9 Common Mistakes People Make While Writing SOP


9 Common Mistakes People Make While Writing SOP

Along with your exam results and admissions interview, the statement of purpose (SOP), also known as a personal statement, is an important part of your university application.

Now that you understand how important your Statement of Purpose is in determining the outcome of your university applications, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes students make while writing their Statement of Purpose and how to avoid them.


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What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)

A statement of purpose is a brief essay written by prospective students as part of their university application. A regular SOP is typically 800-1000 words long and two pages long. It has a maximum font size of 12 points and is double spaced with standard margins. While writing the SOP, the candidate must remember that no colored text or graphics should be used and that only black color text should be used. It should include information about yourself, your accomplishments and goals, and why you should be admitted to a university program.

The SOP is essentially a student version of a cover letter for a job application. Your SOP, along with your exam results, will be used by university admissions panels to determine whether you should be admitted to a degree program. So, no worries! But, like with any seemingly difficult work, there are ways to make it simpler! Let’s take a look at 7 common SOP Mistakes to avoid while working on your application.


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Common Mistakes People Make While Writing SOP

The following are the most typical errors candidates make when creating their SOP:

1.    Leaving it Till the Eleventh Hour

Allow yourself a few weeks to complete your SOP before the deadline.

Of course, you won’t spend all of this time writing; instead, utilize it to brainstorm ideas and review sample SOPs. You don’t want to replicate them word for word because it would be too obvious, but if you read enough samples, patterns of content and format will emerge.

Leaving any task until the last minute guarantees hasty work and a bad final product.

2.   There are too many assumptions and not enough specifics

Avoid phrases like “I’d like to apply for an MS in Computer Science because I’m quite interested in it.” People only apply to graduate school because they are passionate about their chosen field; instead, consider what motivates you. Don’t be scared to get particular while telling your tale to admissions committees. Avoid employing too much technical language at the same time. Make sure your Statement of Purpose is engaging and intriguing to read.

3.    Exceeding the Word Count

In most circumstances, you’ll be given an estimate of the word limit. Make careful you don’t go over it!

In most cases, a single page or page and a half of Times New Roman type in size 12 will suffice. Even if you have a lot to say, keep it concise, to the point, and in short phrases. This makes it easy to read and reduces the chances of errors in your SOP!

Plus, if your SOP is too extensive, it is unlikely to be read carefully. After all, university admissions committees read hundreds of SOPs, so make it easy for them!

4.    Avoid Dishonesty

Throughout your Statement of Purpose, you must be honest and genuine. Avoid falsifying or inflating information about your professional or academic background, as your referee may be contacted and you may be caught. Never forget that sincerity and honesty will always be valued.

And when it comes to bragging about your own accomplishments, keep it simple and humble. Instead of coming across as overconfident or arrogant, you want to give the sense of someone who is determined, focused, and curious.

Even if you are truly excellent (which we know you are), keep it modest when informing them.

5.    Too Much Praise for the University

Being too nice or even admiring the university, on the other hand, does not pay off. Try not to waste too many words bragging about how great the university and instructors are; they probably already know! The purpose of your SOP is to explain why you and the university are a good match, not to brag about how fantastic the university is!

The problem with compliments is that they’re simple to spot when they’re not entirely sincere or given with selfish motives. So, do yourself a favor and keep things calm.

Give a brief mention of a particular module you’re interested in, or a particular achievement by the university that impresses you, but always bring things back to you.

6.    Adding Unnecessary information

While you may be proud of your gully cricket skills, avoid discussing them in your SOP unless you’ve received awards or recognition for them. The information in your SOP must be relevant and add tangible value to it.

7.    Extravagant writing or informal language

The same logic applies to the language you use. Avoid slang words and phrases at all costs! Your statement of purpose should be written in a formal, grammatically correct manner.

But it’s also important not to get too fancy. The annoying thing about an abundance of, ahem, loquaciousness is that it is, well, annoying…

See? You probably dislike me because I used the phrase “an overabundance of loquaciousness” when I could have simply said “too many fancy words.”

Language and words exist to be understood, and using too many of them can often give the wrong impression. So, try to keep your language simple and easy to understand.

8.    Exquisite presentation

Above, we specified the font Times New Roman, size 12. We know it’s a touch dull, but it’s simple to read and remains the preferred style in academics. Unless otherwise specified, you can also use Arial or Verdana, but the objective is to keep things neat, tidy, and minimalist.

Avoid using italics, bold, or underlined text, and stick to a 1.5 line spacing.

Even if you’re a fantastic designer or a creative genius, the SOP is about the substance, not the presentation, so save your creativity for later.

9. Proofreading or Editing

When you’re finished writing, double-check your Statement of Purpose to ensure you haven’t made any simple errors. Read it through several times to check for any minor spelling or grammar errors. Sending in an SOP with errors can give the impression that you are careless, so make sure it is error-free.

Because our eyes can often play tricks on us, it’s a good idea to leave your SOP for a day or two before proofreading it. However, with fresh eyes after a few days away, you’ll be able to spot the most minor errors. Even better, have someone else read it so they can catch any mistakes you make.

ALSO READ: Guide on How to Convert CGPA to Percentage in 2022

If you need help in writing your SOP, we are here to help you through the process. Speak with us for assistance in making your decision or visit our website, www.silvercloudtravelsng.com today.

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