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Steps To Write a Letter of Explanation for Canada Study Permit

You will need a study permit if you are considering studying in Canada, and one of the requirements for a study permit is to provide a letter of explanation outlining your situation and why you want to learn in Canada

In case you are wondering what a Letter of Explanation (LOE) is, it is an official document stating your valid reason(s) for studying in Canada. It also clarifies contradictory details in the information you filled in while applying for a study permit, and this blog post will provide tips on writing a strong letter of explanation.

For example, you can explain why you are just getting post-secondary education as a mature student or why your documents have two different names (if you changed your name.)

The Letter of Explanation (LOE) is also known as the Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Letter of Intent (LOI). While we have provided insight on how to write a Letter of Explanation for a Canada Study Permit, we have also included a couple of samples that can guide you in writing yours.

Is the Letter of Explanation Necessary for the Canada Study Permit?

LOE or SOP is not a compulsory prerequisite when applying to study as an international student in Canada. However, some Designated Learning Institutions demand that students provide the documents while applying to the schools, while some do not.

However, it is advisable to include a Letter of Explanation when applying for a study permit as it offers the immigration officer insight into what you aim to achieve by studying in Canada.

Your LOE can be a convincing note to earn your Canadian study permit.

How to Write a Letter of Explanation (LOE)

Your LOE needs to be concise yet as convincing as possible. Immigration and admissions officers at the embassy and schools have many applications to attend. You, therefore, do not want to bore them with long talk.

When officers see a long letter, they might be discouraged from reading it. Therefore, you should keep your LOE short even as you explicitly state your points.

Like every other official letter, there are three essential parts of your Letter of Explanation:

  • Introduction,
  • Body,
  • Conclusion.

1. Introduction;

Your introduction gives admission and immigration a vague idea of who you are, and it should include the following:

  • Your name,
  • Highest Educational Qualification,
  • Your principal or course of study,
  • The most recent institution you attended,
  • Your work experience (if available),
  • Other information that may be vital and could be a catch to the reader.

You are not providing this information in a list format. Instead, this list guides you on the essential details you should include while introducing yourself.

Your work experience should include what kinds of work you did, how long you spent doing them, and your achievements and you don’t need the following in your Letter of Explanation (unless they are related to your study goals);

  • Your age
  • Your sex
  • Marital status
  • Country of origin
  • Contact details (this should not be in the introductory part of your letter)
  • Biodata (height, weight, disabilities, and so on)

If any of these details are related to the content in the body of your letter, you should include them in the body and not in the introduction.

Your age and sex, for example, do not matter to the officer attending to your application. However, if the program you are taking is gender or age-sensitive, as included in the admission prerequisites, you may include that information in your introduction.

The idea is to limit unnecessary information as much as possible so the reader of your letter can access the needed details.

2. The Body;

The body of your LOE carries the most vital information; as such, it needs to be well articulated. However, your sentences should not be disjointed, or the officer will lose connection with your story.

The body of your Letter of Explanation should offer prompt answers to all of the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ the immigration or admission officers will have if they interview you in person.

This part of the Letter of Explanation contains the following:

  1. Why do you intend to study in Canada?
  2. Why you chose that particular institution?
  3. Why are you interested in the program?
  4. How will you get support for your studies?
  5. Your return to your home country after study
  6. Other necessary details
  • Why do you Intend to Study in Canada?

Canada is a country just as well as the region you reside in, and hundreds of higher learning institutions exist in the country, but you have chosen to reply to none. There are also other countries with a good quality education that you can study in, but you decided in Canada instead.

The officer needs to understand why you did this to be sure you know what it means to study in a country like Canada. You can state your reason in no more than one or two sentences. For example, you could say:

“I wish to study in a peaceful and friendly environment like the one Canada offers.” Or “I will love to gain from the rich mix of cultures available in Canada as this will aid my learning process concerning my program of choice.”

Your intent should be strongly tied to studying in Canada and nothing more. For example, you will shoot yourself in the legs if you mention how “studying in Canada is a good pathway to obtain permanent residency or work permit” as your reason for studying in Canada.

  • Why you Chose the Institution?

In a few sentences, you should mention the qualities that attracted you to the school and the positive reviews you have found about the institution.

You should also be specific on the location of the school and the particular campus you are applying to if there are many campuses. For example, you could include sentences like:

“So and so school has enough research facilities to promote smooth learning.” Or “The proximity of the campus to the Great Lakes can also make my research on the endemic fish species easy.”

  • Why are you interested in the program?

This should not be hard since you understand why you are interested in taking the program you opted for. Some schools allow you to apply for two programs at a time; if you are doing so, indicate the two programs and state why you are applying. For example:

“After taking preliminary studies in so and so, I became interested in the aspect of art and have decided to take the diploma course on so and so available at so and so college.”

You can refer to your previous education and work experiences, as this helps the officer see how much interest you have built in that field over time.

Suppose you are enrolling in a program that follows a different path from your previous education or work experience. In that case, you can also provide valid reasons that have ignited your passion for changing your career path.

  • How will you Get Support for your studies?

You will be asked to provide proof of sufficient funds in your application for a study permit. This is important as the officers want to understand how you will cope as a student far away from immediate family and friends in Canada.

In one or two sentences, you can talk about your sponsors and the nature of their jobs. You should also indicate if you benefit from any scholarship or financial aid.

  • Your Return to your Home Country after Studies

One of the things immigration officers are looking for in your Statement of Purpose is how you will return to your home country after your studies. Take it or leave it; the officers love to see this part, so you should include it.

To reiterate your determination to return to your country, you can mention the work you will return to if you are on study leave or the business you wish to create with the knowledge you gain.

You can also talk about your immediate family, spouse, and children. The goal is that whoever reads your Letter of Intent must be able to perceive your motivation to go back home.

  • Other Necessary Details

You can include other details that will offer you an edge in your LOE. For example, you should mention how you will be of good conduct as an international student in Canada.

Highlight the commitment you will put in to ensure you maximize your study period in Canada; you may also include how you plan to cope with work and study as an international student in Canada.

3. Conclusion;

You can conclude the letter by spelling out how the knowledge and skills gained while studying in Canada would help develop you as a person and your country or community as a whole. Then end with a closing remark, signature, and your name in full

Steps to Take Before Writing your SOP


When writing your LOE, it may take time to articulate your words together. To make the writing process easier, you should do the following;

  • Jot down your goals and intent for studying in Canada and enrolling in the program you chose,
  • Research the school you are applying to, and note the facilities and the good reviews it has,
  • Find out interesting facts about the town or city the school is located in

After writing your Letter of Intent, do the following;

  • Keep the letter for a while, then go back to read it over and over and correct errors,
  • Have a friend, senior colleague who has studied in Canada, or school teacher review your letter.

Download a Free Sample Letter of Explanation for Study Visa/Permit

If you are unsure how to write a letter of explanation for a Canada student visa, or if you would like to see an example, we have provided some sample letters below – one from UBC (.doc) and another from Douglas College (.pdf).

These sample letters can help guide you through writing your SOP and ensure it meets all requirements. While these sample letters may be helpful, they are not meant for everyone and do not guarantee visa approval. Also, refer to the sources and steps (referenced above) for the right of use.


If you are applying for a Canadian study permit, include a Letter of Explanation, and this letter should be written as an essay, typically 500 words long. This letter will give your immigration officer more information about why they should allow you into their country with little or no hassle.

A strong SOP or letter of explanation helps convince the visa officer that the applicant deserves the visa by showing clear reasons why the person would contribute positively to society if allowed entry.

We hope our free guides have helped you understand how these documents work and how to write your Statement of purpose!

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