Statement of Purpose Within 150 Words?

Only a few universities have set a word limit or page limit on college admission essay (or Statement of Purpose).

The following question is from a reader who is in the process of submitting an online application for a master’s program at Missouri ST at Rolla.


I have some doubt in the application process of Missouri St Rolla. In the application site,

The last step, before “clicking SUBMIT APPLICATION,” they have the following:

Please describe why you are interested in studying in this degree program in the box below. Your statement is limited to 1,000 characters (approximately 150 words or two short paragraphs) or less.

You may compose your statement in another program (i.e., Notepad or word processing software) and paste the text into the box.
(Hint: In Windows, use Ctrl-C to copy and Ctrl-V to paste. On an Apple, use Apple-C to copy and Apple-V to paste.)

I’m totally confused.

  1. Do I have to send a COVER LETTER?
  2. Is SOP online, offline or both? Online SOP is limited by 1,000 characters. Do offline [printout] SOPs have no limit on characters?

Statement of Purpose

I’m not sure what you meant by cover letter. But based on what you said, you do have to submit a short version of your SOP.

Copy and paste the SOP into the text box provided. Make sure there are not typos and grammar mistakes.

When you mail the graduate school application packet with other documents, [12 Tips on How to Mail Application Package], include a printed copy (long version) of your Statement of Purpose.

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  1. Hello sir,

    Your valuable insights on the abroad education are very helpful and motivating. However, sir, I am applying to a summer school (I am in class 11) and for this purpose, I have to draft a SOP of not more than 150 words. I have prepared a basic draft and my teachers have advised me to get the opinion of an expert before submitting it. Sir, will you be kind enough to give me your views on my SOP. If yes, kindly provide me your email and I will send it to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your time and concern….

  2. Sir,

    I am Sandeep. I am daily reading your blogs and quit happy with it. I have cleared most of the doubts while reading past blogs. But I feel that some topics regarding [b]Personal Statement and Biographical Statement[/b] are not discussed in the past post. I have the following doubts,

    1. What is Personal Statement and Biographical Statement?

    2. How above both is different from Statement of Purpose?

    I am asking this because I have been asked by university to submit above two while applying for scholarship.

    1. Personal Statement is same as SOP.
      Biographical Statement – Write about where you were born, when you did complete high school, why you selected the college for UG. It more about your personal details.

  3. hello sir, i have been reading all your blogs n post from last week ..

    they r very interesting n very useful but i have another query which u hav not answered above, i.e;

    i need to know how the education system in US, AUSTRALIA, n UK valued ?

    i mean what is the difference between MS in above countries, actually all r called as the same MS then whats the difference ?

    reply soon, as i hav 2 apply it according to ur reply, all the remaining work is done toefl-89 !

    1. Hi Nishanth,

      I just read what you had to say.I recently completed studies in the UK and am now hoping for a PhD position in the US.As far as I know the degrees in the UK are highly valued the world over.They hold as much value as the US degrees especially if you have graduated from a reputed UK uni.Also there are fewer hurdles in getting through if you have a good academic background.

      I am not too sure about the Australian Masters as I have no knowledge in this respect.The UK Masters are shorter, just about one year or even less.Hence, they are more time bound as they are not well scattered over two years like the US Masters.But you are just about learning the same thing and get done in a shorter duration.

      Hope this was helpful to you.

      All the best to you!


  4. I am also in a similar dilemma. But my worry is whether there any ideal length of an SOP? The universities to which I am applying have not mentioned any specific word-limit. My SOP right now is around 1200 words. Should I cut it down?
    Please help me with this problem. I am applying within a day or two because the application deadlines are approaching.

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