How to Write a Motivation Letter / Statement of Purpose (SOP)

How to Write a Motivation Letter / Statement of Purpose (SOP) 's photoBy Ernest Emeka
Fri Jan 19 2024
How to Write a Motivation Letter / Statement of Purpose (SOP)

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Now that you have made up your mind to study abroad, there's something important we want you to know. Every bird and bee knows you need a list of documents to present to your school before they can gain admission. While gathering these documents is easy, a Motivation Letter or Statement of Purpose (SOP) might require more than you can imagine.

Read: 10 Tuition-Free Nursing Schools Abroad 

Olusegun had the documents and funds but could not define why he wanted to relocate to Canada for his master's. He paid an agency to write a Statement of Purpose but didn't read through this essay to find many loopholes in this document. Unfortunately, the agency had used artificial intelligence to write the SOP, and his choice school banned him from applying.

What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) or a letter of intent refers to a letter written to an institution's admission committee, submitted as an essay to discuss your goals, career route, professional contributions, and why you want to study there. 

How to Write a Motivation Letter / Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Why is the Statement of Purpose important?

The Statement of Purpose (SOP) helps an admission panel assess a student’s personality and allows pitching the purpose and reasons for studying in a particular school. If you have a weak academic profile, an SOP can be your compensation to rank higher in an admission process.

Read:10 Best European Universities for International Students

What should be included in the Statement of Purpose?

You can add the following to your SOP:

1.    Personal background

2.    Financial background

3.    Academic details

4.    Immediate and long-term goals

5.    Reasons for picking a particular  field

6.    Professional experience 

7.    Why you wish to study at this specific institution

8.    Extra-curricular activities

9.    Published works/papers submitted, if any

10. Interests, hobbies

11. Volunteer work

12. Career expectations from the school

13. Internship: If any

14. Anecdotes of leadership, corporate, or teamwork qualities

Tips to Write a Successful SOP 

1.    An introduction: You should have an introduction that stands out from other applicants with your personality.

2.    What are your goals? You have to impress your university that you understand what your course is about.

3.    Why did you pick your chosen subject? You must show how passionate you are about the subject in question. 

4.    Show how you can immerse yourself in the subject outside the classroom: There should be evidence that your interest in your subject continues outside the classroom. 

5.    Participation in clubs/societies: Do you know that an admission panel values your intellectual and creative ability to relate your experiences to your subject of choice?

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Personal Statement 

1.    Avoid using complex or sophisticated words in your application to show off.

2.    Ensure you avoid plagiarism. UCAS and other organizations use software designed to detect plagiarism on personal statements.

3.    Do not lie.

4.    Don’t procrastinate with getting started on your statement to make time for proofreading and submitting before the deadline.

5.    Stay away from humour and quotes.

6.    Don’t write a complete family history.

  1. Do not exceed the given word limit.

What is a Motivation Letter?

A Motivation letter is a one-page letter used by students to prove that they are the perfect candidate for a particular position in a university. It comes in four specific scenarios:

1.   When applying for an educational program at a university.

2.   When applying, work as a volunteer in an organization.

3.   When seeking an internship in a company.

4.   When looking to apply to a non-profit organization (NGO).

Tips to Consider Before Writing a Motivational Letter

1. Research well and have a detailed understanding of why you are writing a motivation letter. You must be crisp and concise with information

2. Include a pinch of impromptu personal information and reveal your personal style and personality in the text.

3. Go straight to the point and avoid beating around the bush.

4. State your purpose clearly

5. Avoid using controversial statements.

6. Use the art of persuasion for this letter. 

7. Don’t use generic statements.

8. You should know whom to address.

Structure of a Motivation Letter

Introduction: Write briefly about yourself and why you are writing the letter. In addition, give an outline of the content. You should start with greetings like “Dear Sir/Madam” and add names if available.

      i.        Personal information. Name, address, email address, and home institution.

    ii. What university/organization are you applying to? 

   iii.        Specify what you’re applying for. It should be your title and bolded.

Academic/Professional Profile: You should include your achievements and professional career induced with a timeline view. Don't forget to give reasons why you picked a particular course.

Why this Course: A motivation letter must include why you are pursuing your chosen course.

Long/Short-Term Goals: You should clarify the goals you want to achieve in a specific timeline.

Conclusion: You should summarize the letter's main points and goal to be accepted for the programme.

Proofreading: Ensure that it is error-free and grammatically correct before sending it.

How to Start a Motivation Letter

a)  Introduce yourself and your intent in the introduction. 

b)  Provide a clear picture of yourself 

In the body

a)  Highlight and describe your achievements

How to End a Letter of Motivation

1.   You should include all the essential points

2.   Summarize your goals with the interest that made you apply for the programme. 

3.   Showcase gratitude in advance. 

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Motivation Letter?

1.   Don’t include certain setbacks.

2.   Address the letter to the concerned person.

3.   State your offerings, goals, and perspectives matching your chosen university and career.

How to Write a Motivation Letter for Study Abroad

Here are some common characteristics to look for in a motivation letter for study abroad:

1.    Why do you want to study abroad?

Make a valid argument to the admissions officers about why you want to study abroad.

2.   Whether you have any previous international exposure

Don’t bluntly reveal that you have never lived abroad but that you are adaptable and have done enough research on the country to settle there.

3.    Why your personality is a match for study abroad

You should highlight why you are meant to be a part of a global community and the ability to fit into groups and tolerate others.

4.   Why did you apply to this university?

Talk about what you discovered during your research about the school and praise them on things that are worthy of praise. However, be honest.

How to Write a Motivation Letter / Statement of Purpose (SOP)

5.    Why do you want to study this programme?

We recommend you go through the curriculum for all the academic years and see why it interests you. 

6.    What do you want to do after graduation?

Talk about your ambitions and intentions for the future.

7.    Why should we give you this opportunity?

Talk about your educational experience and how it has prepared you for the future. Also, show you are committed and ready to experience a new culture. This question is for you to prove you are an ideal candidate.

How to Write a Study Abroad Motivation Letter with No Experience 

  1. Emphasize your academic achievements 

a)    Interesting courses

b)    Challenging papers  written

c)    Books that have inspired you to study your chosen subject. 

d)    Independent research done

e)    Lectures or conferences attended

2.    Focus on informal experiences you have 

a)    Soft skills you learned

b)    Foreign language knowledge

c)    Teamwork or community engagements 

What is the Difference Between a Motivation Letter, SOP, Cover Letter, and Personal Statement?

1)    Motivation Letter is written by applicants applying for a particular position at an institution or organization.

2)    Statement of Purpose (SOP)is an essay written by a student that reveals their interests in the respective academic field.

3)  Cover Letteris meant to speak of your competence and how the skill set you possess is apt for the position you are applying for.

4)    Your personal statement speaks promptly about your perfect fit for the position.

In Conclusion:

You must not copy someone when writing your motivation letter or SOP. Everyone is unique, which makes a difference during the selection process. This guide will help you create a successful essay and motivate you to pick that pen and paper for your study abroad journey. 

Read: How to Work With Your UK Tourist Visa 

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