we’ll orient you to what makes a great statement of purpose or letter of intent for graduate school. Then we’ll provide you with four successful statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. We’ll also provide analysis of what makes them successful. Finally, we’ll direct you to even more helpful examples that you can find online!

The Graduate School Statement of Purpose: An Overview

A statement of purpose (also called a letter of intent or a research statement) introduces your interests and experience to the admissions committee. For research-focused programs, like most PhDs and many master’s degrees, your statement of purpose will focus primarily on your past research experience and plans. For more professionally-focused graduate programs, your statement of purpose will primarily discuss how your pursuit of this professional program relates to your past experiences, and how you will use the skills from the program in your future career.

A statement of purpose for grad school is also where you sell the admissions committee on why you belong in their program specifically. Why do you fit there, and how does what they offer fit your interests?


What’s in a Great Grad School Statement of Purpose?

Here are the essential elements of a strong graduate school statement of purpose:

Clear Articulation of Goals and Interests

A strong statement of purpose will clearly and specifically lay out your goals in undertaking the program and what you hope to accomplish with the degree. Again, for a research-focused program, this will focus primarily on the research project(s) you want to undertake while you are there. For a more professional program, discuss what interests you within the professional field and what skills/knowledge you hope to gain through the program.

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You should be as specific as possible in discussing what interests you. Use examples of particular phenomena, tools, or situations that you find exciting. If you are vague or say that everything in the field interests you, you run the risk of seeming unfocused or not actually that passionate.

Don’t worry that being too specific will box you into a particular research area or subfield during your entire tenure in graduate school. Your program understands that interests change—they won’t be pulling out your research statement to cross-reference with your dissertation proposal!

Evidence of Past Experience and Success

A great graduate school statement of purpose will also show programs that you have already been successful. They want applicants that will be able to follow through on their research/professional plans!

To this end, you’ll need to provide evidence of how your background qualifies you to pursue this program and your specific interests in the field. You’ll probably discuss your undergraduate studies and any professional experience you have. But be sure to draw on specific, vivid examples.  You might draw on your thesis, major projects you’ve worked on, papers you have written/published, presentations you’ve given, mentors you’ve worked with, and so on. This gives admissions committees concrete evidence that you are qualified to undertake graduate study!


Interest and Fit With the Program

The third essential ingredient to a great statement of purpose is to clearly lay out why you and the program are a good fit. You should be able to identify both specific reasons why your work fits with the program and why the program suits your work/interests! Are there particular professors you’d like to work with? Does the department have a strong tradition in a certain methodology or theory you’re interested in? Is there a particular facet to the curriculum that you’d like to experience?

Showing that you and the program are a match shows that you chose the program thoughtfully and have genuine interest in it. Programs want to admit students who aren’t just passionate about the field. They want students who are genuinely enthused about their specific program and positioned to get the most out of what they have to offer.

Strong Writing

The final essential piece of a strong statement of purpose or letter of intent is strong writing. Writing skills are important for all graduate programs. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can clearly and effectively communicate your ideas in a way that flows logically. Additionally, you should show that you know how to write in a way that is descriptive but concise. A statement of purpose shouldn’t ever be longer than two pages, even without a hard word limit.

Admissions committees for humanities programs may be a little more focused on writing style than admissions officers for STEM programs. But even in quantitative and science-focused fields, written communication skills are an essential part of graduate school. So a strong statement of purpose will always be effectively written. You’ll see this in our statement of purpose for graduate school samples.


Real, Successful Statement of Purpose Samples

In this section, we’ll present four successful graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts, along with a brief commentary on each statement. These statements come from a diverse selection of program types to show you how the core essentials of a statement of purpose can be implemented differently for different fields.

Note: identifying information for these statements have been changed—except for example four, which is my statement.

  • Statement of Purpose Sample One: Japanese Studies MA

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This statement of purpose is notable for its great use of space and its vivid descriptions. The author is able to cram a lot into about a page. She discusses how she came to her two primary research interests (and how they are connected). She integrates this discussion of her interests with information on her past experiences and qualifications for pursuing the course of study. Finally, she includes details on her goals in pursuing the program and components of the program that interest her. Her examples are specific and fleshed-out. There’s a lot very cleverly included in a small amount of page space!

Additionally, the language is very vivid. Phrases like “evocative and visceral” and “steadily unraveling,” are eye-catching and intriguing. They demonstrate that she has the writing skills necessary to pursue both graduate study and her interest in translation.

  • Statement of Purpose Sample Two: Music MM

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This sample is fairly long, although at 12 point Times New Roman it’s under two pages single-spaced. The length of this statement is partially due to the somewhat expansive nature of the prompt, which asks what role music has played in the applicant’s life “to date.” This invites applicants to speak more about experiences further in the past (in the childhood and teen years) than is typical for a statement of purpose. Given that this is for a master’s degree in music, this is logical; musical study is typically something that is undertaken at a fairly young age.

This statement does an excellent job describing the student’s past experiences with music in great detail. The descriptions of the student’s past compositions and experiences performing new music are particularly vivid and intriguing.

This statement also lays out and elaborates on specific goals the student hopes to pursue through the program, as well as features particular to the program that interest the student (like particular professors).


  • Statement of Purpose Sample Three: Economics PhD

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One of the first things you’ll likely notice about this statement is that it’s a little on the longer side. However, at 12 point Times New Roman font and single-spaced, it still comes in under 2 pages (excluding references). It makes sense for a PhD statement of purpose sample to be longer than a master’s degree statement of purpose—there’s more to lay out in terms of research interests!

The writing style is fairly straightforward—there’s definitely a stronger focus on delivering content than flashy writing style. As Economics is a more quantitative-focused field, this is fine. But the writing is still well-organized, clear, and error-free.

The writer also gives numerous examples of their past work and experience, and shows off their knowledge of the field through references, which is a nice touch.

  • Statement of Purpose Sample Four: History of the Book MA

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This is actually my statement of purpose. It was for a program that I got accepted to but did not end up attending, for a Master’s in the History of the Book. You’ll notice that the two essay prompts essentially asked us to split our statement of purpose into two parts: the first prompt asked about our research interests and goals, and the second prompt asked about our relevant experience and qualifications.

I’ll keep my comments on this graduate school statement of purpose sample brief because I’ll do a deep dive on it in the next section. But looking back at my statement of purpose, I do a good job outlining what within the field interests me and clearly laying out how my past experiences have qualified me for the program.

Obviously this statement did its job, since I was accepted to the program. However, if I were to improve this statement, I’d change the cliche beginning  (“since I was a child”) and provide more specificity in what about the program interested me.


Deep Dive Analysis of a Sample Statement of Purpose for Graduate School

Next, we’ll do a paragraph by paragraph analysis of my statement, statement of purpose sample four. I’ll analyze its strengths and suggest ways I could shore up any weaknesses to make it even stronger.

Essay 1: Academic Interests

To refresh, here’s the first prompt: Please give a short statement that describes your academic interests, purpose, objectives and motivation in undertaking this postgraduate study. (max 3500 chars – approx. 500 words)

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Paragraph 1

Since I was a child, my favorite thing has always been a book. Not just for the stories and information they contain, although that is a large part of it. Mostly, I have been fascinated by the concept of book as object—a tangible item whose purpose is to relate intangible ideas and images. Bookbindings and jackets, different editions, the marginalia in a used book—all of these things become part of the individual book and its significance, and are worth study and consideration. Books and their equivalent forms—perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus—have long been an essential part of material culture and are also one of our most significant sources of information about the human historical past. Through both the literal object of the book, the words contained thereon, and its relationship to other books—forms of context, text and intertext—we are able to learn and hopefully manage layers of information with which we would otherwise have no familiarity.

First, the good: this paragraph does a good job introducing my academic interest in the book-as-object, and shows off pre-existing knowledge both of the study of material culture and literary theory. Additionally, the language is engaging: the juxtaposition of “tangible” and “intangible” in the beginning and phrases like “perfect bound, scrolled, stone tablets, papyrus” lend life to the writing and keep the reader engaged.

If I were to go back and improve this paragraph, first, I would absolutely change the first sentence to something less cliche than talking about my childhood. I might try something like “My love of books is a multifaceted thing. I don’t only love them for the stories and….” Second, I would chill out on the em dashes a little bit. Three sets in one paragraph is a little excessive. Finally, I might actually cut this paragraph down slightly to make more room word-wise later in the statement to discuss what specific things about the program interest me.


Paragraph 2

Furthermore, blogs, webcomics, digital archives, e-readers, and even social media sites like tumblr and Facebook have revolutionized the concept of the book by changing how we share and transmit ideas and information, just as the Gutenberg printing press revolutionized the book all those years ago in the fifteenth century. Once again there has been an explosion both in who can send out information and who can receive it.

This paragraph briefly and effectively introduces my other main academic interest: how new technology has changed the concept of the book-as-object. The tie-back to the printing press is a nice touch; it’s a vivid example that shows that I’m aware of important historical moments in book history.

Paragraph 3

I am deeply interested in the preservation of the physical book, as I think it is an important part of human history (not to mention a satisfying sensory experience for the reader). However I am also very concerned with the digitization and organization of information for the modern world such that the book, in all of its forms, stays relevant and easy to access and use. Collections of books, archives, and information as stored in the world’s servers, libraries and museums are essential resources that need to be properly organized and administered to be fully taken advantage of by their audiences. My purpose in applying to the University of Edinburgh’s Material Culture and History of the Book is to gain the skills necessary to keep all forms of the book relevant and functional in an age when information can move more radically than ever before.

This paragraph actually has a focus problem. Since it covers two topics, I should split it into two paragraphs: one on the integration of my two interests, and one on my goals and interests in the program. I could also stand to expand on what features the program has that interest me: professors I’d like to work with, particular aspects of the curriculum, etc.

In spite of these things, however, this paragraph does a good job clearly integrating the two academic interests related to the book I introduced in the first two paragraphs. And the language is still strong —“satisfying sensory experience” is a great phrase. However, I’ve been using the word “information,” a lot; I might try to replace with appropriate synonyms (like “knowledge”) in a couple of places.

Paragraph 4

Additionally, I intend on pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Sciences upon completion of my master’s and I feel that this program while make me uniquely suited to approach library science from a highly academic and interdisciplinary perspective.

This final paragraph offers just quick touch on my future goals beyond the program. It’s typically fine for this to be relatively brief, as it is here, just so long as you can clearly identify some future goals.


Essay 2: Relevant Experience

The second prompt just asked me to describe my relevant knowledge, training, and skills.

As a folklore and mythology student, I have gained a robust understanding of material culture and how it relates to culture as a whole. I have also learned about the transmission of ideas, information, stories and pieces of lore among and between populations, which is an important component of book history. Folklore is also deeply concerned with questions of the literary vs. oral lore and the tendency for text to “canonize” folklore, and yet text can also question or invert canonized versions; along with this my studies in my focus field of religion and storytelling have been deeply concerned with intertextuality. One of my courses was specifically concerned with the Heian-period Japanese novel The Tale of Genji and questions of translation and representation in post-Heian picture scrolls and also modern translations and manga. In addition to broader cultural questions concerned with gender and spirituality both in historical Japan and now, we considered the relationships between different Genji texts and images.

This is a strong, focused paragraph. I relate my academic background in Folklore and Mythology to my interests in studying the book, as well as showing off some of my knowledge in the area. I also chose and elaborated on a strong example (my class on the Tale of Genji ) of my relevant coursework.

I also have work experience that lends itself to the study of the book. After my freshman year of college I interned at the Chicago History Museum. Though I was in the visitor services department I was exposed to the preservation and archival departments of the museum and worked closely with the education department, which sparked my interest in archival collections and how museums present collection information to the public. After my sophomore year of college and into my junior year, I worked at Harvard’s rare books library, Houghton. At Houghton I prepared curated collections for archival storage. These collections were mostly comprised of the personal papers of noteworthy individuals, categorized into alphabetical folders. This experience made me very process-oriented and helped me to understand how collections come together on a holistic basis.

This paragraph also has a clear focus: my past, relevant work experience. Discussing archival collections and presenting information to the public links the interests discussed in my first statement with my qualifications in my second statement. However, if I were to revise this paragraph, I would add some specific examples of the amazing things I worked on and handled at Houghton Library. In that job, I got to touch Oliver Cromwell’s death mask! An interesting example would make this paragraph really pop even more.

Finally, in my current capacity as an education mentor in Allston, a suburb of Boston, I have learned the value of book history and material culture from an educational perspective. As a mentor who designs curriculum for individual students and small groups, I have learned to highly value clearly organized and useful educational resources such as websites, iPad apps, and books as tools for learning. By managing and organizing collections in a way that makes sense we are making information accessible to those who need it.

This final paragraph discusses my current (at the time) work experience in education and how that ties into my interest in the history of the book. It’s an intriguing connection and also harkens back to my discussion of information availability in the paragraph three of the first statement. Again, if I were to amp up this statement even more, I might include a specific example of a book-based (or book technology-based) project I did with one of my students. I worked on things like bookbinding and making “illuminated manuscripts” with some of my students; those would be interesting examples here.

This statement is split into two parts by virtue of the two-prompt format. However, if I were to integrate all of this information into one unified statement of purpose, I would probably briefly introduce my research interests, go in-depth on my background, then circle back around to speak more about my personal interests and goals and what intrigues me about the program. There’s not really one correct way to structure a statement of purpose just so long as it flows well and paragraphs are structured in a logical way: one topic per paragraph, with a clear topic and concluding sentence.


More Statement of Purpose Examples

We’ve provided you with four great graduate school statement of purpose examples from our graduate school experts. However, if you’re looking for more, there are other sample letters of intent and statements of purpose for graduate school online. We’ve rounded up the best ones here, along with some strengths and weaknesses about each example.

Majortests Statement of Purpose Sample

This is a fairly straightforward, clearly written statement of purpose sample for a biology program. It includes useful commentary after each paragraph about what this statement of purpose is accomplishing.

  • This statement of purpose sample is well-organized, with clear topic sentences and points made in each paragraph.
  • The student clearly identifies what interests her about the program.
  • The student proactively addresses questions about why she hasn’t gone directly to graduate school, and frames her professional research experience as a positive thing.
  • She gives a tiny bit of color about her personality in a relevant way by discussing her involvement with the Natural History Society.
  • In general, discussing high school interests is too far back in time unless the anecdote is very interesting or unusual. The detail about The Theory of Evolution is intriguing; the information about the high school teacher seems irrelevant. The student should have condensed this paragraph into a sentence or two.
  • While this statement is cogently written and makes the candidate sound competent and well-qualified, it’s not exactly the most scintillating piece of writing out there. Some of the constructions are a little awkward or cliche. For example, the “many people have asked me” sentence followed by “the answer is” is a little bit clunky. This is probably fine for a STEM program. But just be aware that this statement is not a paragon of writing style.

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UC Berkeley History Statement of Purpose Sample

This is a graduate school statement of purpose example from the UC Berkeley History department’s PhD program, with annotations from a professor as to why it’s a successful statement.

  • The author is able to very clearly and articulately lay out her research interests and link them to past work she has successfully completed, namely, her thesis.
  • She is able to identify several things about the program and Berkeley that indicate why it is a good fit for her research interests.
  • She addresses the time she spent away from school and frames it as a positive, emphasizing that her use of time was well-considered and productive.
  • Her writing is very vivid, with excellent word choice and great imagery.

While very well-written and engaging, this sample statement of purpose for graduate school is a little bit on the long side! It’s a little over two single-spaced pages, which is definitely pushing the limits of acceptable length. Try to keep yours at 2 pages or less. Some of the information on the thesis (which comprises over half of the statement of purpose) could be condensed to bring it down to two pages.


Pharmacy Residency Letter of Intent Sample

This is not technically a sample letter of intent for graduate school because it’s actually for a pharmacy residency program. However, this example still provides illumination as to what makes a decent graduate school letter of intent sample.

  • This is a serviceable letter of intent: the writer clearly lays out their own goals within the field of pharmacy, what qualifications they have and how they’ve arrived at their interests, and how the program fits their needs.
  • The writing is clearly structured and well-organized.
  • The main weakness is that some of the writer’s statements come across as fairly generic. For example, “The PGY-1 Residency Program at UO Hospitals will provide me with the opportunity to further develop my clinical knowledge, critical thinking, teaching, research, and leadership skills” is a generic statement that could apply to any residency program. A punchier, more program-specific conclusion would have amped up this letter.
  • While the writer does a decent job providing examples of their activities, like working as a tutor and attending the APhA conference, more specificity and detail in these examples would make the statement more memorable.
  • There’s a typo in the last paragraph —a “to” that doesn’t belong! This is an unprofessional blip in an otherwise solid letter. Read you own letter of intent aloud to avoid this!

NIU Bad Statement of Purpose Example

This is an ineffective graduate school statement of purpose example, with annotations on why it doesn’t work.

As you might imagine, the main strength in this document is as an example of what not to do. Otherwise, there is little to recommend it.

  • The annotations quite clearly detail the weaknesses of this statement. So I won’t address them exhaustively except to point out that this statement of purpose fails at both content and style. The author includes irrelevant anecdotes and lists without offering a decisive picture of interests or any particular insight into the field. Additionally, the statement is riddled with grammatical mistakes, awkward sentence structures, and strange acronyms.
  • You’ll note that the commentary advises you to “never start with a quote.” I agree that you should never start with a freestanding quote as in this example. However, I do think starting with a quote is acceptable in cases like the Berkeley history example above, where the quote is brief and then directly linked to the research interest.


Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples: 4 Key Points

Graduate programs ask for statement of purpose to hear about your interests and goals and why you think you and the program would be a good fit.

There are four key elements to a successful statement of purpose:

  • A clear articulation of your goals and interests
  • Evidence of past experiences and success
  • Interest and fit with the program
  • Strong writing

We’ve provided you with four successful statement of purpose samples from our graduate school experts!

We also provided additional statement of purpose samples (and a sample letter of intent) for graduate school from other sources on the internet. Now you have all kinds of guidance!

What’s Next?

If you’re looking for more information on graduate school , see our guide to what makes a good GPA for grad school .

Not sure if you need to take the GRE ? See if you can get into graduate school without GRE scores .

Want more information about the GRE? We can help you figure out when to take the GRE , how to make a GRE study plan , and how to improve your GRE score .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

statement of purpose admission

Author: Ellen McCammon

Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon

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Writing the Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should convince the admissions committee that your achievements show promise for your success in graduate study. Think of the statement of purpose as a composition with four different parts.

Make sure to check on the appropriate departmental website to find out if your statement should include additional or specific information.

Part 1: Introduce yourself, your interests and motivations

Tell them what you’re interested in, and perhaps, what sparked your desire for graduate study. This should be short and to the point; don’t spend a great deal of time on autobiography.

Part 2: Summarize your undergraduate and previous graduate career

a) Research you conducted. Indicate with whom, the title of the project, what your responsibilities were, and the outcome. Write technically, or in the style of your discipline. Faculty are the people who read these statements.

b) Important paper or thesis project you completed, as well as anything scholarly beyond your curricular requirements.

c) Work experience, especially if you had any kind of responsibility for testing, designing, researching or interning in an area similar to what you wish to study in graduate school.

Part 3: Discuss the relevance of your recent and current activities

If you graduated and worked prior to returning to graduate school, indicate what you’ve been doing: company or non-profit, your work/design team, responsibilities, what you learned. You can also indicate here how this helped you focus your graduate studies.

Part 4: Elaborate on your academic interests

Here you indicate what you would like to study in graduate school in enough detail to convince the faculty that you understand the scope of research in their discipline, and are engaged with current research themes.

a) Indicate the area of your interests. Ideally, pose a question, define a problem, or indicate a theme that you would like to address, and questions that arise from contemporary research. This should be an ample paragraph!

b) Look on the web for information about departments you’re interested in, including professors and their research. Are there professors whose research interests parallel yours? If so, indicate this. Check the specific program; many may require you to name a professor or professors with whom you might work.

c) End your statement in a positive manner, indicating your excitement and readiness for the challenges ahead of you.

Essential Tips

1. What the admissions committee will read between the lines: self-motivation, competence, potential as a graduate student.

2. Emphasize everything from a positive perspective and write in an active, not a passive voice.

3. Demonstrate everything by example; don’t say directly that you’re a persistent person, show it.

4. If there is something important that happened to you that affected your grades, such as poverty, illness, or excessive work, state it. Write it affirmatively, showing your perseverance despite obstacles. You can elaborate more in your personal statement.

5. Make sure everything is linked with continuity and focus.

6. Unless the specific program says otherwise, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is better than more words with less clarity and poor organization.

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Statements of Purpose: Overview and Before You Draft

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The statement of purpose is perhaps the most important, and most challenging, element of your application packet. This letter needs to reflect who you are and why you would be an asset to the program you are applying to. It needs to make you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants and yet stay within the genre-based expectations for a statement of purpose. This resource provides information on writing statements of purpose specifically for graduate school applications.

Your graduate statement of purpose is one of the most important documents in your application packet. A good statement of purpose may not necessarily get you in to a program, but a poorly written one could cause the committee to overlook your application. In addition, submitting a strongly written statement works in your favor in such situations as:

  • having a low grade in one or two of your courses
  • breaking a tie with other applicants who have performed at your level in terms of GRE and GPA scores
  • getting into programs in which standardized test scores are weighted significantly less than demonstrating one’s professional interests and abilities (i.e., Humanities and certain Social Science fields).

Remember that your statement of purpose is the only opportunity you will have to let the admission committee directly get to know you. They will have some sense of who you are based on your recommenders’ notes and on the writing sample you include, but this is the chance for you to personally make a good, strong impression.

Please note, that these resources focus on applying to graduate studies programs in the United States. The information contained in these resources may or may not be appropriate to other contexts.

Before you begin

Unlike with most job applications, you can have months to review the statements of purpose that graduate programs ask you to write. Most graduate programs include questions or writing prompts that they would like you to answer within the application materials themselves. As soon as the materials have been updated for this year’s applications, write down, or copy and paste the questions into a document, so that you can have as much time as possible to think through each one. Start making connections (mentally or visually) between your classes, work experience, or volunteer opportunities. Based on what you would like to do in graduate school (and beyond) what kinds of themes begin to emerge?

Look up information about the programs you are applying to. Check out their websites and if there is any material that you are curious about but they don’t list, such as the graduate curriculum or research opportunities, check in with the program administrator. Then, once you have gathered all of that information, start looking for the connections between the program’s and your own work and interests. Which of the programs that you have in mind would be the best based on their required coursework, professors in the fields, teaching opportunities, and so on?

You can use several exercises to write down some preliminary thoughts in a non-linear fashion before you start drafting: for example, prewriting to get your ideas flowing; sketching out a preliminary outline ; or, you can also use a number of other invention strategies such as: brainstorming, freewriting, clustering, or asking questions to help you get your thoughts on paper.

There is a lot at stake in the statement of purpose, so it can be daunting to begin writing. You might feel hesitant to start drafting your document until you are absolutely sure that you know your theme, structure, and have all the pertinent information about each program ready at hand. The fear might be that you’ll have to just change everything later if you start writing now, so why waste the time? There is, most definitely, an element of truth to that logic, but remember that the longer you procrastinate, the less time you will have to make any changes whatsoever. Don’t be afraid of these so called “false starts.” Getting started early on your writing will help you generate more ideas, which will strengthen your statement down the line.

Works Consulted

Getting In: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 1997. Print.

Kaplan, Inc. Get into Graduate School: A Strategic Approach . New York: Simon & Schuster. 2003. Print.

Stelzer, Richard J. How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School . 3rd. ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson’s Publishing, 2002. Print.

Stewart, Mark Allen. Peterson's How to Write the Perfect Personal Statement . Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson’s Publishing, 2009. Print.

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A Statement of Purpose (SOP) should convince the admission committee that you are an ideal candidate. Get the SOP format, sample SOPs, and dos & don'ts.

Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


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What’s covered in this article?

  • What is an SOP?
  • Why is an SOP important

What makes a good SOP?

  • What is the basic format of an SOP
  • Sample SOPs

The Dos: Tips for writing a good SOP or Statement of Purpose

The don’ts: common mistakes to avoid while writing an sop, faqs on sops.

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What is a Statement of Purpose or an SOP?

An SOP or a Statement of Purpose is a letter written by the applicant conveying their intent for choosing a particular course, their interests, goals and career plans. It is addressed to the admission committee. It is also known as a research statement or a letter of intent.

Through the SOP, you should be able to clearly articulate what made you choose a particular course and what you aim to gain through the course. Your passion for the subject should reflect in your SOP. The admission team should also get a glimpse of the positive aspects of your character through the SOP.

Get more tips on writing a statement of purpose or an SOP

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Why is an SOP important?

When applying for your studies abroad , all you are worried about is getting a good offer from a reputable institution, but you may not realise what goes on at the admissions office when they receive your applications. An SOP is crucial because:

  • It is perhaps the first document that attracts the admissions team to your profile. Hence, drafting a powerful SOP must be on your priority list.
  • Several candidates might have similar academic qualifications to yours. An SOP is your opportunity to make your application stand out from the rest.
  • It is also a reflection of how well you can articulate your thoughts, ambitions and plans.
  • Your SOP will give the admission committee a subjective view.
  • It Should be original. There are plenty of sample SOPs available on the internet and it is not advisable to copy them verbatim.
  • Your Statement of Purpose should be free of grammatical errors
  • Your SOP should have answers to some crucial questions that the admission committee might have about you.
  • If the institution has requested the SOP in a particular format, make sure you follow it.
  • A good SOP will demonstrate your passion for the subject, your potential and your purpose for choosing the particular course.

What is the basic format of an SOP?

It is not an easy task to create an SOP or Statement of Purpose from scratch. Getting ready for an incisive SOP is going to take some time, probably weeks or months. But writing an SOP without following any guidelines will not help because most SOP rejections happen when those don’t comply with standard requirements.

Every SOP must have an introduction, body and conclusion. These three parts need to be clearly defined with the necessary information.

It should be written in the form of an essay, with paragraphs.

The first paragraph should introduce yourself, mention your academic qualification and give a gist of your purpose for choosing a particular course. You can talk about your goals and how this course can help fulfil your dreams. You should be able to demonstrate your understanding of what the course comprises.

In your second and third paragraphs, you can talk about your passion for the subject and mention your academic and related activities and achievements that prove this. If you have professional experience, you can mention that too.

In the fourth paragraph , write about why you decided to pursue this course, at this particular university. Justify your choice with relevant points. You can point out your immediate and long-term goals too.

In the fifth paragraph , add points to convince the admission committee that you make an ideal candidate for the course.

In a short paragraph , mention your extra-curricular activities, projects you have undertaken, voluntary work, papers submitted if any, industry visits, workshops attended, dissertations and your interests and hobbies.

In your final paragraph , you should show the admission committee that you have the qualities and qualifications needed for succeeding in the course and that you will be able to make a difference in society with your success.

Please use this as a reference and not as a strict format to follow. 

Check out our article for more detailed information on how to write a convincing SOP for studying abroad.

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Sample SOP (Statement of Purpose) for studying abroad

Here is a sample SOP or Statement of Purpose to support your college application. Please note that these are just templates to help you gain an idea of how to draft an SOP. Please do not use them directly.

Name of the applicant: [Name]

Course applied: [Course name]

I am set to complete my undergraduate programme in [course name] in a few months’ time and I realised that this is a crucial stage in my career when I should decide the direction for my successful future. I have a great interest in the [subject], and this is the reason I am looking to pursue a graduate degree in the same. In addition, the rapid changes in [subject area] in recent times have made the role of a [Job name] a very indispensable one. In order to reach my goal of being a successful [Job role], it is of utmost necessity that I consider studying at [university name] with its rewarding research programme, excellent research facilities and inspiring environment.

I have always shown a keen interest in [subjects], which has enhanced my [skills]. These are my areas of strength which have helped me acquire [scores in the subject]% in my [last study level]. I scored [scores]% in senior secondary school with [score]% in [relevant subject] and [score]% in [relevant subject]. My overall percentage in [subjects] is [score]%.

Given my love towards [field of interest], pursuing higher studies in [subject] was quite natural. To study the course, I had to prove myself through [Competetive examinations]. I passed the examination with flying colours, being placed among the top X% of all the students who had attempted the test. I took up [course] in [College name] College affiliated with the prestigious [University name] in [Locality]. I chose [course] for my undergraduate major as I believed it has tremendous potential to help me realise my goal and also contribute to society. Throughout my undergraduate programme, I’ve maintained an excellent academic record.

My undergraduate programme has given me a comprehensive exposure to numerous courses that I found interesting – [Topics covered as part of the programme]. I strongly believe in practical learning; it is the hope of finding path-breaking results through experimentation that I find very fascinating. I took my study beyond the walls of my classroom – keeping myself occupied with numerous industrial visits. This helped me get a closer look at the application of various aspects of the subject. I presented [paper presentation numbers/topics] at the national and state levels, and also organised various technical events in college. I was elected the president of my department, taking into consideration my leadership qualities, communication skills and performance. I was also an active participant in [relevant topic] competitions organised by my university.

During the final year of my undergraduate degree, I undertook two projects – [Project names]. I was the [Your role in the project], and I learnt how to overcome numerous practical difficulties – with access to limited resources. I successfully completed both projects on time, with the guidance of technical experts in my college.

My objective in pursuing an MS in [subject] is to acquire in-depth knowledge and hone my intellectual ability. Ten years down the line, I envision myself in the manufacturing sector. I would like to apply what I learn in [The industry name] and contribute towards its development.

I find that your esteemed institution with its world-renowned high-tech facilities will be the ideal place for my graduate studies. I look forward to your acceptance of my application so that I can gain admission to [Programme name] programme.

Here are more samples for you to look at:

Sample SOPs for students looking for graduate studies in engineering abroad

  • sample SOP for Mechanical Engineering
  • sample SOP for Computer Engineering
  • sample SOP for technical studies

Sample SOP for students looking for MBA admissions abroad

  • sample SOP for the MBA programme

Sample SOPs for applying to medicine courses abroad

  • sample SOP for Medicine and Surgery
  • sample SOP for MSc in Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research

Sample SOPs for students looking to study MS courses abroad

  • sample SOP for MS in Computer Science
  • sample SOP for MS in Chemical Engineering
  • Font style and size are vital while drafting an SOP. These are often missed or not followed by students while drafting an SOP.
  • Write your SOP in the active voice and let it have a positive feel altogether.
  • The SOP should have a formal tone, but keep it conversational.
  • It should have continuity.
  • Follow the instructions, if any, given by the institution. For example, you might be asked to limit your SOP to one page.
  • Use examples in your SOP to garner the attention of the reader. These will stand out more than generic statements.
  • Keep editing and rewriting, till the last date you send it across. The more you edit, the better your work becomes. If you are running out of words, let the draft sit in one corner for a few days, and then get back to it with a fresh mind.
  • Your SOP should be tweaked based on the institution or course that you are applying to.
  • Avoid using commonly used adjectives while writing an SOP. For example, hard-working and challenging
  • Do not make vague and generic statements. It should be followed by specific instances from your life.
  • Do not repeat the information in your SOP. Also if you have mentioned something in your resume, please do not copy-paste or repeat it in your SOP. Let the information in your resume be distinct from that in your SOP.
  • It is difficult to pull off humour and sarcasm in writing. Hence, it is safe to stay clear of those.
  • Most importantly, never copy anyone’s SOP and pass it on as your own. There are tools that can catch plagiarism, which is a serious offence.
  • Though your confident persona should show through the SOP, make sure you won’t be mistaken as an arrogant and self-obsessed person.
  • Do not draw attention to your drawback or failures, unless you highlight that those were your learning experiences and you did something about it.
  • Do not include information that is not necessary or relevant to your college education.
You may like: common do’s and don’ts while writing an SOP !

1. What is an SOP or Statement of Purpose meant for?

An SOP or Statement of Purpose should say exactly what it asks for – elaborate on your purpose for selecting the particular course. The letter should highlight your passion for the subject and present yourself as an ideal candidate for the course.

2. Should I write the SOP or Statement of Purpose on my own?

Only you have first-hand knowledge of your skills, passion, academic performance, and other personal details. Hence it is best to write the SOP on your own. You can of course get it edited or proofread by others to ensure that you meet all the SOP requirements and that it is free of errors.

3. What is SOP in overseas education?

SOP stands for Statement of Purpose which is a document that accompanies the university applications. It is a letter written by the candidate to highlight facts about them that are not captured in the resume and academic documents. It is an opportunity for the student to make their application stand out.

4. What should I avoid in an SOP?

Repeating information that is available in other documents that accompany your application, providing vague or generic information, writing in a casual tone and not sticking to the basic SOP requirements should be avoided.

5. Do SOPs have a word limit?

Unless specified by the university, your SOP can range from 800 – 1500 words. It is best to limit it to 1 page as the admission committee will have to go through hundreds of SOPs and will be pressed for time.

Here are related topics you might be interested in:

How to justify your backlogs in an SOP

Other documents required for studying abroad

  Editor's note : This article was originally published in January 2018. Our content writer Roshna Mohan has edited it to include up-to-date information and made it comprehensive.

Looking to study abroad?

Sumit Raghav

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Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose and Objectives requirements vary by program. Do not underestimate the importance of this statement. It is your opportunity to inform the faculty reviewers of your qualifications, motivation, and potential to make a contribution to the field of public health.

Statement requirement for all Master of Science (SM) and MPH (excluding JD/MPH):  

The Statement of Purpose and Objectives should  not exceed 600 words , although SOPHAS allows for a higher word count.  In your statement, please describe the following:

  • Academic and/or professional preparation for a career in public health
  • Your focused interest in the degree program/department or MPH field of study to which you are applying
  • Career plans upon completion of the program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Note any relevant strengths or weaknesses in your background or in your ability to carry out your professional responsibilities.

Statement requirement for JD/MPH:

The Statement of Purpose and Objectives should  not exceed 750 words , although SOPHAS allows for a higher word count. There is no prescribed format for the essay, but it should include information about the following:

  • Your focused interest within the field of public health
  • Previous academic, professional, and/or extracurricular experiences that demonstrate your interest in public health or health-related issues
  • Reasons for wanting to enroll in the joint JD/MPH degree program
  • Career plans upon completion of the joint degree program

The essay should persuasively establish (1) your preparation to undertake this intense course of study, (2) your understanding of the MPH curriculum, and (3) a good fit between the curriculum and your interests and goals.

Statement requirement for DrPH:

In your statement, please answer all of the following questions and number the response accordingly:

  • Describe in detail your most significant professional experience and explain why it prepares you to pursue advanced professional studies in public health. (up to 500 words)
  • Provide a reflection of your current leadership abilities and describe what you seek to reinforce and/ or strengthen in context to your work, through the DrPH degree program. (up to 500 words)
  • Tell us about a public health problem or challenge that you seek to address as part of your studies in the program and/or upon completion of your DrPH degree program. (up to 500 words)

Kira assessment for DrPH applicants:

  • Once you begin your application through SOPHAS, you will have access to the Kira platform. Through the Kira platform, you’ll be asked to submit responses to several timed video and one written question. This assessment is done in an asynchronous format, so you can complete your responses on your own time before the Friday, December 1, 2023 application deadline.

Statement requirement for MHCM:

Applicants to the MHCM program who have questions about the essay requirement may  contact Colin Fleming  at 617-432-7075. This statement should not exceed 1,250 words.

  • In one paragraph or less briefly describe the organization where you are employed in terms of its purpose, its services and client population, and its scope of operation (state, county, etc., if relevant). Also provide several relevant measures of its size (e.g., annual budget and revenues; number of employees or full-time equivalents; patients or beds; and number of years in existence if less than five years old).
  • In one paragraph describe your role in the organization, including title/position of groups or individuals to whom you report; current responsibilities; number and types of individuals you supervise; size of budget(s) you control; and names of principal committees on which you sit.
  • Summarize your career development, describe the broad areas of endeavor in which you have engaged, and distinguish between clinically-oriented activities (e.g., teaching, research, practice) and leadership activities.
  • With reference to your present and future responsibilities and development, describe what you are primarily interested in learning as a result of participating in the program. Please note subject areas in which you are well versed and those in which you feel you need improvement.
  • Consider a professional project where you were responsible for design and/or implementation, and the project was successful. Describe what you learned from this experience and how it influenced you as a leader.
  • Consider a professional project where you were responsible for design and/or implementation, and the project was unsuccessful or not implemented as designed. Describe what you learned from this experience and how it influenced you as a leader.

Advisory Note: We recognize that cultural norms differ from country to country. In order for our applicants to be informed of what is expected, we suggest reading the following text, which is included in our  Student Handbook  in the section on  Academic Integrity . While this text refers to work submitted for courses, it applies to the documentation submitted as part of the application process:

“All work submitted to meet course requirements is expected to be a student’s own work. In the preparation of work submitted to meet course requirements, students should always take great care to distinguish their own ideas and knowledge from information derived from sources. Whenever ideas or facts are derived from a student’s reading and research the sources must be indicated. The term ‘sources’ includes not only published primary and secondary material, but also information and opinions gained directly from other people. The responsibility for using the proper forms of citation lies with the individual student. Quotations must be placed within quotation marks, and the source must be credited. All paraphrased material also must be completely acknowledged.”

We encourage applicants to visit our page on Citation/Attributions .

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How to Write a Statement of Purpose for PhD Admission


The dreaded doctoral statement of purpose — every PhD program asks for it, but why is it so difficult to write? Writing a strong statement of purpose is essential to getting into your top PhD programs. A PhD statement of purpose gives admissions committees an introduction to your research interests and why their specific program is of interest to you.

Like a cover letter for a job application, a great statement of purpose allows you to highlight your strengths, interests and experience. If you need statement of purpose advice, keep reading for guidance on how to write a successful statement of purpose that will make your PhD application stand out.

Statement of purpose vs. personal statement

Though the two may sound similar, they’re not necessarily interchangeable. A personal statement gives insight into who you are, while a statement of purpose is meant to showcase what you want to do. Rarely will you be asked to write a personal statement for a PhD program.

As you go through the PhD application process, you will likely see schools requesting either a statement of purpose or a research statement. In most cases, they're both looking for the same thing. Admissions committees want to know about your academic background, your research goals and what you hope to accomplish as a candidate in a PhD program.

Your research goals should align with faculty research

Being admitted to a PhD program is a great feeling, but if you enroll in a program that doesn’t match your research interests or help support your career goals, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment later down the road.

Applying for admission to a program is all about fit. Faculty reviewers are looking for students who best represent the department’s mission and will help them obtain their research objectives.

By the time you apply, you should have a solid understanding of what the department’s primary research and content areas are, as well as which faculty members you’d like to work with more closely. This might mean finding information about what their labs do and reading published articles related to their work.

Be sure to include how your interests and past experiences align with the work that they do and how you would be an active contributor to those endeavors. This approach shows that you took the time to look into their program, so the committee will be more willing to invest theirs in reviewing your application.

Don’t be afraid to address your weaknesses

Many people assume they should avoid listing their shortcomings in their essays. The whole point of applying to a program is to impress the reviewers, right? But constructively addressing your weaknesses can be a great way to demonstrate how this program can help you achieve your academic goals.

Look at the catalog and read through the courses that are part of the program. If there is a particular class that fascinates you, talk about how it could help you obtain a new skill or a better understanding of a concept that you’ve struggled with before.

This demonstrates that you are actively seeking programs to help you better your education. It also exhibits that you’re mindful of what areas of your knowledge need some improvement, which shows maturity and the ability to self-assess.

Keep it succinct

If your program of interest does not specify a page word or word limit, it’s best to assume that your statement should not exceed two pages total. It should be enough to give them a glimpse of who you are and what you have to offer but not share your life story.

The aim is to communicate how and why this particular program will help you meet your academic and career goals. Limited space means you must prioritize what you include in your statement.

Create an outline before you start writing to ensure you are including points that are relevant to your application and the program to which you are applying. Your statement is also an example of how well you can write. By framing your essay before you write it, you can avoid stream-of-consciousness writing that can often come across as undefined and incoherent.

Proofread! And read it over and over

When you think you have a finished product, read your essay out loud. This makes it easier to catch typos, poor grammar, and oddly worded sentences. If you have a friend who is also applying to grad school, help each other out by editing each other’s essays.

Having someone else read your statement and ask questions can help you clarify your points and make it more compelling. Your statement is your one chance to present yourself professionally in your own words. The occasional mistake is excusable, but messy writing will make them think you lack attention to detail.

Before you hit submit on that application, be sure that you have attached the correct document for the right institution. It can be very embarrassing if your statement mentions the wrong faculty member’s name or refers to another school’s library! It could also cause the reviewers to think you are not as serious about their program.

You’ve spent a good amount of time perfecting your application, so take your time to review everything before you submit it so you can rest easy knowing you’ve presented your best.


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about how to apply to a PhD by reading our guide on Choosing, Applying for, and Thriving in a PhD Program!

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How to Write a Successful Statement of Purpose with this Format

EssayEdge > Blog > How to Write a Successful Statement of Purpose with this Format

The hardest part of any piece of writing is just getting started after choosing the writing direction. Having a format can help quickly give structure to not only what you should write but what the finished piece should look like to impress readers. The following statement of purpose (or statement of interest) format offers some general direction so you can start getting ideas and get to writing to get an amazing outcome.

Before taking up the process of writing, you may wonder how long should a statement of purpose be, the difference between statement of purpose grad school and Ph.D. statement of purpose, or how to end statement of purpose to leave an unforgettable impression.

Our statement of purpose editing is to help you find out the answers for all the bothering issues.

Think about it, do you really want to waste your time trying to figure out everything you need to know about your statement of purpose? Of course not. That’s why we wrote this quick explanation guide to tell you everything you need to know to go from staring at a blank screen to writing a statement of purpose first successful draft.

Table of Contents:

What is a statement of purpose?

A statement of purpose (SOP or also called statement of intent), in the context of applying for graduate schools or universities, is an essay that’s one of the most important aspects of your application because it tells the admission committee who you are, why you’re applying, why you’re a good candidate, and what you want to do in the future, your professional goals, what will you do when becoming alumni or Ph.D., apart from your GPA, test scores and other numbers. Therefore, don’t neglect the importance of this essay. It’s sometimes called an SOP letter, application essay, personal background, objectives for graduate study, cover letter, or something similar to one of these. The thing is that this diversity of titles implies SOP anyway. Keep in mind that even top-rated universities, like MIT , Stanford , or Berkley take essays as a deciding factor.

See also: personal statement vs statement of purpose to know the difference between the essays and not to fail the admissions to your dream university. 

What are the general conditions required for statement of interest? 

The statement of purpose (statement of interest) reflects not only who you are as a candidate but your writing abilities and qualifications as well. In college and graduate school, you’re going to be doing a ton of writing. Seriously a ton. It is a common deal for universities. It was not unusual for me to write papers 10-20 pages or longer. Take it as a commitment. With that in mind, it is really important to show that you are a truly competent writer. Some quick statement of purpose tips are:

  • Your statement of purpose shouldn’t have any typos, spelling or grammatical errors
  • Use strong, clear, and concise writing
  • Avoid cliches and repetitive language
  • Stay away from overly informal language
  • Keep a positive and confident tone

Also, there is a common question of how to format a statement of purpose and fit into the common requirements. There is a diversity of variants. However, the general format is similar to any other piece of academic writing. You should use:

  • 12 point Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • 1.5 line spacing

This format will make your writing easier to read and provide you with some additional explanation. It is also the expected format. Sadly, you probably won’t get bonus points for standing out with your general visual formatting. It is going to benefit you much more to focus on wowing your reader with your actual content. It will help you get a great outcome.

Do’s of Personal Statement Formatting

  • Format the essay.
  • Avoid informal language.
  • Check grammar and spelling.
  • Space the text.
  • Use readable font.

Don’ts of Personal Statement Formatting

  • Submit half-backed paper.
  • Pretend as you write a message to your buddy.
  • Use overcomplicated language and sentence constructions.
  • Apply colorful and vivid background.
  • Use a beautiful or awkward font.

Do I need to put my name in the statement of purpose heading?

In general, no, you don’t need to put your name on your SOP. The reason is that your statement is a part of your larger application which already has your name throughout it. However, it is important to look at the specific requirements for the program you’re applying to. If the requirements for your program say that you should include your name, then you should follow those directions. You may also like  diversity statement .

How long should a statement of purpose be?

Many students are doubtful regarding statement of purpose length and its importance . A statement of purpose should really be one page and only one page. You could write up to one and a half pages if needed, but nothing longer than this. The reason is that you need to be economical with your writing and not overwhelm your readers. Admissions officers departments read dozens of applications a day, so you are going to need to be able to concisely and clearly state what you want to say. Writing longer than 1 – 1.5 pages will make you seem like you lack focus and clarity in your purpose for school. Get rid of all unnecessary data, like descriptions of your grades, anyway, they can be found in your GPA paper.

Julia Z.

Besides, you should check the official site of the educational institution you want to apply to. As a rule, admissions offices or departments promulgate the conditions of how long should a statement of purpose be.

Check out personal statement length for more detailed information. 

Statement of purpose tips that will help you create your best essay ever

It can be hard to know what to include in each section of your writing and what strategies to take into consideration. The following statement of purpose format is a simple five-paragraph essay that will help you address all the points admissions officers expect you to cover. Also, this section is supposed to help you decide on the way how to write a statement of purpose on the whole.

Part 1: Who are you, and what do you want to do? – 1st paragraph

In the first paragraph, you should introduce yourself by briefly giving your background and stating your current career goal or objective in the thesis. Your introduction should be relevant to the specific program and its coursework you’re applying to. Talking about your love of cooking when you’re applying to medical school won’t really help you by itself or play the role of your accomplishments. Any information you include in your introduction needs to be relatable back to specific aspects of the program. Moreover, think closely about the topic of relationships for your essay as it can provide a twofold impression in some cases.

For example, consider this statement from the description of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program , it will help you decide on how to start a statement of purpose, “HST students learn to carry their engineering and scientific expertise from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside and to bring clinical insights from the bedside to the bench.” If you were applying to this program, you’d probably want to include some background you have with scientific research and what was its relevance for you or bedside interactions with patients to let the faculty staff and particular department know more about you. Your career goal or objective should also clearly show that this is the kind of work you want to do.

Research the program and its coursework you are applying to thoroughly, and make sure that what you write about directly relates to the specific details included in the program description and include those points into your statement of purpose outline. It will help you stick to the requirements connected exactly to your field of interest.

See also: how to start a personal essay and college essay introduction writing tips and tricks to make it magnificent.

Part 2: Why do you want to do it? – 2nd paragraph

The second paragraph should explain how you came to be interested in your specific area of study, either it is faculty of literature or economics. Now that you’ve made it clear that you have a background and goal related to the program, explain your interest in it, why the commitment of successful admissions is that crucial for you. Your statement of purpose tells admissions officers why you’re applying, and fast! Think over the fact what is a statement of purpose for you, your relationships with this particular field of interest, and your future career before you start making up the reasons for the second paragraph.

Need help? Check out EssayEdge editing services:

Don’t give really general reasons like, “I like helping people.” General reasons don’t help admissions officers understand you as an individual as they haven’t been in a close relationship with you. This is because so many people give these reasons. You probably do like helping people, and that’s great; now look deeper and try to include it in the list of your accomplishments. Why do you like helping people? How did you come to like helping people? Why do you want to learn in this specific program to help people? What is its relevance for your life? Why graduate school is the crucial place for your future? The more completely you understand your reasons, the better you’ll be able to convince admissions officers you’re the right choice. Concentrating on the reasons why you are the most appropriate person is the most essential part of writing, either you are to submit college statement of purpose, grad school personal statement , or personal statement . In the way of submitting letter of intent graduate school has a chance to see what is a statement of purpose for you and how you took the opportunity to prove yourself to receive further qualifications.

Part 3: Why are you the right candidate for the program? – 3rd and 4th paragraphs

After this, in the third paragraph, briefly describe any experience you may already have in your area of study. In this way, you can provide the admissions committee with more crucial data about your personality. Think of any jobs , internships, projects, and so on that, you have done. It all matters if you want to give the faculty staff and department of your studying field a comprehensive overview of your background. It can be difficult for some people to think of any applicable experience they may have. If this is you, try talking to some friends or family that know you well and with whom you have a great relationship. They may be able to help you think of some relevant experience.

Look back to the background and career goals and motivations from the first paragraph. This should be your point of reference when talking about your experience. Using the school’s program description as a guide on how to write a statement of interest, talk about any related experience you have. The more direct the experience, the better. If you don’t have direct experience, choose the most closely related experience if possible. Be sure to reference how your experience relates to the program. This will show that you have a clear understanding of what the program is and how you fit into it. The admissions committee seeks the candidate whose professional goals and personality can match the student community.

Next up is the fourth paragraph, where you can describe any other experiences you’ve had that helped you decide on your specific area of study or have helped you prepare for graduate studies in general. Tell about the book that made you interested in literature or the volunteer work that made you love economics. Do this briefly, though. Your statement of purpose is not the place to give long narratives. To find some inspiration and become aware of how to present the data briefly, look through statement of purpose examples . 

If there is any other insight information you really think the admissions officer should know about you, include it here. It is important to emphasize that the admissions officer really should know this insight information. Ask yourself if you can clearly articulate the specific value these experiences add to your story. Would you mention those as your recommendation? This is another chance to stand out and be unique, but it still needs to be tightly focused on explaining why you are the best person for the program.

Part 4: What do you want to do in the future? – Closing paragraph

And here the concluding part of statement of purpose tips from the professional team of EssayEdge . In the final closing paragraph, you should very briefly describe your long-term career goals and motivations. Be very clear and specific when you write this. Also, notice how this is a bit different than the current goal from the first paragraph. In the first paragraph, you talk about what you want to do right now, in other words, the next goal you want to achieve. Do you want to stop education at the stage of alumni or do you want to become a Ph.D. in your field? The closing paragraph discusses where you want to be years from now. For example, your next step may be to become a manager in your field, but your long-term goal may be to be a director or CEO or whatever the applicable title for your field is. Discuss these professional goals in your essay to tell the admissions committee about the seriousness of your intentions.

Up until this point, you’ve talked about the past and present and went through statement of purpose formatting. These are important for showing how you fit the program right now. From the admissions and universities’ perspective, they want to select students that have a long-term vision related to the program. The reason is that it shows you clearly see yourself as using what you’ll learn to truly grow and contribute to your field of study. Why would an admissions officer want to admit a student that doesn’t have a clear vision of how they want to grow their field? It doesn’t make sense for them to choose a student that does not have a clear long-term goal over a student that does.

Our recommendation is to look through this article, it can be useful for you: how to end a personal statement as it also has importance for the reader.

Statement of purpose examples and a great editor are what you need to polish your essay

Now that you have a basic idea of the statement of purpose format, the next thing to do is to get started. If you’re ready, you can get started writing immediately. If you’re not quite sure what this format looks like in action, you should read some statement of purpose examples.

While you read a sample essay, try to notice how the writer either followed or diverged from the above format. Evaluate whether or not you think the writer was clear in their statement of purpose and what you might do differently when you write your own. Make sure to take notes while you read and use them as a reference. Take into consideration that it will certainly help you further!

Remember, you want to be able to show admissions officers that you are clearly focused on your purpose for going to graduate school. This process will help you truly take control over how you convey yourself in your writing.

Writing and editing are complicated. Really complicated, in fact, if you don’t have several thoughtful strategies. This statement of purpose format is meant to give you a great head-start on how to write statement of interest, but there is a lot more than just the format. There is a fine art to selecting the right verb for a sentence. You also need to cut through the clutter and deliver your message with just the right blend of punchiness and evocativeness. Good writing is clear thinking and varied vocabulary made visible. When you have 1-page to convince a stranger that your future should be what you think it should be, you’ll want some really good writing.

Your willingness and awareness can help you create the best possible essay ever, even if you decide not to refer to statement of intent examples . However, when you’re writing something as important as a statement of purpose, having your essay well-edited can make the difference between a letter of acceptance and a letter of rejection. You also don’t get to reapply right away. If you get rejected from the school you want, you may have to wait months or even up to a year before you can reapply. If you’d like to be more confident that your statement of purpose has the best chance of getting you an acceptance letter, consider hiring a professional editor who has enough proficiency in your field of interest. Therefore, refer to law school personal statement editing in case you apply for a place in the law school, or the editor who is acknowledged in the medical field if you want to enter the medical school. In the scheme of how much school costs, a professional essay editor is pretty inexpensive. Most textbooks you’ll buy are more expensive.

The team of our proficient editors has prepared a successful essay statement of purpose example to inspire you and provide you with a case example that won admission and enter the top-rated universities like Harvard or Berkley .  Check out our samples page to be aware of different types of essays. We have:

  • graduate school personal statement examples ;
  • graduate school statement of purpose example ;
  • college statement of purpose examples ;
  • and many other useful examples.

Checklist for your best statement of purpose

  • The main idea is presented clearly.
  • There are no grammatical errors
  • There are no typos in the text
  • The lexis usage is appropriate
  • 1 paragraph – 1 idea
  • The text is engaging
  • There is clarity of the narrative
  • You have looked through statement of purpose sample
  • The vocabulary isn’t too familiar
  • The editor has checked everything

Robin W. - professional essay editor and proofreader

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Statement Of Purpose for Undergraduates – Format & Samples

  • What is SOP
  • SOP Writing Tips
  • Statement of Purpose for Masters
  • SOP for MBA
  • Statement of Purpose for Phd

Updated on 30 October, 2023

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Sr. content writer & study abroad expert.

Akansha Semwal

A statement of purpose for an undergraduate or SOP is basically a lengthy essay, submitted by a student to the university, that highlight their important details. As the name depicts, this essay is to be written by an undergraduate who is interested in pursuing higher education in a certain institution. Knowing how to write an SOP is very important if you are planning to study abroad . SOPs are required by most of the educational institutions abroad before accepting the applicant as a student for a course.

Table of Contents

Other course-wise sops, importance of sop, student’s expectations from the course —, the undergraduate student has certain expectations behind pursuing a particular course. the candidate must explain the expectations from the university, the course content, learning modules, and if possible, the teachers and professors., the intentions after completing the course —, the reason to study in that country —, the reason to select that university —, 3. experience —, unique points of difference —, why the candidate is the best for the seat —, the student must reveal the reasons why he/she is best for the seat in that course at the university. this is a promise or assurance by the student as to how he/she will use the opportunity to study in the university., sop for undergraduate sample 1, sop for undergraduates sample 2:, sop for undergraduates sample 3:, difference between sop and personal statement, difference between sop and motivation letter, how is lom different from the sop & personal statement, frequently asked questions, what is a statement of purpose.

A description of a person as a student along with their interests and personal goals is known as the Statement of Purpose. Individuals must also mention what they look forward to achieve in their careers. This description allows educational institutions to get an understanding of why you are interested in joining their college and how they can assist you in reaching your academic goals.

A statement of purpose includes the following content:

  • Introduction to oneself. 
  • Academic experience and previous career.
  • Interest in the program.
  • Academic achievements or professional memberships must be highlighted. 
  • SOP for PhD
  • SOP for Data Science
  • SOP for Business Analytics
  • SOP for Engineering Management
  • SOP for Project Management
  • SOP for Construction Management
  • SOP for Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • SOP for Business Management
  • SOP for Hospitality Management
  • SOP for MIS with Work Experience
  • SOP for Civil Engineering
  • SOP for Mechanical Engineering
  • It is an important component of the degree scholarship/course’s application.
  • The quality of this document can make or break your chances of getting the admission/scholarship at your desired educational institution.
  • The main aim of the document is to get the selection committee’s attention. The personal statement must convince the committee. 
  • This statement is also called the letter of introduction as it introduces the candidate to the education institute’s selection committee.
  • An applicant can showcase his/her experiences, aspiration, and academic qualifications. 
  • The description also allows the applicant to show his/her communication skills.
  • The quality of the statement decides whether the candidate will qualify for an interview or not.

SOP Format for Undergraduate

The student’s SOP reflects the overall personality of the candidate. It will include various elements about the student in detail. This can start from the basic introduction of the candidates and include their academic qualifications, reasons for choosing that university, and the expectations from the institution. While the statement of purpose of students of various categories differs, here is a basic and most generic format for the SOP for an undergraduate, which upGrad Abroad   also suggests:

1. Purpose of the Study —

Writing in brief about the purpose of the study is essential for the student. It should include:

The intention behind selecting a course should be explained in detail. Like, if the student wants to complete the course and join a certain field for occupation, the individual should specify that. Or, if the person has plans for further education, it is better to explain that as well.

2. Choice of the Program —

There is always some inspiration behind a student undertaking a certain program. It should be explained in this section of the SOP. This should consist of:

If a candidate is applying to a foreign university, he or she must highlight the reason behind choosing that country. For example, if an undergraduate wants to opt for business management in Canada, he/she should write a small summary about why the business management courses in Canada inspire him/her and why he/she chose Canada.

The candidates also have to write something about why they have selected a particular university. If the candidate has done proper research and inquiry about the university, he/she may put forward those theories in the SOP for creating a better impression. For example, if a certain university is tagged as number one in the world for computer science education, then the student intending to pursue a computer science course can specify this.

Since an SOP is a detailed and informative letter about a candidate, it should outline the past experiences and academic history of the student. It should be broken into separate sections for easy reading.

If the student has a good academic record or has held a job in any field, the candidate should specify these in a precise manner. If the candidate has a certificate or notable achievement, it is better to emphasize that as well.

4. Personality —

The candidate should also provide some information about his/her personal traits. It helps the officials know in detail about the student’s personal life and character. This should include:

Out of the thousands of aspiring applicants in a certain educational institution, each candidate should have some unique quality that makes him stand out. A student must specify that quality in this section of the SOP.

SOP Samples for Undergraduate

There is no fixed pattern to be followed for an SOP in any university. That is why the students can find many SOP samples for undergraduate and graduate courses online. But some universities do provide the candidates with certain specific rules to follow. Accordingly, here is a sample statement of purpose for undergraduate admission of a student aspiring for an engineering degree:

I was very young when I started developing an interest in automobiles and their parts. This appreciation for these machines remained at the back of my mind all through the years as I grew up. I gradually decided to study to be a mechanical engineer. After clearing my 10th grade with excellent marks, I was sure that the engineering field will suit me. That is why I opted for entrance coaching during my 12th studies to crack the tests to enter the top colleges in India.

I recently came across a lot of studies and research published at your esteemed university. That is how I understood that it is one of the best in the world and can help me achieve my goals. Apart from the awards and recognitions, I also learned about students from this institute who have attained great success in bringing glory to the institution. All these reasons inspired me to opt for this university as the preferred institution to pursue my further studies and get an engineering degree.

Since I already had the dream of pursuing engineering as my career, I started taking extra interest in the coaching available for this field through the best classes available. I have made engineering a prime focus area in my life. That is why I can assure you that once I am a part of your university, I will give my best to be a student worthy of your institution. I also plan to complete my master’s in the same field. I want to take myself to the highest levels of gaining knowledge and wish to serve not only my country but the world too.

Just as a vehicle requires quality fuel to run smoothly and for a long, my dream of becoming an engineer requires the best education. With the right guidance and my skills, we can make the world a better place to live in. I hope that you will consider my application and provide me with a seat in your prestigious institution for a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering .

Here is a sample statement of purpose for postgraduate admission of a student aspiring for an MBA degree

Growing up in a family that comes from a business background, I always aspired to become a businessman. I realized that it would give me ample opportunities to communicate with different people. I can also use my creative skills and take forward my business ideas. I like the idea of starting something on my own and connecting with people. I believe I possess all the qualities that are needed to start my journey as an entrepreneur. This realization has led me to seek admission to this university.

  • SOP vs Personal Statement
  • SOP for internship

Here is a sample statement of purpose for postgraduate admission of a student aspiring for PhD in Marketing degree

I am presently working as a guest lecturer at ———College. My teaching responsibilities involve marketing management, brand and product management , modern banking, entrepreneurship , sales production, and advertising . South California University offers dedicated support to international students and is one of the top institutes offering this internationally recognized degree. 

The university also covers every aspect of marketing like a channel of distribution, globalization issues, market response forecasting and more through proper research papers and methodologies. I am eagerly waiting to be part of the institution and mould myself into becoming a future leader.

If individuals write their SOPs in an impressive, precise, tactful, original, and unique manner, they can be sure that the institution will consider their application and provide the opportunity welcomingly.

Difference between SOP, Personal Statement and Motivation Letter

People find it difficult to differentiate between SOP, Personal statement and motivation letter. Let us look at the three to have a clear understanding. 

Generally speaking, the personal statement describes what kind of a person you are while the SOP explains what you aspire to do in life. Both these documents play a vital role in determining your seat for the study program in the college. 

When it comes to grad school, both the documents are different yet the same. Both of them demonstrate your nature and aspiration that help the admission committee in understanding you as a person. The personal statement is more informal than the statement of purpose.  

One can be confused between SOP and Motivation Letter as many European universities in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and others, ask for the latter. 

The motivation letter focuses on the career goals, future aspects, specific grad program, skills, and other professional work or internships that showcase your experience.

But the SOP allows you to talk about your past grades, qualifications, volunteering experience, internships, and other activities. The SOP explains how you performed in the academic field, your choice of subjects, past experiences, and more.

Many colleges, universities, and employers use these terms interchangeably.

The major difference between the three is the intention behind writing them and the length. In general, personal statements are in-depth and more personal about the applicant’s enigmas, strengths, personal life, weaknesses, failures, past achievements, etc.  While a motivation letter consists of more unique elements related to the personality.

The LOM is more focused on the future aspirations and plans of the applicant. It allows candidates to talk about their past achievements, showing their commitments toward future goals.

Candidates must make sure that they have enough time to write down their LOM in detail. It also requires good research on the university and the specific program the candidate is interested in.

Is the statement of purpose needed for undergraduates?

For undergraduate admission, students must present their statement of purpose that can help them achieve their future goals. The document serves as a weapon to get educated in one of the top institutions of a country. This education will help them widen their knowledge and augment their learning.

What do universities look for in a statement of purpose?

A statement of purpose must show a candidate’s educational qualification, data analytical skills, and leadership since universities look for students with strong and varied interests and relevant experience.

How do you start a statement of purpose?

After brainstorming and writing down your ideas, you must start drafting your statement of purpose that must cover the following elements when applying to a desired university or school:

1. Introduction, introduce yourself and talk about your goal. 2. Write about what motivated you to choose a specific degree/program. 3. In the next step, explain why you deserve to be considered for the program. 4. Also, mention what you want to achieve by studying this field.

How do you write an undergraduate statement of purpose?

An undergraduate’s statement of purpose must have an introduction. It captures the reader’s attention and allows the admission committee to shortlist the deserving candidate.

Is SOP the same as the study plan?

This document explains why a candidate wants to attend a specific university. It also lays down the essential details about the applicant based on which they are selected or rejected. It can also be considered a study plan in which the student represents themselves, skills, and accomplishments.

Are SOP and College Essay the same?

The SOP is always submitted in the college before admissions; it emphasises a student’s qualifications, capabilities, and the reason they wish to apply for a particular college. It is covered in 800 to 1000 words. A college essay, on the other hand, a college essay allows the applicant to showcase their personality and usually comprises 250 words.

Should I start SOP with a quote?

Most admission committees do not find the use of clichés and quotes impressive. But some students can use inspiring quotes that relate to their vision that impresses the committee. The use of inspiring quotes done wisely can be a hit.

How long does it take to write a statement of purpose?

Applicants are always encouraged to discuss relevant challenges and how they deal with them. These are long and must be written in a detailed manner.

Is SOP and resume the same?

The applicant’s resume contains a list of accomplishments and experience. At the same time, SOP depicts the candidates’ achievements in his past academic record and states the purpose for joining the university of his choice. It covers the candidate’s objective and why’s behind joining the organisation.

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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Statement of purpose (SOP) for PhD: How to Write and Samples

statement of purpose admission

Securing admission to PhD programs in the university of your dreams might seem difficult—however, it is not impossible. If you can convince the selection committee of your dedication and genuine interest in your research topic, you stand a fair chance of getting that seat. The key to your admission lies in a well-crafted and compelling statement of purpose that will sway the decision-makers in your favour. 

A statement of purpose is your chance to prove to the admissions committee that you have the potential and skills as a researcher. If you are hoping to pursue a PhD, you must put in the time and effort to craft an impressive SOP. This blog will help you understand how to write an interesting yet concise SOP with examples. 

Table of Contents

  • How to Write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a PhD

General Examples of Statement of Purpose for PhD

  • 10 Steps to writing an SOP for a PhD course

How to Write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for a PhD Course?

Your statement of purpose for PhD must express your sincere interest in the subject matter. The following 10 tips will help you to draft an impactful SOP:

10 Steps to writing an SOP for a PhD course 

  • Introduce yourself:

The whole purpose of the essay is to show the university who you are and your goals. It is better to get straight to the point and explain what inspired you to take up research in your particular field of study. Even if you do not have full clarity on your research topic, you can talk about what you are interested in exploring. Make sure you explain your field learning and what made you take up the specific topic. 

  • Answer the question, "Why":

Next, it's time to answer some questions. Why do you want to obtain this degree? Why did you choose this particular field of study? Why have you chosen this university to pursue your higher education? 

  • Explain how you will be a good fit: 

It would help if you answered why you think you will be a good fit for the program and why they should consider you a potential candidate. For this, you should have a relatively strong knowledge of the program to express how your interests align with it. 

  • Express your intellectual curiosity:

You can discuss what excites you about the program and your chosen field of study. Explain why you enjoy doing research and ensure to substantiate your claims with relevant examples.

  • Demonstrate your skillset and experience 

In this section, you can highlight any previous experience you have in doing research and explain briefly about it. You can also describe the skills that you think might be relevant. For instance, you can mention your skills in programming languages like C++ and Python if you are doing research in the field of Computer Science. Make sure to mention the recognitions you have received for the skills. 

  • Mention work experience, if any 

If you have any relevant work experience, be sure to mention it in your Statement of Purpose for PhD. However, only emphasise this experience if it is directly related to your proposed research.

  • Be open about any past setbacks: 

If you have any "black marks" on your record, such as poor grades, leaving a college program or any other issues, it is strongly advised that you do not try to hide these from the admissions committee. Instead, address them head-on in your letter. Showing how you successfully rebounded from setbacks will bode well for you.

  • Short and long-term goals:

It's always good to give a brief of your short-term and long-term goals and how this degree will assist you in achieving them. It is also essential to consider any future research areas you may want to explore and how they could potentially impact the community. Your vision for your career 10-15 years from now is a crucial indicator of your thought process and how you plan to integrate your degree into your life.

  • Edit and proofread several times: 

To avoid your essays having any typos, poor grammar or other mistakes that could have easily been fixed, ensure that you always edit and proofread your work. A well-written essay is a sign of a competent researcher.

  • Circulate your statement:

Asking your recommendation writers to review your college application essays is a great way to get feedback. It will also help ensure that what they write is consistent with your thoughts and experiences. If you have drafts of your essay completed early enough, don't hesitate to ask for their input. Most faculty members are more than willing to help their former students, given adequate notice.

Read more:  How to write an effective statement of purpose?

If you are looking for PhD SOP samples, it is essential to remember that there is a specific way to provide all of your relevant information to the institutions. It is crucial to keep your statement concise but informative. Here are two samples to help you give an idea.

PhD SOP Sample 1

I've always been interested in how physics can explain the things we see and experience in our everyday lives and phenomena beyond our usual perception. My childhood fascination with Physics led me to choose my college major and, ultimately, my career path. 

My interest in complex phenomena only grew during my studies. I am passionate about understanding the impacts of radioactive waste on our world. I pursued an interdisciplinary degree in Physics and Environmental Science to develop the skills needed to become a researcher in this field. My goal is to find effective methods for reducing the harmful effects of radioactive waste on our environment.

After completing my degree, I gained valuable work experience at an Environmental Protection Agency, where my responsibilities included examining sites for radioactive leakage and measuring the damage. This experience motivated me to pursue a PhD in Physics so I could find ways to control such situations. I want to be equipped with the necessary knowledge that will allow me to conduct meaningful research and find effective ways of managing radioactive waste.

The University of Essex is my top choice for several reasons. First and foremost, it has an excellent reputation. Secondly, the opportunities and mentorship available for the particular subject are incomparable. And finally, I know that I would be able to make a meaningful contribution to the community here. I am confident that my practical experience and strong motivation will be significant assets as I pursue my studies and career.

PhD SOP Sample 2

My parents are farmers, and I grew up helping them with crop production and food preparation. I was always curious about the scientific basis for farming, canning, and cooking methods, which led me to major in nutrition and food science. I want to understand the science behind what my family has been doing for generations and use that knowledge to improve our food habits. 

I completed my undergraduate studies in biotechnology and then went on to do a master's in food technology. For my dissertation, I chose the topic of "XXX", which was of great interest to me. My training at XYZ gave me insight into industrial-level operations concerning nutrition, microbiology and contaminants in the food industry.

Whilst doing my master's, I became particularly interested in food safety and quality assurance, as well as post-harvest technology of fruits and vegetables, food processing and bioprocess engineering. I did a little project on "ABC" and wrote my dissertation on "XYZ". Through working in various laboratories across the country during my studies, I gained experience with multiple techniques used in food preservation.

I am passionate about researching food commodities, fruits and vegetables, and their wastage to synthesise nutritional and bioactive components and convert them into functional foods. I believe that food safety is of the utmost importance, and I hope to learn more about this topic through this doctoral program.

There are numerous reasons for choosing Southern Cross University, and one of the main reasons is your highly competent faculty. The research work done by Prof. ABC on Fruits and Vegetables sparked my interest. I am interested in researching independently and working collaboratively with a team on projects that directly impact smaller communities and society as a whole. I am sure that Southern Cross University will help me achieve my goals and better serve society. I promise you won't find me lagging in my quest or effort, and I pledge to do my best in all the assigned tasks.

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  • Difference between an SOP and a Personal Statement?
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Personal Statements and Statements of Purpose for Applications: What You Need to Know

statement of purpose admission

So you’re applying for a summer program, internship, academic course, or another opportunity and you discover that the application requires you to submit a personal statement or statement of purpose. These statements can be tricky to write: the parameters seem to be wide-open, while the stakes feel quite high. How do you begin writing a personal statement or statement of purpose? What is the difference between the two types of statements? And what’s the difference between this type of essay and a cover letter ? How much should you write, and what should you say? Read on to find out how to craft a personal statement or statement of purpose you’ll be proud to submit.

Personal Statement vs. Statement of Purpose

Some application packages will ask you to submit a Personal Statement, while others will ask for a Statement of Purpose (SOP). It’s important to understand the difference between these two types of statements and write your statement accordingly.

A personal statement, as the name suggests, is an essay that focuses on your personal story, long-term goals, values and experiences. It should give the reader a clear picture of who you are–and how you convey this is up to you! You might draw on anecdotes, a vision for your future, or why you find a particular issue meaningful. It’s alright to be creative, expressive, and let your personality shine.

A statement of purpose, on the other hand, is more geared toward your purpose in applying for the opportunity you’re interested in. It should give the reader a sense of why you are a good fit for this particular program–whether that’s stemming from your academic background, your work experience, research you’ve done, or your personal or professional goals. Tone-wise, an SOP will be more formal than a personal statement.

Respond to the Prompt

If the opportunity you’re applying for has guidelines for what kind of information they’re looking for in the personal statement or SOP they’re asking for, make sure that you address those in your response. Check out this statement of purpose prompt from the application for the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio :

In 1-2 pages, tell us why you want to participate in the Studio and what you hope to accomplish here. You may want to discuss your writing sample or talk about writers or works that you admire. This is a chance for us to get to know you a little bit from your own words. The statement of purpose should be typed and double-spaced and should be submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

Notice that this prompt clearly states the length (1-2 double-spaced pages) and format (Word or PDF file) for applicants’ SOP. It also asks applicants to share some specific information about themselves: what they hope to accomplish in the workshop, background about their writing sample, reflection on writing they admire. When creating a statement for an application such as this, it’s essential to read and understand the prompt and make sure you’re responding to what the prompt asks for in your essay–both in terms of format and content.

Consider Length

Most applications will designate a length for the personal statement or statement of purpose they ask for, either as a word count or suggested page count. If the application you’re working on does not include a word or page count for your statement, aim for the 1-2 page range; a page and a half is generally a safe length for either a personal statement or an SOP.

Plan Ahead and Proofread

A personal statement or SOP is an essential part of any application that asks for it, so it’s critical that you present your best self in your statement. Don’t wait until the last minute to start on your statement–give yourself plenty of time to write before the application is due. Once you have a draft of your SOP or personal statement written, it’s a great idea to share it with a trusted reader (who could be a friend, teacher, counselor or parent) and discuss with them how the statement reads and whether it’s answering the prompt. Last but not least, make sure you proofread your statement for any errors–you don’t want a typo messing up the hard work you’ve put into your application!

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  • Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose is an important part of the online application and is given careful consideration in the selection process. Be concise and specific in preparing your statement: give information that will aid the selection committee in evaluating your potential for completing a graduate program of study at UC San Diego. Check the  department directory listing  for specific content requirements.

Focus your Statement of Purpose on the reasons you are interested in attending a specific graduate program at UCSD. Check the department requirements for the Statement of Purpose. The statement should be well organized, concise, and completely free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Before submitting the statement, seek constructive comments and criticism from friends and advisors.

Five primary topics to cover in your statement of purpose:

  • How did you become interested in this field? Establish that you have had a long-term interest in the field and that you have taken positive steps in pursuing your interest. Give the committee members a sense of your particular talents and abilities and their relevance to your academic interests.
  • What experiences have contributed toward your preparation for further study in this field? Demonstrate your interest by providing examples of research experiences, internships, work experience, community service, publications, or life experiences. Briefly describe what you did in each experience. Also, make sure to articulate what you have learned about the field and how those lessons stimulated you to pursue an advanced degree.
  • What are your future goals? Specifically state your degree objective (Master's or Ph.D.) and specify what subdisciplines you are interested in pursuing. For example, if you are applying in political science, the committee needs to know whether you are pursuing American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Theory. Let the reader know that you are planning a future career as a university professor, researcher, or consultant, or in public service or private practice (or whatever your goal happens to be).
  • What are your research interests? Within your subdiscipline, you should be able to identify one or two topics that are of interest to you. When possible, be specific about your research agenda. Remember that you will be working with professors in research; therefore, your research interests should parallel those of the faculty. (You will usually not be expected to know exactly what you want to research; faculty know that initial interests often change.)
  • How are you a "match" for the program to which you are applying? Explain what attracts you most to the institution/program to which you are applying. Align your research interests with those of one or more of the affiliated professors. The better the "match" with the program/professors, the better the chance that you will be admitted.

Other factors to weave in (remember these are secondary factors):

  • Give examples of personal attributes or qualities that would help you complete graduate study successfully.
  • Describe your determination to achieve your goals, your initiative and ability to develop ideas, and your ability to work independently.
  • Describe background characteristics that may have placed you at an educational disadvantage (English language learner, family economic history, lack of educational opportunity, disability, etc.).
  • Leave the reader believing that you are prepared for advanced academic work and will be successful in graduate school.
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Creative Writing News

10 Statement Of Purpose Examples: How To Wow The Admission Committees Of Fully-Funded MFA Programs With Your Personal Statement (Guide + Samples +Tips)

Have you been struggling to write your personal statement or sop reading some good statement of purpose examples and mfa personal statement samples can make your application season easier and less stressful. also, it helps to read practical advice by professors who have sat on mfa in creative writing admissions committees, particularly professors who know what makes a good mfa personal statement..

This article will take you through the process of writing an SOP. Attached, herein, are 10 statement of purpose examples (or 10 MFA Personal Statement examples, if you like), contributed by writers who gained admission into fully-funded MFA in Creative Writing programs. We’ve also shared tips from creative writing professors on how to write a personal statement. 

The purpose of this article is to help you write a personal statement that will wow the admission committee members in the English, Literature and Creative Writing programs you’re applying to. 

What is a Statement of Purpose or a Personal Statement?

A statement of purpose, in the context of applying to a graduate writing program, tells an admission committee about who you are, what your work focuses on, why you are applying to their program, and what you will do in the future.

Writing a statement of purpose is akin to attending an audition or an interview or a workshop . You need to stamp your suitability and prospects as best as you can.

Owing to this, a statement of purpose or personal statement should do more than what it is called. It has to show your purpose.

Before you start the process of writing your graduate school essay, take note of the following:

Focus on your Interest.

Know what you are interested in as a creative person, or what your work focuses on. For example, if you are interested in Memoir writing , Travel writing, or Speculative Fiction , or Historical fiction or Ancient Greek poetry , you should be able to write a few words regarding your approach to that area. 

statement of purpose admission

Many writers cannot really point a finger to what they are interested in because of their fecundity. And that’s okay.

In fact, writing tutor, Daniel Galef, with his untrammeled imagination wrote in his SOP:

“It’s difficult to describe what kind of fiction I write, because I’m not sure there is a kind of fiction I write. No two stories I’ve written have been alike. One of them is alike, but none of the others are.”

Research the Programs you are Applying to.

Read widely about the programs you are applying to and note your findings systematically. There is no escaping from this exercise because you need to know about the schools of your interest. In turn, that knowledge needs to reflect on the pages of your SOP.   

This will tell the admission committee that you care about their creative writing program and that your SOP is not generic.

For instance,

  • Who is on the faculty of XYZ arts program?
  • What are their specializations?
  • Have the faculty members published any books or stories or poetry collections?
  • If yes, what works have they published?
  • What fascinates you about their English and creative writing program?
  • What are their acceptance rates of this MFA or PhD in Creative Writing Program?
  • How does their funding work? Does the MFA or PhD program provide full-funding for students who want to study creative writing? 
  • How many years will it take to complete the MFA program? Do they allow students to run an MFA and PhD joint program?
  • What is the workload like?
  • Where are they located?
  • What are your general thoughts of their Creative Writing program?

Knowing these will help you decide whether a grad school program is best for you.

This article has been broken into four parts with headings of no consequence.

(Note: The headings mean nothing. They are just to stimulate understanding. You should not break your SOP into headings. Very few, if any, creative writing programs will be impressed with a segmented statement of purpose or personal statement.)

We’ll Call The First Part ‘The Open Window’

The initial part of your SOP should make a commanding entry with the essence of your being. It should offer little windows into you, and reveal profoundly what you are about as a person, and as a creative, taking into consideration where you are from.

This is that place you afford the admission committee a brief uncensored moment about your ‘who’. It should be so transparent that they can look through it and see your world.

MFA Personal Statement Examples

One of the most transparent “window” statements I think I have heard about oneself is from Shane Patton in the movie ‘Lone Survivor’. At the tail end of his speech, Shane, while trying to join a band of war brothers, says with gusto,

example statement of purpose

Pardon the asterisks. Your SOP does not have to be Shane-Pattonesque. However, it has to have some art-mosphere. It must be written in a style and voice that are unique to you. However, your SOP should employ the ‘story approach’.

Important Questions These Statement Of Purpose Samples Address.

This guide will help you to address the following questions in your personal statement or letter of intent:

  • What kind of a storyteller or poet are you?
  • Where are you coming from?
  • How has your socialization/environment/formative years/job experience informed the way you view the world?
  • What are your motivations?
  • Also, what feeds your imaginations?
  • More importantly, what inspired you to start writing in the first place?
  • What has sustained it? 

Here, Okwudili Nebolisa gives us a perfect window statement in this sample statement of purpose. Here’s how he opens his grad school essay:

It’s one of the most insightful MFA personal statement examples I’ve read in a while.

statement of purpose graduate school sample essays

From the foregoing, Okwudili created a short background of himself and gave an idea why he had first chosen a path outside the art. It’s one detail many Creative Writing admission committees would be interested in.

He went further (though, not included in this article) to tell the committee how he found his way into the arms of poetry .

Here is another statement of purpose example that has a compelling window ‘personal’ statement:

Good statement of purpose example

Simply put, this MFA applicant talks about her approach to writing fiction , speaks of how it has become a tool in her hand against societal norms, mentions her writing influences, and states what draws her to them.

Note: You should be able to say who and what influences you, and clearly express the ways in which they do.

This sample statement of purpose opens with a vivid and memorable story.

examples statement of purpose grad school essay MFA Creative writing

Here’s another opening statement from another MFA personal statement example or letter of intent. It also exemplifies the important point I was trying to make. It says:

Statement of purpose sample for MFA creative writing English and Literature

We’ll call the second part ‘the Briefcase’

Here, you supply the gist of your educational experience. You may add your professional interest and inform the admission committee about relevant activities you have been engaged with recently.

Assuming you work as a content writer/creator , how has it helped your craft? The same thing applies if you work in any other endeavor outside the literary sphere.

For example, an applicant says in this MFA in creative writing personal statement sample:

PhD statement of purpose sample

Note: Non-writing related jobs and experiences are important. Think about the many ways they can give you insight about your craft. They are worth the mention in the sense that they set you apart because of the experience you must have had, and add to what your craft can gain.

Here’s how a teacher explained her experience in her MFA statement of purpose example. It can also work in a teaching statement:

sample teaching statement and SOP MFA

Going further, you may emphasize on your literary achievement and recognition here. Here’s another good example of a statement of purpose. Here’s how this MFAyer stated his/her literary achievement:

samples statement of purpose grad school MFA in Creative Writing

Note: you may say one or two things about your publishing history.

Let’s call the third part “the Knock”

You must exemplify clear-headedness here in talking about why you are seeking this degree now.

In one of the grad school statement of purpose examples we received , one MFA in Creative Writing applicant wrote:  

Letter of intent samples

Another sample statement of purpose for an MFA in Creative Writing Application put it this way:

How to write a statement of purpose examples

Write About Your Dreams, Hope and Intentions

Next is to inform the graduate committee on why you are knocking on their doors.

Are there members of the faculty you want to work with? If yes, state why. Is it something about their academic tradition or vision? Does the school’s location appeal to you? Or is it about their commitment to diversity?

You should end this part of the statement of purpose with an idea of the project you hope to write during your time on the program. This will inform the professors that you already have an idea of what kind of book your thesis will be.

It shows seriousness. Also it shows that you’re more likely to begin once you arrive. We have more statement of purpose examples to illustrate how this can be done in your MFA portfolio.

Note: Your intended project should contain the promise of presenting something fundamentally new and important to the literary world.

For example, in her statement of purpose, this MFA in Creative Writing applicant wrote:

Writing a statement of intent Grad school

Here’s an excerpt from another sample statement of purpose for a graduate school (MFA) application:

How to write a personal statement example

We’ll Call The Last Part The Telescope

Here you have to be futuristic. Talk about the big picture. What do you intend to do with the knowledge and network you would have acquired in the MFA program? 

Do you want to go on to teach creative writing professionally , (If yes, where do you have eyes one? ) Do you want to start a publishing outfit or a literary magazine ?

What other career plans do you have? Do you want to go back to your job? (If yes, how would the degree help in making you better at your job?)

Telescope phase of writing an SOP

Note: Ensure you close your grad school statement of purpose on a hopeful note. Show preparedness to start. Exude confidence. Express anticipation on getting in. 

Hopefully, these statement of purpose examples have given you a clear idea of what a successful personal statement looks like.

But that’s not all. Some MFA Admission Committee members have shared a couple of tips on Twitter. So we’ll share more of them alongside tips sent in by some generous past and current MFA students..

Tips For Writing A Good Statement of Purpose or Letter Of Intent .

If you’re applying to graduate creative writing programs, pay attention to your writing samples first. But also, craft your SOP with the following tips in mind.

There Are No Hard and Fast Rules To Writing An SOP.

There is no hard and fast rule in writing an SOP. Just ensure that yours is well-knit, with flowing ideas and a fantastic rhythm. Keep it organized and clear. Stick to the manuscript formatting guidelines. As with everything else, make your submissions error free.

Here’s what MFA Admission committee member has to say:

how to start a Personal statement examples MFA

Now, on to our next point.

Ensure That Your Writing Samples and SOPs Are Creative, Well-written and Workshopped.

Your writing sample largely pre-determines the success of your SOP. The admission committee may not open your SOP if your samples aren’t any good.

So, ensure your writing samples matter and are on the verge of saying new things. If you’re eligible, you can apply to get feedback from volunteer MFAyers at the MFA App Review .

And if you’re lucky, the MFA App Review might match you with a reviewer who will send you more unique statement of purpose examples.

More from Elizabeth McCracken who, if you don’t already know, has been a longstanding member of the admission committee at the University of Texas’ MFA in Creative Writing program.

statement of purpose admission

Be Original.

Resist the temptation to copy other writers’ personal statements or statement of purpose examples and samples you might find online.

Trust your story, your style and voice. The adcoms can tell when everyone sounds the same. And they don’t like it. Here’s a quote from Elizabeth McCracken’s Twitter page:

statement of purpose admission

Consider Starting With a Story 

“While your personal statement can’t be wildly creative, it is important to show your storytelling skills if you want to get into a creative writing program,” advises Elyse Hauser .

“One way to do this is to open with a story, giving you a chance to “show, not tell” your writing abilities. This also helps your personal statement stand out from the rest. [Also] admissions staff are likely to keep reading a statement of purpose that has a unique and exciting beginning.” 

Don’t Be Afraid To Assert Yourself. In Your Statement Of Purpose.

MFA programs are avant-garde compared with other university grad school and undergrad programs so feel free to assert yourself even if you feel you are without the “right” credential and publishing history.

Another tip from Matt Bell Of making your statement of purpose stellar.

statement of purpose admission

What you think serve as your ‘shortcomings’ can work for you if you stir them properly. It matters so much that you have the right motive and that you show promise. Do not play small. Play confident. 

More from Matt Bell.

Statement of purpose sample for MFA in Creative Writing

Employ A Memorable Tone.

“The standard Personal Essay Voice, like the droning and soporific Poetry Reading Voice, is forgettable and undermines its own content,” says Daniel Galef. “Trying for a different tone is a gamble—nothing is so unfunny as someone trying to be funny and failing—but if you can pull it off it makes you stand out.”

Comply With The Creative Writing Program’s Submission Guidelines.

Check for specific information required by the English and creative writing program you are applying to and ensure you stay within the shores of their requirement.

Get Feedback From Current and Past Students.

It is important to get feedback from people who may be on writing programs or who have extensive knowledge of graduate school application processes.

A couple of MFA groups on Facebook offer beneficial company. For example, join the MFA Draft ’21 if you intend to apply this Fall. This Facebook group offers support and advice to anyone applying to get into a writing program next year.

Wrap Up On Statement of Purpose Examples, Samples and Tips:

At this point, you’re no longer asking questions like: what is a statement of purpose? How can I write a good MFA or PhD statement of purpose that will earn me a spot in that fully-funded Creative Writing program.

The aforementioned grad school statement of purpose examples will guide you in your journey. As one of the professors advised, take a deep breath. 

The next step is to start writing that personal statement or letter of intent, because quite frankly, it won’t write itself. You can always edit your SOP. 

Please edit it. Remember, the admission committee members are also accomplished writers and writing teachers. They’re primed for spotting and frowning at grammatical errors.

While writing and editing your personal statement, take note of the admission committee’s advice above. What are they often looking for in a good statement of purpose for graduate school? If in doubt, you can always return to the great statement of purpose examples we’ve published above.

Wondering if you need an MFA in Creative Writing to be a writer? Then you should definitely read our take on the topic . Also, we have more on writing scholarships here .

Have you written a successful statement of purpose for a creatIve writing program? Please leave a comment below. We are open to adding more tips and samples that readers might find helpful.

Authors’ Bios: 

Tega Oghenechovwen has published work in  Longreads, The Rumpus,  Black Sun Lit, Litro UK, and other venues. He tweets @tega­_chovwen.

Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam is a lecturer in Cornell University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mukana Press Anthology of African Writing, MTLS, Fiction 365, Asterix Journal and elsewhere. She tweets at @chiomaiwunze_

Interested in  writing for Creative Writing News ? See our  Write for Us page . We look forward to hearing from you.

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MBA Statement of Purpose Examples

Featured Expert: Srikanth Raghavan, MBA

MBA Statement of Purpose Examples

MBA statement of purpose examples can be beneficial when you are trying to write one yourself or just wanting to understand exactly what they are. That’s why we’ve provided a couple of them for you in this blog. In addition to that, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about grad school statements of purpose , such as the MBA statement of purpose. You will learn about their importance, content, format, and how to use them to contextualize your other application components, such as your reference letters or MBA personal statement .  

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 12 min read

What is an mba statement of purpose.

An MBA statement of purpose (SoP) is a short academic essay often required for graduate school applications. It’s an essential part of your application that is supposed to tell the admissions committee why you are interested in their MBA program and why you are the perfect fit for it. Furthermore, it gives you the chance to contextualize the statistics and numbers in your application and present yourself to the graduate program in a more well-rounded way. The admissions committee already knows about your work experience from your MBA resume and your academic performance from your transcripts. The statement of purpose allows them to assess your suitability for their institution, and more importantly, their program. 

Every school is different, so you need to check the specific requirements of the program you are interested in. Some schools may require a statement of purpose in addition to other essays. In contrast, other schools like the Wharton School of Business for example, may not ask specifically for a statement of purpose but have a prompt that essentially asks why you are a good fit for the school. Either way, you will need to respond with a strong and compelling essay to improve your chances of getting in. 

How to write a strong MBA statement of purpose

The format and content.

You should always check the specific requirements of the program you are applying to, as each school is different. Your chosen program could have an exact word count, a page limit, or a prompting question that you need to answer. If your program has given any instructions, it is imperative that you follow them. Unless otherwise specified, your statement of purpose should: 

  • Follow the general structure of an academic essay
  • Be between 500 and 1000 words
  • Be grammatically correct
  • Be organized and easy to read

Give yourself time : Writing a strong statement of purpose isn’t unlike preparing the rest of your application; the key is preparation. We recommend giving yourself at least six weeks to write your statement. Give yourself enough time to thoroughly research the program or faculty, gather all the information that could be helpful to you, and draft, redraft and finalize your statement.

Research the program : The purpose of your statement is to convince the admissions committee that you are the perfect fit for their program in particular and to do that, you need to know what kind of candidate they are looking for. You should spend time on the institution’s website and talk to alumni if possible. Try to get a sense of the school’s academic culture. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the research specialties of various faculty members, and keep track of those whose research interests align with yours.

The more you know about the school and the MBA program, the better equipped you will be to write a strong letter that showcases the values or qualities that the school is looking for. For instance, if you are preparing an application to Kellogg business school , your research will probably lead you to find out that their MBA program aims to create leaders who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and find creative solutions. In that case, you might want to make sure your statement of purpose showcases your creative problem-solving skills.  

Seek expert advice : You may also want to consider investing in a graduate school admissions consultant or MBA admissions consulting . Preparing an MBA application is no easy feat, especially the essay portions. The truth is that admissions consultants have more experience reading and writing these types of essays so they can see things that you can’t. Their constructive feedback might just be what you need to write a statement of purpose that will stand out. 

Being too impersonal : Your statement of purpose is supposed to put the rest of your application into context. You should avoid just listing your accomplishments or your reasons for wanting to attend the school. People are more likely to remember a story, so instead, focus on creating a narrative around your experiences and why they make you a perfect fit for the program. Additionally, research-intensive MBA programs may require you to discuss your research interests. In these cases, many students confuse the statement of purpose and research interest statement . Both essays are about the candidate’s relevant past academic & professional experiences, long-term goals in the field, and research interests when applicable. However, while a research interest statement is a formal academic document, a statement of purpose is more of a personal essay meant to describe your journey and overall suitability for a program.

Jargon-heavy statements : Even if you are applying to a business school, you should try to avoid jargon and acronyms that are not well known outside of your field of study. The admissions committee will read your statement, and they might not be experts in your particular field. We understand that you want to come across as knowledgeable, but it is equally important that your statement be easy to follow and read. 

Generic statements : We highly recommend that you write multiple statements of purpose and tailor them to the MBA programs you are applying to. A common mistake that applicants make is writing one generic statement of purpose and sending it to all the business schools they are applying to. This usually backfires because each school and each program is different. First, various schools may have different format requirements for the statement of purpose. Secondly, the academic culture and the kind of candidate each school is looking for can be very different. 

For example, a student might send the same letter to Harvard business school and Stanford business school , assuming that they have similar requirements because they are both prestigious institutions that aim to form tomorrow’s business leaders. However, Harvard business school  makes it clear that they look for candidates with an analytical aptitude and desire to be engaged in the community. If these qualities are not showcased in the letter to Harvard, the candidate might not get called for an interview (so don't forget to review MBA interview questions as well). This is why it's so important to review Harvard MBA personal statement examples - you must understand what the admissions committee of this renowned institution expects.

Ignoring guidelines : This tip is quite self-explanatory, but we feel it is worth mentioning again because it’s a very common pitfall. Many institutions will give clear instructions for the application documents, including the statement of purpose. It is crucial that you follow these instructions. If there is a word count, stick to it. If there is a prompt, answer the question in the prompt and stay on topic. Do not use your essay to address something in your application that is completely unrelated to the question that you were asked. Following the guidelines set by the program will show the admissions committee that you take your application seriously and that you know how to follow instructions. 

Need to work on your MBA resume too? Check out this infographic:

Now that you know what is expected from a strong MBA statement of purpose, here are a few examples that can help inspire your own.

MBA statement of purpose sample 1

I often joke that I speak three languages: English, French, and consumer. I have been saying this since I took an introduction to marketing class while completing my undergraduate degree and learned about talking to customers in a language they understand. It resonated with me because I practically grew up in my mother's small dry-cleaning store. I watched her relay the same information to different people from various walks of life in many different ways. It was always in English, but her word choice and tone would change so much that my siblings and I would joke about it. Since then, I have been fascinated by communication. The effect that it has on people and businesses. This fascination led to my dual degree in business management and psychology, and today, it is one of the things that drive me to apply to the X business school MBA program.

Over the past five years, I have used what I learned at university to expand our family business and help grow many others in my community. The experience taught me that no matter how good your product or service is, introducing it to the market is indeed half the battle when it comes to business. My goal is to create a marketing firm that will help small local businesses maximize their reach and full potential. I understand that a big part of this is marketing, and that is why I want to study it further.

The X MBA program is uniquely suited to help me achieve this goal. In today's Business landscape, small businesses need different strategies to survive and compete in the world of big companies that can deliver things overnight. The X MBA program is one of the very few curriculums that offer courses specifically designed for small businesses and the latest marketing strategies, such as social media as a marketing tool.

As a person with ambitions to become an entrepreneur, there are also many other aspects of business management that I wish to understand better, such as accounting Tools, Logistics, and Supply-Chain. My initial assumption was that I would need to find two separate programs to be completely immersed in the two fields that I wish to study. However, your holistic approach to business management would actually allow me to master marketing and communications while learning to be a better business owner.

Beyond the fact that this curriculum is perfect for what I want to learn and eventually use in my career, X business school is also as community-focused as I am. In Undergrad, I spent two years working with other members of the Student Union Association to organize and help with the green initiative that the school was launching. I noticed that the X student union has a branch dedicated to something similar, and I would love to be a part of it if given the opportunity.

My passion for community building and marketing makes me a perfect fit for this program. Furthermore, my academic background and practical experience have given me the tools to succeed in this MBA program and beyond. I am hardworking, dedicated, and eager to learn. I hope you give me a chance to do so at X University.

This statement is particularly strong because it clearly communicates the applicant’s fit for the program. Notice the fact that the applicant gives clear examples of the claims that they make about themselves. For example, they mention that they are very community focused and make it evident by sharing that they volunteered in college and that their long-term goal is to work for the businesses in their local community.

MBA statement of purpose sample 2

X university prompt: Why have you chosen to pursue an MBA program and why have you chosen to do it at X institution? (Max 600 words)

I was a writer before I was a businesswoman, and studying business isn’t a life-long dream that I harbor. Still, it has become a necessity at this juncture of my professional career.

I was born in a liberal and educated family that stressed the importance of following one’s dreams and passions. I can appreciate how amazing that is now that I am an adult, but as a confused teenager who had no dream and didn’t seem to have a hobby, let alone a passion - it was a nightmare. I attempted many different things, from team sports to theatre, but nothing ever really stuck until I discovered my love for the written word in high school. I am grateful for that journey today because it has taught me to be comfortable with change and given me the ability to adapt quickly. These abilities have served me well in my professional career so far, and I hope that they will continue to do so if I am given the opportunity to attend X business school for your MBA program.

I’m sure you’re wondering why a person who seemingly has no interest in business wants to attend a reputable business school such as yours. Most people do not associate a Master of Business Administration degree with the writing profession. When one thinks about an MBA, more often than not, the first thought that comes to mind would be that a person who undertakes an MBA aspires to get a better job in banking, finance, or business consulting. However, business actually affects many different areas of a writer’s profession. I have come to the conclusion that to succeed as a writer, I must gain systematic knowledge about the workings of a business, and your program is the perfect place for me to do so. 

Whether you are a freelance writer like I have been in the past or an author like I am now, you are essentially an entrepreneur with a product to sell: your art. The holistic approach of the X MBA program is designed for entrepreneurs like myself who are ready to take their business to the next level. I am particularly interested in learning all about the statistical and programming tools used in the Business Analytics domain. These tools will help me make generalized sense of data and gain valuable insights to help me figure out who my target audience is and how I can better reach them. 

I fervently believe that my communication skills, academic background, and entrepreneurial spirit have prepared me for success in this rigorous MBA program. Additionally, as a person who was born and raised in X city, I have seen the significant impact that the school and its alumni have had on our great city and would love to be a part of it. I am particularly passionate about making tertiary education more accessible to the less fortunate and would love to join the group of students and alumni who coordinate the fundraising efforts of your Access Tuition Fund.

In short, I believe that this program is uniquely suited to help me gain a holistic understanding of the functioning of entrepreneurial businesses and mold me into a well-rounded professional. My hope is that you will see that my academic background, work experience, as well as my passion for my craft, and how it interacts with business logistics make me the perfect candidate for your MBA program.

Pay particular attention to the fact that this statement of purpose manages to communicate fit and provide a few details about the applicant’s abilities but it does not stray from the question that was asked by the prompt.

Wondering what kind of courses you should take during your MBA? This video has some helpful advice:

After you write

Before you go, we just want to remind you of a few questions that you should ask yourself before submitting your statement of purpose.

Once you have your final draft, step away from it for a little while and come back to look at it with fresh eyes. You should ask yourself the questions above as you read and make the necessary adjustments. You can also opt to use an application review process where an expert would go over your statement of purpose draft and work with you to get it to the best version possible.

It’s a short essay that tells an admission committee why you are a perfect fit for their MBA program.

An MBA statement of purpose should tell the admissions board why you are interested in an MBA, why you’ve chosen their program in particular, why you’d be a good addition to the program, and how the MBA will help you achieve your career goals.

Unless otherwise specified by the business school you are applying to, you should keep your statement between 500 and 1000 words.

The beginning of your statement needs to be attention-grabbing. We recommend starting with a quote, an anecdote, or an interesting personal fact.

Your statement should be structured like a general academic essay with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. 

In short, no! You should always tailor your MBA statement of purpose to the school you are applying to. One generic statement for many different schools will not be enough to make your application stand out.

Your statement of purpose is meant to show the admissions board that you are a good fit for their program and your ambitions are part of who you are. In other words, your plans tell the school a little bit more about who you are.

The best way to make your statement more compelling is to research the school you are applying to thoroughly, find out what kind of candidate they are looking for, and ensure that your statement of purpose reflects the qualities that the school seeks. It is also best to give clear examples for every claim you make about yourself.

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statement of purpose admission

The Graduate School logo

Graduate Admissions - Statement of Purpose

Statement of purpose.

The goal of this essay is to get to know you as an individual and as a potential graduate student. We encourage applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences to apply. The University of Maryland, a public institution, is committed to supporting the diversity of the graduate student body and promoting equal opportunity in higher education. This commitment to diversity furthers the educational mission to serve the increasingly diverse population and educational needs of Maryland and the nation. Both the Dean of the Graduate School and the University of Maryland affirm that diversity is critical to promoting lively intellectual exchange and the variety of ideas and perspectives essential to advancing higher education and research. Our graduate students contribute to the global pool of future scholars and academic leaders, thus high value is placed on achieving a diverse graduate student body to support the University of Maryland’s academic excellence. We invite you to include in this statement how you may contribute to the diversification of graduate education and the University of Maryland  community.

The admissions committee is interested in your academic, professional and personal background and goals.  In your essay, please address the following points as appropriate.

  • Your preparation and motivation for graduate study, including the academic, work, and/or research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program (for example: coursework, employment, exhibitions, fieldwork, foreign language proficiency, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, studio projects, teaching, and travel or study abroad) and motivation or passion for graduate study.
  • Your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area/s of specialization, and professional objectives.
  • Your fit with the graduate program at Maryland, including how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of the graduate program at UMD. Please identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.
  • Any educational, familial, cultural, economic, and social experiences or challenges; community service and outreach activities; residency and citizenship; first-generation college status; hurdles you have overcome; opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences will contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; leadership and/or community-building experiences; and how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.


  1. How to Write a Statement of Purpose

    The statement of purpose (also known as a statement of intent or motivation letter) is your chance to stand out from the crowd and showcase your motivation, skills and potential. It should: Outline your academic or professional interests and goals Discuss relevant skills, experience and achievements

  2. How to Write a Statement of Purpose for Graduate School

    A statement of purpose (SOP), sometimes referred to as a personal statement, is a critical piece of a graduate school application that tells admissions committees who you are, what your academic and professional interests are, and how you'll add value to the graduate program you're applying to.

  3. SOP (Statement of Purpose): Format, Samples, and Tips

    A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is one such element that beholds great value in the admission process of those aspiring to study abroad. Creating an alluring SOP is essential to help the assessment committee understand your willingness for the program you have applied for.

  4. 7 Successful Statement of Purpose Examples • PrepScholar GRE

    A statement of purpose (also called a letter of intent or a research statement) introduces your interests and experience to the admissions committee. For research-focused programs, like most PhDs and many master's degrees, your statement of purpose will focus primarily on your past research experience and plans.

  5. Writing the Statement of Purpose

    1. What the admissions committee will read between the lines: self-motivation, competence, potential as a graduate student. 2. Emphasize everything from a positive perspective and write in an active, not a passive voice. 3. Demonstrate everything by example; don't say directly that you're a persistent person, show it. 4.

  6. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

    The SOP (statement of purpose) is an essay cum application that needs to be written by students who want to take admission to courses at international universities. The main aim of the SOP is to introduce yourself, your academic background, career goals, and qualities that make you a meritorious candidate for the selected course.

  7. PDF What's a Good Statement of Purpose

    The reader of your file will make a judgment about whether you merit admission on the basis of many considerations, and your file will include much material including your transcripts, what your referees say about you, etc., that reveal your academic and other accomplishments.

  8. Statement of Purpose (SOP): Format, Samples & Writing Tips

    Statement of Purpose, commonly known as SOP, is an essay that highlights your intentions of applying for admission. An SOP is written in 1000 words, unless otherwise specified. A good statement of purpose should reflect your personality, creating a bridge between your past experiences and future goals.

  9. Statements of Purpose: Drafting Your Statement

    Strong statements of purpose answer four important questions that inform admissions committees of who you are professionally and personally. Professionally, statements of purpose answer two questions for the committee. First: what kind of work are you interested in doing in graduate school?

  10. Statements of Purpose: Overview and Before You Draft

    The statement of purpose is perhaps the most important, and most challenging, element of your application packet. This letter needs to reflect who you are and why you would be an asset to the program you are applying to. ... Remember that your statement of purpose is the only opportunity you will have to let the admission committee directly get ...

  11. Statement of Purpose (SOP) samples for studying abroad

    An SOP or a Statement of Purpose is a letter written by the applicant conveying their intent for choosing a particular course, their interests, goals and career plans. It is addressed to the admission committee. It is also known as a research statement or a letter of intent. Through the SOP, you should be able to clearly articulate what made ...

  12. Statement of Purpose

    SOPHAS Application Fee Preventing Spam Filtration The Statement of Purpose and Objectives requirements vary by program. Do not underestimate the importance of this statement. It is your opportunity to inform the faculty reviewers of your qualifications, motivation, and potential to make a contribution to the field of public health.

  13. 20 Statement of Purpose Examples & Templates (Word

    An Academic Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a formal document often required by universities or research institutions during the admissions process. It provides insight into an applicant's academic background, motivations for pursuing a particular course or research area, and their long-term goals.

  14. How to Write a Statement of Purpose for PhD Admission

    A PhD statement of purpose gives admissions committees an introduction to your research interests and why their specific program is of interest to you. Like a cover letter for a job application, a great statement of purpose allows you to highlight your strengths, interests and experience.

  15. 50 Statement Of Purpose Examples (Graduate School, MBA, PhD)

    Statement Of Purpose 50 Statement Of Purpose Examples (Graduate School, MBA, PhD) Many students applying for a graduate school course are usually requested to write an essay about who they are, their purpose of applying, the reasons why they consider themselves as qualified candidates and their aspirations for the future.

  16. How to Write a Successful Statement of Purpose with this Format

    A statement of purpose (SOP or also called statement of intent), in the context of applying for graduate schools or universities, is an essay that's one of the most important aspects of your application because it tells the admission committee who you are, why you're applying, why you're a good candidate, and what you want to do in the future, y...

  17. 15 Graduate School Statement of Purpose Examples That Worked!

    Article Contents 70 min Graduate School Statement of Purpose Example That Got 5 Acceptances! Why a Graduate School Statement of Purpose?

  18. Statement Of Purpose for Undergraduates

    A statement of purpose for an undergraduate or SOP is basically a lengthy essay, submitted by a student to the university, that highlight their important details. As the name depicts, this essay is to be written by an undergraduate who is interested in pursuing higher education in a certain institution.

  19. Statement of purpose (SOP) for PhD: How to Write and Samples

    A statement of purpose is your chance to prove to the admissions committee that you have the potential and skills as a researcher. If you are hoping to pursue a PhD, you must put in the time and effort to craft an impressive SOP. This blog will help you understand how to write an interesting yet concise SOP with examples.

  20. Personal Statements and Statements of Purpose for Applications: What

    Most applications will designate a length for the personal statement or statement of purpose they ask for, either as a word count or suggested page count. If the application you're working on does not include a word or page count for your statement, aim for the 1-2 page range; a page and a half is generally a safe length for either a personal ...

  21. Statement of Purpose

    The Statement of Purpose is an important part of the online application and is given careful consideration in the selection process. Be concise and specific in preparing your statement: give information that will aid the selection committee in evaluating your potential for completing a graduate program of study at UC San Diego.

  22. 10 Statement Of Purpose Examples: How To Wow The Admission Committees

    Don't Be Afraid To Assert Yourself. In Your Statement Of Purpose. MFA programs are avant-garde compared with other university grad school and undergrad programs so feel free to assert yourself even if you feel you are without the "right" credential and publishing history. Another tip from Matt Bell Of making your statement of purpose stellar.

  23. MBA Statement of Purpose Examples

    An MBA statement of purpose should tell the admissions board why you are interested in an MBA, why you've chosen their program in particular, why you'd be a good addition to the program, and how the MBA will help you achieve your career goals. ... Your statement of purpose is meant to show the admissions board that you are a good fit for ...

  24. Graduate Admissions

    Statement of Purpose The goal of this essay is to get to know you as an individual and as a potential graduate student. We encourage applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences to apply. The University of Maryland, a public institution, is committed to supporting the diversity of the graduate student body and promoting equal opportunity in higher education.

  25. 3RDiConsulting- Kavitta Mehtta on Instagram: "Share with us the study

    3 likes, 0 comments - 3rdiconsulting on February 19, 2024: "Share with us the study abroad destination of your dreams and stand a chance to score a FREE coun..."