How to Write SOP, Personal Statement, Academic CV, Diversity Essay and Letter of Recommendation for Admissions Abroad (Quick Tips)

5 min readJul 29, 2022


Study abroad.

This article will be as straightforward as possible, giving you only the things you need and what you should focus on. They are really quick tips.

To an extent, I can call myself an expert in this field because as a writer, I have written tons of these with amazing results. So follow me and let’s take it away.

How to Write Your Statement of Purpose (SOP)

When writing a Statement of Purpose, ask yourself why you’re applying for your chosen course in your school of choice. In essence, what’s the purpose?

With Statement of Purpose, there can be a slight difference when applying for a Master’s and when applying for a PhD. We will get to that.

Some schools provide a guide on what to include in your SOP but when you don’t have that guide, you can take a cue from what you will find here.

For Master’s, these are the things to include in your SOP:

  • Your motivation and how you learned about the programme.
  • What interests you and why the course is the most suitable for you.
  • What is it about the choice of institution (is it the area or country of location? the reputation? the team? the placement opportunities? or any other unique thing you’ve found?)
  • Your background in relation to previous studies, employment or work experience and why the programme is an appropriate progression.
  • Your plan after graduation and how the programme will help you realistically achieve your goals and objectives.
  • Why you wish to study in the country the school is located rather than your home country.

For PhD, these are the other things you can include in addition to the above:

  • Highlight your academic goals and interests, professional goals, as well as your reason for pursuing the graduate program of study.
  • Indicate the need for assistantship if you’re looking for one. There are 2 categories of assistantship: research assistantship and teaching assistantship. For education courses, you may also apply to be a teaching fellow. This depends on the kind of aid available in your school of choice.
  • Indicate the area of interest (research interest) you are interested in pursuing as well as the faculty members you are interested in working with.

For both Master’s and PhD, you can also include the courses you have taken as an undergraduate that are relevant for the course you want to study.

Something to note: It is very possible to apply for a PhD without having a Master’s degree. Your first degree can be used to apply straight for a PhD. Check the requirements for your school of choice.

How to Write Your Personal Statement (PS)

Your Personal Statement is that document that speaks more about your personal attributes and why you are a best fit for the chosen course you have selected.

It is different from a Statement of Purpose (SOP) but some people confuse them to be the same.

What to include in your Personal Statement:

  • Focus on your strengths, skills, aspirations, contributions to society, what distinguishes you. If you are seeking funding, why you deserve the funding?
  • Your interest in the course and how it fits with your career aspirations.
  • How your previous study links with the course you have chosen.
  • If you are applying for a new academic discipline, why do you have interest in the new area? How does your research interests fit with the interest of the faculty of the program?
  • Why would you like to study at the specific university or school?
  • Relevant work experience or other experience relevant to the course (could be research and/or leadership experience).
  • Anything else that makes you a great candidate — what is unique and distinctive about you?

Other things to include in your Personal Statement are:

  • Provide details on overcoming personal obstacles or hardship (it could be financial, physical, family, cultural or any other relevant one).
  • If gaps exist in your application like low test scores or poor academic record, identify and address them.
  • Articulate how graduate degree will help you achieve your future goals and career aspiration.

It may seem like Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Personal Statement (PS) have some similarities in the things to include in them but there are some contrasts.

What to Include in Your Academic CV

For this part, I won’t go into details here because I already wrote an article on tips for writing a CV/resume.

But an academic CV is a little different and I will share headings you can consider for yours. If you don’t have all of them, stick to the ones you have to create your academic CV.

  1. Education
  2. Skills
  3. Experience
  4. Awards & Recognition
  5. Publications (this can be papers published or research works)
  6. Leadership
  7. Volunteer Position/Extracurricular
  8. Academic Membership/Association
  9. Certifications
  10. Conferences

How to Write Diversity Essay

According to Google’s English Dictionary, diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

The diversity essay is required by some schools. It is a brief essay and it is majorly about describing how you feel you will contribute to the diversity of the student body in the school.

Describe your leadership, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, and how these experiences would promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence.

You should also include how you have overcome a disadvantage or other impediments to success in higher education.

Also discuss why you are deserving of the admission.

How to Write Letter of Recommendation (Reference Letter)

This is a guide for references or referees writing a reference letter or a letter of recommendation.

Include the following information in your letter:

  • Length of time and capacity in which you have known the applicant.
  • Applicant’s qualification, level of performance and result(s) or expected result(s).
  • Your assessment of applicant’s potential. If applicant is applying for a teaching assistantship, include their potential/sustainability to teach or teach a particular subject.
  • Candidate’s motivation and intellectual capacity.
  • If the candidate was/is employed by your organization, include their duties and standard of work.
  • What you consider to be their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Any other information you think relevant and you feel would assist the University or institution in making its decision.

Getting admission abroad is one of the several ways to emigrate from your home country. If you’re confused and wondering if emigrating is the best option for you or not, please read this.

If you still have any questions regarding writing any of the above, drop them in the comments or reach me on social media.

I will be happy to help.

Success in your school applications!

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