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Writing a Statement of Purpose for a Study Permit Application to Immigration Canada

What to include and why this component is critical to apply for a Study Permit to Canada

In 2020, there were over 500,000 international students studying in Canada. For Canada, this means roughly 2-3% of the population at any given time are international students. 

Canada is a great place to study and offers fantastic universities and colleges offering a variety of degrees, diplomas, and post graduate programs. One of the biggest advantages to studying in Canada, are the pathways to Permanent Residence that become available after your studies. This is made possible by the granting of a PGWP (Post-Graduate Work Permit) that allow graduates to work for up to 3 years for any Canadian employer, anywhere in Canada on the conclusion of their studies so long as they have studied for the prerequisite time at a Designated Learning Institution. This allows students to gain Canadian work experience which is advantageous in the Canadian Experience Class category of Express Entry for PR. Additionally, international students are eligible to work part-time during their studies as well. It is critical to apply for your PGWP within 180 days of completing your program in Canada. There are many other factors that must be taken into consideration to be eligible for these benefits which SJP Immigration Inc. is happy to assist with. 

However, of the many factors that affect the success of a study permit application, one of them being the Statement of Purpose (SOP). An SOP allows you to formulate a narrative and add creativity in your application, so to set yourself out from the rest that wish to study in Canada. A good analogy would be a cover letter on your resume or CV. So, what is a Statement of Purpose and why is it important? 

Broadly speaking there are two types of applications to come to Canada:

1) either as a permanent resident or;
2) as a temporary resident.

Students, or a study permit application, is considered a form of temporary residence in Canada, that is, that you do not exist permanently in Canada as a student. As a result, in your application for a study permit, the immigration officer must be convinced that you will return to your home country at the end of your authorized stay in Canada. Additionally, the officer must be convinced that your studies are bona fide, or “authentic” in that your intention is to study in Canada and complete a program in Canada. You are able to have dual intent of eventually achieving permanent status in Canada after your studies, however, this does not preclude you from proving that in any case you will return to your home country. 

The Statement of Purpose provides the applicant the opportunity to express to the immigration officer their reasons to study in Canada. This is to establish your bona fide intention. Ideally, a Statement of Purpose will be a well written essay between 1000 and 2000 words and answer the following key questions: 

1) Who you are? 

  • The immigration officer wants to understand who is writing the letter, and what you will get from studying in Canada. Here is where you can talk about your study and work history. 

2) Why do you want to study in Canada? 

  • Remember, competition is high. It is important here to link it to yourself, and not a generic answer such as “because Canada is safe and friendly.” Why Canada in particular? Is is because of a unique program offered that you could not find anywhere else? Or the combination of the affordability of that program, or how highly the program in Canada is regarded back home. 

3) What is your academic record and how the program is relevant to you? 

  • If you were accepted into a program that is significantly less challenging that your overseas credentials or outside your expertise or study history, you must provide compelling reasons why you chose this program. Also, if you chose this program because it is specialized, or truly one of a kind and your background matches it, this would be a great place to disclose this. For example: a photonics post-grad at a particular school that is only 1 of 5 in the world offering this program, and history showing your studies, work experience or interest in photonics. 

4) Your plans after studying in Canada and how studying in Canada will impact your future plans 

  • This is where, in addition to supporting documents with your application, it is important to convince the officer that you will return to your home country and you have strong ties to your home country. Studying in Canada will benefit you in which ways upon return to your home country? 

Other important aspects to outline in Statement of Purpose

If your study permit application strays a little further from the average student in terms of life circumstances, it is important to be able to explain authentically to the officer these critical aspects:

1) Do you have a gap year or a break in studies? How old are you, and why are you returning to study at this age? They can be overcome, but with compelling reasons as to why your study was put on hold or why you have a change of heart at 40 years old to study in Canada. Be sure to include key evidence points here. Did you take time off for an internship or practicum? Did you take time off your studies to earn income to further fund your studies abroad? 

2) Do you have the funds required to study in Canada? Generally speaking, it’s important to show at least 1 year of expenses and tuition in liquid funds, meaning you can easily access this capital as required during your studies in Canada.  

SJP Immigration Inc. can assist with all aspects of a study permit application, including a strong, compelling, and expertly written Statement of Purpose. 

SJP Immigration Inc. is a licensed Canadian immigration company authorized to represent and provide immigration services to foreign nationals seeking temporary or permanent residence in Canada. We assist eligible foreign nationals in immigrating to Canada through the appropriate migration pathway and provide immigration support services to Canadian employers hiring foreign labour and skilled talent from abroad. 

SJP Immigration Inc. is licensed and regulated under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (formerly the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council). 

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