Writing a Statement of Purpose for your studies in Canada can be daunting, especially when you are not a person of many words. There, there. I hear you! Before you melt into a puddle from the thought of writing an SOP that needs to compete with other international applications, read these tips. They are tried and tested so please put your trust in this absolutely random stranger (but very helpful agony aunt).
Be honest and be your own person
No, you do not need to prove to the evaluation committee that you have superpowers. Be honest about your achievements and your interests. A genuine Statement of Purpose is worth a million boastful ones. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small or big they may be and be yourself. Admissions committee members seek applicants who are eager to learn and grow, and can convince them of their purpose for applying, not superheroes.
Start your SOP with a story/ avoid cliché
Do not start your application with cliché like:
“I am applying to …program at…University/College because…”
“I would like to express my immense interest to apply for…”
“My name is… I am from… and study in grade 12…”
Know that every other SOP that the evaluation committee reads start with cliche sentences like the ones mentioned above. Instead, begin with a genuine statement. Tell them what inspired you to apply, tell them about your childhood, or even your struggles to excel in life in one sentence. Be relatable and real. You would be surprised to see how far such an approach takes you. Here’s an example:
“Literature and I have always found each other in gaiety and in strife. Bewitched as I am, I intend to pursue the Bachelor in Arts program at the University of …. Being one of the finest universities in Canada, University of… has always been my dream institution.”
Talk about your interests and motivations and connect it your program
It is just as important to talk about your interests and motivations as it is to focus on your previous educational qualifications. Write a short paragraph about your interests and justify how your choice of the program can sync with them. The evaluation committee looks for the potential to grow holistically in the applicant and in the process also contribute to the institution in ways other than just academics.
Talk about how your core values match your desired school’s
Write in no more than 1-2 sentences justifying your choice of institution. Your justification should be brief but not vague. Do not write things like:
“I like your College because it is nice and beautiful.”
“I want to study in your college because it is very famous.”
Instead, give believable reasons like:
“I want to take an interdisciplinary approach in my studies and with the choice of courses I get in your institution, I see the scope to do that.”
Give your SOP a structure
Structure your SOP properly. This will make it clear and coherent. The purpose of writing an SOP is to provide information, not to showcase your unique writing style. Here’s a structure you can follow:
- Start with a unique and semi-personal statement about your intent and motivations. Then, go on to state clearly and uncomplicatedly, the program you want to pursue and why.
- Next, focus on your qualifications and achievements. Write how they will hep you in your program. You should also add information about your interests in this paragraph.
- In the next paragraph, briefly talk about how you can contribute to the institution through your unique abilities.
- Finally, sum everything up and establish an end goal that pursuing this program would help you achieve. FInally, write about how you plan to contribute to the Canadian society through your plan.
Here is some unsolicited advice that you did not ask for (but is totally useful. Trust me!)
- Do not ramble on. Most Colleges and Universities have a 500-word limit. Do not exceed it. Go by the mantra “less is more”.
- If you have issues with your transcripts or any accessibility accommodations that need to be made, add that to your SOP. Remember that hiding important details from the admissions team will most likely do you more disservice than good.
- Proofread extensively. Typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on your ability to pay attention to detail.
- Be positive and enthusiastic.
- Write about what motivates you to come to Canada and apply to their institution particularly.
- Psst…Here’s a cheat code: If you are really passionate about a course or two, contact a Faculty member of the school who teaches those courses before you submit your SOP. Tell them how you plan to capitalize on your interests for their courses. Positive responses from Faculty members, if mentioned in the SOP, can earn some valuable brownie points.