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Anyone willing to look at my SOP? I'd be happy to swap essays.  I'm mostly worried that my intro may not give enough 'why I want to do this' info and how I'm supposed to add that info. And whether or not it's clear that I can be helpful to the school, rather than just them benefiting me. Please let me know if the link does not work.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ruNJt9Lpd5QC9ssnskYRUz9YV9hN1rOyurl3ka6y934/edit?usp=sharing

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I think you want to be careful to not restate your resume too much (i.e., a lot of people put on a short project description and what they learned on their resume) - because that is what most of it is now. You may want to focus more on theories/frameworks you familiarized yourself with, specific findings that you found interesting, etc.  Instead of reiterating what is on your resume, you may want to expand on your individual projects a bit more in detail (e.g., what frameworks are you using, what is your RQ, how do you test it - this will show somewhat more intimate knowledge with your area). 

It's indeed not entirely clear why you want to study what you study. This could be anything from eye-catching findings, personal experiences, thigns you read, a gap in the literature you perceive to be there.

I think the tone and style are very good otherwise.

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4 hours ago, Psygeek said:

I think you want to be careful to not restate your resume too much (i.e., a lot of people put on a short project description and what they learned on their resume) - because that is what most of it is now.

I am worried about that a bit, but my advisor strongly recommended that I dedicate a paragraph for each of my experiences. Do you think I could solve this and the adding more theories problem by adding like a sentence to each paragraph that elaborates on the theoretical knowledge that I have gained from X experience and will use in grad school? Or something like that?

4 hours ago, Psygeek said:

 Instead of reiterating what is on your resume, you may want to expand on your individual projects a bit more in detail (e.g., what frameworks are you using, what is your RQ, how do you test it - this will show somewhat more intimate knowledge with your area). 

My problems with this is that all of these projects are unrelated to my grad research, should I be doing this anyways? Also, for at least two of these labs I'm supposed to be 'blind' to the questions and hypotheses and such. I know the gist about what's going on but not the actual questions.

4 hours ago, Psygeek said:

It's indeed not entirely clear why you want to study what you study.

Do you think this would be best to put in the opening paragraph or in the 'this is what I want to study' paragraph? Or reiterated in both?

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3 hours ago, JaniceMontgomery said:

I am worried about that a bit, but my advisor strongly recommended that I dedicate a paragraph for each of my experiences. Do you think I could solve this and the adding more theories problem by adding like a sentence to each paragraph that elaborates on the theoretical knowledge that I have gained from X experience and will use in grad school? Or something like that?

1

My advisor advised the exact opposite. But that was also because I had a lot, and it would just distract from the main message that I'm a qualified candidate with also a lot of independent ideas that understands what I'm studying. I'm not against having a paragrpah for each project, but then you'd need to expand on what you did or what you learned. Now it reads as an iteration of your CV - add more 'story' to it.

FOr example paragraph 2; why did you become interested in children? Was there anything challneging about data collection you overcame? Anything specifci you learned other than certain techniques? 

Paragraph 3: Starts same way as paragraph 2. Is there anything more you can elaborate on working with children? was it fun? show some zest - you were doing what you aimed for!

Paragraph 4: so here you mention you are working with adoptive families. Anything you noticed when working with them that sparked your interest in studying with them? 

and so on. Show some 'personality' and make others part of your 'experience'.

 

Also; 'show don't tell'. You state for example that 'Through this study, I have strengthened my understanding of how family interactions promote socioemotional development in early childhood,' but how exactly did you strenghten your understanding? You only named the tasks you did.

3 hours ago, JaniceMontgomery said:

My problems with this is that all of these projects are unrelated to my grad research, should I be doing this anyways? Also, for at least two of these labs I'm supposed to be 'blind' to the questions and hypotheses and such. I know the gist about what's going on but not the actual questions.

2

See above - there is so much to talk about. None of my experience was directly on the same topic. That's fine. I just drew parallels. Since you want to study kids - mention you enjoy working with them, etc. It's not that difficult.

3 hours ago, JaniceMontgomery said:

Do you think this would be best to put in the opening paragraph or in the 'this is what I want to study' paragraph? Or reiterated in both?

 

I had it at both places, the first time pretty general and later on more specific. But my SOP was more like a personal narrative. Nonetheless, a good paper always 'ties the ribbon' by going back to the beginning from a stylistic point of view.

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On 10/4/2018 at 10:35 AM, JaniceMontgomery said:

Anyone willing to look at my SOP? I'd be happy to swap essays.  I'm mostly worried that my intro may not give enough 'why I want to do this' info and how I'm supposed to add that info. And whether or not it's clear that I can be helpful to the school, rather than just them benefiting me. Please let me know if the link does not work.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ruNJt9Lpd5QC9ssnskYRUz9YV9hN1rOyurl3ka6y934/edit?usp=sharing

I'm applying for developmental psychology as well. My advisor told me not to write a whole lot about the why you're interested in what you're interested part because grad schools don't want to read a whole paragraph about how you've been interested in psychology since childhood. My part about why I'm interested was a sentence and a half, and then I started talking about the more relevant stuff like why I was a good fit for the program.

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However, I would second what @Psygeek said about not just summarizing everything in your CV. I also mentioned all my projects, but I tied them together under an overarching theme that corresponded to my research interest rather than just putting them in chronological order. I think that would be a more effective way to do it.

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25 minutes ago, ResilientDreams said:

I'm applying for developmental psychology as well. My advisor told me not to write a whole lot about the why you're interested in what you're interested part because grad schools don't want to read a whole paragraph about how you've been interested in psychology since childhood. My part about why I'm interested was a sentence and a half, and then I started talking about the more relevant stuff like why I was a good fit for the program.

Well, if it is something like childhood, then definitely cut it out haha. I do second that - however, if you have a specific instance, then it's not a bad thing to mention it in as much that it can integrate your story. However, I wouldn't use more than a few sentences. I mentioned a specific paper that then influenced a number of (relevant) life choices because of that interest. It's again a show don't tell thing though. Narratives are memorable science shows :3

However what I mean by 'showing' interest is also using words like 'research experience X (that is relevant) excited me' and thus showing some sort of way that you're drawn to something.

Edited by Psygeek

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1 hour ago, Psygeek said:

Well, if it is something like childhood, then definitely cut it out haha. I do second that - however, if you have a specific instance, then it's not a bad thing to mention it in as much that it can integrate your story. However, I wouldn't use more than a few sentences. I mentioned a specific paper that then influenced a number of (relevant) life choices because of that interest. It's again a show don't tell thing though. Narratives are memorable science shows :3

However what I mean by 'showing' interest is also using words like 'research experience X (that is relevant) excited me' and thus showing some sort of way that you're drawn to something.

Yep, I definitely wrote mine like that! I talked about how my research experiences helped me make interdisciplinary connections and eventually inspired my current honors thesis.

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