Shiksha Guidelines for SOP: Format and Career Goals

Shiksha Guidelines for SOP: Format and Career Goals

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on May 6, 2024 13:22 IST

Purpose of SOP: The purpose of the SOP is to indicate strong research interest and your potential for advanced research. It will consist of your motivational story;  education;  projects -academic and professional- to show your expertise in the subject; why you want to pursue the degree now; short and long-term goals; why this University and lastly why you are a good fit for the school. Please note that the SOP should be written in a REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL order (Present to Past).

Shiksha Guidelines for SOP: Format and Career Goals

Students need to consider the following SOP Format

1) Statement of Purpose Introduction

It is advised to start your SOP with an anecdote (of an account) that inspired you to take up the particular course. The introduction should not consist of any generic information rather it is advisable to talk about any specific instance that motivated you to pursue this course. Make sure this instance is from your recent past (as the university would like to know about your recent accomplishments).

Please give a specific instance or event that can showcase your interest in the MS. You may talk of a recent research paper that you have read or a project that you undertook.

As an overview, you may include the following points in your SOP introduction:

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  • An inspiring quotation.
  • Reasons to pursue a particular course.
  • Any research project or significant skill that influenced your decision to select this course.
  • You may also provide a brief overview of yourself and your background with respect to your motivation for applying for a particular course.

2) Statement of Purpose Academic Background

Begin this para with the name of your college/ school, location, year of enrolment, year of completion, course name, and subjects studied. Mention the subjects that you feel you have a stronghold or knowledge in. Also, include major projects that you have undertaken along with the timelines (Month/ Year), and a brief description of your learning experience through these projects. This should follow up with any Industrial visits, Internships, training, Seminars, workshops, symposiums, and the like.

3) Statement of Purpose Professional Experience (if any)

Start this para with the name of the present organization, with details of the date of joining, location, designation and a brief description of your profile/ Job responsibilities. If possible mention any major project that you were involved in, focusing on your particular role. Next, you can write about your previous job in the same manner as stated above.

You may also mention certain challenges that you faced while working and how you overcame those challenges. Please note that everyone faces difficulties and challenges; what matters the most is how you overcome them.

4) Why Masters and Why Now?

This paragraph includes information about your reason for pursuing Masters, also the skills that you would like to inculcate and enhance through this course. You must mention your reasons with valid examples or substantial information. Also, you need to state WHY THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME for you to pursue your master's. If you have professional experience provide your reasons why you are leaving the job to pursue this course.

  • What skills or knowledge are you planning to enhance through this course?
  • How will it help to achieve your goals?
  • What are your goals?
  • Short-term: what are you planning to do just after your masters?
  • Long-term: in the long run, where do you see yourself?

5) Statement of Purpose Career Goals

This is the Most Important Part of your SOP. The University focuses a lot on this paragraph as it reflects that you are focused on your career and you have planned each step thoroughly.  Please note that this paragraph needs to be divided into two parts, Short-term, and Long-term Goals, and should comprise specific information, nothing generic.

  • Short-Term Goals (0-5 years after completion of course): This paragraph should provide details regarding your plans soon after completing your Master's degree. You need to describe the job profile you are interested in along with the companies and the department you would like to work in. This should follow the Job responsibility that you are expected to undertake and perform.
  • Long-Term Goals (10-15 years after completion of the course): This paragraph should elucidate your plans after completion of the course within 10-15 years. Please specify how this short-term goal will lead to your long-term goal. Please note, if you have research plans do specify a few details about the research work you would like to work, details of where would you like to do the research along with some important work done in this particular field. End this paragraph with how pursuing a master's will help you to accomplish these goals.

6) Why this particular University?

Mention a good reason that would justify you pursuing this course at this University. Mention some specific features of the university that suit your requirements. Add names of any faculty and their research areas in this program (give names), research labs/centres, clubs, activities, subjects in the curriculum/electives, and also the scope of these in enhancing your profile. To give these details you need to visit the university and program website.

Please visit the university’s website and talk about a few subjects in the curriculum. Also, mention the names of 1 or 2 professors and their area of research that interests you.

7) Statement of Purpose Extracurricular Activities

Keep the following details in mind when writing this paragraph; participated in any event, played any sport, associated with any NGO work, any club, any independent project work done, etc. (Mention apart from academics what you have done). State how these activities that you have participated in in your college will help you or prepare you for extracurricular activities at this University.

How have these activities shaped you as a person and how can you contribute to the university with these experiences/ interests?

8) Conclusion

Very crisply at the end mention how you are prepared for this particular degree and why they should take you. An essay's main ideas should be recapped in the statement of purpose conclusion. Also, it must succinctly and forcefully reiterate the thesis, providing the reader with a strong sense of the applicant's qualifications.

Try to make this draft with around 800–1000 words.

In addition to the guidelines, it is also important for students to know about the top SOP questions.

Also Read: Internship Certificate for Students: Format, Sample

SOP Guidelines FAQs

Q. Why is a statement of purpose important?

A. A statement of purpose it helps the admissions committee better understand who you are and why you are applying to a specific programme or university, the statement of purpose is crucial. It enables you to highlight your educational history, research interests, professional aspirations, and driving forces, and it aids the admissions committee in determining your degree-seeking potential. Moreover, it enables you to articulate in your own words how and why you are particularly equipped for the programme and what you will bring to the classroom and to the university. Moreover, it enables you to clarify why you are a suitable candidate for the programme and aids the admissions committee in spotting any gaps in your credentials.

Q. What is the structure of an SOP?

A. An introduction, a body, and a conclusion constitute the three primary sections of a statement of purpose. Introduce yourself and your academic interests in the introduction. You should elaborate on your area of interest and explain how it came to be particularly interesting to you in the body of your essay. You should also include your academic and professional objectives. You should restate your interest in the subject and summarise your points in the end. Make sure to connect everything that you have mentioned in your SOP with the help of logic. Also, since admissions committees typically read hundreds of these statements, it is crucial to be succinct and to the point while drafting a statement of purpose.

Q. What should I mention in the introduction of my statement of purpose?

A. A statement of purpose should start with an interesting introduction that should tell the reader about your interests, background, and motivations for applying to the programme. The introduction should include your current career goals, a summary of your relevant experience, and an explanation of how the institution you are applying to can help you achieve those goals. In addition, you should use the opening to demonstrate your commitment to the topic and to explain why you are so excited to apply to the graduate school. Finally, make use of the introduction to emphasise your programme qualifications and your capacity to help the institution and its academic community.

Q. How should I conclude my SOP?

A. An SOP's conclusion should be a summary of the topics covered throughout the essay. You should highlight the important details, such as your credentials and goals, and clearly indicate your dedication to the programme. The conclusion should be succinct and assured, leaving the reader with a clear sense of your commitment to the programme and your success. The conclusion should be able to convince the admission committee that you are an eligible candidate for the programme and that you will do justice to the programme. Moreover, after reading the conclusion of your SOP, the admissions committee must get a sense of closure.

Q. What should I write in an SOP for a scholarship?

A. A Statement of Purpose (SOP) for scholarship applications is meant to help the scholarship committee have a better knowledge of the candidate, their driving forces and objectives, and how the scholarship will support them in pursuing their long-term educational and career goals. The SOP needs to be prepared in an easy-to-understand manner and show the applicant's familiarity with both the scholarship and the field in which they are seeking. A thorough discussion of the applicant's professional objectives and how the scholarship would aid in achieving those objectives should also be included. The SOP should be customised for each scholarship and should detail why the applicant is the best choice for that specific award.
About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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lekha kashyap

a year ago

Hello Please help me to writete a SOP for National Informatic Centre (NIC) form

Reply to lekha kashyap


Piyush Kohli

a year ago

Hi Lekha, you can use the above guidelines for drafting an SOP.


Himali Harshani

2 years ago

please help me to write a SOP for MBA course (I'm a banker)

Reply to Himali Harshani

5 years ago

can anybody help me to write sop for database application developer course?

Reply to

Swameeka Medhi

5 years ago

Hi Ridhi, you may refer to the various sample SOPs we have here and according to your program level

5 years ago

Please provide an example of the opening sentence of a general SOP that may be used either for admission or when applying for a job. If it is in the form of an essay then is it sent with a covering letter. Kindly give a few examples of first sentence.

Reply to

Shilpa Saxena

5 years ago

Hi Sudarshana, an SOP written for a job varies from an educational SOP. However, for an ideal beginning, it is always recommended that you mention your intent or purpose behind applying to a particular course or job. You may refer to the samples provided on our website for educational SOPs: https:/