Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement: What is the Difference between Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose?

Rohan Deshmukh

Aspirants who wish to study abroad often have this question in mind: what is the difference between a statement of purpose vs personal statement? Most of us don't care enough to understand and use the two terms interchangeably. However, there’s much more to the two being different; they have different forms, structures, and intentions. 

In this article, we explore the differences between the two key documents at the time of registration to colleges: difference between personal statement and statement of purpose. And, by the end of this article, you should be able to craft your masterpiece without external aid. 

Table of Contents

Let us have a look at the meanings of a statement of purpose vs personal statement, their differences and similarities, ending with an overview of which is the best choice for you. Stay tuned. 

What is a Statement of Purpose?

A statement of purpose is usually a two-page essay encompassing your virtues as an academic candidate. You put forth various details like personality traits, achievements, goals, aspirations, background, challenges, etc. and draw a vivid picture of yourself as an individual. An SOP encompasses every aspect of your life that other official documents might have overlooked. 

An SOP is an important document for studying abroad. Be it a bachelor’s or a master’s program, every university requires you to write an SOP for them that helps them decide if you’re the better candidate in a group of options.  

How to Write an SOP for UG?

What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is keenly different from a statement of purpose. You can consider it a summary, a brisker version of your SOP, that focuses mainly on your personal information, skills and talents, and professional strengths. A personal statement should be engaging, and crisp, and should convey to the reader exactly what they’re looking for. Minus all the unnecessary details. 

How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement?

Moving on, let us understand the difference between SOP and personal statement: 

What is the Difference between SOP and Personal Statement?

We now have a basic understanding of what an SOP and a Personal Statement individually are. Let us go through the difference between personal statement vs SOP in a table:


Statement of Purpose

Personal Statement


Application to graduate, post graduate, and other academic fields.

Application for jobs, internships, certificate programs, diplomas, etc.

How to Write 

Remain formal and follow a chronological order of writing. Good command of English and an expansive vocabulary is the way to go. Sound professional but engaging.

You can switch between formal and informal to match your tone. Add a personal touch but remain professional. Engage your audience but keep the content easy to consume.


Widely focused: Goals, achievements, contributions, etc.

Narrowly confined to personal goals, talents, achievements, and beliefs.


Usually double the length of a personal statement

Usually one-page long


Strictly formal

Varies from person to person, organisation to organisation 


Looks forward to the future 

Looks back at the past 

SOP for PhD

In a gist, the situation you’re in and the program you’re applying to will decide whether you have to write an SOP or a personal statement. 

SOP vs Personal Statement: Similarities 

After seeing the difference between sop and personal statement, we know that while the two terms are distinct, there are certain similarities that compel users to use the two terms as synonyms. Here are a few aspects where the two closely resemble each other. 

  1. Both reflect on your virtues and values, just in different tones
  2. Both are required when applying to a university/immigration program
  3. Both documents are smartly crafted
  4. Both should be engaging and should compel the reader to read more
  5. The documents often remain in a second-person tonality

Did you know 85% of our Yocketers opt for the USA as their study abroad destination? 

Book a 15-minutes FREE call with our Yocket Counsellors to know more about studying in the USA! 

Making the Choice: Personal Statement vs SOP

An SOP is used to apply to graduate or undergraduate programs of study. These revolve around your virtues, academic achievements, talents, and why you should get admission. These will usually be more in demand for most of the programs you apply to. Any full-time degree course usually calls for an SOP, and you can always summarise and edit the SOP to make a personal statement.

On the contrary, a personal statement is used in gaps between employment, jobs, apprenticeships, internships, and a few academic fields. Personal statements might also be useful for certification and diploma courses. The program you apply to will usually clarify the nature of the document you need. 

It is advisable for students to go for a statement of purpose when choosing between a personal statement vs SOP. The latter is far more versatile and flexible and replaces a personal statement more often than vice versa.  

Tips to Write the Best SOP and Personal Statement

Now that we’re acquainted with the differences between an SOP and a personal statement, let us look at the tips you should keep in mind while crafting them to maximise your intake chances. 

Tips to write an SOP:

  • Start with your introduction
  • Talk about your achievements
  • Talk about your talents and aspirations
  • Give the reader a reason to consider you an able candidate
  • Make the SOP look professional
  • Use good vocabulary, structure sentences neatly, avoid fluff
  • Break the content into paragraphs
  • Make a connection with the reader and engage them 

Tips to write a personal statement:

  • Start with your introduction
  • Talk about your personal inclinations, motivations, talents, etc.
  • Engage!
  • Switch between tones as it feels natural
  • Don’t overfill the content with uncommon words
  • Keep gaps in between
  • End and begin strongly

How to Write an SOP for USA?

An SOP and a personal statement are briefly distinct terms. Often misunderstood to be the same, the difference can be quite significant if you pay enough attention. While most people pass them to be the same, understanding the difference and crafting your letters specifically make a better impression of your profile as an able candidate. 

If you need professional assistance with your SOP or PS drafting and want to maximise your acceptance chances, enrol on our top-notch expert assistance for free now! Talk to experts, get your profile evaluated, and find more tips and tricks to make your SOP or PS groundbreaking.

Read More: 


Frequently Asked Questions about SOP vs Personal Statement

What is better: personal statement vs SOP?

What is the difference between SOP and personal statement? 

Is an SOP necessarily in English?

Can someone else write my SOP?

How important is SOP vs personal statement? 

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