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SoP Panic Attack (offer me some Xanax, please?)


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Okay, first thing to say would be, <expletive> I know it's my fault for delaying stuff, I do have content, but I hate coming off as fake. And I didn't do much prospective-faculty e-mingling so... yep ><.

I've been mulling around with lots of content, and I am aware that I do have a good amount of achievements. My GPA isnt that great though, at 3.76 =( mostly because I was again, the big time procrastinator. Dropped because of this semester.

I like how you guys can really sound so professional in your SoPs while I'm normally a good writer, but this time I'm just plain freaking out (and it sounds very college-admissions-ish).

Deadline's tomorrow, and thinking about submitting one that I absolutely love (i've ridiculously high standards)... the idea is just killing me. I'm applying for a PhD in clinical psych, my GREs are not fantastic (actually pretty low... damn), but I have had a research assistantship, presented at one conference and one convention, and organized an exhibition. i've also been on the student council, which was pretty unrelated to what I plan to do, but it was the most hated job (and I was also hated). Also, my undergraduate has been filled with nothing but psychology classes, which is common, or the only practice in my country, so in terms of foundations of knowledge, I am pretty strong as well. I'm in the midst of my current research which I hope to publish, and I also have a research proposal that I don't intend to do with the schools I'm applying to, but with a certain "high-IQ society". Actually I intend to do that right after I graduate.

It's just so hard to breathe, just thinking about it.

Would it be risky to write everything in a not-so-professional format? Non-businessy? Like, you can almost see a person behind that simplistic essay.

Edited by aliciaw
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Okay, first thing to say would be, <expletive> I know it's my fault for delaying stuff, I do have content, but I hate coming off as fake. And I didn't do much prospective-faculty e-mingling so... yep ><.

I've been mulling around with lots of content, and I am aware that I do have a good amount of achievements. My GPA isnt that great though, at 3.76 =( mostly because I was again, the big time procrastinator. Dropped because of this semester.

I like how you guys can really sound so professional in your SoPs while I'm normally a good writer, but this time I'm just plain freaking out (and it sounds very college-admissions-ish).

Deadline's tomorrow, and thinking about submitting one that I absolutely love (i've ridiculously high standards)... the idea is just killing me. I'm applying for a PhD in clinical psych, my GREs are not fantastic (actually pretty low... damn), but I have had a research assistantship, presented at one conference and one convention, and organized an exhibition. i've also been on the student council, which was pretty unrelated to what I plan to do, but it was the most hated job (and I was also hated). Also, my undergraduate has been filled with nothing but psychology classes, which is common, or the only practice in my country, so in terms of foundations of knowledge, I am pretty strong as well. I'm in the midst of my current research which I hope to publish, and I also have a research proposal that I don't intend to do with the schools I'm applying to, but with a certain "high-IQ society". Actually I intend to do that right after I graduate.

It's just so hard to breathe, just thinking about it.

Would it be risky to write everything in a not-so-professional format? Non-businessy? Like, you can almost see a person behind that simplistic essay.

Just write what you want to study, why you want to study it, and why you are qualified to study it. Then clean up your language so it sounds polished and call it a day. And try to relax. Writing about what you love to do should be the easiest part of your application!

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*breathes*

Reading up on SoP tips always made it harder. They always claimed it was the hardest part, anyway. *tries to breathe properly again*

Okay. So what kind of things would we put under career goals?

Would it be proper if I wrote that I wanted to conduct research on XXX, and then develop intervention programs and all that?

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Not that I know anything about psychology admissions, but I don't see why that wouldn't work! Especially if intervention programs fit right in with your research interest. If you're really, really worried, one thing you could do is contact the department (contact person is likely listed on the dept website) and ask what recent graduates have done with their degrees. This is a standard question and won't look like you're fishing around for SOP brownie points. (ETA: check the dept website first to see if the info is posted; in which case, don't ask ;)).

As for it sounding stilted, pleading, braggy, and otherwise college admission-y: (almost) everyone thinks their own SOP reads like that. You do psych--you know about "we are our own worst critics," right? That applies four times over with SOP writing.

Edited by Sparky
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well, I do want to do intervention programs, but I'm afraid it may not be a proper fit with what they want.

Their recent graduates turn to academic positions.. Only one of them is a director of a intensive eating disorder program... Probably 30% go into practice, whether as a school psychologist, or privately.

Actually none of the faculty are doing intervention programs, but some of them are doing research in regards to typical and atypical development and maladjustment, which is exactly what I am interested in.

I actually didn't send in my GMU and UNC applications (actually UNC wouldn't accept you if you have a three-year degree, which is a bummer because my program was condensed for marketing reasons)... and I felt that relief.

Unfortunately, I really want to get into these schools, so I am not going to "decide to not apply" after all this agonizing. I'm almost done with my SoP, leaving only who I want to work with, why them, and what qualifies me. After that, I'll be sending it out for proofreading, and much bashing :).

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Okay, so this is my college application-like graduate SoP o(T_T)o it's not entirely complete yet, but this is how far I've came.

Introduction:

When I was eleven years old, I woke up one night to hands in my pants. While this may bean otherwise normal occurrence, I assure you that those hands were not mine.Over the year, it worsened, but I was oblivious to how wrong it was. Recently,an old friend revealed that she had a one-off similar experience. Incomparison, our outcomes were different: she had it tougher than I did.Although it was sadistically gratifying to know someone of nearly the same fateand sharing the grief, I was more engrossed with the differences and the factors behind them. If the duration of trauma plays a role in the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder, why was I “better off”? The complexities ofdeveloping psychopathology began to intrigue me.

I ventured into Psychology because I needed a back-up plan. My naïve self wanted to study design, but parental restrictions landed me in a Psychology undergraduate program. As cliché as it sounds, I grew to love my classes, and crossed the border from being served to hopes of dedicating my life to the service of man. I was set on being a clinician to alleviate disorders, until I took a course in Positive Psychology. I was required to teach a class on resilience, which opened me to consider involvement in intervention programs, in particular for children confronted with significant adversity. It was not until I started on my senior thesis that this consideration was made concrete.

I aim to be an effective and ethical clinician, but more importantly, I aspire for a career in the scientific inquiry of typical and atypical development, and the contributing factors that lead to adaptation and maladaptation. In terms of applied research, I would like to develop, inform and implement intervention programs for children at risk for psychopathology. Particularly, these programs would be long-term and during life transitions, as I believe that these are the most important and vulnerable periods in development. In my later years, I plan to join an educational institution as a faculty member in order to train prospective clinical psychologists, in addition to research activities and intervention efforts.

What qualifies me:

As an undergraduate, I possess a very strong background in research, which has prepared me for a graduate education. My first paper presentation of a field study at a conference was a revelation to me; it was exciting to present research toothers, the opportunity for the exchange of ideas with individuals outside the institution was invigorating, but I treasured most the shift in perspective interms of utility of studies, or what can be termed the ‘So What question’.
<I know there's something wrong here>
In late 2009, I assisted in my mentor’s research on medical students’ psychological well-being. It provided me experience in data tabulation, and familiarized me with the disappointment of unanswered questions, but more importantly, I learnt firsthand the practicalities commonly ignored in research, one of which is the selection of appropriate instruments. Currently, I am in the midst of my senior thesis which examines the utility of personality traits in predicting anxiety and distress disorders in undergraduates. I have done an extensive literature review, and am familiar with writing research proposals as well as grant applications. Once complete, I will be submitting a write-up for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. After graduation, I plan to collaborate with Mensa Malaysia to conduct experimental study regarding the perception of IQ and its impact on self-efficacy. So far, I have contacted the Chairman of the society, and prospects of collaboration seem bright.

My ending:

A mentor once told me, “If you can make just one person happy, just one, then you would have already made a difference”. I do not intend to boast about changing the world, but if what I will accomplish makes a difference, then to me, that is a life well-lived. I believe that your clinical program is a vital ingredient towards making that difference. I look forward to being an addition to your department at the University of X.

Please do not be soft on your feedback!

Edited by aliciaw
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Okay, so I've modified it.. added my research interests and all too. but what exactly i intend to do for my thesis is not too detailed, would that be ok?

I aspire for a career in the scientific inquiry of typical and atypical development, and the role of attachment in the maladjustment of children. Eventually, I would like to develop, inform and implement attachment-based intervention programs for children at risk for psychopathology. Particularly, these programs would target the early years, as I believe that this is the critical phase in development.

I would like to work with Dr. XXX, focusing on developmental psychopathology. In particular, I intend to examine disorganized attachment, its precursors and sequelae. Disorganized attachment has been described as, “the breakdown of an otherwise consistent and organized strategy in emotion regulation” (van Ijzendoorn, Schuengel, and Bakermans–Kranenburg,1999, p.226). In 1999, these researchers conducted a meta-analysis that revealed maltreatment to be among the most significant causes of disorganized attachment, followed by unresolved/early loss or trauma, parental dissociation and frightening behavior, as well as parental insensitivity. They also found that the sequelae of disorganized attachment correlated with externalization of behaviors and altered states of mind. However, the clinical relevance of research in this area lies in its high proportions in clinical groups (35%) and maltreated children (45%), both which are more than twice the amount in middle-class families (15%) . Hence, disorganized attachment has been suggested to be a significant risk factor in developing psychopathology.

For my thesis, I propose to scrutinize the mechanisms of disorganized attachment. Under controlled conditions, I intend to elicit disorganized behavior through the manipulation of parental behavior, and mental state of the child. The Children’s Institute as well as the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Departmentof Psychiatry will prove to be invaluable resources in my undertaking of this research.

*still trying to breathe*

And Sparky...? Thank you <3

Edited by aliciaw
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