SOP for Canada Universities - How to Write?

SOP for Canada Universities - How to Write?

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Avoid common but critical mistakes in Statement of purpose (SOP) & Let your SOP be the best one. This article will help you draft a killer SOP for Canadian universities.


Madhuwrita Nandi

Updated on: 12 Sep 2023

Planning to apply to an undergraduate or graduate study program in Canada and worried about how to write an SOP that will guarantee admission to your dream school? Well, in this blog, we discuss the A-Z of the perfect SOP for top Canada Universities. So, without further ado, let’s dig deeper into the art of writing an SOP.



What is an SOP?

An SOP, short for Statement of Purpose, is one of the most important aspects of your application to your target Canadian school. Like most other global universities, Canadian universities require applicants to submit a Statement of Purpose for Undergraduate and graduate studies. Unless specified otherwise, it is a 1200-1500-word long essay and is your first opportunity to tell the admission committee about yourself, your dreams and goals, your achievements, and why you want to pursue a particular program. It helps you distinguish from the hundreds of those applying to the same university you have.

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What is the importance of SOP?

Canada is one of the most popular study destinations for international students. In fact, the country had 572,415 international students in the year 2018. With so many international students headed to various schools of the country, the universities have a large pool of students to choose from. In such a scenario, an SOP becomes one of the major distinguishing factors setting your application apart from the rest. The admission committee has never met you, and your SOP will help the committee know about you, your expectations and goals, and your driving force, and give them a reason to choose you over a hundred others. 

A lackluster, copied, or unimpressive SOP would be the last thing that your dream school would entertain. Even if a student has a slightly weaker academic profile, if the SOP stands out, his/her chances of getting admission instantly get high. Thus, irrespective of your academic, professional, or other achievements, you have to pay great attention to writing your SOP. It should, however, be remembered that top Canadian schools give more importance to your SOP. Canadian universities that are ranked lower do not give much weightage to SOP.

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What are the Parameters of Assessment of SOP?

The parameters of assessment of your SOP depend on the program that you are applying to. Most universities look for SOPs that clearly distinguish the student from the other applicants. Factors like past academic record, work experience (if any), academic and professional achievements, community work, extra-curricular achievements, clarity of goals, etc., are all measured against those of the other applicants by the admission committees in Canadian universities

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What are the Questions that a Canadian University Wants Your SOP to Answer?

Well, Canadian Universities are no different from universities in other countries when it comes to the questions they want the student to answer in their SOP. We list down the top five questions that students, irrespective of the program, applying to Candian schools should answer in their SOP. They are as follows:

  • list items Who are they? - The student has to tell the university who they are and what they have studied and from where. They also have to mention their work experience, if any. 
  • list items What do you want to study? - In this question, the student has to tell the admission committee about what they want to study at the university. The student should mention the complete name of the program they wish to apply to. A small tip here is to avoid using short forms such as MS in CS, and rather write the complete “Masters of Science in Computer Science”. 
  • list items Why do they want to study this particular subject? - The student has to tell the admission committee why they want to study the program which they are applying to. Telling about their motivation behind choosing the program should be included by the applicants in this part of the SOP. 
  • list items What have they done in their chosen field till now? - The student should mention relevant experiences - such as certifications, publications or projects - that they have undertaken in the field they are applying to. 
  • list items Why have they chosen that particular university? - The student has to convince the admission committee as to why they are applying to the university and the program. Basically, the student has to praise the university and the program. Mentioning the names of one or two university professors who are working in your field of interest and talking about their research work that interests you will help you earn a few brownie points here. 

Students should remember that their answers to the above questions should blend well and not look like answers to five different questions.  

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What Makes a Good SOP for Canada Universities?

Now that you know the five important questions that need to be answered in an SOP for Canadian universities, let us list down a few important characteristics of a good SOP. 

  • list items The SOP should be original and unique. Plagiarism is a strict no in all Canadian universities and has severe consequences. You can certainly refer to the SOPs of your seniors who have got admission to your dream school, but ensure that your SOP is original. Do not look at too many samples SOPs. This will help you keep your SOP original. 
  • list items Students who wish to write an outstanding SOP for Canadian universities should write one with a good structure. A good structure constitutes a proper introduction, body, and conclusion. A systematic and orderly structure makes an SOP more presentable and attractive to the admission committee. 
  • list items The first paragraph should tell the admissions committee about the intent of your application. 
  • list items Students should remember to write an SOP that is specific to the university and the course they are applying to. They can first write a generalized SOP and then customize it according to the program and the university they are applying to. Researching well about the university and the program will help them here. 
  • list items Do not mention the specifics that are already there in your CV or the application. If you repeat what is already mentioned in the CV,  your SOP will get repetitive and boring. Try and create an interesting story about these details if at all you have to include them in your SOP. 
  • list items Including your short term and long term goals is mandatory in a good SOP. 
  • list items Including your extracurricular and social activities is a smart way to distinguish yourself from the scores of applicants who only have academic achievements. 
  • list items A good SOP has a logical flow and is interesting to read. The admission committee does not expect a prospective MBA student to be the next Shakespeare, but an interesting SOP will certainly make them remember him among the numerous other applicants. Weave a beautiful story around your achievements, dreams and aspirations and make your SOP stand out of the crowd. 
  • list items The tone of the SOP should be between formal and casual. The language of the SOP should be simple. Students should make their SOP easy to read and understand. It should have a seamless flow and should be interesting. A very important point here is to avoid any grammatical errors.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your SOP?

  • list items Even though an SOP requires you to blow your own trumpet, you should do it in a subtle way. Avoid over-emphasizing your achievements, instead, write more about what you learned from the achievement and how the achievement helped you grow. 
  • list items Language is the key in an SOP. Students should avoid using short forms or slang words. 
  • list items Avoid mentioning how the program will help you land a fat paying job with an MNC. Rather, mention how the program will help you grow. 
  • list items Keep the SOP within the mentioned word limit. Do not make it boring too.
  • list items Do not beat around the bush or be repetitive. Also, avoid using too many technical words in your SOP.  


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How can GyanDhan’s SOP tool help you?

We at GyanDhan have come with an SOP review tool for the benefit of our students. This automated tool uses heavy machine learning models to analyze your SOP for matter, grammar, readability, and other aspects by comparing it against the Canada SOP samples collated by us which act as defined benchmarks. Using NLP or Natural Language Processing, the tool analyzes the SOP and points out the grammatical or punctuation errors. It even highlights words that are not often used in a formal write-up. Any long or complex sentences are highlighted by this tool. Based on the results, students can improve their existing SOP and improve their chances of getting admission to their dream program. 

We offer both free and premium (if the student wants to get it reviewed from an expert) SOP review options to our readers, so upload your draft SOP now and make your study in Canada dream come true with our help.