How to Write a Statement of Purpose
When you are applying for a graduate or PhD program, you have to write a Statement of Purpose. There are 3 steps to write an excellent statement of purpose.

1- Create an outline
2- Write the statement of purpose
3- Review your statement

1. Create an outline


A - Know yourself:

You must think about and answer these questions:

-What do you want?
-Why do you want it?
-Why can that particular program help you?
-Why should the school select you over someone else?

So, know your strengths and weaknesses. You should also review your intellectual and personal development over your academic years at the university.
B - Write the introduction and the thesis statement:

The introduction paragraph should be strong and clear. Answer the following questions for your introduction:

-Who are you?
-Where are you from?
-Why did you choose this particular field?
-Why did you choose this specific program?
- Why is this university your choice?

The thesis statement gives the central idea of your paper; so it should sum up the basic meaning of the essay, and signal to the reader what to expect. Be specific and clear.
C - The body of the paper:

Each paragraph should have one single central idea. Tell the reader what to expect in the paragraph with a topic sentence.

-If the central idea has several supporting points, discuss them in different paragraphs.
-Support whatever you write to convince the reader. Prove that your statements are true and accurate.
-The structure of the paragraphs should be careful and logical. You may choose to follow a chronological order or another sequence that is easy to read. You should use transition markers and connecting sentences to provide a smooth flow between the sentences and the paragraphs.
D- Conclusion:

Restate your thesis and the main points supporting it. You may add some new ideas or information to challenge the reader to think further about you.

2 - Write the Statement of Purpose

A - This is the easy part: If your outline is a thorough and a thoughtful one, this step will be an easy.

B - Introduction: The first sentence is very important if you want take the reader's attention. State your reasons about why you are writing this statement along with your goals.

C - The body of your paper: Describe the details of who you are (as a student/ as an academician/ as a human being) and what you have succeeded. In the body of you paper, it is important that you write about the following:

C-1) Explain your background: Show that you are academically prepared for your chosen program. Answer these questions:

-Where and what have you studied?
-What are your past research or diploma projects?
-How can you apply the skills you learned in earning your degree to the new field? (If you are applying to a program in a different field of study)

C-2) Describe your professional goals: Refer to the following questions:

- Why do you find your particular field of study interesting? What influenced you to choose that field?
- Did you have any related experience or research? If yes, explain.
- What are you future plans after you receive your degree? Are you planning to continue your education? Are you planning to work in your field?
C-3) Explain your reasoning: Describe what and why have chosen to study in this graduate school.

- What are you specific interests in the field?
- Why is this program needed for your professional development? How great is the need?
- What led you to your choice of university - courses, faculty, research projects, facilities, etc.?
D - Write you conclusion: Make a summary of the main points you mentioned in the body paragraphs. Finish the paragraph by describing what you can contribute as an individual to the program you are applying for.

E - List all the documents you will put in your application portfolio, and briefly describe them.

F - Thank the admissions committee for their time.

G - Write you contact information: Your telephone number, e-mail, and address.

3 - Review your Statement

A - Go back and revise. edit and rewrite: Remember, your statement should be 3 pages maximum. So, be very concise and to the point.

-After finishing your statement, wait for a few days to revise it.
- Ask someone else (The Writing Centre, for example J) to edit it.
- Is there anything that is not necessary or fits in well? Just cut it.
B- Print your SOP, sign it, and put it as the first item in your application portfolio: If you are going to send it through e-mail, convert your file to a PDF format.

Useful Tips

  • Your first paragraph should be 5 sentences maximum. It should give a summary of the whole SOP, and it should be well-written so that the committee members can think the rest of your application is worth reading.
  • Don’t boost yourself. Be humble, and let your SOP show them how good you are.
  • Don’t use technical terms or jargons too much.
  • If you are flexible, don’t be too specific about your research goals. Don’t seem to be without any goals, either.
  • The best SOP is well-organised and concise.
  • Try to use expressions such as “I believe”, “I think” if you are making judgments about how good you are.
  • Don’t make a summary of your CVs. Instead, focus on your previous and future research experiences.
  • Committees look for evidence of whether you will make the transition to a more “unstructured” and “self-directed” form of learning in graduate school. They try to see whether you have a “realistic” and “well-informed” sense of what a graduate student would expect to do in a degree.
  • The presentation of your paper is very important. Use Times New Roman font, 12 font size, and be careful with the margins. Be consistent with your style guide (APA, MLA, etc.) throughout your paper.
  • Don’t send the exact same SOP to all the universities you are applying to. Include specific references to people, labs, groups, etc., within their departments.
  • Carefully examine the university’s admissions web page before you submit your application.
  • Some specific and interesting details can make you be distinguished. Try to use short anecdotes to highlight your strengths, but be careful; they should all relate to the broad point you are making in your statement.
  • Keep it short and clear, but specific and detailed about faculty and areas of potential research.
“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
Mark Twain