SOP Samples - Writing Tips, Types, Format, Common Mistakes


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Apr 29, 2023 01:43 PM IST

A common but extremely effective document that can either ‘make or break’ your admissions abroad is known as the Statement of Purpose (SOP). In fact, most universities require students to present an SOP, especially if the selected course is highly selective and high-demanded.

Statement of Purpose Sample - Writing Tips, Types, Format, Common Mistakes

A common element for admissions to any higher education programme abroad requires applicants to submit a Statement of Purpose, outlining different aspects of their motives and reasons behind choosing a particular university or course. However, creating one for the purpose can be difficult for many, especially if the language it needs to be presented in, commonly English, is not their first language.

Nevertheless, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) should be designed to present a high-definition picture of your future goals and objectives, ambitions and overall, should present your thoughts and ideas in a manner that matches the future prospects of the course you have chosen. For this reason, universities across the world require a Statement of Purpose for admissions to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programmes across different disciplines.

Let us go through the templates and formats of SOPs to get a better understanding of what a statement of purpose is and how you can create your own for admissions to your desired university abroad. You will also find Statement of Purpose Samples for bachelors, masters, and MBA programmes abroad on this page.

Need Help in SOP Writing for Universities Abroad?

Statement of Purpose Sample, Template and Format to Study Abroad

Check out this table and image on how to write a statement of purpose, outlining the commonly used Statement of Purpose Sample template and format to study abroad.


Describe a Distinguishing Feature

Paragraph 1

In the first paragraph, briefly describe your history and your long-term goals/vision. Why did you choose this university and course? Keep in mind that the first impression is the final impression.

Paragraph 2 

Previous academic experience and professional background (if any).

Paragraph 3 

Academic accomplishments



Projects completed 

Professional accomplishments 

Industrial experience

Paragraph 4 

Explain why you wish to pursue this course or programme in depth. Explain your objectives and future expectations from this course or programme.

Paragraph 5 

Where do you envision yourself in five years after graduating from this university/college? Explain your long-term aspirations, as well as your professional plans and objectives.

Paragraph 6 

Why did you choose this university/college? Describe several departments, university activities, recognition, awards, faculty members, atmosphere, infrastructure, methodology used, and so on.

Paragraph 7 

Ending/closure of the SOP on a thankful note. 

SOP Template and Format to Study Abroad

Note: It should be noted that you will be required to design your Statement of Purpose for MBA courses abroad, to increase your chances of being selected for one of the renowned courses. Therefore, check out the different Statement of Purpose Samples in this article, along with the steps to create your own SOPs for admissions abroad.

What is an SOP and Why is it Important?

Before beginning to create your own statement of purpose for your bachelor's, master's or MBA course admissions abroad, it is important to understand what a Statement of Purpose is. In short, a Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an overview of oneself. It highlights the strengths, passion, career aspirations, professional experiences and contributions as well as the major reason why you wish to pursue a particular course at a particular university/college/department.

As stated above, Statements of Purpose, commonly referred to as SOPs, are crucial to your admissions to popular universities abroad. Most universities require applicants to present a well-worded and well-structured SOP along with the application form.

However, the reason why you truly need a statement of purpose is due to the fact that the document has the power to ‘make or break’ your application at a university. In fact, if you are able to create a brilliant statement of purpose, you may still be accepted at a highly selective university, even with a weak academic record. Therefore, it is crucial to create several drafts and sample SOPs before submitting the final statement to your desired university.

Steps to Write a Convincing SOP?


An SOP, as an essential component for each study abroad application, must be exactly well-written. To help you comprehend the many aspects of this document, we have created a step-by-step approach for creating an impressive and compelling SOP to pursue your preferred course abroad.


The first stage in creating an SOP is to consider the many components of your candidature that should be included in it. Academic achievements (particularly at the college level), prior work experience, or volunteer activities are required components of an SOP. Begin by sketching up an overview for the paper and asking yourself the following questions:

  • Which subject or field of study attracts me the most?

  • Why am I interested in pursuing this degree?

  • What am I hoping to gain from this degree?

  • What opportunities does this degree provide?

  • Where does this degree have the potential to take me, both emotionally and professionally? 

  • What values can I bring to this programme as a result of my prerequisites?

In other words, make an overview of your SOP and develop from there. Sharing a tale that piqued your interest in your subject is an excellent approach to start your introduction. Create relevant points and categories, describe your relevant accomplishments and knowledge, and, most importantly, explain why you choose the course and the university.

Formulate an SOP Sample or Draft

Concentrate on sharing your academic and professional or work experience-related learnings and information. When drafting your SOP, keep technical words to a minimum and utilise active voice. If there is a gap year or an academic obstacle, approach it with optimism. Make certain that your SOP includes a clear introduction and conclusion. Remember to write your SOP in reverse chronological sequence at all times.

Here is a list of important points to consider while writing your statement of purpose:

  • Since the admission committee is attempting to comprehend your candidature through the SOP, you must be truthful in articulating your professional goals and ambitions. Maintaining the veracity of your provided data is important. 

  • Mention your personal and professional interests in an interesting way. Mention your areas of interest and what fascinates you. Then, tie it to your selected programme and how it will help you develop your talents. For example, you may declare that you want to get experience or training in your preferred sector through the course.

  • What led you here should be given in your SOP. You might begin by describing the elements of your selected course that drew you to it. Then, put out the goals you intend to achieve by studying the programme. It might be personal development, professional advancement, or both. When listing your reasons, try to be distinctive and precise.

Revise and Modify Before You Send 

After you have penned down your SOP using the above-mentioned helpful hints, the final and closing stage is to edit and make modifications as needed. Check your list from the beginning to check that you have included all of them. Try getting a second view by having a friend or an experienced expert read your SOP.

Elements to Include in a Convincing SOP 

Whether applying to undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate courses at universities abroad, the technique for developing a strong statement of purpose should be consistent. From your academic and professional background to your career ambitions, you must carefully connect all of the dots between achieving your objectives and choosing the right school and course. Here are a few things to keep in mind and add to your SOP to strengthen and convince your profile:

Short Yet Informative Introduction

This paragraph is sometimes mistaken for the self-introduction paragraph. It should not introduce you, but rather outline what you will be discussing in your SOP. There are several techniques you might take when approaching this text. You can show your knowledge of the selected area and write about how you want to contribute to it. You may also discuss your background in 2-3 lines and link it to your future ambitions. You can also write about an anecdote that sparked your professional interest in the chosen field of study.

Academic Qualifications and Professional Experience

This includes your academic background: what you have done thus far, what you are now studying, academic strengths and projects, and industrial exposure.

Long-Term and Short-Term Career Objectives

This is the most significant section of your SOP, and it is where you should outline your short and long-term professional objectives. Your immediate objective would be to find a job soon after finishing this course. You should be able to list a few firms in India as well as the position you picture yourself in. This should describe the type of job profile you'd be working on. 

Then follows your long-term aim, in which you should describe where you envision yourself in 10-12 or 15 years. This might include your desire to extend your current family business internationally. You could also be interested in additional studies, such as a PhD, which can be put here.

Why Did You Select This Course?

In this section, you should explain why you want to take a course and which modules you plan to use during the course. It should also address the abilities you will gain during this time, as well as the exposure that will aid in the development of the talents required to achieve your goals.

Why Do You Want to Study at This Particular University?

This is a special paragraph in which you may persuade a university that they are a good fit for your profile and that you are an exceptional prospect for their university. You should talk about the course curricula, research projects, faculty names, and university-specific activities that can assist you to boost your profile.

Statement of Purpose Sample, Template and Format: Bachelor Courses Abroad

Among the documents commonly requested from international student applications for undergraduate programmes include properly structured statements of purpose (SOPs) for bachelor programmes. Some of the important notes on how to write your statement of purpose for bachelor's degrees abroad are as follows:

  • Provide detailed background information, your reasons for choosing a particular field and university/college, your long-term and short-term goals and aspirations, etc.

  • Structure your SOP for bachelor's degrees abroad as follows:

    • Give an introduction, outline your background, your reasons to choose a specific course, career aspirations and goals, reasons for choosing the specific university/college and finally provide a good conclusion.

  • Be sure to take a positive approach when writing your SOP for bachelor’s degrees abroad, even when speaking about negative points and failures.

  • Create drafts and review the same as many times as possible as well as seek guidance from study abroad experts or seniors to build a perfect SOP for bachelor’s degrees abroad.

Note: Read our guidelines on how to write an SOP for a bachelor’s degree abroad here or click on one of the sample SOPs for bachelor's courses that can be found in this article. It should be noted that your undergraduate SOP should be unique to you and the course and university you have chosen.

Statement of Purpose Sample, Template and Format: Master Courses Abroad

When writing a statement of purpose for master’s courses abroad, students must keep in mind certain guidelines and tips and tricks that can help them create impeccable SOPs. Some of these steps to write an SOP for a master’s abroad are defined below:

  • Follow a proper SOP format for master’s abroad, as outlined here:

    • Start with the purpose of pursuing a particular field of study and course, as well as their skills and qualifications to pursue the course.

    • Merge this with past experiences in the relevant field, which include professional as well as academic experiences. You may include any relevant work, industry or training experience that compliments or has the potential to contribute to your chosen field of study.

    • Create a couple of paragraphs describing your reasons for choosing the course at a particular university, outlining how the course curriculum of the university will help them achieve their future aspirations, both academically and professionally.

    • Finish off with how your personal traits and skills can be beneficial to the university and can be used to further both your academic and professional prospects.

  • Create a draft structure of your SOP for master’s courses abroad. For example, define the number of paragraphs you will include, what each paragraph will talk about and compile the necessary information, including facts and figures you can use in your SOPs.

  • Be sure to create your SOP specifically for the course you are applying to, keeping in mind the unique features and aspects of the course as well as the university.

Check out the top tips and tricks on writing an SOP with guidelines for top master’s courses abroad here, along with the format, guidelines for top courses and FAQs or refer to one of the SOP samples for master's abroad listed in this article.

Statement of Purpose Sample, Template and Format: MBA Abroad

One of the key elements to applying for graduate management programmes abroad is creating an SOP for MBA programmes abroad. Most universities and colleges require all their applicants to present a well-structured and well-formatted statement of purpose for MBA programmes. Here are things you should keep in mind when writing your SOP for MBA abroad.

  • Being a highly competitive field, creating a brilliant SOP is a must. Therefore, define the statements, facts and figures that you want to be included in your SOP, create a draft structure of how your SOP should present information, and research everything you can about the course and university you are applying to.

  • Go through the SOP guidelines and regulations for MBA abroad, which will be unique to each university.

    • Some universities may define the word limit for the SOP, while others may define the topic or type of SOP to be written.

    • Some of the universities may also require multiple SOPs with essays and/or cover letters.

  • Similar to Bachelor’s and Master’s SOPs, MBA SOPs should be specific to the course you wish to study.

Make your application strong by referring to the proven tips and guidelines for writing a perfect SOP for MBA abroad for top business schools, and check out the MBA SOP samples that we have created for you here.

Statement of Purpose Sample to Study Abroad

For those looking for a Statement of Purpose Sample for bachelor's, master's, and MBA courses abroad, check out the following links for the same.

Sample SOP for Bachelor Courses Abroad

If your desired university abroad is asking you to submit an SOP for a bachelor course abroad, then check out the following sample SOPs for UG courses that we have created for you.

Sample Statement of Purpose for UG Courses - SOP for Bachelors Abroad

Sample SOP for Master Courses Abroad

For those interested in understanding how to write an SOP for masters courses abroad, then check out the following link to get a better understanding of the same.

Sample Statement of Purpose for Masters - SOP for MS Courses Abroad

Sample SOP for MBA Abroad

If you are looking to study an MBA programme abroad and need a hand creating your SOP for MBA abroad, then check out the following sample SOP for MBA courses abroad and find out how you can create your own.

Sample SOP for MBA Abroad with Example

What Do Colleges Look for in an SOP? 

Several international and even national colleges need a Statement of Purpose (SOP) from individuals who want to enrol in appropriate courses offered by the university. They request the SOP from candidates in order to check and examine the following items:

  • The writer's or candidate's writing talents.

  • The X element distinguishes their writing from the pack of aspiring students who have applied for the same course.

  • Selection of concepts and ideas as specified in the SOP.

  • The candidate's distinct personality.

  • Candidate's abilities, prior experiences, interests, and potential.

  • What and how may the candidate offer to the college/department? university's

  • The candidate's motive or inspiration for studying a particular subject must be clear and justified.

  • The motivation for selecting a specific university/college and field of study.

  • Academic and extracurricular accomplishments and awards (if any).

  • The SOP's overall originality and clarity.

How Long Should an SOP be? 

If you are applying to an internationally famous university, your statement of purpose should be at least 1-2 pages long. In terms of word count, you should aim for roughly 1,000 words. Nevertheless, the word limit and length may vary according to the university that the individual is applying to as well as the level of degree. 

A candidate writing an SOP for an undergraduate programme, for example, should not exceed 800 to 1,000 words, but a candidate writing an SOP for a PhD or M.Phil degree course should write it in approximately 1,200 words, and occasionally even more. Some colleges even have a set length and word count that applies to all programmes and courses.

Level of Study of the Programme 

Word Count (Approximate)

Page Limit 

Bachelor’s (UG)


1-2 pages

Master’s (PG)


1-2.5 pages

Doctoral (PhD)/ Research


2-3 pages 

What to Include and Not Include in an SOP? 

An SOP contains several components. Colleges may need question-based essays or a generic statement of intent. Unless otherwise requested, an SOP must cover your goals and the professional path you have chosen thus far, as well as your academic achievement. Personal motives that led you to pick the university/course you have applied to, as well as how you intend to use that experience to attain that objective, are equally crucial components of the SOP.

The following are some things you should take to strengthen your SOP for university application:

  • Your Statement of Purpose should have a distinct and appealing beginning and finish. It must be unique and a representation of yourself.

  • Describe your academic background and current and future goals. You must defend your choice of a certain master's or doctoral programme through this.

  • The admission officer should be able to comprehend what you can offer to the institution in terms of research and additional scope in your selected topic after reading your SOP.

  • Always write your SOP in an active style and give information in a way that reflects your enthusiasm and excitement. Rather than being straightforward, consider citing remarks or references with pertinent instances.

Also Read:

LOR Samples - Writing Tips, Types, Format, and Common Mistakes

The Ultimate CV Writing Tips for Studying Abroad 

How to Write a Student Resume for MS Courses Abroad?

Common Application Documents Required for Admission in Foreign Universities

Things to Not Include in an SOP

Frequently, foreign universities come across a lengthy statement of goal and reject it. Even if you could not identify a single grammatical issue, the otherwise superb SOP would be rejected. And the main problem is that there is too much needless information. For example, just because you want to talk about your family does not mean you ramble on and on about your family. Your SOP should be a boast sheet with content, not just a brag sheet. You must select which items to include. Choose a subject and include the accomplishments that are most relevant to your candidature.

While these sample SOPs will be useful for you when applying to universities abroad, seeking expert guidance from experienced counsellors will help much more. It should also be noted that these samples should only be used for reference purposes. Your statement of purpose should be structured and designed to incorporate your experiences and skillsets in connection with the course you are applying to.

Register and connect with highly experienced study abroad counsellors and study at your dream university abroad now!

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What is the difference between SOP for MS and MBA?

The difference between an SOP for MS and MBA is simply contextual. In other words, an SOP for MS courses should include your technical proficiency in a relevant field while MBA SOPs should focus primarily on your leadership skills as well as decision-making skills. Additionally, MBA SOPs will usually highlight work experiences and expertise while MS SOPs should highlight the academic and professional experiences of the candidate.

What to include in your SOP?

When writing an SOP, you can include several talking points such as your academic background, your reasons for choosing a particular course and university, your future goals and aspirations as well as how a particular course and university will be able to help you achieve your future/career goals and aspirations. Before you start writing your essay for an abroad application, it is also important to understand the difference between a University SOP and a Visa SOP.

How is SOP for MBA different from an SOP for MIM?

An SOP for MBA differs from an SOP for MIM in several ways, with work experience between prospective candidates being the primary point of difference. An MBA SOP should display a candidate’s potential for leadership and managerial qualities and skills while a MIM SOP should highlight a candidate’s academic rigour as well as display their leadership skills at entry-level managerial positions.

What is the ideal word count of an SOP?

The ideal word count for an SOP will differ across various parameters. However, experts claim keeping an academic SOP between 700-800 words is usually considered the ideal SOP word count. It should be noted that many universities may also specify the word limit for the application essay or the SOP that all candidates must adhere to.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid in an SOP?

There are several common mistakes to avoid in an SOP which include straying away from the defined format, including irrelevant information and oversharing information, grammatical errors, taking a negative approach, exaggeration and unclear motives, not creating drafts and proofreading the document before submitting it to the university, among many other mistakes.

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