If you are considering studying in Canada, you will need a study permit. One of the requirements for a study permit is to provide a letter of explanation outlining your personal situation and why you want to study in Canada. In this blog post, we will provide some tips on how to write a strong letter of explanation.
In case you are wondering what a Letter of Explanation (LOE) is, it is an official document that states your valid reason(s) for choosing to study in Canada. It also offers clarification on contradictory details in the information you filled in while applying for a study permit.
For example, you can explain why you are just getting post-secondary education as a mature student or why there are two different names in your documents (if you changed your name.)
The Letter of Explanation 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.
In this article
Is the Letter of Explanation Necessary for Canada Study Permit?
LOE or SOP is not a compulsory prerequisite when applying to study as an international student in Canada. Some Designated Learning Institutions demand that students provide the documents while they are 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 the convincing note that will earn you your Canadian study permit.
How to Write a Letter of Explanation (LOE)
Your LOE needs to be concise, yet as convincing as possible. Immigration officers and admissions officers at the embassy and schools respectively 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 to read through it. You should keep your LOE short even as you explicitly state your points.
Like every other official letter, there are three basic parts of your Letter of Explanation:
Your introduction gives the admission and/or immigration a vague idea of who you are. It should include the following:
- Your name
- Highest educational qualification
- Your major or course of study
- The most recent institution you attended
- Your work experience (if available)
- Other information that may be very vital and could be a catch to the reader
You are not providing this information in a list format. The list is just to guide you on the important details you should include while you introduce yourself.
Your work experience should include what kinds of works you did, how long you spent doing them, and your achievements.
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 that would be 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. 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 gets ready access to the needed details.
The body of your LOE carries the most vital information. It, therefore, needs to be well articulated. 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 he/she were to interview you in person.
This part of the Letter of Explanation contains:
- Why do you intend to study in Canada
- Why you chose that particular institution
- Why you are interested in the program
- How you will get support for your studies
- Your return to your home country after study
- Other necessary details
#1. Why do you Intend to Study in Canada
Canada is a country just as well as the region you reside in. There are hundreds of higher institutions of learning in your country, but you have chosen to reply to none of them.
There are also other countries with good quality of education that you can study in, but you chose Canada instead.
The officer needs to understand why you did this; just to be sure you understand 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 culture available in Canada as this will aid my learning process with respect to my program of choice.”
All of your intent should be strongly tied to studying in Canada and nothing more. 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.
#2. Why you Chose the Institution
In few sentences, you will 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. You could include sentences like:
“So and so the school has enough research facilities to promote smooth learning.” and “The proximity of the campus to the Great Lakes can also make my research on the endemic fish species easy.”
#3. Why you are interested in the Program
This should not be so hard since you understand why you are interested in taking the program you are opting for.
Some schools allow you to apply for two programs at a time, if you are doing so, indicate the two programs and state the reasons why you are applying for them. For example:
“After taking preliminary studies in so and so, I became interested in so and so 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. This helps the officer see how much interest you have built in that field over time.
If you are enrolling for a program that follows a different path from your previous education or work experience, you can also provide valid reasons that have ignited your passion for a change of career path.
#4. How you will Get Support for your Studies
In your application for a study permit, you will be asked to provide proof of sufficient funds. This is important as the officers want to understand how you are going to cope in Canada as a student who is far away from immediate family and friends.
In one or two sentences, you can talk about your sponsors and the nature of their jobs. You should also indicate if you are benefitting from any kind of scholarship or financial aid.
#5. 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/or children. The goal is that whoever reads your Letter of Intent must be able to perceive your motivation to go back home
#6. Other Necessary Details
You can include in your LOE other details you think will offer you an edge. 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.
Steps to Take Before Writing your SOP
It may take you time to articulate your words together when writing your LOI. 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 on the school you are applying to. 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 Free Sample Letter of Explanation for Study Visa
If you are unsure how to write a letter of explanation for 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 the process of writing your own SOP and ensure that it meets all necessary requirements. Please note that while these sample letters may be helpful, it is not meant for everyone and does not guarantee visa approval. Also, refer to the sources (referenced above) for right of use.
- Sample Letter of Explanation to study in Canada – UBC.
- Canada Study Visa Letter of Explanation Template – Douglas College.
Conclusion paragraph: If you are applying for a Canada study permit, make sure to include a Letter of Explanation. This letter should be written in the form of an essay and it is typically around 500 words long. The purpose of this letter is to 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 intent helps convince visa officer that applicant deserves the visa by showing clear reasons why person would contribute positively to society if allowed entry. We hope our free guides have helped you understand how these documents work!