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How do you answer "what can you contribute to the program" questions?


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Hi! Just want to get some ideas how to cover questions like "what can you contribute to the program". Some of the schools expect this question to be answered in SOP. My SOP has covered my potential and my reason for picking the program. But I feel the answer to this question would be something less objective. Any suggestion would be appreciated!

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IMHO, this is your chance to show how the research you want to do is different from that of the professor(s) with whom you wish to work--in other words, you don't want to come off as a carbon copy of that prof. How I approached the question was, what in my background makes me a uniquely qualified candidate? If you are switching fields, this might be a good time to bring that up. Like, "The two years I worked as an electrical engineer have given me insight into the practical uses of the theories that I hope to s tudy. My combined focus on theory and application would be an asset to Program X." (worded better, of course)

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Hi! Just want to get some ideas how to cover questions like "what can you contribute to the program". Some of the schools expect this question to be answered in SOP. My SOP has covered my potential and my reason for picking the program. But I feel the answer to this question would be something less objective. Any suggestion would be appreciated!

This is where you need to do a little research to see what exactly that program is doing right now. You could email profs(as long as the don't say you shouldn't on their website) or grad students if the program's website is not up to date. You should then point out how your research interests, past research, skills, methods meshes with what they're doing. Try to convince them that you'd be an asset to the research that they are doing.

Edited by newms
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Thanks! Great advice. I have covered what specific works I want to do and with whom I share common research interests. So I will answer this question by pointing out how my ideas link to their current projects and what the differences are. Hopefully this will show how I could play an active and positive role in the program.

Think about it, it is just like how you write the related work section in a paper.

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