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8 Things You Must Follow For SOP Statement of Purpose For Masters

Sometimes, while applying for admissions and jobs, colleges or companies ask us to write a Statement of Purpose for a Masters or Bachelors course or a job application. Colleges and Companies ask us to explain why we are applying for a particular college or job.

8 must-know things about statement of purpose for masters'


Besides, in the case of the job eligibility/qualification, the recruiters often test the candidates, asking them to describe the special skill-set that distinguishes them from others. The same can be asked by the admission committee.


Hence, today we will learn about the definition of Statement of Purpose (SOP) for Masters and why employers and admission committee asks us for an SOP.


SOP in general – A personal statement or a Statement of Purpose is an essay or a written statement by a student, who is seeking to apply for a college, university, or school admissions. It becomes an admission essay while applying for colleges etc. On the other hand, it becomes a job application essay, when a person applies for a job and the recruiter, as a part of the interview and test, asks for an SOP.


Most of the time, the admission committee and recruiters do not ask for an SOP. However, in a rare case, an SOP might be asked to write one. In that case, the candidate might know what to do and what it means, and therefore, we have explained it in simple terms.


The SOP provides you with the best chance to entice the recruiters and admission committee by writing a beautifully structured profile by an essay that explains your personality characteristics, which have not been mentioned in other documents.


In case of admission, we mean academic files and for jobs, we are saying Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume and Cover Letter.


While applying for admissions, the committee may state that to apply for the respective college, and for that, you may have to write more than one essay.


We always recommend taking advice from education experts, who would be able to help you in choosing the right college and course, after analyzing all factors. They would also be able to assist with matters regarding education loans, acquiring a student visa, financial papers, and also with the progress of your admission files like SOPs, LORs, CVs, and Essays.


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Difference between an SOP and a Personal Statement

Despite mentioning that an SOP or a Personal Statement is nearly the same, few things set an SOP apart from a personal statement. A Statement of Purpose for Masters describes a person’s motivations, goals, experience, extracurricular activities, and others in two pages. While a personal statement states motivations, goals, and accomplishments. While writing a Statement of Purpose, and applying for a Masters’ course, you cannot be too personal, which in the case of a Personal Statement, is more elaborate about the aspirations and goals. An SOP is presented in a more detailed way than a Personal Statement.


Nonetheless, today we will be discussing the following things:-

  • Forms of SOP, SOP templates, and rules to write it
  •  Significance of SOP
  •  Word Count in SOP
  •  What points to include and what to exclude in an SOP

Want to study in the UK, Canada, the US, Australia, or any foreign country, be prepared to write an SOP. Even if you are going to pursue your post-graduation course in India, it is paramount for you to learn the definition of an SOP. Hence, we will first make you aware of the meaning/definition of the Statement of Purpose for a Masters’s application.


What does an SOP mean?

Like we previously mentioned, a personal statement or a Statement of Purpose is an essay or a written statement by a student, who is seeking to apply for college, university, or school admissions. It becomes an admission essay while applying for colleges etc. The essay explains why you are applying for a particular college or job.


The essay summarizes the candidate’s identity, career goals, and his/her preparations for the said course in a university or the job in a company.


The recruiters and admission committee get an idea of the person’s life, motivations for the selected career track, and goals. Hence, in an SOP, you should mention the past events that tempted you to choose that career track, wherein you will join the college/course or job.


You can also check out our article on SOP for Visa Applications 


Significance of a Statement of Purpose for Masters

A spellbinding SOP for Masters would aid you in getting enrolled in your favourite college – be it in India or abroad. The same can be said while applying for a job. Before selecting a candidate, the committee and recruiters consider many aspects of the person’s application.


After the committee asks for an SOP, and as you submit the Statement of Purpose for your Masters’ application, the academic documents, and other examination result records and the supplementary certificate that have been submitted are majorly objective, but the SOP is really and genuinely subjective side of your application.


SOP is the only document, which is a part of your application and gives you the chance to set yourself apart from others. Depending upon how well you craft this document, the chances of getting your admission to your favourite college are impacted. If you have doubts about creating SOPs you can outsource your SOP writing to eminent companies like Write Right which offers excellent SOP writing services. 


The general format of an SOP

Generally, most colleges/universities all over the world maintain a standard format/template that is acceptable. But the content in the SOP varies from course to course. Now, we will learn how to write an outstanding Statement of Purpose while applying for the Masters’s.


Today, in the current world, you can find thousands of SOP formats and samples. Despite that, people often get confused as to which one to follow. Hence, to make it easier, we will provide the usually followed and correct format so that you have no problems in drafting it.


Now, look at the below format, which is a universally accepted Statement of Purpose for Masters and Bachelors’ format. But first, know what the purpose of SOP is.


Purpose – The SOP will indicate strong research skills and efficiency for advanced research. The SOP mostly contains a motivational tale – education, academic, and professional projects showing efficiency in the chosen subject. Why did you choose the degree, along with long and short-term goals? Lastly, why do you think that you are better suited for college/university? The SOP is always written in a reverse manner (Present – Past)


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Here are the format and tips regarding the sections and body.


We are recommending you start the SOP with a note, stating what motivated you to choose the particular course. Mention specific events that tempted you to take the course. Ensure that the event is from the recent past since the committee wants to know if you accomplished anything, completed any projects, or won any awards recently. For example, while applying, a person in his SOP for masters can state that he won an award for being the best leader while competing in a quiz on business administration.

Educational Background

Under this section, you have to write the name of the college, school, residing address, year of enrollment and completion, the course pursued, subjects learned. Mention the subjects, wherein you have a keen interest and knowledge. Moreover, you can also state major projects that you have completed, along with a summary of them and the starting and finishing date. Lastly, the last line should state the name of the industries visited, Internships, training, Seminars, workshops.

Work Experience (if any)

If you are currently working, this section contains the name of the company, date of joining, company address, job title, and small gist of the job profile. If you were involved in any previous major projects, emphasize your specific role. You also write about your former job in the same way as discussed above.

Why did you select the particular Master’s course and why did you decide to pursue it at this time only? 

This section should state the reasons behind choosing the Masters’ course and also the skills and knowledge that you want to obtain and improve with it. You must state the reasons with rational examples or relevant information. State how this course will help you to acquire your desired goals and what that goal you desire is. You also must mention what will do after the course and what are your plans after the Master’s course. Moreover, you also need to justify why you feel that this is the best time to get yourself enrolled in the course. Note, if you have any previous work experience, you have to state why left the job for the course.

Career Goals

This is the MOST Vital part of the SOP, as the admission committee put more heed to this paragraph as it concentrates on career goals. You must divide the career goals into two parts – Short term goals and Long term goals. These two goals must be on specific information and not generic.

  • Short-Term Goals – This part should state the details about your goals after the completion of the Masters’ degree. For example, after the course, during the next five years, Ravi says, “I’m planning to work at Nikon media private limited, and as a Journalist. At the company, I will be scouring the net, agencies, and wire handles for new content, producing original and quality content, overlooking copies of newcomers.”
  • Long-Term Goals – The aim is to mention your plans for the next 10-15 years after the Masters’ course. Describe how the short-term goals will help you to arrive at your long-term goal. In case you have research plans, specify those details, added with the crucial tasks completed for this particular field. Conclude the part by stating how the Masters’ course will help you achieve these goals.


Why did you select this particular college/University?

State a practical reason that would make it easier for the committee to understand why you chose their university/college. Mention the salient features of the institute that prompted you to select that college. Do a background study of the college and its portal, and write the names of professors and their research projects in the respective course. Besides, you should also mention the research laboratories/centres, clubs, activities, a few subjects in the electives/curriculum, and the opportunities in boosting the profile. It is always better to state the names of two faculties and the research work done by them in your course.


Extracurricular Activities

This part is about the activities, wherein you actively took part. For example – Volunteering for a college function, participating in a college sports program, working with an NGO (Non-government organization), freelance projects (since they are independent and solo projects), etc. End this part by stating how the particular activity helped in becoming a mature person and being prepared for the extracurricular activities for this college/university. Also, don’t forget to mention how you can contribute to the college/university’s cause with the experienced/ interests, which you acquired while performing the activity.


Conclusion of SOP

In the end, briefly explain how prepared you are for this particular Masters’ degree and why you can offer to prove to the committee that you deserve to pursue the course.


Statement of Purpose for different courses of Masters

Even though the format remains the same for all the Masters’ courses, but the content matter varies for different degrees.

Formats of SOP for foreign countries

If you are writing a Statement of Purpose for Masters to apply for a college/university based in the UK, Canada, Australia, USA, and other nations, there is no fixed format to follow for that. Nevertheless, a university may have a set of rules, which you need to follow and write the SOP. But if you still need samples/examples, you can check different examples/samples of Statement of Purpose for Masters at StudyabroadShiksha. The website will guide you through all formats of SOP and for different courses.

Mistakes to be avoided while writing a Statement of Purpose for masters

Exaggerating about childhood daydreams – Speaking too much about childhood daydreams is one of the common mistakes that are committed by the students. It will be irrelevant and is unnecessary to mention childhood fantasies in a statement of purpose for masters and bachelors’ applications.

Even if you want to mention childhood fantasies, say that you always wanted to pursue a career in the financial industry, as that makes sense and is realistic or practical, rather than stating that you wanted to be an actor. If someone mentions that he wanted to be an actor, after pursuing a commerce stream, it will sound foolish and impractical.

Hence, be focused on your realistic goal and state how you ended up choosing the commerce line and that ultimately led you to pursue a masters’ course in financial management.

Writing the Statement of Purpose for Masters in haste and hurry – Another big mistake that the candidates make is that they mention all the things at once in their SOP. Since the SOP is written in a cause-and-effect way, it is essential to take step by step approach to build up the Statement of Purpose for Masters. Hence, it is always necessary to write the SOP with patience, without thinking about the time.

  • Not coming to the point and focusing on career goals – As we mentioned before, an SOP should always show your previous accomplishments and future career goals. However, some candidates blabber about interests, which in no way is linked with career goals. This ultimately pisses off the admission committee and they reject the person’s application. Thus, we always say that mention interests that are associated with your career goals and then say how these interests have developed us as individuals. State the accomplishments that showcase strengths and motivation towards career and the goals will portray attention and focus on plans. Write those in their suitable space and finally explain those points in such a way that the judging faculties deem you as a suitable and student for the course and college/university.
  • Not taking opinions from experts and professionals – Like we previously mentioned that it is always advisable to consult educational professionals and experts before writing a statement of purpose for a masters’ application. You can also take help from persons, who previously have written an SOP for their college and university admissions.

We are suggesting this as they would know the nuances of writing an SOP and hence, they would be able to help you in drafting the SOP systematically and in an organized way. Write the SOP in your word but ask them to check your written SOP, so that you can submit the SOP without any doubts. Ask the education experts and professionals to guide you through every stage of the SOP. They would be able to point out the points that must be mentioned in your SOP.

But remember that, the SOP should not be written by someone else as it tells about your career stories. Even if you narrate the experts to write the SOP for you, the SOP may be written as per that person’s style. The writing style of every person varies and the admission committee would also check if the SOP has been written by you or somebody else. Hence, do not make someone else write the SOP, but you can always make your written SOP checked by professionals. The experts will guide you in beautifully presenting your profile and also state how the strengths and weaknesses are to be presented in your SOP.

  • Consulting too many career counsellors – Don’t over consult, as too much advice could make you confused about which point is to be included and excluded. Even if you try to insert most of the advice, the points will your document look messy and chaotic, which ultimately leads you nowhere. Hence, take suggestions from only one career guide, who will help in writing the most critical points and avoid irrelevant points in your SOP.
  • Not doing thorough research – If you are thinking that writing as you may want in your SOP, my friend you will be caught off-guard. If you write random stuff about the selected course, university/ college, and nation in the SOP would leave a negative impression. Describing your dreams of studying abroad without mentioning goals or a famous destination that you always wanted to join without adding the relevant reasons may make the admission committee deem a candidate as naïve and unrealistic. Hence, never write about the nation’s weather conditions or even some known people living in the selected country.

Rather than mentioning the college/university’s infrastructure, you must do proper and detailed research on the course curriculum, professors of the college, campus facilities, and the work experience that might obtain by studying in the country after relating it to your career goals. Thus the committee would perceive the candidate as practical and career-oriented.

  • Writing beyond the specified word limit or below the recommended limit (Not respecting the space and word restriction) – Amongst other factors, the word limit is one of the important factors that should be kept in mind while writing the Statement of Purpose for Masters. The Committee, who would be evaluating your SOP, has limited time on their hand to assess an application. While the number of candidates applying for the course at the same college in a specific nation just before the last date. Evaluating so many copies of applications and that too as per the profile needs time and perseverance. Hence, always stick to the specified word limit. Usually, the word limit is somewhere between 800 and 1000 words. Therefore, if you want to explain all important things, learn to mug up substitute words as it helps to shorten the number of words written in a sentence, and eventually, you would be able to suffice in the least words. However, in case, you are unable to describe the SOP, we are advising you to concentrate on describing your goals and mentioning the current trends that are running in the industry, backed with data, facts, and figures.
  • Don’t get too personal and casual at the beginning and towards the end – Beginning the SOP/ admission essay by mentioning your career goals is always a good idea, but that doesn’t mean you should get too direct while stating why you are describing the intentions of the writing the application. The starting paragraph of the SOP should be intriguing and catchy. The evaluating persons, who are checking the SOP, should not perceive you as someone, who has written the career goals in a bid to get admission.


Write the SOP in a simple and easy-to-understand language, which makes it easier for assessing persons to understand your life objectives. By using an attractive opening line, you can pull the committee’s attention and tempt them to read further about your profile. In the same way, you should conclude the SOP by mentioning how the selected course and college would help you in completing your career goals. This would confirm that the beginning and the ending of the SOP are in rhythm and in a focused way. Hence, never forget the old saying, “The first impression is the last impression,” as that would help you to be cautious while writing the SOP/admission essay.


  • Writing difficult to understand terms (jargons or technical words frequently) – Refrain from using difficult terms in your SOP as the committee, who would be evaluating the SOP/ admission essay might not be good at vocabulary, and hence, they would not be able to understand what you are trying to say and may forgo your profile. You can use jargon or technical terms only when it is necessary and while explaining your career goals and future career objectives. Use such terms that would help them to associate with your decision to apply for a specified course and your future career plans. If committing the above-mentioned mistakes is a sin, writing the below two points, in a Statement of Purpose for Masters’ application, is blasphemy, which can lead the committee to ban a person from applying anywhere and rejecting a candidate’s application. Hence, seldom or never do the following two things, while drafting an SOP or admission essay.
  • Lying or stating wrong or false information in documents – The admission committee anticipates that you are an educated and morally sound person, who would provide 100 per cent true and accurate information, and hence, you must submit academic to extracurricular documents. If we provide falsified documents the authorities would find that and may reject the application. In some cases, they may permanently ban a candidate’s profile.
  • Copying SOP/admission essays from friends or the website – Nowadays, the admission committee of all colleges considers copied contents above one per cent as plagiarism and that becomes a serious offence. Hence, never the contents of an SOP while writing it. But you can remember the points/format to write the SOP. Copying/plagiarizing content from friends, the internet is a straightforward way of getting rejected by the authorities and it can also lead to a permanent ban. Write the contents on your own and also mug up the format so that you don’t have to copy the format.


Word limit of a Statement of Purpose for Masters

As we previously mentioned, a Statement of Purpose for a Masters or Bachelors’ application is usually summed up within one or two pages, but generally the word amount to 800 and 1000 words. However, the word limit depends on the guidelines of every college. Some colleges/universities have a fixed word limit and format of SOP and the word limit is set to 500 and sometimes, 200 words in some cases. Most of the universities have an ideal word restriction of 800-1000 words, which may exceed 1000, but remains less than 1200 in a few instances.

Generally, it is easier to sketch a tale of your life and explain the significance of each event in defining and shaping your character. But, while writing and narrating the career goals within the specified word limit as per the university/college, it is tricky to portray the best within the mentioned word count. In that case, it is advisable to write about the major accomplishments starting with the schools, colleges, work experience, etc.

Some foreign colleges/universities may not ask for an SOP, instead, they might ask you to write an essay, added with the word count.

What to write and not to include in an SOP?

While applying for Masters and writing a Statement of Purpose, there are many things to include in the SOP. The admission committee may ask for an essay that is based on questions or simply an SOP. Hence, until and unless the committee asks you categorically, in your SOP, always write your goals and career track that you are currently on and have come across, including your academic advancement. Besides the goals and career path, you can include the personal motivations that tempted you to select the particular college/university and its offered course, and lastly, how you are going use that vast exposure to obtain that objective.

After understanding how to write a Statement of Purpose for a Masters course, several questions popped up in our minds. But, to write our entire life and career within 100 words can leave us perplexed and puzzled. Instead of focusing on the word limit, it is essential to know what we should write in an SOP.

Keep in your mind that there is no fixed list, which states what to include in an SOP. In that case, remember to focus on what to exclude than what to write in an SOP. For instance, should we write about family, school life, the name of all companies with whom you have worked, all your extracurricular accomplishments?

Conclusion – Having mentioned all the points that must be covered, it is high time that you started to remember all the described points so that you get prepared to write an SOP when asked to do so. Besides, we also explained the difference between an SOP and a Personal Statement is. Hence before assuming that both are the same, you will be able to distinguish between the two and write accordingly. For further information, you can ask us right.

Arka Roy Chowdhury has done his post-graduate diploma course from Asian College of Journalism. Previously, he has worked at a few publications. Currently, he is an intern at IIM skills. Arka is an avid reader of sports and entertainment news.

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