When collecting and completing your documents as you prepare to study abroad in Canada, it’s important to prioritize writing your statement of purpose (or SOP). An SOP is a personal essay that helps you stand out from other students with similar achievements.
Not sure where to start? Read on to learn how to write your SOP!
What should I include in my statement of purpose?
A definitive statement of purpose uses students’ unique experiences to introduce them and explain why they will be a positive addition to the program to which they are applying. Some questions to answer in your SOP may include:
Who are you, and why are you a good candidate for this program?
Why do you want to apply for this specific program?
Where do you want your degree to take you?
How will your past experiences, including your educational background, help you to succeed?
Why are you choosing this specific institution?
This is your time to shine! As you answer these questions, don’t be afraid to talk about all you’ve accomplished and learned in your life. Avoid overusing clichés or copying someone else’s SOP. The admissions team will check for plagiarism and you risk getting your Canadian student visa refused if they think you copied someone else’s SOP.
Tips for Writing a Statement of Purpose for Canada
Before you start writing your purpose statement, here are some tips to consider:
Keep things original. Never, under any circumstances, copy or buy someone else’s work.
Be clear about returning home. Please refrain from discussing any plans you may have to remain in Canada upon completion of your program. This can be misconstrued and is against the student visa rules and regulations.
Explain your experiences. Go into detail about extracurricular activities, personal or educational achievements, and challenges you’ve overcome.
An example introduction to an SOP might look like this:
“My name is ___, and I’m applying to the Computer Science program at ___ University. I know I’ll be a great candidate for this program because of ___ and ___. I want to study in Canada, and specifically at ___ University, because of ___ and ___. After graduating with my degree, I plan to use my experiences to ___ and advance my career back home.”
This is just an example and not a model. Your own SOP should be unique, much more detailed, and specific to your experience.
Steps to write a statement of purpose
Start with an outline
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
“Why do I want to study in Canada?”
“Why do I want to study in my program and institution of choice?”
“What experiences or prerequisites do I have that will help me when studying this program in Canada?”
“What will I have gained when I return home after studying in Canada?”
Make a list of all the answers you find. Think about whether there was something academic or personal in your life that contributed to your reasons. Some common reasons include
- Past and current academic experiences
- Past or current personal experiences
- Work and volunteer experience
Tip: When providing your personal or academic information, be as accurate as possible. This includes addressing any gaps in your education.
Now that you’ve created an outline, it’s time to start sketching out all the information you’ve collected! Start with a framework that includes:
An introductory paragraph. Your presentation will tell the institution who you are and what your background is.
Body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should develop the main point. Also, be sure to list your experiences in chronological order.
Conclusion. This is where you will briefly summarize all the information presented in your SOP. It’s also a great opportunity to thank the person reading your post!
When creating structure, keep most of the word count in the body paragraphs. Most POPs are between 800 and 2,500 words. Check with your institution to confirm the preferred SOP word count.
Tip: Try to write your SOP at a level that is equivalent to your English test scores.
Add Your Proof
Once you have finished writing your SOP, go back to the experiences listed in your SOP and be sure to include supporting documentation. It is especially important that your academic record is accurate and aligns with your reasons for applying.
Supporting documentation may include:
Proof of financial support. This shows how you can support yourself financially as a student living in Canada.
Resume. This provides more information about your professional experiences and skills.
Awards and certificates. These provide proof of any awards listed on your SOP.
Medical or employment records. These records can help support the reasons for gaps in the study.
Edit, edit, edit!
After brainstorming, writing, and adding supporting documentation to your SOP, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Are you ready?
Well almost. While most of the work is already done, editing your SOP is also extremely important. Some tips to keep in mind:
Make sure your information is accurate, in chronological order, and have supporting documentation where necessary. Read it out loud to confirm that your writing flows well and makes sense.
Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Ask a friend or family member to give you their opinion.
Editing your work may seem redundant, but it’s a critical step! Overlooked errors can be misinterpreted or can make your SOP less impressive. Do your best by taking the time to edit your SOP.
Now that we’ve detailed the process, going through the SOP writing process step by step should help make it a bit easier. Follow the guide we’ve highlighted on this blog and you’re sure to write an amazing statement of purpose for Canada. Good luck!