Friday, February 4, 2011

“How to Write Your Statement of Purpose (SoP)” - Professor M.S.Rao

What is SOP?

Statement of Purpose (SoP) is all essaying about yourself and where you see yourself in future professionally and personally. It contains entire information about your career goals, ambitions and aspirations in a nutshell. Why do you want to pursue a specific higher course or research? Why do you want to join a specific educational institution and what value will you add? Ideally it should not be more than 2 pages. SoP is called in different names globally. For instance, it is known as Statement of Intent, Goals Statement, and Letter of Intent and so on.

SoP is all about what you are and where you want to reach and what are your areas of interests and why do you want to acquire and hone those areas. It reflects your future career path. It is different from CV as CV is reflection of what you have achieved while the SOP is all about how you want to achieve. Succinctly SoP is a roadmap for your future.

SOP is needed especially for the students pursuing higher education. It is the general practice to seek for such a statement by the admission committee to have fair idea about the potential candidate. It is also needed when someone wants to pursue PhD and post doctoral courses.


SOP helps the prospective institution know about your areas of interests and passions. It appears like a CV but in brief format and beyond CV. It appears like a cover letter to your CV in a capsule format but beyond cover letter. CV presents your academic and work experience and cover letter provides the condensed content of your CV. Both CV and cover letter don’t present the goals and ambitions you have. Hence, SoP helps overcome where you want to see yourself in future going beyond both your CV and cover letter.


The admission committee looks for a crisp and clear presentation of information. It must be original and well punched. State clearly what value you will add for yourself and the institution. A good SoP helps you stand out. Although your CV is not strong with academic profile, right SoP tips the scale in favor of admission. Here are the nuggets to craft a good SoP.

• Do thorough research about the university you intend to join.
• Be specific and clear in your approach.
• Don’t make it like a cookie-cutter SoP.
• Be crisp and clear.
• Write in active voice preferably and in simple language. Don’t show your strength in vocabulary.
• Make it as brief as possible. If it is longer, the reader might lose interest in your content.
• Get it proofread and edited by experts or friends to avoid any typographical errors.
• Proofread number of times so as to get the best SoP. If possible, read aloud your script to find out any inconsistencies.

Final Word

Students must know and learn about SoP and how to write it effectively to create favorable impact on the admission committee. The researchers must be clear of their area of interest and approach the right institution and the faculty for pursuing their PhD or Post Doctoral Courses. To conclude, crafting a good SoP serves in introspecting yourself as well as in achieving your career success in a chosen institution and chosen area of interest. Good luck!

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

1 comment:

HK_Toronto said...

Thanks for the tips however, what is your take on discussing articles by published scholars from the institutions you are applying to?