SOP (Statement of Purpose)

The personal essays, and/or statement of purpose, also play a very important role in the process of evaluating your application for both admission as well as financial aid because it gives the faculty assessing your application their most significant impression of you as an individual.

For MBA candidates this is probably the most important criteria.

In the statement of purpose, which must be concise, the student must define his or her academic goals, and/or research plans; it should include justification for choosing the academic program and specialization, and for selecting the particular college as well as the advantages and benefit of studying that particular course.


A 'Statement of Purpose' — popularly known as 'SOP' — is an integral part of the international admissions process. Most international Universities require students to submit a statement of purpose along with their completed admission form. The SOP should explain in a crisp and clear manner — 'Why you are choosing the course that you want to study and what you plan to do on completing the course.'

A well-written SOP with a good academic score is a winning combination. The SOP gives you an opportunity to convince the Admissions Officer/Team that is examining application forms on why you should be granted admission.


Most institutions specify a word-count; usually between 3000 to 4000 words. Ensure that your SOP does not exceed the prescribed word-limit.

Your SOP should explain your academic credentials, and the reasoning behind your University and course choices. The SOP should paint a clear picture of your aim, your aspiration, and go on to explain what you intend to do on course completion. Be it higher-study or a job; be clear in stating your plans in the SOP.

Some Tips for writing SOP

  • Stick to a readable font-type and size
  • Write a couple of drafts, read, edit and then work on a final SOP.
  • Do not be repetitive.
  • Use simple and clear language; do not over-complicate the SOP and be sure to do a spell-check.
  • Again we stress (this is of paramount importance) the word-limit — do not go overboard; more is not better here.
  • Give demonstrative examples of academic brilliance or professional competence; instead of making vague statements.

Admission Essays: What they are?

In character, Admissions Essays are very much a written essay but unlike a SOP, there is no standard format. Universities would provide the applicants a list of required questions or essays. They usually vary as per the requirements of the University’s program and created carefully to ascertain the eligibility of the applicant. Also, and more importantly they are designed to prune the list and find the candidates that would be the correct fit for their program.

As the name suggests, Admission Essays are essays or documents sought by universities abroad to consider your candidature for specific courses. While there is no rule of thumb for the kind of essays the universities might ask, we categorise the question answer type essays in this section.

For instance, universities might believe that as an MBA applicant, the candidate must possess effective leadership qualities or a University for its highly acclaimed MIS program require the agility of mind and aptitude for innovation. In such scenarios, a simple Statement of Purpose might just not be enough. To counter the limitations of asking a one central and generic essay (read SOP), Universities decide to instead break up the essays into relevant questions. And these are widely known as Admission Essays.