SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa - Best Sample, Statement of Purpose

The Perfect SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa & Top Canadian Schools

This article covers all the specifics of writing your SOP letter for Canada student visa. It covers the step-by-step format of the SOP letter from the Introduction to the end. We also included a sample SOP letter. Read on!



No doubt, writing a remarkable Statement of Purpose (SOP) can help you secure your Canada student visa. However, it could be challenging.

For your SOP to be deemed acceptable, it has to answer the 3Ws –  Who are you? What are your academic qualifications? and Why you are a suitable person for the course?

How do you achieve this? We’re about to discuss all the techniques you need to write the best SOP letter for Canada student visa. Let’s get right into it.


What is an SOP?

SOP stands for “Statement of Purpose.” It merely means stating the valid and convincing reason for your student visa application to the country you are applying to.

Countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK request you to attach a statement of purpose (SOP) in your via file. Canada especially tops the list because they are interested in knowing the intentions behind your visa application.

Canada is becoming the new international students’ favorite as a rising number of students are looking to immigrate to Canada through the study route. While your grades and overall profile is a significant determinant of your admission to Canadian universities, some universities will still need you to write a Statement of Purpose (SOP) for admissions purposes. 

Unlike in other countries, you may have to write an SOP for your application to Canadian universities and also an SOP for visa.

SOP letter for Canada student visa application is not the same as the Canadian University application. They address different aspects and fulfill other objectives. 

  • SOP letter for Canada student visa application is an essay in which you have to explain your reason for choosing Canada, your academic profile, your post-study plans, why you chose that particular university and course.
  • If you are reapplying for a Canadian student visa, you should address the same in your SOP for visa essay.
  • Most Canadian top universities typically request three short essays and a short video to justify your application. Some university admission team may have some unique requests. For example, you submit three photographs and a brief description of the pictures.
  • SOP for Canadian universities should show your uniqueness and dwell on your most relevant experiences. Furthermore, make sure that your SOP for your chosen program, addresses the program curriculum and what you expect from it.

Of the two SOPs, the SOP letter for Canada student visa is more important because it can either make or break your chances of studying in Canada.

Now that you know this let’s discuss SOP for Canada student visa in detail.


SOP for Canadian Universities vs SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa


SOP for Canadian Universities

Usually, an SOP is about a 1000-word long essay unless the university states otherwise. The SOP letter plays a vital role in your admission chances, so you should consider it the most essential part of your documents and pay special attention to it. 

SOP writing for Canadian Universities requires you to give comprehensive information on all your previous experiences while focusing on the aspects related to the course you are applying to. Canada is a diverse country that wants students who can bring in unique experiences. So, if your SOP contains your varied experiences, it can give you an edge over other applicants.

One important thing your SOP must explain is why you chose Canada for your studies over other study abroad countries. It will cover two aspects:

You have to provide genuine and convincing reasons for these two questions in your SOP letter to satisfy the admissions committee on your intention.  

Being familiar with the institution and department shows that you are genuinely interested in the university and have a prepared plan to study there.

In your SOP, highlight information about the:

  • Course’s structure,
  • Faculty,
  • Instructors/Professors,
  • Student clubs,
  • University facilities, and
  • Any other highlights about the university that adds value to your profile.

If you have any gap year (also referred to as ‘study gap’) or backlogs, make sure you explain your activities during that time.


Requirements for SOP for Canada Universities 

SOP for Canadian universities is more personal when compared to SOP letter for Canada Student visa. Although each university’s approach towards the SOP varies, there are a few aspects that all Canadian universities check in an applicant’s SOP letter:

1. Your Academic Scores: Universities emphasize academic scores, especially for business administration and engineering programs. Therefore, if you apply for these programs, talk about your academic experience and grades to give you an edge over other applicants.

2. Volunteering and Community Service: While this should be included in every post graduate applicant’s SOP, it should be a priority for you if you are applying for programs like public administration and social service.

3. Your Work Experience: It is mandatory for postgraduate applicants who want to study at Canadian universities like UToronto, UBC to have at least 2 years of relevant work experience.

Make sure you stick to the specific word count, as Canadian universities are pretty strict about it.

Let’s have a look at some Canadian universities’ SOP requirements: 


Statement of Purpose (SOP) for the University of Toronto (UToronto), Canada

UToronto does not ask for an SOP for undergraduate programs. However, you need to write an essay and a 10-minute video essay for the graduate program. The university comes up with something new every year, so there is no fixed pattern or question. 

For instance, in 2019, U of Toronto’s Rotman admission written essay was about the ‘spike factor,’ and the video essay was an interview with the admission committee.

For the video interview, try to be as unique and genuine as you can be. On the other hand, for the written essay, try to be as creative as possible. 


Statement of Purpose (SOP) for the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of the few Canadian universities that ask for an SOP for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

For the undergraduate (UG) programs, the University of British Columbia personal profile asks you four questions like these:

  1. Describe for us, “Who are you?”. How would your family, friends, members of your community describe you? If possible, include something you view as your most significant achievement and mention why. (maximum of 250 words).
  2. What do you count vital to you, and why? (maximum of 250 words).
  3. Describe up to five activities you’ve pursued actively or your accomplishments and responsibilities in one or more of the following areas. (50 words per description).
  4. Elaborate one or two activities you listed above that are essential to you. Explain the role you played and your key learnings from the process. (maximum of 350 words).

For the postgraduate programs, the Statement of interest includes a small essay that has to address: 

  1. Your specific academic area of interest.
  2. Your past educational experience.
  3. What you expect from the UBC (University of British Columbia) graduate program.

Refer to your prior citation, research, publications, or experience in your field of interest. These elements will distinguish your applications from others.

Remember that UBC is one of those universities that prefer students with outstanding grades, so writing your SOP emphasizes your academic background and accomplishments.


Statement of Purpose (SOP) for Queen’s University, Canada

SOP is not compulsory at Queen’s university but it is recommended.

If you choose to write an SOP, remember it focuses primarily on your non-academic activities. The statement of purpose for Queen’s University comprises two aspects:

  • An essay, and
  • A questionnaire.

Writing SOP Based on Your Program of Study


How to Write an SOP for UG (Undergraduate) Aspirants

Most Canadian educational institutions do not require an SOP letter from undergraduate applicants. Thus, an undergraduate applicant who includes an SOP letter to their admission application will likely stand out from the crowd and is likely to receive a letter of acceptance from the school in Canada.

{Undergraduate aspirants have to list their overall personality while writing about past experiences. You need to add how your school and your engagement in extracurricular activities have helped develop your writing’s general character.}

At the undergraduate level, most Canadian Universities believe it’s not only academics that play a vital role in a student’s life, and they expect you to be involved in clubs and events outside of the classroom. Therefore, they’ll be on the lookout for students who have had similar experiences previously. 


How to Write an SOP for MSc/Ph.D. Aspirants

If you are an MSc/Ph.D. aspirant, you’ll need a strong background in research.

Your previous experiences in university or college in terms of all your research work and project work will come to play here. These are what will set you apart from the throngs of students applying from all over the world.

Although Master’s/Ph.D. courses both are research-intensive, their SOPs are different. 

Let us reiterate that universities look for students who have had previous experience in conducting research work. They will be a better fit to handle the rigorous and meticulous curriculum. Putting this in mind, use personal pronouns like ‘me’, ’I’ when writing your SOP. 

Even when you are talking about group projects, the university is interested in knowing about your contributions so, focus majorly on them.         


How to Write an SOP for MBA Aspirants

For MBA aspirants, before you write your SOP, list out all your experiences that will bring out your:

  • Leadership skills,
  • Team skills,
  • Education/occupation diversity,
  • Personal and professional achievements,
  • Communication and interpersonal skills,
  • Basic understanding of business,
  • Presentation skills,
  • among others. 

These skills will shape your SOP and convince the university’s admissions committee of your candidature.

You don’t have to exaggerate your school time information.

Overall, everyone applying for admission into an international university must write in simple and correct grammar. Using too many embellished words would only make you sound pompous and pretentious and that is not the route to take.

Short, crisp sentences conveying the exact message will make your SOP an enjoyable read.


Now that we have covered writing SOP for you admission application, let’s head over to SOP letter for Canada student visa.


SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

Regarding SOP for Canada Student Visa, it is primarily you sharing your experiences and giving a firm statement and reason on why you are fit to study in Canada. The statement of purpose (SOP) for Canadian student visa is typically between 3000 to 4000 words documents. 

You are required to write your reasons for getting selected and what makes you deserve to study in that university. In addition, you can also include a discussion of why you are interested in learning your significant subjects in your SOP. 

Canadian visa officers do not typically invite student visa applicants for a visa interview. Thus, you could receive a Canada student visa rejection or approval based on your SOP letter for Canada student visa or your Letter of Explanation (LOE).

An ideal Statement of Purpose(SOP) for Canada visa should cater to all required questions at the same time to show your individuality.

Remember your introduction matters, so make it gripping enough to make the visa officer to read beyond the first paragraph.


5 Primary Questions You Should Address while Writing an SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

1. Why do you really want to study in Canada? To completely answer this question, you won’t only address why you want to pursue higher education in Canada. You’ll also include why you are choosing Canada over the UK, Australia, USA, etc.

2. Why did you apply to this specific university in Canada? To completely cover this aspect, don’t focus on the University’s rank and reputation alone. Talk about how that particular university suits your choice of program, curriculum, financial affordability, etc. 

3. Which program do you want to study and why? Mention your choice of program (complete name not short form), talk about your motivation and genuine interest in the chosen program.

4. Do you have any study gaps? If you have been out of school for a couple of years, you have to thoroughly explain what you did during this period and why you have now decided to go back to school. As we said earlier, Canada is very strict about gap years. 

5. Will you return to your home country? Pro-Tip: Do not mention anything about you staying in Canada. Instead, emphasize strongly on returning to your home country and state your reasons for this together with long term plans.

Apart from the above questions, it is advisable that you address the following aspects as well:

  • How will you fund your studies in Canada? 
  • Do you have a scholarship/sponsorship to study in Canada or are your parents going to fund your studies? Make sure you explain this detail. Attach letters, affidavits, and bank statements that refer to your financial support.
  • Do you fully grasp all your responsibilities as an international student? For example, students who plan to work part-time and off-campus during an academic semester can do so for a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Overall, make sure your SOP letter for Canada student visa is a strong essay highlighting your goals, expectations, and financial ability.


Before we discuss the format of an SOP for visa, let’s look at a summary of the specifics for getting a Canadian student visa.


Summary – The Specifics for Obtaining a Canadian Student Visa

  • The first thing you need to do is obtain a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • Then, you need to get a Canadian student visa application package. The best way to get this is from the IRCC (formerly CIC) website. Depending on the services that is available in your country, you could also get the Canada student visa application package from your local Canada Visa Application Centre (VAC/VFS) office or your local visa office or the Canadian embassy.
  • For online applications, the next step is to answer a few questions about yourself on the IRCC’s website to know if you are eligible. If you are deemed eligible, you will get a personal checklist code that expires in 60 days. You will need this code to submit your application.
  • The next step is for you to create a MyCIC account. This is the account you will use to send your documents to IRCC.

Summary – List of Documents You Need to Get a Canadian Student Visa

  • Biometrics (your fingerprints) – this is now valid for 10 years.
  • A valid passport for your home country.
  • passport photograph.
  • Police clearance certificate.
  • A medical exam – depending on your country of citizenship/residence.
  • Proof of finances for the duration of your studies. Usually, it is a minimum of your tuition fee for one year + $10,000 CAD. Provide a supporting documents to this effect.

Format for SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

Writing an SOP letter for Canada student visa can be both simple and challenging. However, following the following required steps will make it easier to create an excellent statement of purpose(SOP):

  1. Begin with a write up of the university.
  2. Discuss your passion for studying that course or in that field.
  3. Describe your academic background. This section is compulsory, and don’t forget to discuss all your extracurricular activities.
  4. Discuss your additional professional achievements to impress those who would be selecting.
  5. Explain your reasons for choosing that particular university. You can talk about the university’s degree program features and mention what you like best about the teachers. 
  6. The final step is to read and edit the whole document properly. This will help you to spot the major mistakes and make the necessary corrections. 

Step-by-Step Guide – Writing SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

Canada is one of the top nations known to provide a world-class education to international students. So, for students who plan to carve a better future by studying abroad, studying in Canada is a dream!

Every year sees many international students applying for Canada Student Visa to study at a reputable Canadian university or college. However sadly, sometimes their hopes get dashed on getting a visa refusal based on purpose of visit. One reason for this can be strongly tied to the Statement of Purpose (SOP) submitted with the student visa application. This is why SOP is regarded as a major document for Canada student visa application.

To write an appealing and unique SOP, you should clearly convey the information that must be in the SOP. So, take your time to gather information and facts and place them correctly in the SOP.

There are some key points you must emphasize while writing your SOP. To make them clear, you can divide your SOP into different sections and work on it as we are about to describe below: 


# First Section (Introductory) – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

This is the first section. Here, you have to include:

  • Your personal details like your name, date of birth, passport number & residential address. 
  • You’ll also include your academic details such as your academic credentials; 10th/12th/bachelor/masters, the institutions from which you obtained these credentials, the board/university of education & your GPA.
  • Your family details include your parents & siblings’ names, occupations, employment details (present employer, work designation, and job responsibilities). Also, have their former working designation & former employer name, if applicable.

# Second Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

After the introductory part comes the main body. In the second section it is important to write your direct motivation for higher studies i.e., what reasons made you decide to go for further studies.

Also, if your chosen field of study is not related to your academic background or employment history, it is compulsory for you to give a strong explanation for the change in field of study. 

For instance, you studied Bachelor of Science degree & now you want to pursue postgraduate diploma in human resources, you’ll have to give a reasonable and convincing explanation for the change. 


# Third Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

In the third section, you have to describe the strong, convincing points for not picking your home country for higher studies. What this means is you’ll have to explain how it pursuing higher education abroad & not in your home country would be more beneficial for you. 

Also, providing a full explanation for choosing Canada over other countries abroad is really vital in SOP. You have to discuss it in an effective manner and explore some reasons that make studying in Canada better than other abroad countries.


# Fourth Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

The fourth section should discuss how much you know about your chosen institution. Try to briefly explain the history, accolades, and location of the campus. For instance, if the campus is in Alberta, what’s so interesting to study in Alberta? & what services are provided to the students etc. 


# Fifth Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

In the fifth section, you’ll provide an explanation for the kind of special skills/knowledge you would acquire through your selected course. Also, describe the course contents briefly in your own words. Do not copy the exact information on the university or college’s website.


# Sixth Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

Here, you’ll discuss your future career plans in your home country after completing your course in Canada. Explain that there would be a significant growth in your field of study in your home country in the coming years. 

This growth would lead to creating a better job market in that field in your home country. Explaining this gives a clear indication that you planned your study concerning your home country’s job market. This means you would return to your home country after you complete your studies in Canada. 

Mention some reputable organizations in your home country, where you will try to find employment after completing your studies in Canada. State some working designation you are looking towards and your salary expectations according to your country’s job market. 


# Seventh Section – SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

This is the final section. Here, you have to prove that you have strong ties to your home country to further assure your return to the home country after completing your studies in Canada.

When you work on all these points/areas, you’ll be able to create an outstanding SOP that would help fulfill your Canadian study dream. 


PRO-TIP: Do not copy and paste content available online to use as your SOP. Instead, you the information here as a guide to create your own unique SOP that is appealing to the Visa Officer.


General Tips to Write a Good SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

1. Stick to the Instructions

You need to proof to the admission committee that you can follow instructions and the visa regulations. Your SOP should convey originality and flair.

2. Put Your Audience into Consideration

Admission officers read hundreds of SOP letters for Canada study visa during every application period. So, it’s very easy for them to detect insincerity and formulaic writing. When they find something unique, it’s more appealing.  

3. Show Interest in the Institution

If you are applying for different institutions, there are chances that you will draft a general statement and then modify it to fit individual schools. Note that the keyword is changing.

Research every school you apply to dilligently. Even if you are appling to six other universities, make it seem to the admission board that fate has chosen that school for you.

4. Write a Draft

The perfect writing doesn’t come from a moment of inspiration but from a lengthy process. Start brainstorming ideas for your SOP letter for Canada student visa months before the application commence and put down a few rough draft.

Your statement might feel raw the first time but don’t worry about this. You’ll figure it out better the second or even the third draft and be able to proofread, polish, and perfect your statement.

5. Carefully Choose Your Angle 

The goal of writing an SOP for Canadian student visa is to show your life path as story that has never been heard. This is another reason you should not copy other people’s content. 

6. Peel Back the Layers

Not sure what your path is? Don’t worry. Many individuals begin writing before they figure out exactly what they wish to note down. You can start by writing down your ideas on a paper and going through a statement of purpose sample for a student visa to see how it is written.

7. Be Clear and Concise

When writing a statement of purpose, communicate your message efficiently and effectively. Do not try to show off your academic skills.

8. Revise, Proofread, and Have Someone Review Your SOP

After writing your statement of purpose, revise and proofread it. Then, have somebody else to review it.

Your SOP should be between 500 to 600 words with neat paragraphs of between 50-70 words.


Sample SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa

{Coming Soon}


FAQs on SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa


Overall, your SOP letter for Canada student visa should basically represent you on paper. It should address questions your university might have asked for.

The key to an exceptional SOP is fluency, personalization, and to the point details of how both you and the university can both benefit each other.

When you work on all the aspects we’ve highlighted, your SOP letter will not only stand out but also help you achieve your Canadian dream! 


Let’s Chat!

Did you find this post helpful? Have questions on the content of this post? Go ahead and comment below.

3 thoughts on “The Perfect SOP Letter for Canada Student Visa & Top Canadian Schools”

  1. Thanks for your insight.

    What should be the format of the SOP for MSc aspirants? Should it be a letter with an address, a salution, a body and a signature? Or, it should be an essay.

  2. Thank you for your insight.
    Please, what should be the format of the SOP for MSc aspirants? Should it be a letter with an address, a salution, a body and a signature at the bottom? Or, it should be an essay.

  3. Hello there, hop you guys are doing well. Actually i need help for making SOP for canada student visa for masters in project management. How can i contact you?
    Thanks

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