The Complete Guide to writing a Statement of Purpose for Australia
Part 1: Background
Do you want to study in Australia but don’t know how to write a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?
Are you tired of trying to find SOP examples and samples?
Don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place.
We understand that the Statement of Purpose is a fundamental part of the application process for studying abroad and that is also on of the most challenging parts of your application.
That’s why we’ve come up with this Blog post.
You’ll find tips and suggestions on how to write an effective statement of Purpose for studying in Australia along with a SOP template.
Part 2: What is a Statement of Purpose?
A Statement of Purpose or SOP is a kind of essay that education providers require the applicants to submit with their application.
It consists of information about who you are, your aspirations and motivations behind your choosing of a specific career path, and where you plan to go from here.
Strong grades and test scores may set a foundation for you, but your experience and aspirations set you apart. The Statement of Purpose is where you let the admissions committee know about your experience and aspirations.
It is your chance to show who you are beyond your documents.
If you want to have a quick idea about what we are talking about, click here to see a first sample of a Statement of Purpose.
Part 3: How different is a Statement of Purpose from a personal statement?
Generally speaking, a Statement of Purpose gives the education providers a sense of why you want to pursue the program and your relevant experiences and qualifications.
Whereas, a personal statement sheds light on who you are, what is your drive, and what makes you stand out from the pool of applicants.
Most Universities ask for a statement of purpose. However, some might ask for a personal statement or even both.
Statement of purpose
A Statement of Purpose consists of your academics and career goals.
Include your aptitude, motivation, and preparations for the program, academic plans, career goals, and how the particular university is a good fit for you.
A personal statement consists of your personal background and experiences. It requires you to mention your life goals, long-term vision and any personal experiences that led you to select the program.
However, we recommend that you should check the education provider’s application website for more specific instructions.
If the program requires you to submit a Statement of Purpose only, then you should balance the personal and professional experiences with relevant information.
Part 4: What should you include in a Statement of Purpose?
A Statement of Purpose portrays your personality, and character. Hence, you should be very careful about what you include in your SOP.
Here are some aspects that your Statement of Purpose must include:
1. Clear articulation of your goals and interests
A strong Statement of Purpose means clear articulation of your goals in undertaking the program, future career plans, and long-term goals.
The objective of your SOP is to convince the admissions committee that you are the best fit for the program.
Discuss specifically your interests and goals. Use specific phenomenon or situations you find exciting.
The more clearly you show your interest more passionate you will seem and this is only possible if your goals and interests are clear and specific.
So, be as specific as possible while talking about your goals and interests.
2. Evidence of relevant past successes and experiences
The admissions committee wants to be sure that the applicants will be able to follow through their plan. The best way of demonstrating it is through your past experiences and successes.
Here are some things you should consider while talking about your past successes and experiences.
a. Personal Information:
Universities look for the reasons to select you while screening your application. Therefore, it is necessary that your Statement of Purpose highlights you.
Tell your story in a unique way. If you belong to a rural area and have struggled a lot to be where you are, mention it. Highlight the fact that you have overcome the challenges and managed to go on despite limited resources
Or, if you had a humble background, mention it briefly. You don’t need to go on and on about how great your life has been. Mention particular relevant experiences that highlight you.
b. Work experience:
If you have any work experience that supports shows your application feel free to include it in your SOP. Work experience is a great way of showing that you have already started contributing to your field of study.
Describe the work/s, mention your achievements and insights or lesson learned. Don’t go on listing everything you have done. Only include relevant information.
c. Extracurricular activities:
The Universities want to know what kind of leader you are or whether or not you are a leader. Extracurricular activities can be an ideal way of showing your passion and leadership abilities. It also highlights your ambitious personality.
Make sure to show the reason, for example, if you are talking about volunteering at an orphanage or leading a cleaning campaign in your neighborhood, make sure to include why you did these things and its relevance to your chosen career path.
Listing relevant awards could show your determination and abilities to perform excellently.
e. Published works:
Published work is an essential requirement for candidates applying for Graduate or Doctorate programs, but it could be equally valuable for undergrad students.
Having published works shows your ability to think scientifically and work in a dedicated manner.
While achievements show where you are, failures make you who you are. Most people prefer hiding behind their trophies and tend to not talk about their failures.
Whether you have failed a class or lost a job or a tournament or any personal accident, don’t be ashamed to talk about it.
The idea is to show your ability to rise from the failure. The universities are as interested in knowing how you react to failure and criticism as they are about your determination to win.
3. Strong writing:
You need to show the admissions committee that you are capable of clearly, effectively, and logically communicating your ideas.
Although it may depend upon the faculty, writing skills are an essential part of your SOP.
These are some of the aspects that could help you demonstrate that you are a good fit for the
program. However, a great SOP isn’t limited to these only. You can add any information to your
Statement of Purpose as long as it’s relevant and concise.
Part 5: What you should not include in your Statement of Purpose?
While you should be very careful about what you should include in your SOP, you should be equally aware of what you shouldn’t include in it.
Unnecessary information could hinder the credibility of your statement of Purpose (SOP). Therefore, to prevent you from it, here are some things, you should not include in your SOP.
1. Untruthful/ false information
2. Unnecessary personal information
3. Irrelevant hobbies and extracurricular activities
4. Repetitive information from CV
5. Any information that insinuates the migration pathway
Part 6: Preparing to write your SOP
Writing a Statement of Purpose requires focus and determination. It is your chance to prove that you are worthy and capable of studying in their university.
The first and presumably the most important step towards writing your Statement of Purpose is brainstorming.
Different Universities have different criteria. Go through the University’s website and understand the criteria and requirement well.
Therefore, you need to know what they are looking for, in order to customize your SOP accordingly.
Note: Read the guidelines that the admissions committee provides.
2. Select details
Admissions committee don’t care about how great football player you were in high school or how you saved a puppy’s life unless it conveys your suitability to the course.
Here are some tips to help you:
1. List down all the things that come to your mind
2. Rank them in the order of importance in relevance to the chosen career path
3. List down the qualities they highlight
4. Start eliminating
Part 7: Statement of Purpose Outline
After you’ve selected information to use for your Statement of Purpose, fill it in the outline below:
a. Introduction: specific and clear interests
b. The experience that sparked your interest in the field of study
c. Experience 1: brief description, accomplishments, and learning
d. Experience 2: brief description, accomplishments, and learning
e. Experience 3: brief description, accomplishments, and learning
f. Mention the areas you want to focus during your studies and why are you interested in the particular program
g. Your plans after completion of the degree
Part 8: Writing your SOP
The introduction part of your SOP should talk about your interest and motivation. It should present an initial theme or reason that will bring your experiences together.
Keep it short and to the point. Honestly state your interest and what sparked the interest.
2. Back up your introduction with past experiences and accomplishments
This is the meat of your Statement of Purpose and needs to present a logical argument to why you are a good fit for the program. For each experience you share, discuss the following:
a. A brief description of what you did
b. How long was the project?
c. What did you learn from it?
The ending is where you emphasize more on your academic interest. The conclusion of your SOP should include two paragraphs:
a. Re-emphasis on your academic interest
b. Re-emphasis on your career plans beyond the degree
4. Edit and re-write
The best way to write a good SOP is to write, edit and re-write. Never submit the first draft of your statement of purpose. Show it to your friends and ask for feedback.
Part 9: Statement of Purpose checklist
Writing a good Statement of Purpose requires dedication, time and a lot of hard work. Here is a checklist for you to compare your SOP, and make sure that is up to the mark.
a. Does your Statement of Purpose have a hook?
The hook is an attention-grabbing first paragraph that makes you stand out from the rest. Describe an incident that sparked your interest in the field of study.
The easiest way to hook someone to your writing is by making them feel like they actually experienced the event.
Instead of starting like this ” Having completed my high school in science I am interested in pursuing MBBS. “
Start with a hook like this, “His right hand was holding an antiseptic dipped cotton. He was smiling as he asked how I injured myself. His presence felt warm and his words comforting. I wanted to make other people feel the warmth and comfort he had made me feel. That was the day I decided I wanted to be him. That was the day I decided to be a doctor.”
b. Does your SOP tell a story?
Narrate your life story in an interesting manner to retain the admission committee member’s attention throughout your SOP.
c. Is your story backed by data and facts?
An interesting story also needs to be convincing. Back up every experience with proper data and facts. Let’s say that you volunteered at a hospital that provides free health services to the underprivileged.
You could say “One summer, I volunteered at a hospital that provided free health services to the underprivileged.”
But what impact did you help to bring?
You could say this instead,” On the summer of 2016, I along with 2 additional volunteers participated in an initiative by The Community Hospital that provided free health services to 300 underprivileged children from rural areas of Nepal.”
Tip: The numbers and specific facts will make your story powerful.
d. Show don’t tell
Does your SOP use clichés? Most SOPs are filled with generic claims.
“I am a hard worker.”
” I am efficient and hard working.”
If you want to secure an interview, avoid such claims.
Instead of telling them that you’re hardworking and efficient show them through your past records.
You could say, “Successfully raised NRS. 30,000 in 3 days as the fundraising volunteer at the Community Hospital for the free health care for the underprivileged children project.”
Tip: Discard the cliches and concentrate on telling it exactly how it was.
e. Is your SOP tailored to the university?
A majority of students tend to write a Statement of Purpose that is all about themselves. You must show the admissions committee that you understand the University and the program.
Your SOP needs to showcase three things:
1. an understanding of the University and the community they have created
2. an understanding of the program
3. an understanding of what they are looking for in a student
Tip: Read the guidelines provided by the University properly and only include relevant information.
f. Is your tone and language appropriate?
Maintain a semiformal tone throughout your SOP. Strive to maintain a balance between the formal tone and communicating your personality.
Tip: Use formal, but conversational tone.
g. Are you being truthful?
You should not confuse telling a compelling story with fabricating lies. Your story does not need to be the next best seller. It just needs to be true.
Tip: Don’t makeup stories as you write. Tell it exactly as it happened.
h. Is your SOP convincing?
The sole purpose of your SOP is to persuade the admissions committee that you are a good fit for the program. They won’t be persuaded if they aren’t convinced.
“Do you really want to pursue this course of study?”
Ask yourself this question. If you can’t convince yourself, you can’t convince the admissions committee.
Tip: Fully explain the reasons why the given program is best for you.
i. Is your SOP logical and coherent?
Your SOP should reflect your personal journey and aspirations. It should be logical and seamlessly flow to the next paragraph.
Tip: Define and keep in mind the basic purpose of your SOP at all times.
j. Is the language perfect?
The SOP is not the place to show off your writing ability. It should be clear and concise. Tell your story without showing off.
Always proofread to avoid sloppy mistakes.
Tip: Avoid sophisticated word, use simple language.
Remember, the key to a good Statement of Purpose is the balance. Don’t write everything about yourself. Balance it out by mentioning only relevant information.
Part 10: FAQs
1. How should I discuss a challenge that has affected my grades and/or work?
Some applications, assign an extended space to discuss such circumstances. They come as a short write-in question. However, if no such space is available then you should concisely incorporate it in your Statement of Purpose.
To be more specific, you can include this information in the second paragraph where you discuss how you got started with it.
2. What does the admissions committee look for in a potential student?
Universities want to admit students who exhibit a history of determination, self-motivation, and passion for their proposed field of interest.
3. What will you be critiqued for?
Different Universities have different criteria for selection. However, most Universities are likely to critique you on the following basis:
a. How clearly you communicate your experiences, accomplishments, and your fit with the program
b. Whether or not your SOP presents a clear and coherent argument that you are the kind of student they are looking for
c. Your writing; format, tone, grammar, and coherence.
4. How long should my Statement of Purpose be?
In general, SOP ranges from 1000-1200 words. The length of your Statement of Purpose will vary according to the University. We suggest you read the guidelines carefully.
If no such guideline is mentioned, then we suggest you aim for 1000 words or not more than two pages.
5. How should I start my Statement of Purpose?
Always start your Statement of Purpose with a hook. Please refer to Part 8 – Checklist of the article for a more detailed explanation on the hook.
6. How should I end my Statement of Purpose?
We suggest you re-enforce your academic goals and future career plans in the end. Give the admissions committee a subtle reminder of your plans beyond the degree at the end of your SOP.
Please refer to Part 7-Writing your SOP for more information.
7. Does the Statement of Purpose need a title?
Generally, the title ” Statement of Purpose” should be the first line of your paper. It should be centered. Start your essay one or two lines below.
However, most Universities provide a specific format. So, make sure you check the guidelines and follow the format.
8. How to format a Statement of Purpose?
Statement of Purpose follows the running paragraph style of an essay. While Bullet points are accepted but we suggest you keep it to the minimum.
Ideally, a SOP uses a maximum of 12 font size, double space, normal margins and is maximum two pages long.
However, different Universities provide different guidelines. We recommend you read the guidelines properly and follow accordingly.
9. Is the Statement of Purpose the same as the Personal Statement?
No, the Statement of Purpose and personal statement are different. Please refer to Part 3 of the article for more detailed information.
10. Can you use the same Statement of Purpose for different applications?
No. You can use parts of the SOP but never use the same SOP for different programs. Each University is unique so every SOP should tailor the University’s criteria. Using the same SOP for different programs is not a good idea.
Please visit our website at https://searchedu.com.au/ for more information. You can also call our
branch office and seek help from professional education counselors and registered migration