How to Write SOP for Canadian Universities
Statement Of Purposes (SOPs) serves as one of the most important factors that determine the success of your application to any school. As the name suggests, a “statement of purpose” is targeted to serve as the medium to rightly inform your prospective colleges your reasons and purposes for wanting to attend there. Most universities and colleges abroad, including the ones in Canada, require all their applicants to present a Statement of Purpose to help them assess various aspects of the applicant. This applies to both graduate and undergraduate studies.
Typical Specifications of an SOP
Below is a rundown of certain specifications that are required from an SOP in general.
- SOPs are usually written for 1000 to 1500 words comprising your previous academic record, work experience, a hint of your personal life, your goals, achievements, and most importantly the reason for you choosing to pursue a particular program.
- One of the most important factors is to make sure that what you’re writing is completely authentic and original. The point is to make a unique and distinguished impression that will set you apart from the rest of the applicants
- It helps you distinguish yourself from the hundreds of those who are applying to the same university as you have.
- It is essential to mention all the things that you consider as the most interesting events and experiences in your life.
- An unimpressive, lifeless or copied SOP can have a negative impact on how your application is viewed by your dream school.
SOPs for Canadian Universities
Canada is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after study destinations for students from all over the world. In fact, the number of international students in Canada has been increasing over the past decade. With the huge number of students seeking admissions in various schools in Canada, it is quite a tedious process for schools to filter the applications and grant admissions for deserving candidates. This is where the role of the SOP comes in. It stands as the major distinguishing factor that is meant for establishing the uniqueness of a student. It is more of a “first impression” of yourself that you are presenting in front of the admission committee. Since the members of the committee have never met you, the SOP you present will help them get an insight into your personal, academic, and professional information. Most Canadian schools on the top of the ladder give more importance to SOPs than other admission criteria. However, if you look into the Canadian universities with lower rankings give less weightage to SOPs.
Here are some points and parameters to remember before drafting SOPs for Canadian universities
- The assessment parameters are in compliance with the program you are applying to. Hence, understand the requirements thoroughly
- Most Canadian universities require SOPs that distinguish every applicant from one another.
- It is essential to include factors like academic records, achievements on both academic and extracurricular fronts, community work, professional experiences (if any), etc
- Canadian Universities look for answers in your SOP for the most important questions as follows
- “Who”- The first and the most important question is who the student is. All SOPs are expected to explain the personal whereabouts of the applicant to some extent. Apart from that, you must add pertinent information such as their educational history, achievements, and others. In a nutshell, you need to present in front of the committee who you are.
- “What” – This question has to do with what course the student is intending to take up. The answer to this question must clearly state the intentions of the student in the chosen field.
- “Why”- It is essential for the student to list his/her reasons for selecting the particular area of study. This is one of the most pertinent factors as it helps the committee understand your academic intentions better. Make sure that you present this information with utmost clarity as it is considered very important by most Canadian universities. You must also include your motivation behind the same.
- Besides the above-mentioned factors, you should add all the things that you have in your field of interest. This will provide the committee a positive impression of your commitment to the field. This can include relevant experiences like internships, publications, certifications, projects, and so on.
- Every applicant might have different reasons for selecting a particular school. When you present your reasons with clarity, it will imply to the committee that you have done your research. This can be a huge convincing factor for the admission process. If you want to go a bit further, it is impressive to mention some imminent faculty in the school and about their contributions. This will earn you some extra points in making an amazing impression in front of the admission committee.
- It is best to present all the above answers in a coherent and well-blended manner to provide continuity. If the answers are detached from each other, it will not be pleasant to read and will make your SOP look very dull.
Now that we have covered all the “Do’s”, we can look into the “Don’ts” while drafting an SOP for a Canadian university.
- Plagiarism is a big “no-no” when it comes to Canadian universities and they have strict rejection policies against plagiarised SOPs. Writing an original SOP is considered one of the primary criteria to get an admission and plagiarism will denote that you have failed that criteria. You can refer to the SOPs of students who already got their admissions to get an idea but never copy someone else’s SOP.
- Good structure is very important for any SOP. Never write an incoherent and unstructured SOP as it will not be pleasant to read.
- Don’t add the information already mentioned in your CV. You can expand the information but repeating the same will give out a repetitive tone. Your SOP must be more like a story rather than just a collection of information.
Structure of SOP for a Canadian university
- To begin with, the first paragraph of your SOP must talk about the intent of your application. You can add interesting elements like anecdotes in the first paragraph to make a striking impression
- You can move on to the next section by adding information from your childhood like your academics, specific achievements, etc
- You must include your social and extracurricular activities to make your SOP sound more smart and distinguished.
- Logical flow is a mandatory factor apart from your aspirations and achievements.
- Your SOP must neither be too formal nor be too casual. It must have a neutral tone that is simple and appealing. Having a personal touch is quite important as well.
- If you are applying for engineering or business programs, you must always emphasize your academic excellence and achievements in your SOP to get an edge.
- If you have any stints at community volunteering and other activities, you can emphasize them. Especially if you are applying for programs related to public administration, make sure to prioritize them
- Certain Canadian mandate at least 2 years of work experience for taking up PG programs. So, it is essential to understand the requirements of the program and the university before you put together your SOP
- Most universities entertain students with relatively weak academic profiles if they present interesting SOPs that stand out. To emphasize all the other positive factors besides your academics to increase the chances of admission.
- It is advisable to write the full forms of words instead of abbreviations as much as possible.
- It is best to write a generalized draft first and then work on customizing it. Getting your research right concerning the program and the university you are applying for can help a great deal in writing the perfect SOP.