Do Universities Check for Plagiarism in SOP

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Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Mar 24, 2023 16:39 IST

Do universities check for plagiarism in an SOP? All those who are in the midst of the application process may come to this question in their mind. Whether you are applying for a UG or PG course, usually, universities demand an SOP from the aspirant. SOP or Statement of Purpose states your achievements, whether academic, extracurricular or professional so that the admission committee can evaluate your profile. In this article, we will inform you whether universities check for plagiarism in SOP or not.

What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)?

An SOP is a long essay required by universities abroad that include the academic and non-academic achievements of the aspirant. Through SOP, the admission committee of the university also gets an idea of why an aspirant is seeking admission to their university in a particular program. It helps them in assessing the profile of the candidate and also helps them in deciding whether the candidate is fit for pursuing that program or not.

Why You Should Not Copy SOP?

Nowadays, a lot of SOPs or sample SOPs are available online, resulting in many aspirants copying them while applying to a university. Even after knowing the importance of the SOP in the admission process, many aspirants copy the SOP from an available online source. Here, we should understand that the CV/Resume of two individuals can have similarities, however, their SOPs cannot be the same under any circumstances. The challenges that one goes through while working on research projects or some particular skills that students develop during the internship period cannot be the same. Even if two students have encountered the same problems, their approach cannot be the same always. Also, their goals in life cannot match.

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Some students complain about not having good English skills to write a good SOP. Here, you need to understand that a Statement of purpose (SOP) need not contain fancy vocabulary. Rather, it should be able to explain your goals clearly, which you want to achieve in your life, apart from what you have already learned in your academic and professional life.

Here is an image from the Duke University MBA Admissions Page:

Do Universities Check for Plagiarism in SOP

(Source of Image: Duke University MBA Admissions Official Webpage)

Also, Read:

Sample SOP for MBA Courses Format SOP for MS Courses
Sample SOP for UG Courses Format SOP for PhD Courses

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How do Graduate Schools Assess SOP?

Graduate schools in the US look at the holistic profile of the candidate. They match the academic and other details which you have mentioned in the SOP with the documents that you have provided. Your SOP should state your achievements, and drawbacks, how you tackled them and what you have learned from them. If the admission committee does not find your application in sync with your SOP, then they might think that you have copied it from somewhere and chances are there that they will reject your application. Also, it should contain your experiences, like if you have worked on a research project, then you should mention everything about it, the tasks that you have done or challenges you faced while working on it in order to strengthen your application. Therefore, you should be extra careful not to copy your SOP from anywhere.

As the format of the SOP remains the same, admission committee members often encounter sentences that are commonly used by students. It can happen that you or someone who has worked with you (colleague or batchmate) may have encountered a similar situation. But your approach to solving that issue matters and how you arrived at the solution is important. Apart from this, you may have similar kinds of achievements, but how you achieved them, your working style and your approach cannot be similar to your colleague. As a matter of fact, the way you express yourself cannot be similar to anyone else. A personal statement has to be from someone who is applying, so, you should explain your own goals, achievements, and aspirations.

Also, Read: SOP Formats for the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia

Sample Format for USA SOP Sample Format for Canada SOP
Sample Format for UK SOP Sample Format for Australia SOP

Do Universities Check for Plagiarism in SOP FAQs

Q. Is an SOP important for admissions?

A. The statement of purpose (SOP) is a critical component of many graduate programme applications and is utilised by admissions committees to comprehend the applicant's perspective, goals, and credentials. The following points will highlight the significance of the statement of purpose:
  • The admissions panel can learn more about your academic background and hobbies thanks to this.
  • It helps to highlight your unique selling proposition and why you are a suitable match for the programme compared to other candidates.
  • You have the chance to discuss your aims and desires for your career.
  • It offers a perception of your worldview and moral principles.
Ultimately, whether or not you get admitted to a graduate school may depend on how well-written your statement of purpose is. It is crucial to put some attention into crafting a strong and persuasive SOP that highlights your skills and qualifications.

Q. Can I copy someone else’s SOP?

A. The answer is no, you shouldn't use another person's Statement of Purpose (SOP) for your own purposes. Colleges and universities request a Statement of Purpose to assess your writing prowess, capacity for critical thought, and fit for the programme you're applying to. Copying someone else's work is unethical and can have major repercussions, such as having your application rejected or, in the case of a subsequent discovery, having an admission offer revoked. Also, the admissions committee is eager in knowing about your own experiences, viewpoints, and goals, which are not reflected in replicated SOPs. Writing a personalised, original SOP that reflects your experience, interests, and aspirations and emphasises why you are a good match for the programme is crucial.

Q. Do universities check for plagiarism in an SOP?

A. University submissions of Statements of Purpose (SOP) are, in fact, checked for plagiarism. Universities routinely analyse submitted work for plagiarism to make sure it is unique and legitimate. Universities check that the SOP given by the candidate is their own unique work and not plagiarised from any other sources. Several colleges examine and detect any duplicated information in an applicant's SOP using plagiarism detection software. The application could be denied if the SOP contains a significant amount of plagiarism. Because of this, it is crucial for candidates to make sure their SOP is unique and written in their own words.

Q. How to write an original Statement of Purpose?

A. It is important to give considerable thought to your personal motives and objectives while drafting an original statement of purpose. Here are a few points:
  • Be specific: Explain how your own life experiences have influenced your academic aspirations and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic.
  • Be precise: Describe how your education, career, and personal experiences have helped you become a good fit for the programme. Describe the program's benefits in detail and how they relate to your long-term objectives.
  • Be original: To illustrate your views and make your statement of purpose more enticing and memorable, use examples, tales, and anecdotes.
  • Be genuine to yourself and let your own voice come through in your work. Avoid trying to sound like someone you are not.

Q. How to write an SOP for a scholarship?

A. An essay explaining the motivation behind a student's desire to apply for a particular scholarship or fellowship is known as a statement of purpose. Telling the admissions committee about your academic and professional goals and how the scholarship would help them reach those goals is an important part of the application process. Researching the scholarship and its requirements, meditating on and putting thoughts on paper, and planning the essay prior to writing are some methods for crafting an excellent statement of purpose for a scholarship. Furthermore, it is crucial to state clearly and concisely the objectives of the programme as well as the outcomes desired from the scholarship.

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About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio


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