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Writing a SOP conclusion is so darn hard


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28 replies to this topic

#1 joro

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:21 AM

I'm practically on my 4th revision of my SOP (working on this since July) and I can't write a decent conclusion. Does anyone have advice about the conclusion? I've read that I should basically sum up the main points of my SOP and state what I have to contribute to the program. Is there anything more to this?
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#2 cheesethunder

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 04:35 AM

ahhh you got to the conclusion
i'm sitll on the intro!
i was going to go back to how i started it in the intro and mention the particulars of the school that make it special ex. that its small/ collaborative/ what makes it unique
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Interviews: Ottawa, New Brunswick

Accepts: Carleton (Cog sci PhD) !! FUNDING!
Rejects!: Yale, Cornell (Social psyc), Ottawa & Concordia (clinical), McGill, New Brunswick

#3 joro

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:33 AM

ahhh you got to the conclusion
i'm sitll on the intro!
i was going to go back to how i started it in the intro and mention the particulars of the school that make it special ex. that its small/ collaborative/ what makes it unique


Yup, I'm at the conclusion. I still have no definite conclusion after 4 rewrites. But at least now I have somewhat of an outline for my conclusion. I have the first and last sentences written out, just need to work on the insides.
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#4 shai

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:47 AM

my humble advice would be to end with a short story/moral/wise joke that sums your main ideas. example - say you stated how interested you are in frogs and their mating behavior and would like to go into academia to be a better frog researcher. your concusions could be something like : "in my family there's a saying that to understand a frog you need to be one. although i'm not sure i will ever be able to get into a frog's mind, i would sure like the oppurtunity to find out". this way you a) finished on a high note B) made a comment that they will surely remember c) summed your interests but showed you're not only a boring scholar

does this help ?
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#5 cheesethunder

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:05 PM

oh i wish i could be so clever haha
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#6 joro

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:56 PM

Understood, but easier said than done. :lol:
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#7 mims3382

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 01:22 AM

hey no one is looking for a novelist!
they won't want to be made to laugh, learn the secrets of the universe, or who dunnit.
you dont even need a clincher to end it. just something pleasant enough to leave a nice and unobtrusive aftertaste.
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#8 fuzzylogician

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 02:27 AM

What mims3382 said.
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The advice in this post is based on my own personal experience. YMMV.
Pardon my typos..

#9 shai

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 06:27 AM

that's true if you are applying to a place where there aren't many apl=plicants. but if you want to stand out in a crowd of 300-500 applications, just summing it won't do it. unless you have a 1600 GRE, 4.0 GPA and LOR for nobel prize professors, i think you need to try and be clever - if only for showing them your uniqueness
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#10 kent shakespeare

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:37 AM

I always hated conclusions, too - the whole "summing up" bit. Rather than trying to sum up, I have better results by reframing the conclusion. Find a new angle through which to reframe your main points in such a way that reiterates but also freshens them up. If your SOP is a story, then your main points are your characters - like any good story you need to show how your points have developed along the course of your narrative. Not knowing specifics, it's hard to suggest something less abstract.
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#11 cheesethunder

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:47 AM

ohh i really like that story analogy! cute. im writing mine for a psyc program currently should you site potential supervisors work throughout like......i like social support and depression, so and so at your school had an interesting finding of this in their study. At first i thought this was a good idea, but i have 5 people im talking about and I don't know.....if i should just randomly site them in my interests and how my research experiences may reflect some of their work? like.....or should i just write in the end who i want to work with since my interests i state in my SOP already match up with them.

But i guess siting their work shows that i read their research/ i was going to site where they put areas for future research in their articles....I'm just unsure about formatting of the SOP
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#12 mims3382

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:49 AM

if only for showing them your uniqueness


you show uniqueness with your ideas, not with quips about life and the universe.

it worked well for me...even in a crowd of 300 applicants.
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#13 shai

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:17 PM

who said anything about life and the universe ? why are people here so sensitive about advice ?

the truth is no one in this forums knows what helps and what not, so we each say what we think. you shouldn't contradict other's advice, just give your own. let the advice taker decide which to take.

breath, people. breath.
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#14 fuzzylogician

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:36 PM

the truth is no one in this forums knows what helps and what not, so we each say what we think. you shouldn't contradict other's advice, just give your own. let the advice taker decide which to take.

No one knows for sure, BUT those of us who have successfully gone through the process perhaps have a better perspective than those going through it right now. I can say I've talked to other successful applicants at various schools I visited before deciding where to go, and I talked to admissions officers at those places; From comparison with people and from what the officers actually mentioned liking about my SOP, I can be rather sure that the advice I'm giving is correct (with all the necessary disclaimers) and not just my personal unfounded opinion.
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The advice in this post is based on my own personal experience. YMMV.
Pardon my typos..

#15 glasses

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 06:53 PM

the truth is no one in this forums knows what helps and what not, so we each say what we think. you shouldn't contradict other's advice, just give your own. let the advice taker decide which to take.

No one knows for sure, BUT those of us who have successfully gone through the process perhaps have a better perspective than those going through it right now. I can say I've talked to other successful applicants at various schools I visited before deciding where to go, and I talked to admissions officers at those places; From comparison with people and from what the officers actually mentioned liking about my SOP, I can be rather sure that the advice I'm giving is correct (with all the necessary disclaimers) and not just my personal unfounded opinion.


Yeah . . . my professors and friends who've done this tell me that the "funny anecdote" thing is not the way to go. That being said: yup, these conclusions are hard. I'm on the 8th draft, and my last sentence is still, "[[Need one more sentence here.]]" Tempted to send it in that way.
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#16 joro

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 08:31 AM

I finally finished writing my conclusion :o . And it's being sent to a bunch of people to proofread, then to my LoR for further review. I hope this will be the last revision I make so that I can I start writing other essays some schools require. I also need to finish my artistic and technical portfolio for my first choice school :cry:
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#17 someoneoutthere

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 11:13 PM

granted i haven't sent my statement of purpose to my advisor to look over yet (he served on Georgetown's govt phd admissions committee for 5 years, so i'm going to trust his evaluation of it), but i was told by him to stay far away from "creative" beginnings or endings for those of us applying to political science or government programs. my statement of purpose, in its current state, ends with a short summary of my career objective: to conduct research as a political scientist in the aforementioned areas in a university setting.

i already talked about my research interests, summarized the conclusions of my theses, and mentioned specific professors with whom i'd like to work and why the department appeals to me. that's what they want to know ... i don't see why i need anything else. my statement will stand out or not on the basis of my research interests and how well i explain them and the conclusions of my theses, not on the basis of some clever ending i tack on.

this ain't undergrad.
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#18 coyabean

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:24 AM

It could be a holdover from my professional days but I am hard-wired to send my readers off with a "take-away" and to "ask for the business." In academic terms that means giving them one or two sentences that sums up how perfect we are for each other and then a non-aggressive and uncreepy request to join their academic community.
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#19 noojens

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 11:07 PM

In academic terms that means giving them one or two sentences that sums up how perfect we are for each other and then a non-aggressive and uncreepy request to join their academic community.

I prefer aggressive and creepy requests, personally!
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#20 kdilks

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:57 AM

Have you asked people with admissions experience in your field how much they look at the statement of purpose? At least for my field (math), the impression I got from multiple sources was that if they even read your statement of purpose at all, they're just checking to see if you can communicate in English and aren't obviously misguided/crazy. If your field is similar, then it might not be worth all the effort you're putting in.
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