Canada has been among the top choices of students who wish to study abroad. India plays a significant role in Canada’s international education space. The number of Indian Students in the country shot up by 40% in 2018 as per Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Today, every third international student is an Indian.
And why not? Canada has a welcoming economic immigration gateway, the Express Entry System, which makes Canadian education more appealing. Moreover, additional factors like a cost-efficient education and living, highly standardized education, internationally recognized degrees, and post-study work permit make it an attractive option.
So, students who have been accepted to study in an institution in Canada need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). For this, students will need the approval of the Canadian High Commission. One of the most important documents for this application is an SOP.
Writing a good SOP is imperative to get a student permit. But many students don’t even know about an SOP, let alone how to write one. They only hear about it when they start working on their applications. Now, whether or not you already know about SOPs, it is crucial to make an impressive SOP for Canada Student Visa in order to get a Study permit.
What is an SOP?
SOP stands for Statement of Purpose. It is an essay written to convince the foreign authorities to accept your application. Through an SOP, you try to make your case to convince and prove your eligibility to receive a student visa.
Therefore, it is an extremely vital document that can help you secure the student visa. You’re supposed to highlight your academic & career recognition, goals, best attributes, and motives to join a particular program.
This will help the admission panel in evaluating your expectations, goals, subject knowledge, and vision for the future. They will use this to determine if they should give a chance over other applicants to study in Canada.
What is the importance of an SOP?
Your SOP is the only way of communication between you and the admission panel. Through your SOP only, they will judge your goals, aspirations, expectations, personality, and the reasons for your choice of the course.
As Canada is home to several top universities in the world, it is among the most preferred destinations for studies for international students. In such a competitive scenario, it becomes imperative to write an SOP that stands out and makes your case more potent than the rest.
Your SOP will highlight your capabilities, career choices, career goals, and best attributes. It will encourage the panel to decide in your favor.
Moreover, some universities provide scholarships to students if they find their SOPs extraordinary. For example:
- In 2008, Cambridge University provided a pretty big scholarship to the student with the best SOP of the intake.
- The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute offers scholarships to Indian students based on their SOP and qualifications.
How is SOP for Canadian Student Visa different from SOP for other countries?
Unlike many other countries, you do not sit for a personal interview to get your study permit. For a student visa in Canada, you are required to provide a Visa SOP through which you tell the officials about you.
For a study permit in Canada, you’re required to write an SOP for the Canadian High Commission. This step is there in all countries which demand an SOP. But in Canada, you are also required to send an SOP to the university.
Furthermore, the SOP written for the universities is different from the SOPs written for the Visa Application. Both these SOPs will include various aspects as per the requirements of the offices.
What is the basic structure followed in an SOP?
The introduction of your SOP makes your first impression on the evaluator, so write an impressive opening in your SOP. You can start with a quote by a famous personality related to your course or any relevant personal story. Make sure it is short, crisp, and engaging.
Make a table to mention all your academic details from high school till now. Make sure you add a separate section to list your outstanding achievements. Make it explanatory, but short. If there’s any gap in your educational years, you have to mention the reason for it.
Professional experience, if any
List all the internships and the certification or diploma courses you have done till now. Add individual details of your experience from each of these opportunities. Also, mention how all of these collaboratively helped you in making an informed decision in opting for the course you want now.
What motivated you to opt for this course?
Elaborate on the course objectives and what you expect to learn from it. Mentioning the technical aspects of the course and your core interests in the chosen field will make it impressive.
Short-term and long-term career goals
Short term goals
Mention the projects you hope to work on or the project you’re working on. The scope of your project, your thesis, and its development so far. You can add that in which magazine you would like your project thesis to be published in.
Long term goals
Talk about your aim and ambition. What you want to be and what you want to achieve. What sector you are choosing and why. The prospects and scope of your chosen field, and so on.
Why opt for this university?
Show how much you have researched about the university, and studying there will open new opportunity doors for you.
Extracurricular activities, hobbies, and interests
Mention your participation and achievements in the co-curriculum. Your hobbies and interests make a part of your personality. So mentioning them properly. For example, instead of writing “reading books,” you should say, “I like reading books, mainly fiction and autobiographies. My favourite book is Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.” You can also discuss the philosophy behind your aspirations here.
Express gratitude to the dean of the university for giving you the opportunity to study there. Assure them that you’ll work hard and achieve your goals.
What are some tips to help students in writing an excellent SOP?
The selection panel is burdened with thousands of applications. They reject many applications by just skimming through them because it seems pretentious and unimpressive. You need to write your SOP with flair and charm to hook the panel and get selected and avoid refusal. Some SOP writing tips to help you make a good SOP are:
List your best attributes
Your SOP will reflect your personality, and it will display your virtues and purpose in applying for a particular course. So, whatever course you’ve chosen, list your core attributes to the subject.
Purpose of choosing the course or university
International universities prefer people who do their research thoroughly. Do extensive research on why you choose a particular course, what interests you in it, and how it’ll help further your aspirations. Research equally well on the choice of university and how it will help you in meeting your goals.
Add your charisma
From the stack of thousands of SOPs, you need to stand out. The only way to do that is by adding your personal touch to your SOP. Add something that sets you apart from the crowd.
Set a theme for your SOP
The Canadian institutes welcome qualified, proactive, and enthusiastic candidates with open arms. So, you can:
- Mention your financial or any other struggle truthfully.
- Show that you are not a quitter.
- Mention your hobbies and co-curricular activities.
Your journey, turning points, and self-discovery
This part will be the highlight of your SOP. Acknowledge your life’s journey, your turning points, and your achievements so far. Mention all of it to the officer in full glory but humbly. This should go in line with your set theme. Refrain from:
- Irrelevant exaggeration
- Derogatory implications
- Wordplay to leave an impression
Merits and demerits of your academic/professional life
This is among the most essential sections of your SOP. You must display your understanding of the subjects. Show your in-depth knowledge and hook the officer by showing your merits and demerits in your academic and professional life.
It proves your passion and determination for the chosen course.
Revise, review, edit, repeat
Once you finish writing your SOP for Canada Study Visa, proofread. Take a break and return to your SOP and read it objectively and edit accordingly. Having external help in this regard will help you better. Ask a trusted and experienced advisor to read your draft and help you improve it.
How to choose a suitable format?
Choosing a suitable format is a challenge many students face, no matter how many samples they refer to. There is no decided format to write an SOP. It depends on the university, course, and the purpose of writing the SOP.
Irrespective of the format you choose, a few things to keep in mind are:
- Your SOP format should be cohesive.
- Choose a format that feels comfortable and gives you more control over what to include in it.
- Format should support narrative progression and not have your content all over the place.
- The format should meet the university criteria.
- The format should support your application.
- Choose a simple format. It should not be too long or complex.
What are some common mistakes made by students while writing an SOP for a Canadian student visa? How to Avoid them?
Some common mistakes made by students that cost them their approval chances are as follows:
Writing the SOP at the last minute
This is the biggest mistake that many students commit. Some of them even start their homework and research for writing an SOP at the last moment. Since the student sat for the task late, they will rush through it. This affects the quality, content, and format of the SOP.
- The best way to avoid this mistake is by not waiting for the last hour to come. Once you’ve finalised your desirable course and the university, you can start preparing your SOP. The earlier you start, the more time you have to revise, review, edit, and improve its quality.
Non-Compliance of University or Visa guidelines
This is a mistake that puts a student in a bad light. You are supposed to adhere to the guidelines and word limits set by the authorities. If you don’t, then the authorities will not think even twice before rejecting your application. Moreover, they would remark that you’re unable to follow simple instructions.
- Read and understand the guidelines provided for writing an SOP by the authorities properly. Whenever there are any instructions to be followed, you’ll be intimated about them by the visa officer or the university. Your only task is to adhere to them.
Including unnecessary details in the SOP
Adding everything in your SOP, irrespective of their relevance in it, is a stupid act. Details unnecessary or unrelated to your course will not add any value to your SOP. Also, writing any lies to make you look better is a poor practice. On the contrary, it will look shallow and uninspiring.
- Decide and list the content you wish to include in your SOP before you start writing it. Be to the point with your content, as writing too much will take the focus away from the important aspects of the SOP.
Unimpressive, mediocre intro
An impressive introduction will win over the reader of your SOP and tip the scales in your favour. It is something that every applicant knows but still fails to write a good introduction. Opening your Canada Visa SOP with a mediocre introduction brings nothing new to the table. It simply reflects that you’ve not done much homework for your SOP. They can also conclude that you’re not prepared for the challenges involved in your course.
- Write a singular, impressive introductory paragraph. Establish yourself as a no-nonsense applicant. You can start with:
- Any incident from your life that is relevant to your course.
- State of the field that you wish to study.
Try to bring a unique perspective in these aspects, and you’ll have an outstanding introduction.
Using informal language in SOP
Many students often believe that writing their SOP for Student Visa using slang and informal language will impress the authorities. SOP is a formal document, and therefore, it should be written with great care. By using informal language, you reflect that you cannot differentiate between a formal and an informal situation. It will decrease your value as a potential candidate.
- Avoid using slang or informal language at all costs. While the tone can be informal and confident, but, the language should reflect professionalism.
Concentrating more on poor scores
While you’re supposed to mention your weak scores and the reason for it, you’re not supposed to dwell too much on it. Trying to elaborate and justify those marks can make a bad impression. Also, it will take the space of other important things required in the SOP.
- Address the issue as it is. Mention your lower grades along with your willingness to work harder. Unless there’s a serious medical or physical situation at play, it is unnecessary to elaborate. You’ll be admitted if you have the minimum required score.
It is one of the gravest mistakes a student can make while writing an SOP. Even if you’re not a native English speaker, you’re not to leave any grammatical or syntax errors in your SOP.
- Proofread and review your SOP. Careful editing and revision of the SOP multiple times will improve its quality.
Writing a good SOP is crucial to get a study permit in Canada. Therefore, it should be constructed with utter care and precision. You need to follow a proper format, mention all about yourself, and reflect on the better side of your personality. Focus on your qualities that reflect passion and determination.
Show that you are a competent person. Your tone in the entire SOP should be conversational but professional. Proofreading after each draft is crucial to improve the quality of the SOP.
Thus, following the above-mentioned SOP tips you can draft a well-written Statement of Purpose. However, if you don’t possess a good writing skill you can get in touch with us. We, at Contentholic provide the best SOP writing services when it comes to drafting Visa SOP. Our professional SOP writers are well-experienced and well-aware with what the Visa officer want to see in the SOP. So, connect with us for any SOP writing help.