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How to Write a Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose (also known as an SOP) is a document that provides the review committee with an understanding of who you are as an applicant and whether your academic and professional goals are a solid match for the program to which you are applying. VIU’s statement of purpose is a 500-word essay defining the applicant’s academic interests, professional objectives, areas of interest to be explored in the program, and reasoning behind joining the program. An SOP should be thoughtful, reflective, and written in a way that demonstrates the candidate’s own ideas. It must be written in the candidate’s own words.
Some things to be sure to do in your statement of purpose:

  • Clearly and articulately define what you hope to achieve during the program.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the program and concentration for which you are applying. Be sure to clearly specify the program and the concentration in your SOP and why VIU is the right university for you.
  • Identify at least two areas of interest that you wish to explore in-depth during your program. Identify at least two professional objectives that you wish to achieve as a result of this program.
  • Demonstrate a strong command of written communication and attention to detail. Proofread your work before sending it!
  • Demonstrate an understanding of VIU’s mission and values in your statement of purpose.

Some things to avoid in your statement of purpose:

  • Avoid misspellings, punctuation errors, grammatical mistakes, etc. Your SOP should represent strong mastery of writing and should be free of errors.
  • Do not rely on quotations of famous people to serve as your SOP. Your goal is to convey your thoughts, words, and ideas on your academic career and beyond.
  • Plagiarism, including the copying of work from the internet, reliance on someone else to write your SOP, etc. must be avoided. Plagiarizing any part of the application is one reason for which a candidate may be disqualified from admission. If a candidate is found to have plagiarized a statement of purpose either during the admission process and/or after admission, he/she will be rejected and/or expelled.