How to write the best Statement of Purpose for Australian Universities

Let me put this in an easy way!

Consider the idea of having a stranger assess your Visa application without meeting you, interviewing you (in most of the cases), analyzing your strengths and confidence in person, and then deciding whether you are a suitable fit for Australia or not. Isn’t it a difficult task? It might be possible that you were a state-level athlete and won numerous awards, and that you volunteered for a not-for-profit organization for a year after your 10+2 and have a year’s gap. Someone might have studied Environment Science in his Bachelor level and now wants to pursue a degree in Social Science or Project Management or even Business Management. He has some solid reasons for his intended course switch. How does he convey all of these crucial information to the Visa Officer and establish himself as a strong applicant? How does he demonstrate that he has indeed researched a lot about Australia, Australian universities, Australian cities, his preferred course and future career prospects, and claim his merit to study in Australia? The answer, my friend, is – via SOP.

While the idea of shooting applications to Australian universities and getting accepted to one of those sounds easy and fascinating, it becomes an equally denting task to materialize if taken lightly. Many students seem to be unaware of the weight their Statement of Purposes hold when it comes to their visa application’s success. While the SOP is one of the most crucial documents of the visa application, some of the applicants even tend to mistake it for a formality. This becomes a costly affair and might even jeopardize their chances of a successful Visa application.

As the name itself suggests, SoP is a statement written by an applicant explaining his personal background, academic achievements, financial circumstances, prospective course, career goals, reasons to study abroad and their expected return on investment. SoP is not a standard mathematical formula; it does not need to be confined within a standard template and need not be same for all. It depends upon one’s personal circumstances, academic achievements, and ambitions and is therefore a fairly variable document. That being said, a structured and coherent approach to writing is very crucial. A generic outline to SoP writing is discussed below :

Introduction

Brief introduction including applicant's DOB, address, family structure and background and marital history (if applicable)

Academic Background

All past academic achievements (degrees, institutions, year of completion, CGPA, awards)

Vital to establish your motive to study past courses,

More cruicial to do so if it is different than your proposed course of study in Australia

Can talk about your extra-curriculars, if they're significant then better to write under a separate heading

Mention your IELTS test details and score

Gap
Explanation

Work experience details such as organization's name, position, duration and brief roles and responsibilities

If the role is not directly relevant to the proposed course, identify things that you've enhanced while working such as inter-personal skills, management techniques, sales and marketing skills, organising and priortising skills, negotiation skills etc. that will be crucial for you in your future career and course

If internship gaps, explain what you have learned and how it was beneficial.

Avoid statements such as "wroked as an IT intern which was very useful...","learned how to do the job..". Say what eactly was useful, say what exactly did you learn.

If other reasons such as medical and family (personal), express effectively (including dates) with appropriate documents

Reasons for not choosing to study in Nepal

Talk about the availability of the proposed courses in Nepal with website links of universities and colleges,

If courses are not available, say so with evidence

If available but only as minor electives, say so with evidence and also mention why this won't help you meet your career goals

If available in Nepal, talk about the issues with it such as teaching techniques, examining techniques, your desire to attain a world-class education for your under-graduate level, advantages such as multi-cultural environment, life-long relationships, developed adapability and inter-personal skills, potential business partners etc. that come with studying abroad

If similar course is available in Nepal, research about course contents and units of such course and try to find additional units that are offered by foreign insitutions but not by Nepalese. Example: AI, Big-data, Project Management units may be offered by foreign institutions but may be relatively new to Nepalese institutions.

Do not just limit yourself to a generic reason such as - theroritical teaching, lack of practical learning etc.

Reasons for choosing to study in Australia and not other countries

Talk about other countries first. Select a few countries such as UK, USA, Canada, India, Japan and European countries such as France and Germany etc.

Adequate research is MANDATORY. Lack of research in this section is one of the major reasons of visa rejection. Research on institutions offering your proposed course in these countries, compare their fees (links), climate (with references, the institute you've researched might be in Winnipeg, Canada - cold for almost 9 months a year), language barrier (references of difficuties faced by students in these countries), living expenses, education system, health-care, security reasons, diversity etc.

Do not make generic statements such as Pound and USD have higher exchange rates in Nepal than AUD so the institutions are expensive. It is possible that despite Pound Sterling being superior to AUD, UK University's fee might be low. Do not just say UK and Canada's education is not globally recognised. Anything you say must be justified !! Again, do not just write about the requirement of SAT and GMAT for institutions in the USA, make comparisons more substantial

Now talk about the advantages of studying in Australia, the world-class institutions, the mild climate, secure environment, great outdoor activities such as snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, the beautiful beaches, ESOS and TPS acts, students health coverage (OSHC), scholarships, easy application process etc.

Reasons for Choosing to Study in a Particular City

Research and find interesting things about your chosen city. Present those with references/weblinks

Do not just make generic statements such as world-class education, good climate, beautiful city etc.

Research about insitutions and their rankings and say how it is a world-class destination, talk about climate and why it suits you, name beautiful aspects of the city, buildings, monuments, historical sites, and elaborate a bit, talk about diversity with data and statistics and elaborate how a diverse culture is beneficial for one's growth, talk about life-style, transportation etc.

Reasons for Choosing a Particular Institution

Research about a few institutions offering the course of your choice. Compare one against another before reaching to a conclusion.

Do not just limit your comparison to cost or tuition fees. Compare the tuition fees (with links once again), courses (one may not have the exact course you are looking for), ranking (may be a better ranked university in a subject), surveys (visit university websites and you can see various survey ratings such as graduate satisfaction and teaching quality, information on world rankings, history, facilities, faculty members, prior students' recommendations; talk about majors and options available (for the same course institutions offer varying numbers of electives or majors to choose from) etc.

Reasons for Choosing a Particular Course and Course Details

Mention the reasons for choosing the course. Some of the reasons could be: an interest from childhood, or an interest due to the applicant's work experience, greater career prospects, greatly fits the applicant's personality (caring, curious, sharp calculative skills, great organising skills, leadership skills, teaching skills, motivation to embark on a social change etc.)

Do not just simply state the above mentioned reasons, elaborate and share your compelling story.

Demonstrate your understanding of the course (commencement and end date, course fees, units and course contents, campus location etc.)

Mention learning outcome of the course (usually given in the university's website, can even research on other avenues of the internet) and professional accreditation

Talk about career outcomes of the course- list a few.

Accomodation Arrangements

Briefly mention about your accomodation plans i.e. where will you be staying in Australia should your visa be granted.

Mention the address details (if you plan to live with friends or relatives) or websites that you'll be using to look for accomodations in Australia (plenty of them available)

Future Career Prospects after Completion of Proposed Course

It would be better to divide this section into two sub-sections i.e. short-term and long-term.

The short-term prospects would include plans such as gaining vital experience in Australia through PSW Visa, coming back to Nepal and looking for employment opportunities to lay a platform for a solid long-term future. Can name a few organizations (with their website) and prospective designations that you will be eligible to command in Nepal here. Say you'll work for a few years, learn a few things and equip yourself for a succesfull future.

It is extremely crucial to express things you'll learn in Australia and bring back with yourself in nepal so that your foreign education will be useful here.

Do not just say "I'll come back with necessary skills and international education which will make it easier for me to find a job here". This is not a solid point. Throw some technical terms relevant to your qualificatin that you'll learn in Australia. For example if you are a business student, say that you'll learn about the TQM and JIT techniques, vendor negotiation skills, advanced digital marketing skills, transparent record keeping, prudent decision makings etc. during your time in Australia which will be handy for your career here in nepal.

In the long-term section, write a back-ground statement on the current economic situation of Nepal and how it is a good place for new businesses (foreign investments, good GDP growth rate etc.) Say how the newly established MNCs would require sharp CFOs in future. Or how you aspire to have your own business in futre.

Incentives to Return Back to Your Home Country

Explain convincing reasons and incentives to come back home after completion of your proposed course.

Some of the reasons could be: family ties (strong bond with family members, single child, raised by a single parent so greater responsibilities, greater career scope and plans in Nepal, adequate financial ties (properties and businesses in Nepal) etc.

Again, do not simply state. Elaborate. Do not just say "There is a huge opportunity in Nepal for professionals" and leave it there. What opportunities? Elaborate. Talk about foreign investment's increasing trend, IT Park, digitalization plans, government policies, GDP growth rate thus, business suitability etc.

Return on Investment /
Cost-Benefit Analysis

Studying in Australia demands masisve investment of time and money. Applicants should be able to justify this investment to the Visa Officer.

The cost of studying in Australia will be definitey higher than the cost of studying in Nepal, therefore ROI should be more inclined towards intangible gains such as quality education, cross-country networking opportunities, enhanced inter-personal skills, other soft-skills etc.

Should be able to demonstrate how the skills learned in Australia will provide life-long gains and long-term benefits to the applicant.

The applicant's motivation to pursue the proposed degree in Australia should over-shadow the costs involved.

Financial Arrangement

Briefly describe the financial measures you have in place to support yourself during your stay in Australia.

Describe your family income (can also elaborate a bit about sources of the income) and loan arrangements in brief and assure that you'll have no financial issues in Australia.

Also highlight the fact that you'll be able to solely focus on your studies without any financial stress.

Immigration History (if any)

Mention if you have previous visa refusals (any country) and briefly explain (date of refusal, reasons etc.)

Disclose your previous travel history as well (if you have ever travelled outside Nepal using your passport).

No need to put this section if you have no refusal or travel history.

Understanding of Student Visa (Sub-class 500) Conditions

Share your understanding of relevant Sub-class 500 visa conditions by briefly mentioning them and acknowledging that you've infact understood those conditions.

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