A Complete Guide to Statement of Purpose

The education and teaching system in the United Kingdom are globally recognized. As a result, every year a large number of international students fly to the UK from their home countries. Most UK universities require students to prepare a Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Statement that goes with their university application. Universities in the […]

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The education and teaching system in the United Kingdom are globally recognized. As a result, every year a large number of international students fly to the UK from their home countries. Most UK universities require students to prepare a Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Statement that goes with their university application. Universities in the United Kingdom look beyond the grades you received in school when deciding on student candidates for admissions.

What is a Statement of Purpose

A Statement of Purpose also known as SOP which reflects one’s personality. It also portrays students’ interest to get admission to their desired university. A Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a short essay that focuses on students’ academic background, professional achievements and future goals. A well-organized personal statement also explains why a student wants to study in this particular degree and university. Moreover, students’ personal statements are the best way to grab the readers’ attention among the many applications. Experts say that ‘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’.

The necessity of a Personal Statement

A well written personal statement is extremely crucial for getting admission to UK universities. The reason behind is that a personal statement is a direct medium to communicate with the admission authorities and convenience them with your writing skills. Additionally, it focuses on students’ extra-curricular activities, achievements and enthusiasm for studying at this particular university. On the grade sheet, the skills and experience of a student may not be found but the SOP gives a snapshot to the university about students’ personalities outside the academic field and guides them to decide whether the students are fit for the campus culture or not. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to show students’ writing skills in a fun and creative way.

Proper Length of a Personal Statement

A high number of British universities provide highly specific instructions and guidelines to follow regarding the word limit. As a result, it’ll be highly effective for the students if they check the SOP requirements before submitting them to the university.

On the other hand, if the universities do not provide any specific requirements regarding the SOP the students need to write SOP on the basis of their study level. For example, the statement for Bachelor level is not the same as Master’s level. In addition, students should try to write their SOP within 2 pages. The students also need to keep the proper margin and line spacing while writing. Because a 2-page personal statement without line spacing would be a little difficult to read and understand for the admission counsellor.

However, if the universities do not mention any word limit or page limit, then it’s fine to write a 2 pages statement of the purpose in the following format. Such as,

  • 1.5 line spacing
  • 1-inch margin
  • 12 size fonts
  • Lots of Sub paragraphs
  • Subheading might make it more readable

Universal Condition of Personal Statement

The Personal Statement or Statement of Interest is the mirror of students’ ability as a candidate and their writing capability, and qualifications as well. In graduate schools in the United Kingdom students are going to write a ton of assignments, term papers and other projects. It is a very regular scenario in UK grad schools. Keeping this in mind, it is highly essential to show that the students are truly competent writers. Some quick tips for writing an ideal personal statement are:

  • A personal statement must not have any typos, spelling or grammar errors
  • Use short and sweet, strong, clear and meaning
  • Avoid clichés and repetitive information
  • The language should be highly formal, civil and professional
  • Try to keep a positive and confident tone

Things Should have in a Personal Statement

There are certain things that must be included in a classic personal statement. Such as,

  • Format the essay
  • Use formal and humble language
  • Cross check the grammar and spelling
  • Space the text
  • Use readable text

Things Should Avoid in a Personal Statement

  • Submit half-backed paper
  • Use informal and complicated language
  • Apply colorful and vivid background
  • Apply beautification on fonts
  • Use awful fonts

The Structure of a Personal Statement

A Statement of Purpose can be divided into three parts. They are:

  • Introduction: The first line of the introduction must be dramatic. The students need to be highly specific and to the point from the very beginning and need to show their interest in studying in this particular university and subject. Moreover, the students need to mention their recent inspiration regarding this subject. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for the students to explain their motivation, understanding of this prospective course.
  • The Body: In this phase the scholars need to address their career goals, previous academic background, and work experience (if applicable). Also, the learners need to make a bridge between their intended subject with their previous academic studies and work experience and make it clear how this degree will assist them in their future career. The students can share their interest and hobbies in this stage as well.
  • Conclusion: In the last level students must not add any new information. They can only summarize everything and focus on their desire and dreams to study at the UK university and tell the university or professor why they are the perfect candidate for this degree. In the end, the scholars can connect the conclusion with the introduction and can focus the key points once again in a short manner.

Tips to Write a Personal Statement

It can be difficult to understand what to include in every part of an SOP and what strategy to follow to write a perfect SOP. Some tips to write an organised SOP are:

  1. Make an Impressive Introduction: It is highly recommended to follow the guidelines of University and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS) while writing an SOP for a UK university. According to UCAS, the statement should not exceed more than 4000 characters, which means the students should complete the statement within 750-800 words. To catch the admission officer’s attention, you need the scholars to lay all emphasis in the opening paragraph. Moreover, the admission officers or professors go through thousands of SOP every year. So, the students have to make their writing extremely intriguing to make it stand out.
  2. Refine Your Passion and Experience: It is hugely essential in a personal statement to demonstrate students’ commitment and skills along with catching the readers’ interest. Students can follow the ABC rules to make things a little easier. According to the ABC rules A stands for Actions, B for Benefit and C for Course.
  3. Maintain 80/ 20 Ratio While Writing: An ideal personal statement should be a mixture of academic and non-academic achievements. It is believed that, while writing an SOP a student should write 80% of his/ her academic achievements and the rest of the achievements should be his/ her non-academic achievements.
  4. Be Specific and Compact: It is obvious that the admission authority receives hundreds of applications each day. So, if they find any irrelevant information your application might take place in the trash bin. As a result, there’s no use beating around the bush.
  5. Use Positive and Polite Language: It is highly essential to show your positive and polite nature through your writing. Students need to showcase their every achievement in a submissive manner.
  6. Write Formal and Professional Language: There is a myth that a personal statement can be written in informal or candid language. However, it is true that a student should include his/ her personal achievements but the language should be formal and modest.
  7. Read Several Times: The admission experts are highly professional and experienced. As a result, the students need to proofread and cross check their writing multiple times. Moreover, if the statement is copied from somewhere it will directly go to the trash bin.
  8. The Final Touch: The last paragraph is the eventual opportunity to keep a memorable impression. Students have to use it wisely. They should finish their SOP with valuable information.

The university and departments want to select students who have long term dedication towards study and research in this field. The students have to have a clear vision towards this field and the admission department wants to make sure that this particular applicant will contribute to this field of research.

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