All About SOP For MS in US

    Updated on: 11 Aug 2022

    Kudos! You have chosen the right graduate program for your master in the USA and started the application process. However, if you are like most students, you might have still left one box unchecked - Statement of Purpose
    Drafting a Statement for Purpose for Masters program can be daunting and overwhelming. The good news is that we have broken down the entire process of writing a unique statement of purpose that will leave a lasting impression on the admission panel of your dream university. Moreover, we will also add a sample SOP.

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    Why is a Statement of Purpose Important for Admission?

    Statement of Purpose also referred to as SOP, is an essay cum application written by a student planning to apply to a graduate program to a foreign university. By providing this essay, a student proposes his/her candidature by demonstrating their strengths and achievements to impress the concerned department as well as the admissions team assessing their profile.

    Statement of Purpose for masters portrays the ability of a student to pursue a specific master’s program, his/her interest, and why they would be a fruitful addition to their prestigious university. It also helps the University's AdCom (Admission committee) analyze the student’s interest in the program and future possibilities.

    Jared Pierce (Associate Director of Enrollment Service)- Northeastern University says-
    “Your statement of purpose is where you tell your story about who you are and why you need to be a part of the community. It gives the admissions committee the prospect to understand you and how you'll add value to the classroom."

    A Statement of Purpose is different for different colleges and countries. If you are applying for German Universities, check out our blog here.

    What Do Admission Officers and Departmental Faculty Members Look For in Your SOP?

    1. Uniqueness - What Sets You Apart From the Crowd? - Most applicants fail to portray the real side of their character and show their achievements with numbers. Remember, you are submitting your transcripts, reports, mark sheets, and other documents to show numbers, but SOP is the single document that will tell the story behind those numbers. So use this opportunity wisely. SOP is the only way to help the admission committee to show your experience at a personal level.  For instance, if you like reading, you can write about how you indulged in activities related to reading and how it helped you achieve the goals of your academia and other aspects. That is your uniqueness. Many people read, but it’s up to you how you utilize that.
    2. How Will You Be a Fruitful Addition To The Community? - The officers want to see how you will contribute to the local community. They are increasingly aware of the value of diversity when it comes to international students. Just being from a different country will not help; they need to see how you will bring and share your culture with your peers and the University. This ties with what makes you different. The best Statement of Purpose requires a good deal of introspection- what you know and how to share that with the surrounding community.
    3. Consistency With Other Documents and Facts. - Do not lie, and do not rehash your entire application on your SOP. If you have already mentioned your achievement and awards on CV, do not repeat that on the SOP.
      CV is who you are and what do you hold to date, while SOP is your personality, aspiration, your strengths, interest, career goals, and vision- which will not be found on any other application component.
    4. Your Familiarity With The Department or University. - The Adcom officer wants to see that you know the university/program you are willing to join and have made an informed decision to apply. Show interest in the University. RESEARCH about the department. Tell them about the particular professor who interests you. Why do you find the particular campus a perfect fit?.  
    5. Conclusion - Always conclude with a decision. Tell them that it is once in a lifetime future changing decision you are about to make, and they will be a part of it.


    How To Write An SOP?

    It is a simple three-step process; USA universities want you to answer a few basic questions in a way that depicts your story. The average length of the SOP is approx 1000 words, which should end with a conclusion.

    • Step 1 - Answer these basic questions:
      • About yourself
      • Academic Background
      • Professional background- if any
      • Why the USA?
      • Why masters in {university}, and why now?
      • Goal: short terms, Long terms.
      • Extracurricular

    Try to answer these questions in 200 words each. Then start editing, make a target of 1000 words, and three proofreads. Try to make a perfect SOP after done with the final review.

    • Step 2 - First draft: Connect all the questions in a single essay and make a rough draft. Re-check your fact again. Make sure your personality shines out in that SOP. Remember that answers have to be relevant to your other documents. For instance, one can not write that they enjoy Maths when, in reality,  they are struggling even to pass the exams.
    • Step 3 - Edit and Refine: Make sure you have checked for any grammatical or spelling errors. Use a mix of professional and engaging tone. The essay should not sound like an informative article. Remember, it should be between 800 to 1000 words. Keep in mind to follow the guidelines for font size, font type, and margins.

    Most importantly, ASK SOMEONE TO READ IT FOR YOU- take a second opinion, it is always helpful.

    Many students try to change their course of specialization for their Masters. In spite of having work experience, the lack of academic background proves to be a downside for them. A convincing SOP is the only way to secure that option. If you plan to change your major then visit here to know more. 

    Mistakes to Avoid

    1. Never use too many technical terms or jargon.
    2. Be on point; do not stretch anything for too long.
    3. Be honest, and the admissions teams want to see the truth, so never lie or provide any false information in the SOP.
    4. Never copy your statement of purpose from anyone or any SOP Format available online.
    5. Being too informal/direct in your introduction and conclusion, especially in conclusion.
    6. Incomplete fact check and information will take your ship down. So make sure you have researched your facts.


    The Best SOP Would Have These Characteristics

    1. Great opening and closing lines.
    2. At least a glimpse of the personality of the applicant.
    3. A sense of maturity, compassion for future, teamwork skills, leadership potency, and general likeability, maturity, compassion, stamina, teamwork skills, leadership potential, and general likability.


    GyanDhan has experience of helping over 1000's of students reach their dream university. They were helped to reach the peak of their potential with our experienced partners. If you need assistance to get a review of your SOP, you can use Our Free SOP Tool.

    Still overwhelmed, try contacting our Admission consultant here
    Sample SOP 

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