SOP for Graduate School

Pursuing a graduation course is a huge responsibility and a very crucial decision. Your entire future is determined by this particular phase of life – when you have to choose what is best for you. Your educational journey so far, in a way, have been revolving around this particular segment – everything; including your interests, goals, aspirations and ambitions – would have served as a fulcrum to move towards a particular graduate program.

The basic idea is to have a strong educational foundation which will help you to realise your dreams. Hence it is very important that you give wings to your aspirations from a robust platform that will help you in great way to build a well-defined tomorrow. That is why the process of admission is given so much attention and every detail about it is taken into account. Therefore it is crucially important to submit an effective statement of purpose for graduate school which will summarise everything.

How statement of purpose came into existence?

These days, owing to high competition rate within students and academic institutions, the educational authorities have put a system in place to streamline genuine applicants and give admission only to those who are actually serious about their studies and choice of course and college/university. That is how the statement of purpose came into being within the admission and selection process.

Generally known as sop or letter of purpose, the document is extremely important and needed while submitting along with other educational certificates and application documents when one is applying to certain college for a graduate course. This letter can actually be regarded as the ticket to your dream university. And in order to make it successful, you have to be extremely careful in creating an impactful sop.

Main objectives of statement of purpose

As the name denotes, the statement of purpose for graduate school is to share the student’s key ‘purpose’ in choosing a specific course and particular university. The admission panel, that would have to go through indefinite number of applications, has to pick the best among the lot. The sop will help them to check if a particular candidate is far more eligible than the rest to get the college seat. The letter of intent, in fact, makes it easier for the selection committee to go through the exhaustive admission process and saves time from going through pages of applications. If any student has not submitted a sop, the application stands nil and the committee will immediately move on to the next candidate.

The key factors of sop are:

  • To introduce oneself to the admission committee
  • To convey the reason of pursuing a graduate program
  • To share why a particular college is important to study that course
  • To tell how the course and college will help the student achieve his/her future goals
  • To share one’s idea and interest to match with the prospective course
  • To sound unique and better than the rest

The statement of purpose for graduate school gives a fair idea to the admission panel about a student’s writing skills, his background, qualification and personal attributes in more intimate manner. Although they wouldn’t be able to deal with the student face to face, the application letter will be able to convey the personal aspects of that student in much finer details.

Here, we like to mention that a sop is very vital for the students who are applying graduate programs in foreign countries specially. Unfortunately, either only few are aware of this fact or some don’t have any idea about how to write a sop. In such cases, it is fairly advisable to get professional assistance or from someone with similar writing experience.

The statement of purpose summarises an applicant’s educational background, interests, technical skills, extracurricular achievements, career and professional goals. This is in a way like a check list for the admission committee to assess a candidate and to check if he fits their college requirements. It is through the sop a student speaks to the college management and conveys his plans and motivations and what they hope to achieve after completing the course in their institution.

Nevertheless the interests and motives of each student is different from another, so the sop content will also vary. However the main concept will be same. Here are certain points one has to incorporate while writing a statement of purpose for graduate school.

Check Out Our Free Sample SOP For Graduate School

Just because we tell you, you don’t have to take a plunge. Take a moment to go through our free SOP sample for Graduate school and get yourself convinced.


Things to go within a statement of purpose format:

  1. Compelling Introduction
  2. Main idea and purpose of applying for the course and university.
  3. Brief description about applicant’s qualifications, interests, personal and academic achievements.
  4. Relevant experiences and training programs that will aid the course.
  5. Positive attributes that will help to make applicant’s SOP strong, impressive and match the course and future plans.
  6. Financial background; as to how the student will fund the course fees and other expenses (if the candidate is applying an overseas university).
  7. Brief outline about the applicant’s future and professional ambitions, after completing the course.

Always remember that, while writing a statement of purpose for graduate school, the letter is intended to distinguish your application from others. You have to breathe life into the SOP and convince the reader that you are truly a deserving applicant for the course as well as beneficial for the college.

But take care that there are different kinds of statement of purpose formats for every different course and professional area. A statement of purpose for graduate school is not similar to that for mba, since the purpose of both the fields vary and the two have diverse requirements. Similarly an educational sop is far different from that of internship.

As this particular letter is considered with so much regard, a student must never take it lightly and should not compromise on its content and quality. While one can seek help from seniors, teachers or experienced mentors, there is always an option to hire professional content writing services to serve your purpose in best way.

So be it writing a statement of purpose for graduate school or statement of intent, we are right here to help you anyway… Contact us, and we will be quite glad to assist you in providing best solutions for your career choices…

It is now mandatory for universities to request a specific type of letter from the applicant who is applying for a graduate course. This particular letter is called as statement of purpose or SOP and is even referred as personal statement.

The SOP written by the applicant should include educational background, interests, achievements, personal skills and professional experiences – all of which should be seamlessly blended and conveyed in effective manner; after reading which the selection officers will be impressed to provide an admission to that applicant in their respective college.

A SOP is very vital element within an admission process, besides one’s academic and professional certificates and application form. Basing the content within this, a college’s admission team will decide whether a particular candidate is eligible to study a specific course in their institution or not. The statement helps the admission officers to make a perspective about certain applicant and by reading this, can differentiate their worth from many other applicants. Hence it is important to write an effective statement of purpose, to make right impression at the very first attempt of application process.

One has to spend considerable time on deciding how to write a statement of purpose and what are the particulars that they will put within its content. One can even refer to a statement of purpose graduate school example that is easily available on internet, before starting to write.

While every college has their own set of admission rules and specifications to write a SOP, the main objective of this letter is for the applicant to convey their main reason for applying a particular course and motivation behind their career choice. One can take help from their teachers, seniors or colleagues while writing a SOP or ask them to check what you have already written to seek their feedback. However, don’t copy from any statement of purpose graduate school example; either from online or from anyone else. Because, the admission officers are well qualified and experienced to differentiate original from fake one. Moreover they would have plagiarism checking systems to check for authentication. It is highly advisable to write a SOP of your own, so that it will be personalised, unique and engaging. If you go through any statement of purpose graduate school example you will understand how the contents are structured and what is the tone used. Make it more interesting by adding some anecdotes and experiences which will make the reader feel that you are really serious about yours higher studies and future plans. These details will also be instrumental in conveying the admission panel about your main interests and future plans after completing the course in their college.

Most important, do check your SOP entirely before sending it off during application process. A poorly written statement with errors and improper structure can mar the chances of getting admission in the college of your choice. Reread and proof check your SOP as well as ask someone else to do the same for you, so as to not to miss out any detail and it is free from any kind of mistakes. If you want professional help, go through our statement of purpose graduate school example formats below.

A Statement of Purpose or SoP is a document that one has to submit along with the application form while applying for a graduate program in an international university. It is a crucial letter that an applicant should write with extreme care and in refined manner so as to impress the admission authorities. A SoP is the only way through which one can secure admission in his or her dream university. Writing a statement of purpose might be a daunting task; however remember that it can either make or mar your chances to get admission in the college of your choice. So it is important to spend some considerable time researching and preparing for it, before you put down pen to paper.

While SOP is mandatory in many overseas colleges, most of the applicants are not aware of it or even have clue as to what is it all about? A SoP summarises all your education qualification, skills, achievements, professional experiences, your motivation and career plans – all put together within 700-900 words and not exceeding beyond two pages.

One can refer online for a sample statement of purpose for graduate school, so that they can have a clear picture how it is written. But take care that you do not copy or write same content – either from internet or reading your senior or friend’s SoP. For, admission officers are well qualified to identify fake from original letter. As they will be going through thousands of admission applications, it is necessary to stand out from the rest and write in an interesting manner.

It is essential to first write a rough copy and then a final one. You have to list out all the important details and information which you have to put in your SoP. Follow a good structure and style while writing so there is a consistent flow and keep the reader engaged. In case of doubt, do take help from your teachers and mentors. If possible ask them to draft you a rough sample statement of purpose for graduate school for reference. Besides chalking out important details about yourself, it is crucial you do complete research about the college you are going to apply for and the relevant course it offers.

Never write a SoP for the sake of it. Try your best to reflect your personality and motivation behind taking up the course. Before submitting, make sure you reread your statement of purpose for graduate school and make it clear of any kind of mistake.

We have given below a sample statement of purpose for graduate school that you can go through before writing one yourself.


While applying for higher studies in foreign country, one may be aware that it is necessary to attach an application letter along with other educational and professional documents. This particular letter is called statement of purpose or SOP. However it is also referred by other names such as personal statement or statement of intent and sometimes as application essay. A sop format differs from college to college and course to course. Because, no two courses or universities are similar and each of them have specific requirements and objectives. Similarly a statement of purpose will vary from person to person since individually each applicant have their own career dreams, aspirations and goals. For instance, the statement of purpose for grad school is far different from sop for internship – while the former is more inclined towards the educational aspect, the latter one is aimed at professional purpose.

Now since you are looking for writing an impressive sop for graduate program, let’s get down to focus on the key factors! Here we have 10 points that one has to remember while writing a statement of purpose:

  1. How to start a statement of purpose?

By making a really good introduction! Yes, you have to spend some time to make that perfect start. So if you are wondering about how to write a statement of purpose for grad school, then first think how will you make the beginning? Be short and crisp in sharing your interests, motivation and idea behind pursuing a particular course from the college you are applying to. Get your reader interested in you right away!

  1. Take the lead

Move forward in sharing your educational qualifications, about your academic projects, technical and practical experiences and achievements – all in chronological order following a clear structure. Write short paragraphs and blend in your qualities and skills that support your motives in studying the course as well as it will boost your chances of getting the admission.

sop for graduate school
  1. Be creative and unique

Agreed, there are several references and statement of purpose graduate school sample essays available online for you to create one of your own. But do take care you do not copy any content. Instead, bring out your creative side and personalise your statement by adding interesting experiences and anecdotes that will reflect your individual personality and preferences.

  1. Research and modify

You may be applying to various universities, so take care that each of your statement of purpose for grad school is distinct and specifically modified according to particular college’ requirements. Do enough homework on each college and the courses, before drafting different letters. You have to share your interests and specifications customised in tune with individual institutions. Mention why you are choosing that particular college for your higher studies. Convey your reader how serious you are in your choice.

  1. Goals and future plans

As the name ‘statement of purpose’ denotes, the main objective of writing this document is to share your purpose – on choosing the course, choosing the college and choosing a particular profession. In your statement of purpose for grad school give a clear and concise picture about your interests in certain academic subjects and how it is relevant to your future goals and career plans.

  1. Maintain a consistent flow

Yes, there is so much to write and many details to include. But take extreme care not to deviate yourself and break the content flow. Give brief description about each important and relevant points. In the end, check to see if you have maintained a good structure by putting down every valid thing that you need to share with the concerned authority in relevance to your course. It doesn’t matter how long should a statement of purpose be; what matters actually is the content in it.

  1. Financial Aspect

While it is not mandatory to reveal how you are going to fund the course and your stay in a foreign country, it is a good idea to share the details. This will establish an emotional rapport with the reader and give a thorough idea about your background. However take care not to sound as a show-off or reflect that you have financial constraint in the statement of purpose for grad school. Just be honest in how you are going to support your fees and yourself.

  1. Read and recheck

No matter how qualified or proficient one is… It is quite necessary to read from the beginning and check through the entire contents of the statement of purpose. See if you have missed out any information or important detail that is relevant to the prospective course.

  1. Make it error free

Spelling mistakes and grammatical error can put off any reader. It can also mar your chances to create an impression on the admission committee. And you don’t want that to happen, right? So it is advisable to check your statement of purpose for grad school for any kind of mistakes within the sop.

  1. Find a proof-reader

Now that’s not a big task! But we advise you to find someone qualified and experienced person – say, your professor, senior or mentor, who can review what you have written and share their feedback. If possible, ask them to edit the statement of purpose. A third person will always find something that is missing in your letter.

Finally, see that your statement of purpose reflect you and your main objectives. Be honest and genuine in your approach while writing. Don’t forget to keep up your confidence level. All the very best!

Hope our guidelines – on how to write a statement of purpose for grad school – will prove to be a great help for you. If you want any further assistance, do get in touch with us!!

You maybe knowing that a Statement of Purpose is a personal essay which many of the foreign universities ask for, while you seek admission to their graduate schools. However, you need to know why it is asked for? Or what is its significance? What should be included in a grad school statement of purpose ?

University really don’t know the background and character of the candidates applying to their course programs. They want to admit only the best students from amongst thousands of applicants. And having realized that the score cards does not measure a candidate’s calibre and skills alone, they found an alternative assessment tool, which is commonly named as Statement of Purpose.

statement of purpose

Now the second question – about its significance. You may have submitted a couple of documents like your mark sheets, recommendation letters, resume and similar other drafts. But, these are not serving the purpose of intimating your true passion and drive to pursue the selected course. Isn’t it? So, particularly to answer – why you wanted to pursue this course in our university, you have to write an SOP.

However, it’s not meant to be like you write this question at the top of a sheet of paper and answer it in few paragraphs. Because, there are some more ingredients to mix for making your product taste good!

So let’s discuss what all should be included in a grad school statement of purpose.

Your admission applications are mostly reviewed by a panel of experts and senior level professors collectively known as admission committee officers. So you are communicating to these professionals through your SOP.

Thus, you need to be polite and using formal language and tone in your writing style and attitude through the grad school statement of purpose.

Is a Personal Statement, SOP and letter of Intent the same?

Firstly, let me give you a brief note on what is to be written in an SOP. You have to tell the admission officer the reason why you are interested in the selected graduate course, what you plan to earn from it, how the course will help you achieve your career goals and why you have chosen the particular University. Yet, what all skills you should mention to showcase yourself as a best candidate for them depends on the kind of course program you are applying for. For instance, if it’s a research oriented program, you have to emphasis your research related skills and achievements, whereas, if it’s a professional course like MBA, highlight your managerial skills and capabilities.

statement of interest

Now, I would like to make you understand that, the SOP is different from a personal statement. Having the word “personal” in the title itself is the difference. Personal statement needs you to tell how you are a fit candidate for the school and the course from your personal front? But, in an SOP you have to focus more on your academic and professional skills, achievements, and career goals. Definitely, they share some common grounds relating to your skills and goals, but a Statement of Purpose has a more serious tone. However, schools itself use these names interchanged many a times.

Like, some schools want you to write a personal statement, but provides questions from academic perspective; similarly while someone asks you to submit a statement of purpose with more focus on your personal details.

Hence, it’s a MUST to thoroughly check the university/ school website before you write your personal essays of any kind. And if nothing is specified, go with the general guidelines as stated above.

Here, click and check some statement of purpose graduate school sample essays.

Besides, a similar distinction has to be made between an SOP and a letter of intent. Actually, they both are same when compared based on their content and purpose, and differs only in the format. A letter of intent has to be drafted in the letter format with precisely providing the salutation and addressing it the admission committee and at the bottom you needs to sign it.

See here some letter of intent examples that will help you to understand difference in its structure from the statement of purpose format.

What to speak about in a Statement of Purpose?

I hope you got the idea that the contents in a grad school letter of intent and SOP are the same and so the below given particulars can be considered while writing a letter of intent (LOI) as well.

At this juncture, it would be better to add a small yet important note. Each school may individually provide what they expect to know from a candidate’s SOP or LOI. Here, it’s given merely a general list to consider while writing a grad school statement of purpose, if nothing is specified in particular by your prospective University.

  1. Academic, research and professional skills
  2. Your past academic and professional background and qualifications
  3. Relevant accomplishments and achievements
  4. What fascinates you about the course program?
  5. Your motivation and inspiring factors to choose the field of study
  6. How you think the course is going to help you in achieving your career goals?
  7. What is the relevance of the course in your future?
  8. What are the skills that you stand to acquire from the course that you have chosen? Also include whatever you know about the department or faculty that inspired you to choose the program.
Best sop for social work

Besides, seeking answers for above questions or similar other details, the university wants to know and evaluate your writing skills. The grad school statement of purpose is also used in this regard. Hence, you needs to be careful in your writing style and use of vocabulary. But, there is no need to refer Oxford dictionary and get some sophisticated words to impress the admission committee. Try some tactics like avoiding common words and using their synonyms appropriately.

The most important element here, is in getting your grad school statement of purpose proof-read. Because, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can cost you more than you think.

If the documents are to be submitted online, get your admission essays typed in a word document, where you have the automatic spell check options. But, also ensure that you use this provision wisely.

The very next concern is how long should a statement of purpose be. This is also depending on the university guidelines. Else if, adhere to a standard word limit of not more than 1000 words.

A ten-step strategy

It’s already mentioned in above portion that, both content and writing style matters alike in case of a grad school statement of purpose. Hence, the writer has to balance these aspects well to get done with an appealing SOP for graduate school admission.

Here, let’s simplify the writing process by dividing it into meek 10 steps.

  1. Brainstorming: brainstorm and find the best and relevant answers for the above given questions or the requisites as mentioned by the schools.
  2. Preparing an outline: list or arrange the ideas to get a vague outline.
  3. Writing a rough draft: draft a rough copy without considering the word limit. Try to make the listed ideas into logically connected paragraphs.
  4. Self-editing: read your rough draft and edit and correct it for mismatches and irrelevant info.
  5. Proof-reading for content: get your tutors, friends or any professionals to read your grad school statement of purpose and provide feedback.
  1. Adding modifications: from the feedback, make necessary alterations and modify your copy.
  2. Peppering with styling elements: check with your language, vocabulary and grammar. Try to maintain a positive tone.
  3. Proof-reading for writing style: again get the draft proof-read, particularly to check the writing style and errors related to spelling and grammar.
  4. Giving the final touch: now convert it into the final draft by further modifying according to the feedbacks.
  5. Submit it: check in what file format you need to upload the grad school statement of purpose, if applying online. Or else ensure the safety attainment of your document at the school.

Hope you found this article useful. Let us know, how we can help you further in your admission essay writing needs. Contact us through mail or phone…..


Founder/Sr. Writer - SOP Consultants

Vasuki Ram, senior writer and the founder of SOP Consultants is a B-tech Graduate who used to work in an MNC. Starting from 2013, she along with her team has assisted more than 10,000 students. Shift in her career was drastic. Read full story here.