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Statement of Purpose (SOP) – Everything you need to know

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The most important aspect of your application!

Universities abroad require you to submit your application with a statement that articulates your career path and goals. This helps them in ensuring the right candidate for the courses offered by them.

What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

A Statement of Purpose (SOP), also known as a research statement or a letter of intent, is written to the admission panel and talks about your career path, interest, professional contributions, goals and the driving force behind pursuing a particular program. This is usually submitted in the form of an essay; however, certain universities may also keep it question-based. It is the most integral part of your application that decides your admission in your preferred institution. 

Purpose of SOP

The SOP is the decision-maker of your application. It helps the admission committee assess your take on life, your career goals, beliefs, subject knowledge, and your vision. In short, a well-written SOP paints your overall personality for the universities. It is an opportunity to pitch your purpose to the committee and reasons why they should choose you over other applicants. A good SOP works great for weak academic profiles wherein you can compensate by highlighting your future goals and ambitions. A well-written SOP also reflects how well you can express your thoughts using your writing skills.

 

 

How to write a great SOP?

Here are the three major steps you need to keep in mind when writing your SOP

  1. Plan it Well

Create an outline for your SOP and work accordingly. Sharing an anecdote that developed your interest in your subject is a good way to build your introduction. Create pointers and categories, list down your relevant achievements and expertise, and most importantly, your reason behind choosing the course and the university.  

  1. Work on the Draft

Focus on sharing your learnings and knowledge during your education and industry experience. Limit the use of technical terms and use active voice when writing your SOP. If there is a gap year or an academic issue, address them in an optimistic manner. Make sure your SOP has a clear introduction and conclusion. Remember, you should always write your SOP in reverse chronological order.   

  1. Review before you send

It’s important to review what you’ve written. Re-analysing will help correct the flow, vocabulary, sentence construction errors, long sentences and other grammar issues. Get a second opinion, may be from your professor, senior or an GSC counsellor. Make sure you proofread properly and double check before submission.

 

Top 5 things your university expects in your SOP

1

Keep your language positive, precise, and free from grammatical errors. Use active voice.

2

Highlight unique qualities that demonstrate your interest and goals. 

3

Mention how your talent, interests or experience will contribute to the institution.

4

Talk about your motivation to pursue a particular course at the university. 

5

Use examples to validate your pointers.

 

Our experienced GSC counsellors can guide you in writing a great SOP to help secure your admission in the institution of your choice. Apply for a free counselling session today.

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The UK is globally recognised for its teaching excellence. Let’s find out why.

The United Kingdom (UK) is reputed for its excellent quality of education, interactive teaching methodology, top ranking universities and great student satisfaction. Universities in the UK consistently rank in the world university rankings such as the QS World Rankings, Times Higher Education Ranking, and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Further, degrees earned from the country are globally recognised and preferred by employers all over the world.

Standing at the zenith of research and development, the UK offers students vast scope to build critical and analytical thinking. Here’s why an overview of the education system in the UK.

How does the UK education system work?

The responsibility of education in the UK is delegated to four jurisdictions – England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. All of these regions have different forms of education systems, qualifications and individual laws/regulations. The major differences can be found in general and secondary education resulting in each region having its own credit frameworks and qualifications.

Study levels

The education system in the UK consists of four stages:

  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Further education
  • Higher education

Qualifications framework

A qualification framework is a principal national reference point that maintains academic standards in the higher education sect in any country. Two parallel frameworks run for higher education qualifications of UK degree-awarding bodies:

  • The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications of Degree Awarding Bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ)
  • The Framework for Qualifications of Higher Education Institutions in Scotland (FQHEIS)

 Around 160 universities and colleges are allowed to award degrees in the UK.

Quality Assurance System

The unique factor of education system in the UK is its Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). It is an independent body that assesses and compares universities and colleges in the country through regular audits and reviews. It also identifies the best education practices and provides feedback for areas of improvement. This ensures that the students have access to the best quality of education.

All review reports are public and can be accessed on the QAA website. However, do note that private institutions are not subjected to assessment by QAA.

Higher education

Higher education in the UK mostly comprises bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. As an international student, you may also transition to university level studies via pathway programs that generally include English language courses and foundation courses.

Undergraduate courses

Undergraduate courses are designed to help students get exposure to a whole new world after school whilst providing a thorough understanding of a subject of interest. The UK offers a variety of courses in humanities, social science, art, design, business, technology, science and more!

Here’s an overview of the types of undergraduate courses offered in the UK:

Program Duration
Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) 1 to 2 years
Certificates or Diplomas of Higher Education (Cert HE/Dip HE) 1 to 2 years
Foundation degrees (Fd A/Fd Sc) 6 months to 2 years
Degrees (such as BA, B.Sc, BEng)

3 years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

4 years in Scotland

Sandwich degrees 4 years with a year in industry
Integrated courses (where masters is awarded as the first degree such as MEng) 4 years

 

Postgraduate studies

Postgraduate courses are more specific and involve in-depth study. Most master’s degrees have duration of one year, which means you can be back in the workforce faster than your counterparts pursuing masters in other countries. There is a plethora of courses to choose from including niche courses that are highly valued in the industry.

Here’s an overview of the types of postgraduate courses offered in the UK:

Program Duration
Postgraduate certificates and diploma (PG Cert/PG Dip) 9 to 12 months
Taught Masters (such as MA, M.Sc., LLM, MBA, MRes) 1 year
Research Masters (such as MPhil, PhD, DPhil) 2-3 years

 

Pathway programs

These are preparatory courses for seeking admission into universities through English Language learning programs or foundation-level courses. Pathway programs can help enter university-level studies in the country and help strengthen your language skills as well. These are offered by both universities and private institutions to help students who need extra assistance with English language to gain admission.

 

Fee structure

Your expenditure on tuition fee in the UK depends on two factors:

  • where you choose to study – different rules and laws apply in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland
  • you study level – bachelors, masters or doctorate

 

Tuition fee for undergraduate students range from £10,000 a year to about £18,000 a year, depending on the course and institution. Fee for postgraduate courses vary based on the program, course duration and the course provider.

Financial aid

Students who enrol for a course in the UK can get support in the form of scholarships, bursaries, grants, fellowships, and financial awards. These may be funded by the government, public/private organisations, or institutions. Since a lot of students apply to these scholarships, we recommended you apply in advance to beat competition and keep aware of the deadline to apply.

Pedagogy in British classrooms

The UK has a high reputation for its education, which is mostly the reason why so many Indian students come here to pursue higher studies. The best part about studying in the UK is the way education is imparted – it goes beyond textbook learning. You’ll be engaged in various activities such as workshops, seminars, tutorials and conferences at all times.

Teachers will expect you to be interactive in the classroom which will involve regular participation in group discussions, quizzes and debates. You’ll also be required to learn to work independently. If you see, education in the UK will eventually enhance your communication skills and help you build critical thought-process, creativity and analytical skills. This may be a little challenging initially, but you’ll get the hang of it with constant support from your teachers and classmates.

Academic year

The standard academic year in the UK begins around the month of September – October. The deadline for applications for courses commencing in September is generally in the preceding January of that year. Two other intakes available for programs in the UK are January and April, which are usually smaller than the September intake. Pathway programs may have additional dates to offer. Always check for the intakes available for your course of preference.

Popular programs

  • MBA
  • Physiotherapy
  • Law
  • Actuarial Science
  • Sports Management
  • Medicine & Surgery
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

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