Statement of Purpose (SOP) for USA: A Brief Guideline

Statement of Purpose (SOP) for USA: A Brief Guideline

Statement of Purpose (SOP) for USA: A Brief Guideline
Suman PoudelThu Aug 26 2021

When the students come to a point to compose a Statement of purpose for student visa, most of them take it as the strenuous task. However, with the certain techniques and steps this is not as daunting as you think. This article will provide you with the easiest skills to formulate a sample of SOP for the USA. Before we go into how to write SOP for the USA, let’s get some background information. 

 Firstly, what is SOP in a student visa? To understand in an easy way, it is a personal essay where the prospective students write about themselves, career goals, reasons for choosing a particular course, university and a country. SOP is one of the key documents for international students in order to obtain a student visa in any country. 

In the context of the USA the SOP is often denoted as the Letter of Intent or Motivation letter. So whenever you come across phrases such as “Letter of Intent sample”, “Letter of Intent for USA” or “Motivation Letter” simply understand that these are referring to the SOP. 

For the American colleges and universities, SOP is the mandatory requirement in order to apply for the i20. Misleading facts and non genuine reasons in SOP may lead towards the rejection of i20. Thus, try to be genuine and honest and do not give misleading details. You should convey the same information or at least not the opposite information from your SOP during the visa interview. 

There is no specific word limit regarding SOP for the USA. However, it can be composed between 700-800 words. If your SOP is content loaded and accurate, this word limit will be sufficient for a successful application. 

Things to consider whilst writing SOP for USA:

  • Although not mandatory, it is recommended to start your SOP with an impressive quotation relevant to your scenario.
  • Discuss your academic and family background. Show the clear departure while explaining how the interest for your chosen course grew inside you.
  • Talk about your passion about the intended course without exaggerating it.
  • Provide the reasons for choosing that college or the university. Here you can talk about the student support services they provide, unique course structure, affordability of the fees, Scholarship opportunities (if you've gotten any) and so on.
  • Do not forget to mention the reasons for choosing the USA over other countries. Here, you should present your understanding about the strength of the American educational system, the student support services they provide, multiculturalism, international recognition of the course and so on. Compare the USA with some of the major study destinations as well.
  • If you have education gaps, always compose an additional paragraph and explain in detail about it. If you have work experience, provide the things you learnt during your tenure and what motivated you to continue your study again.
  • Finally you should also mention your career goals. Explain how studying a particular course in an American university or college will help you to achieve your dream career.

Apart from the above mentioned points you should extend your SOP by adding the following paragraphs:

  • Talk about your finances in detail. In this paragraph you should talk about your financial sponsors. Make a clear stand about how you are going to fund your study.
  • While mentioning the reasons to return back to your home country, do not forget to point down the specific reasons for doing so. Always mention your personal, economic and social ties in your home country.
  • Always remember that your SOP should reflect all of your personal circumstances. This is the reason why every SOP is unique.

The American universities mostly look for your previous project work, involvement in the extracurricular activities and so on. Likewise, your community engagement also plays a vital role in your successful visa application. The reason to stress on these points is that the US universities have their outstanding reputation in global education. They not only want to have a book lover pupil in their family but also the student who is an overall package. 

For instance, if you are applying for a MBA degree, do not only mention your academic grade of bachelors and the units you studied. Instead, talk about your past managerial roles or the leadership skills you experienced. Link your past to the future goal and how this particular course will sharpen your skills.

That could be the SOP for undergraduate admission or statement of purpose in research, SOP for MS in USA or the SOP for MBA in USA, always try to incorporate your community engagement, social activities, extracurricular activities, inspiration from a renowned personality and so on.  

Some students are only high school grads who are intending to pursue a Bachelor of IT. Here as well do not only talk about the generic reasons to choose some university or course. Are you inspired by some renowned scientists? Have you done some IT projects at your school level? If yes, then must explain these events in your SOP to maximize the chances of your application success. 

PHD aspirants should focus on their research skills and similar past experience rather than academic achievements.  

These are all about dos of SOP formation. Let’s talk about don’ts as well.

  • Avoid plagiarism. A highly plagiarized SOP could result in i20 and visa rejection.
  • Do not beat around the bush. Come direct to the point. Give reasons and justify them. Do not unnecessarily lengthen your essay.
  • Avoid grammatical inaccuracies. Remember, you are applying for a student visa where English is the primary language. Make sure your SOP is precise and free of grammatical errors.
  • Do not provide misleading information.

Lastly, do not submit your SOP hastily. Take time. First, prepare a statement of purpose sample essays and keep on amending it until it is error free. Keep on checking the government’s policies for international students, official websites of the universities to get correct facts and figures which will help you to strengthen your SOP.

If you are having a hard time developing an SOP, check out this Statement of Purpose Template (SOP) | All you need to know

You can also have a look at other SOP samples:

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