Statement of Purpose – The Introduction


As with any essay, the introduction is very important in attracting the reader’s attention and setting the tone of the essay. For your SOP, your introduction should include some of the following:


  1. What you plan to study or major in
  2. Why you are interested in this subject
    • A personal anecdote from your past or childhood explaining how you became interested in this subject
  3. How your past experience has prepared you for your proposed course of study
  4. Any challenges you may face, and how you plan to overcome them
  5. Why, specifically, you have decided to apply to this department in this university
    • Is it famous or reputable?
    • Are there specific renowned professors that you want to learn from?
    • Do you know anyone who has attended this university?
    • If it’s in another country or city, what made you want to study in this new place?


If you can answer most or all of these questions, you have written a very thorough introduction that should give the admissions officer a good idea of who you are and what you plan to do. However, you should be careful not to provide too much information and sound like you are rambling.


Here’s a sample introduction for a Statement of Purpose, for a student who hopes to study Candle making in Harvard University (this is, obviously, not an actual major at Harvard, but is rather meant to serve as an example of how to write an introduction using the above points):




Whether providing light during blackouts, adding a romantic flair to an evening dinner, or just adding a pleasant fragrance and sense of comfort to a college student’s apartment, candles are an important, yet often overlooked part of our lives. This became clear to me when my ailing grandmother requested that we bring candles from her house to her in the hospital so that she could have reminders of home. I have thus long been captivated by the elegant simplicity of candles and all they represent, and this is why I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in Candle making at Harvard University. Many esteemed and world renowned candle makers have honed their craft in the halls of Harvard, and I hope to count myself among their ranks. Although I lack formal training in the art of candle making, I am confident that my previous academic and work experiences, combined with my passion for the subject matter, have given me the passion and experience that I will need to succeed in the MSc in Candlemaking program in the Department of Wax at Harvard University.


This introduction paragraph is 183 words – so now all you need is 3 or four more paragraphs of a similar length!


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