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SOP mistakes: what to avoid


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108 replies to this topic

#101 zahrakhalid

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 01:13 PM

Here is a great resource on some good personal statements!

http://www.brightlin...onal-statement/


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#102 kimozabe

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:23 AM

Guys read this : http://honors.tamu.e...Frustration.pdf

 

MajorityMinority posted this a few months ago, but WOW! I can honestly say this will help me clear up my SOP. Read it! Digest it! Use it!

this link is broken :(

does anyone have the file or an updated link? google search has proven futile. 


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#103 jimmyjjohn

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:19 AM

I wish I did that. I thought my transcript would reflect it, but it didn't. In fact, my transcript didn't even list both my majors! I almost cried when I saw a scanned copy of it. (My school doesn't give them to students, they mail it out themselves). It didn't say what professors taught which classes or anything. It looked awful.


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#104 themmases

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:47 PM

this link is broken :(

does anyone have the file or an updated link? google search has proven futile. 

 Found it! It's here: http://hurapps.tamu....Frustration.pdf


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#105 Crucial BBQ

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 06:07 PM

I just had a professor who sits on admissions committees look over my SOP.

My introduction was talking about how I liked to go to museums as a child and was fascinated by the ancient world. He said that starting out like this is a huge mistake. Obviously if you are applying to study archaeology at the graduate level, it's pretty much assumed that you're fascinated by the ancient world and probably enjoy museums. But so do lots of people. What makes you unique. Attempt to illustrate your passion for the field without really telling some kind of silly story about your childhood. This is also an approach that many people take, and if you really want a strong SOP you'll find a better, more mature, and more creative way to say it.
 

This may be acceptable to some programs but in general starting out with an anecdote is a no-no. 


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UC Davis:  University of Maine:  University of Maryland: CSU/Moss Landing Marine Laboratory:  Brown:  University of Rhode Island:    UMass Dartmouth:   University of Connecticut:  Coastal Carolina University:   

 

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#106 wetheplants

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 11:09 PM

The DGS at my undergraduate institution said to be extremely leary about mentioning names of faculty members because often they'll get applications and either (1) The person is dead/retired (2) The person doesn't work with grad-students so it wouldn't make sense. Of course there are some applications I've filled out that specifically ask you to mention what professors you could see yourself working with.

So I guess the rule of thumb would be do it if they ask you to, or if there is a scholar whose work you're very familiar with and see your own work as contributing to similar critical debates it can't hurt to mention them, but if that's the case they would probably realize that such was the case without you mentioning them.

Botton line, error on the side of caution!

I'm working on my application to Cambridge right now and there's an optional section on the application where you can specify profs you'd like to work with. Any thoughts if I should be doing that (and contacting people?) or skipping it? I mean, there are like 4-5 faculty whose work would go nicely with mine, I just feel weird picking one person randomly. I wouldn't want to offend someone who I didn't pick.


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#107 wetheplants

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 11:10 PM

Guys, any thoughts on what I should be focusing on in a 500 word SOP?? It's so short! And it's for Cambridge in the UK. Any differences I should be keeping in mind...?


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#108 JoePianist

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 11:50 PM

Guys, any thoughts on what I should be focusing on in a 500 word SOP?? It's so short! And it's for Cambridge in the UK. Any differences I should be keeping in mind...?

 

The way I approached my rough draft SOP was to ignore the word limit and type my essay using the general guidelines from sites people have suggested on this forum. I also made sure to include the most important strengths about myself. After that, I went back and cut away any extraneous materials (e.g. needlessly lengthy introductory phrases; passages that repeat main ideas I had mentioned earlier in the essay). If my essay still was over the word limit, I would go through the process again and concentrate on how I can isolate the most important main ideas in a more succinct and shorter way. 

 

Also about choosing faculty members for your grad program, you'll just have to do your research into each processor in the program whose interests match yours. It might be a bit late in the game to contact these professors, though, especially from a prestigious university like Cambridge. What kind of program are you applying for?


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#109 wetheplants

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 01:25 AM

The way I approached my rough draft SOP was to ignore the word limit and type my essay using the general guidelines from sites people have suggested on this forum. I also made sure to include the most important strengths about myself. After that, I went back and cut away any extraneous materials (e.g. needlessly lengthy introductory phrases; passages that repeat main ideas I had mentioned earlier in the essay). If my essay still was over the word limit, I would go through the process again and concentrate on how I can isolate the most important main ideas in a more succinct and shorter way. 

 

Also about choosing faculty members for your grad program, you'll just have to do your research into each processor in the program whose interests match yours. It might be a bit late in the game to contact these professors, though, especially from a prestigious university like Cambridge. What kind of program are you applying for?

Masters in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. They don't seem to be too fussy about contacting people on their web pages. Their page for admissions (includes the PhD program too) says "Please note that although prospective graduate students may wish to look at the list of faculty members' research interests before they decide to apply here, supervisors aren't appointed until after the candidate has been accepted and can't appoint themselves to supervise a project in advance."

 


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