Common Mistakes to Avoid in SOP – [Updated: 2024]

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Everyone wants their SOP to be the most precise document to get admissions into abroad universities. In return for it, aspirants also never leave any effort to draft the most eye-catchy SOP. However, not all applicant’s efforts get a return on their endowments. Competition amongst candidates also plays a vital factor. Every year thousands of applicants apply for study abroad. This reduces the chances of getting selected with the requisite high-quality SOPs.

Apart from the competition, one more determinant that decides candidates’ future is the flawlessness in the SOP. Most applicants include several common mistakes that present their SOP as negative documents to the readers. Evaluators may sometimes ignore any vibrant flaws, but making small and minor mistakes attracts the evaluators more. It creates a negative impact and no university will shortlist you for the anticipated courses with such a negative impact. In this guide, we have mentioned some of the most common mistakes that every applicant makes. Have a look into it.

What are the most found mistakes in SOPs?

Impatience drafting without a clear presentation about future goals

Most applicants draft SOPs without endowing much time in them. So they just clutter all the imperative information, giving the reader much time to analyze and understand. Writing all crucial data in a drift is ok, but you should also explain them in complete detail. It is one of the most prevalent yet common mistakes in SOP drafting. While presenting your future goals, you should take care of the following:

  • Don’t write all the goals one after other
  • Try to relate the past studies and desired program with the future goal
  • Explain how it is suitable in relevance to the chosen program?
  • Develop an interest in the reader’s mind by talking about future goals in different paragraphs

Writing much about juvenile dreams

It is another imperative mistake commenced by most of the applicants. Most candidates pursue that writing SOPs are more of self-essays. So, they anticipate elaborating about their complete life story. Many applicants even narrate much about juvenile visions. However, if you are applying for programs like MBA, then narrating your past visions would make your SOP less substantial.

SOPs stating non-relevant dreams are worthless for undergraduate or graduate application forms. Childhood vision, no doubt, must have helped you empower your higher school decisions, but it cannot relate to undergraduate or post-graduate applications. So, if you are applying for higher degrees post-graduation, you should rather narrate your dreams in the following way:

  • Emphasize your desiring program and be more meditated rather than dreaming
  • Always describe goals as potential objectives that you will achieve; never address them as a dream.
  • Besides explaining how you would end up after a certain education, describe your future objectives of educating yourself.

Boasting about the past educations instead of saying prospective goals 

SOP writing is always about clearly defining your goals and intentions. The way you project your perspective is what makes you distinctive from other applicants. However, instead of explaining future goals, most of the applicants talk more about their past achievements. It projects you as more proud and less engrossed in your goals. Every applicant must convey their strength and strong intentions in the form of future plans.

What should you do instead?

  • You must emphasize explaining your clear intentions after attaining the knowledge
  • Explain it in a way that projects you more attentive to your target
  • Choose the right course always
  • Describe how will university contribute to your objective

Not recognizing other person’s opinion

SOP drafting is a self-essay. But that doesn’t mean you will draft and submit it without asking for anyone else’s opinion. The opinion does matter in the SOP writing. But most of the applicants, being self-confident, draft and submit SOPs on their own. If you wish to have the most helpful feedbacks to avoid rejection, you must welcome a professional or anyone else’s opinion.

How does professional opinion help you?

  • The professional opinion helps you attain feedback about sentence formations and sequential organization
  • Readers will help you attain feedback if any section in your SOP is missing or needs improvement
  • Opinions also aid you in a strong profile presentation by integrating all crucial pointers that an SOP must include

Not doing research 

Easy access to SOP samples and just revamping works for most applicants. They just don’t do any type of back-end research before drafting SOP. This leads to repetitive writing in SOPs and eventually rejections. If you choose any nation or university, you must conduct enough research about it. It will help you draft reasons why you are choosing a particular university. Research also helps you acknowledge the destination’s weather, college infrastructure, and a campus that you can include in your writing.

How will the research help you improve your SOP writing?

  • Research helps you know the complete detail about the college curriculum
  • You will know how the faculties can help you in achieving goals
  • Applicants will also find insights about industrial exposure

What makes an SOP bad for the evaluation committee?

After including all the right things and eliminating the mistakes, your SOP can still be dull for readers. Several factors make an SOP stand out. Only making it crisp and avoiding mistakes in such a case won’t work out for you. If you wish to ensure your selection to the university, you must draft a quality SOP with all required components. Your writing process and the drafting approach can make your SOP bad. If you are creating your SOP, below are some factors that can ruin your SOP.

Incomplete research about the university you are applying for

The first mistake that can make your SOP bad is incomplete research about the university. When you are applying for a grad school or university, you must collect every possible information about the university. Some information will work as a guideline for you, while some of them will help you include it in your SOP. If you don’t wish your SOP to be bad, then you must research well about the university you are applying to.

Unaware of the structure of SOP demanded by the university

Every university or the school you are applying to has a different demand regarding the structure of SOP. You must be aware of all those guidelines, especially the structure of the SOP. This will help you create a winning SOP with the maximum selection chances.

When you don’t include real goals and talk only about admission to grad school

SOP that has a clear and specific goal always gets selected by the admission committee. However, instead of writing about their real goals, most of the applicants address selection as their main goal and focus on admission to grad school only. This will make your SOP bad. If you wish to create the best SOP, you must discuss your real goals.


Keeping it concise, these are the most common mistakes that every rejected SOPs include. You can also analyze several rejected SOPs and compare them with approved ones to find a difference.

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