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Hello all!

I am in the brainstorming stage of my SOP and have a couple of (possibly silly) initial questions.

First, I am applying toRhet./Comp programs, but my research interests are heavily influenced by my concentration in Political Science as well as my study of rhetoric (majored in both). Is it okay to go into some detail on the Political Science front? My concern is that readers will doubt my commitment to English programs.

Second, thinking of my writing samples, my best written work to date does not speak directly to the area of interest I am stating in my SOP (though they are in the rhet. field). Would it be advisable to develop a new, more focused sample or just work on editing what I already completed?

Thank you!

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I think if pi sic is a big part of your perspective, you definitely ahold include it in your sop, just make sure you connect it to rhet/comp successfully. (in my MA SOP I had a whole paragraph about a religion paper I'd written, for the same reasons you give.)

As for the writing sample, I would definitely encourage you to spend your time revising the paper you already have.

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Ideally, you WILL want to address your poli sci background, as you'll want to show an adcom why you're now choosing rhet comp. Don't worry about an adcom doubting your commitment; not only do a number of graduate students switch fields for graduate school (see: ), but the SoP is your chance to show how your poli sci background has uniquely prepared you for rhet comp and keep them from wondering about your interest in the field.

What interested you about poli sci that you've now brought to your interests in rhet comp? How has your background in poli sci helped prepare you for rhet comp, or informed your understanding of rhet comp? Your SoP needs to answer questions similar to these; you will need to show there's a trajectory.

As for the writing sample: the advice I received when doing my PhD applications was to use my very best work. If your writing sample can demonstrate your capacity to write rhet comp material, I would use it even though it doesn't speak directly to your research interests. You can always take a quick moment in your SoP to clarify why you've used the writing sample you did. (For example, in my SoP I mentioned that the "big picture" approaches I'd taken to literature in my M.A., particularly examining cultural situations and historical contexts, would carry over to my rhetorical work, and then I mentioned that my writing sample was one such example of this approach and further showed that I could find rhetorical angles to analyze even in a literature course....)

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