Applying to a Canadian university for a scholarship can seem like a daunting task because of the number of essays you need to write. One of the documents that many universities require as a part of your application is a statement of purpose essay or an SOP.
What is an SOP?
An SOP or statement of purpose essay is a document that generally includes a description of your academics, goals, career orientation, and experiences that indicate how well-suited you are for the program that you have applied for.
To an admissions board, an SOP will answer the question of who you are and what you want to do with your degree. This seems like a simple task, but when your application is mixed in with a pool of candidates aiming for the same scholarship, your SOP must showcase your unique personality and skillset to help you stand out!
SOPs are also especially important because if you lack in academics, you can use the SOP to describe what gives you an edge over other candidates in terms of experience, ambition and skillset.
Format for an SOP for Canadian Scholarship Application
Different Canadian universities can have varying requirements for an SOP for their scholarship applications. In certain cases, the questions that you need to answer to write your SOP will be provided by the university. In some cases, you might even be asked to upload pictures of yourself that highlight important moments in your life and then asked to write a description of those.
However, if the requirements for the SOP haven’t been specified, then include the following content in yours:
- An introduction of yourself
- Information about your academics and achievements
- Past work experience whether it’s paid or unpaid
- Your interest in the study program and why you want to study in it
- Expectations from the university
- Extracurricular activities/ volunteer work/ community work etc.
- Future career goals (both immediate and long term)
- Your personality, interests, and unique characteristics, which explain why you deserve the scholarship.
How to Write an SOP for Canadian Scholarship Application?
Getting your SOP right is crucial because a good SOP will make or break your scholarship application. Apart from determining whether you qualify for an interview or not, an SOP also demonstrates your communication skills. Yes, you might be a good candidate for the scholarship, but can you use the power of words to advocate for yourself and convince the committee that you deserve this scholarship?
Well, hopefully, once you learn how to write an excellent statement of purpose, you will be able to! So let’s get started on how you’re actually going to write your SOP.
Writing the introduction
First impressions matter; and in the case of your SOP, your introduction sets the layout for the rest of the statement. The introduction should simply include a brief introduction about who you are, the field you’ve applied to, and express your aspirations for your career in life.
If you’re starting out with a catchy and unique introduction, you’ll be grabbing the reader’s attention from the get-go. Remember, they’re looking at everything from the sentence structure, to the tone of your words, to the quality of your content.
Describe Your Academic Background and Work Experience
Start off the body of your SOP essay by describing your academic background. This will include a list of your important academic credentials and achievements related to the field you have applied for. Additionally, talk about how the education you have attained so far makes you qualified enough for the scholarship.
Follow up academics with any work experience you might have in your field; this can include internships, workshops, volunteer work, and jobs. Again, the key here is to focus on the skills and important characteristics you have acquired from your experience and how they support your application.
Describe Motivation Behind Choosing a Field, University, and Canada
Whether it’s a life-long fascination with a field that’s turned into a career aspiration or because of a life-changing event, each candidate will have their motivation behind wanting to study their field, and furthermore, wanting to study in Canada.
This is probably one of the most important parts of your statement where you’re going to answer two very important questions; “Why have you chosen this program?” and “Why have you chosen to study in Canada?”. You should be able to provide concrete answers to both of these questions that indicate your confidence in knowing what you want and faith in your abilities to achieve it.
Any research that you have done about the university will play a big role here. Get into the specifics of your course and talk about the topics that interest you the most. Where does your interest spark from and how do you think you can expand on the knowledge you have about those interests by studying at this University.
What features of that university have attracted you to it and how do you think it’s equipped to help you meet your educational goals? Are there certain skills that you are excited about enhancing in the program? Talk about them!
The scholarship committee needs to know that you are truly passionate about your field and understand your responsibilities as an international student. This portion is also the perfect opportunity to get personal in your statement and relate it to your life passion and interests.
Let’s talk career goals
What are your aspirations for your future and how does this degree help with that? Showing that you have clear goals and are career-oriented is very important in your statement of purpose.
It shows that you have thought deeply about your future and won’t let the scholarship and degree go to waste.
No goal is too far-fetched, you just need to show them how you plan on achieving what you want and make them connect with your goals. Since you are talking about a Canadian scholarship, it does help your case if your long-term plans involve going back to your country and not staying in Canada for too long.
Tips to keep in mind while writing your SOP:
- Time management: Start writing your SOP well before the deadline. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to research and plan out your SOP so that you only end up including the most relevant details. And believe me, the difference between a well-planned SOP and one written last minute in a hurry is imminent!
- Formatting: Keep the word limit to about 500-1000 words long and follow standard formatting guidelines (unless otherwise specified) for your SOP such as 11-12 pt. font size, Times New Roman or Arial font, 1-1.15 line spacing, and 2- inch margins.
- Language: Keep your SOP personal but use a semi-formal tone while writing it. Avoid the use of slang in your SOP and focus on highlighting your personality as a student in simpler words.
- Review: Once you have finished your SOP, make sure to proofread it and get it reviewed by a teacher or career counselor at school before sending it in.
Your SOP is your introduction to the admissions board and scholarship committee so by writing an excellent essay and succeeding in getting their attention, you definitely increase your chances of getting your application approved.
We hope this after reading this article you now know how to write your statement of purpose for your Canadian scholarship application.