How to Write Statement of Purpose

Are you thinking of applying for a postgraduate course? You have to attach the statement of purpose to your application. This article will provide you information about how to write statement of purpose.
Most of the universities demand a 'Statement of Purpose' along with the application form for postgraduate courses. The guidelines or instructions are given on the university site or in the brochure. A statement of purpose (SoP) is a focused essay describing your career goals which lets the admission committee know about your past achievements, logical thinking abilities, aspirations and professional interests. For those who loved essay writing in the school, it is an easy task. The statement of purpose is nothing but a brief essay, through which you can tell the admission committee members, how you are a "match" for the program to which you are applying. If you have mastered the art of persuasive writing, then you can write a winning statement of purpose. If you are worried about how to write statement of purpose, then you may follow simple writing tips given below.

Statement of Purpose: Content

Whatever may be your subject or course of interest, the statement of purpose should always be well-organized, concise and absolutely free of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.
  • Whether you apply online or by post or courier, statement of purpose is a must. While uploading your statement of purpose online, the file must be in PDF format and it should be around 2 MB in size. Two A4 size papers are sufficient for writing a SoP.
  • First check the guidelines and requirements of the department for the statement of purpose. Follow the instructions religiously.
  • You are expected to focus on your 'purpose', which means you are expected to describe the motive behind your application or how you became interested in the particular field, you are applying for. You should try to establish the fact that you have had a long-term interest in the field and that you have taken positive steps in pursuing your interest. You are supposed to convince the committee members, of your exceptional talents and abilities and their relevance to your academic interests.
  • Then you should write about your experiences that made you prepare for further study in this field. You can give examples of internships, work experiences, life experiences, etc. and tell what you have learned about the chosen field. You have to briefly describe how those experiences have led you towards advanced education.
  • Then, the committee members would definitely like to read about your future plans. After acquiring this higher degree, are you planning a future career as a university researcher, professor, consultant or do you have any other career plans? You have to state about your goals by specifying the sub-disciplines and one or two topics of your interest from those sub-disciplines.
  • You are supposed to work with your professors while pursuing the higher degree. Though initial interests often change, your research interests should parallel those of the faculty.
  • You should explain why you have chosen the particular university and what have you searched for while searching the universities.
  • You can give examples of personal attributes that would help you complete the study successfully. You may tell about your goals, determination, creativity, ability to work independently, ability to adjust to different cultures, climate, etc.
  • You can also describe about the lack of educational opportunity or family economic history if necessary. You may be required to produce the certificate of English language proficiency.
  • Never provide wrong or false information. The admission committee members are experts and they can easily spot fake essays which means almost certain rejection. You should impress the admissions officers without appearing dishonest! It is not necessary to write about the spectacular things only, just a small example of something you did, can do more towards boosting your chances. Be honest, look inside yourself and do your best.
Statement of Purpose: Format

As you are thinking about how to write statement of purpose, you might be worried about its format. Mostly, there is no specific statement of purpose format as such. It is left to the applicant only and so you can use any appropriate format that you find suitable for organizing your thoughts. Statement of purpose sample essays are available on net. You may go through them first and then write yours. You must have learned the art of letter writing in your school. Instead of letter, you can just write a concise essay to convince that you have thought long and hard about who you are, what are the things you appreciate, what inspires you, etc. You can divide your SoP into three parts such as introduction, body and conclusion. The second part 'body' can again be subdivided into past activities and future plans. Remember, it is not necessary to have all the answers. It is necessary to show that you have thought well about your past and future and that the life experiences have taught you something. If you start writing honestly, 'how to write statement of purpose' will not be a cause of worry at all.

Finally, your essay should express the burning fire in you, an ardent desire to learn. You may take inspiration from your books and teachers, from your classmates, from music or art, from life itself. You just have to write about your achievements, goals, confidence, abilities, skills, and professional motives, honestly. Don't think more about how to write statement of purpose, pick up your pen or switch on your computer and start writing. After completing, leave it aside for 2-3 days, then open it, correct it and show it to your friends. You can finally finish it up after considering the suggestions of your friends. All the best!
By Leena Palande
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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