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Name Dropping and Broad Ranging Writing Samples


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Hey all,

I've reached the point in the preparation process where much of my attention has turned (on a daily basis) to getting the SOP and the Writing Sample as great as I can make them. As a result, I have two questions about certain attributes of each that I wonder if they could hurt my (and others) chances.

1) For the SOP, is it kosher to name drop? Not in every part of the essay obviously, but say I have three separate but related research interests, and I've had a chance to work in a research capacity for a while with two big names in each areas...is it looked down upon to talk that up? Because really, those people are big reasons that my interests have formed in the way they have.

2) Secondly, for the writing sample, if my best, longest and most analytically complex piece of work is a fairly broad-ranging treatise on a component of IR theory (not a summary of the field or anything), again is that looked down upon? I read in another thread about not wanting to sound like you can solve all the problems of the world single handedly, and I just wondered if talking about broader theory could land you in the admissions sin bin?


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