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SOP Draft for LOR Writers- How Mature?

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Hi everyone,

I reached out to my letter writers this week and got positive responses asking for materials for my application materials. I only have an early draft of an SOP done, and it won't be near completion for a couple months. Is that an okay thing to send to give them an idea of my project and let them get started on the letters? Of course I would rather give a perfect draft, but that would make it harder for them since they'd have less time to prepare/write.

Thank you!

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When I was at your point I sent them a document like I outlined in this post and gave them a timeline as to when they could expect a first draft state SOP. But providing them the information like I did here gives them enough time to at the very least  outline your character/relationship with them and some of the introductions of your research interests/why you would excel in that subject matter. Then later on it'd be easy enough for them to fill that section out more.

 

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53 minutes ago, kgras13 said:

Is that an okay thing to send to give them an idea of my project and let them get started on the letters?

As you already have a MA, can you finish your SOP before the end of next week?

Otherwise, you may have to manage your expectations for how helpful the draft SOP you provide will be to those writing for you. (I would not count on anyone revising a LOR upon getting a more polished SOP.)

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15 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

As you already have a MA, can you finish your SOP before the end of next week?

Otherwise, you may have to manage your expectations for how helpful the draft SOP you provide will be to those writing for you. (I would not count on anyone revising a LOR upon getting a more polished SOP.)

My research project is fairly well-defined in my current SOP draft. I'm mainly still struggling with the other aspects of my SOP, i.e. intro, how much of my scholarly background/accomplishments to include, etc. I've spent hours combing through this forum and google to try and define those things, but I'm still not 100% pleased with my current draft. However, I am pleased with how defined my project is. That's the one thing I'm very confident in. I'd never expect a letter writer to revise a letter based on this, but I guess I'm more thinking about them thinking less of me if I send something that's not perfectly polished. I have 3 months to go until the deadline, so I feel I can't really be expected to have a flawless draft at this stage. At the same time, they certainly need an idea of my project to write their letters, and I don't want to provide that to them only like a month out or something.

Edited by kgras13

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32 minutes ago, Elephas said:

When I was at your point I sent them a document like I outlined in this post and gave them a timeline as to when they could expect a first draft state SOP. But providing them the information like I did here gives them enough time to at the very least  outline your character/relationship with them and some of the introductions of your research interests/why you would excel in that subject matter. Then later on it'd be easy enough for them to fill that section out more.

 

Thanks for that! I see from that post that you also gave them your personal statement along with the facts sheet? So you had that document completed when you reached out?

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I gave them the rough draft and then I followed up with updated versions as I went along however the message I wanted to convey was in the rough draft. You can also arrange a meeting (in person or online) to discuss your research goals and that may be enough to fill them in for what's missing currently in the draft. 

I like to think the SOP updates were also reminders for them to actually write the letter lol.

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1 hour ago, kgras13 said:

My research project is fairly well-defined in my current SOP draft. I'm mainly still struggling with the other aspects of my SOP, i.e. intro, how much of my scholarly background/accomplishments to include, etc. I've spent hours combing through this forum and google to try and define those things, but I'm still not 100% pleased with my current draft. However, I am pleased with how defined my project is. That's the one thing I'm very confident in. I'd never expect a letter writer to revise a letter based on this, but I guess I'm more thinking about them thinking less of me if I send something that's not perfectly polished. I have 3 months to go until the deadline, so I feel I can't really be expected to have a flawless draft at this stage. At the same time, they certainly need an idea of my project to write their letters, and I don't want to provide that to them only like a month out or something.

Is the objective of writing a SOP to prepare a flawless document with which one is 100% pleased or to prepare a well written document that provides a roadmap of your growth as a scholar from the past, to the present, through graduate school, and to the career that may follow?

FWIW, a cognitive psychologist specializing in expertise and expert performance said to his students that it takes 50% of allotted effort to get to 90% of optimal performance and the other 50% to cover the last ten percent. For me, a take away (but not the only one) from the graph he drew to make his point was that in an environment with limited resources, making a choice between "perfection" and "close enough" can save one a lot of heartache.

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Quick update: I ended up sending the rough draft I had, but I emphasized it was a rough draft that would continue to evolve. I'm cringing internally because it was in pretty rough shape, but I didn't want to leave them hanging. Thanks to all of you for your advice, hopefully I made the right choice!

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