How to Maintain Vocabulary, Grammar, and Word Limit in SOPs and Application Essays?


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Jun 03, 2023 01:01 AM IST

You know what and how to write an SOP, but what about the words, and the approach you need to take in its format? Do Grammar, Vocabulary, and Word Limit affect your overall impact on SOPs? Read below to find out.

How to Maintain Vocabulary, Grammar, and Word Limit in SOPs and Application Essays?

How to Maintain Vocabulary, Grammar, and Word Limit in SOPs: A Statement of Purpose (SOP), often known as a research statement, is a brief essay written by prospective students when applying to a university. This essay discusses your hobbies, professional accomplishments, objectives, and the driving factor behind your decision to pursue a certain programme at a given university. 

The admission panel will evaluate the SOP, together with your academic profiles, to determine whether you should be admitted to a degree programme. As a result, it might be regarded as the application's decision maker. A well-written SOP will assist the admission committee in evaluating your topic expertise, vision, and career ambitions, therefore building a picture of your complete personality for foreign universities.

Hence, it becomes crucial for international students and study abroad aspirants to know how to maintain vocabulary, grammar, and word limits in SOPs and application essays that they submit to foreign universities. 

Importance of Vocab, Grammar, Word Limit in Application Essays and SOPs

Statement of Purpose or SOPs and Application Essays are studied by the selection panel or committee of a university abroad to decide whether the candidate is suitable for the program they are applying for or not. To decide this, there are a few questions that  are focused upon by the panel;

  • Whether the student is clear and aware of their choice.

  • Does the student have an idea about what the program is about?

  • Is the student one to put their efforts into really learning and knowing the subject?

  • Does the student have a vision or a plan about what they would like to do with the knowledge they shall gain during the course?

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If these questions get answered satisfactorily by the assessed SOP, it is clear that the candidate is fluent enough in English, enabling them to perform the following functions:

  • Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening in English in an academic setting.

  • Can understand the content delivered through the language.

  • Can derive conclusions and infer information.

  • Can use the language to convey their thoughts and opinions.

  • Can ensure that their conversation is completed in a manner of understanding to the other person.

In this manner, the selection panel can understand the actual capability or fluency of the candidate in the language and can decide if their linguistic skills are enough to pursue the course of choice.

Vocabulary in Application Essays and SOPs

Every language has a wide range of words available for its users. Among all the available words in the language, the words known by the person are together considered as their vocabulary.

Importance of Vocabulary

As the selection panel uses SOPs to determine the qualitative strength of a candidate, the vocabulary used by them in their Application Essay or SOP becomes an important factor in affecting the decision of their acceptance.

  • It helps determine the ease at which the person can use these words. 

  • The higher the number of words and the ease of use, the stronger the vocabulary of a person.

  • A strong vocabulary allows the candidate to have a larger scope of language use.

  • Advanced vocabulary knowledge determines the familiarity of the person with its subjects, such as books, papers, conversions, culture, etc.

  • Easier to adapt to the culture where the language is practised.

  • Easier to gain knowledge using the language

Tips on How to Make an Impressive Use of Vocabulary

To ensure the right presentation, you need to practice a balanced combination of impactful, mature, and easy terms. To do so, the following can help; 

  • The use of heavy and advanced words must be in moderation. 

  • Moderately simple vocabulary must be used to simplify complex words or phrases. 

  • The use of professional terms indicates that a student works on vocabulary building and is aware of the field.

  • The panel would rather have an enthusiast than a flatterer. You simply have to show your genuine interest without the usage of flowery words

  • The knowledge about the field must be at least at par with your current qualification level if not pushed forward.

Grammar in Application Essays and SOPs

Grammar is the structure and rules used and to be complied with while using a particular language. 

Importance of Grammar

Grammar’s importance in Application Essays and SOPs a language can be understood by the following:

  • It makes the sentences and words meaningful and easily understandable. Bad grammar can be offputting for any reader and especially the admissions committee.

  • It provides structural and organized support to the language. 

  • It helps in making a good presentation in SOPs and application essays, which often become the deciding factor in selecting a candidate.

Tips on How to Make an Impressive Use of Grammar

To ensure proper presentation in Application Essays and SOPs, the following must be kept in mind:

  • The use of voices must be as per the intended impact of the sentence. Active voice must be used for conveying information needing notice, and passive voice for those either not important or that have to be subdued.

  • The proper use of grammar must not be allowed to hinder the effect of other important aspects such as vocabulary and especially word count.

  • Use of clauses, idioms, and proverbs is recommended, but only where they make sense and do not hinder the actual information. They must not be all over the essay but as support.

  • Punctuations must be correctly used.

Word Limit in Application Essays and SOPs

Word Limit is the number of words that a candidate can use in writing their SOP or Application Essay. It is, sometimes, declared by the universities and at other times no particular count is made known.

Importance of Word Limit

Irrespective of whether the institution you are applying to has declared the word limit or now, it is better to write within the general SOP and application essay word limited for the following reasons:

  • There are numerous applications received by the selection panel of any university. It is, therefore, inevitable to limit the time spent on reading the Application Essays or SOPs. 

  • When the essay is too long, it often tends to be distracted by irrelevant information.

  • Sometimes even when the long essays convey all the important information, the mere length of it might seem to be exhausting to look at. They might procrastinate reading or begin with a dampened spirit.

  • A journey is always better when satisfactory and long enough. A too-short application essay or SOP fails to provide that and also has only limited information.

Tips on How to Handle Word Limit

The following tips can help in following the word limit for application essays and SOPs

  • When the word limit is given as a single number, then it should not be seen at its face value. A variation of 100-150 words more or less must be applied for minimum and maximum word limits respectively.

  • When there is a range recommended as a word limit, the middle point of this range must be used to determine the final word count with a variation of 10 words.

  • When there is no SOP word limit recommended, then the range of 600-900 or 700-1000 must be followed.

  • The college essay word limit adherence must not be used as an excuse for poor information divulging. To avoid this, the word limit, the structure of SOP, and relevant information must all be sorted out.

  • Recognition of relevant information on a priority basis is recommended.

  • Word limit is not an excuse for poor flow or over or under-indulgence of information.

  • Allocate the range of word count to each paragraph or information head before starting the SOP or Application essay.

Can SOP Exceed Word Limit?

One of the most important factors to take into account while writing your SOP or application essays for study abroad is to stick to the word limit. Most of us do not always consider staying within the word limit when writing. It is essential to consider the value of time. The professionals evaluating your profile have a limited amount of time to complete their tasks. Thousands of students are registering for the same course at the same college in a certain country just before the deadline. Assessing such a multitude of applicants based on their profiles takes time and patience. As a result, you should constantly keep in mind the word restriction specified by the university.

If not, the recommended word count for any general SOP is between 800-1500 words. As a result, if you have a lot to say, it is best to pick your words carefully and summarise everything in as few words as possible. If, on the other hand, you don't have much to define your profile, it's best to focus on outlining your aims and discussing industry trends with facts and data.

Are SOPs for Bachelor's and Master's the Same?

A statement of purpose for a bachelor’s programme abroad is a lengthy essay that a student writes to the university detailing their major personal and professional facts, future objectives, and interest in the subject for undergraduate courses. The student has the opportunity to demonstrate that they are qualified for the chosen curriculum and are committed to their field of study. In addition, a brief explanation of the student's desire to pursue the degree, as well as how their history, education, and experience will help them succeed in the course of their choosing, should be provided.

On the other hand, a statement of purpose for a master's programme abroad is a critical essay-like document that contains accurate and complete details of your academic records, professional work experiences (if any), awards earned, the reason for your desire to study a specific master's course at the specific university, and so on. The SOP supports the institution's admissions committee in judging the merit of your bid for the programme. The SOP is a means through which the university's admissions or selection committee learns about your willingness to pursue the programme at their school.

Through this article, we got to know that the length of an SOP should be ideally 800-1000 words. Although this length is recommended in this guide, it generally remains the same for all types of SOP. Having said that, there are samples available for SOP writing which students can refer to. 

If you have more queries regarding SOP or Application Essay writing, then you can write to our experts at!

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What should be the ideal word limit for an SOP to study abroad?

Unless otherwise specified by the university, the word limit of an SOP that is meant for studying abroad (to be sent to an international university) should be between 800-1,500 words. To be exact, you should pick your words carefully and produce an essay that is easy to grasp and does not repeat or surpass the word count.

Can I exceed the word limit in my SOP or application essay?

No, exceeding the word limit in your study abroad SOP or application essay is not acceptable or recommended. Always keep in mind the word restriction that the institution has indicated to you. If not, the optimal word count for any generic SOP is between 800-1,500 words. As a result, if you have a lot to say, it is best to pick your words carefully and summarise everything in as few words as possible.

What is the word limit for an SOP to study in the USA?

SOP for the USA is a means for communicating your aims and intents to institutions. It is viewed as a more personalised means of connecting candidates and colleges. A student must submit a Statement of Purpose or application essay with a word restriction of roughly 1000 to 1200 words or anything else set by the university to get admission to any top university in the United States. Applicants must submit their SOP with all other required documents.

What is the word limit for SOP for applying for Canada student visas?

Your statement of intent for the Canadian study permit application should ideally be between 500 and 1,000 words long and should not exceed the word limit. While there is no word restriction set by the government, it is advisable to keep it to two pages.

How does an SOP for UK differ from other countries?

The SOP of the UK differs from that of other nations, according to training courses based on example declarations of functions. For the UK, the word limit for SOP must be 3950 characters or 600-900 words. Thus be cautious of the application's word limit; it should not be exceeded or overburdened. It emphasises the enthusiasm for training courses, workshops, or conferences attended and books examined. It must also be validated in English exclusively, with no plagiarism or grammatical problems. Several nations accept SOP in their native language as well.

What is the new SOP format for getting an Australian visa?

The GTE SOP format was recently modified by DOHA (Department of Home Affairs Australia (Immigration and Citizenship). Applicants need to submit a 300-word (2000 characters) SOP. You must cover the following elements in your GTE statement in brief:

  • Personal information and academic information (max 2-3 lines).

  • Explanation of the gap (if any, not more than 3 lines).

  • Details concerning employment (if applicable, not more than 2-3 lines).

  • Justification for selecting a certain study programme (not more than 4 lines).

  • Justification for selecting the particular university (not more than 4-5 lines).

  • Reason for not studying in India (not more than 4-5 lines).

  • Important information about living in Australia (not more than 3 lines, explain what you know about living in Australia).

  • Plans for your future career (not more than 4-5 lines).

  • Information about the financing available to you and your family situation in your native nation (not more than 3-4 lines).

  • History of immigration (not more than 2 lines).

  • Identities with the home country (not more than 3 lines).

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