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Specificity of SOP?


telianathegreat

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Hi everyone,

I'm a senior currently applying to PhD programs in linguistics. I'm specifically focused on sociolinguistics, but I don't have much more of an idea of exactly what I want to study. Obviously I have a lot of ideas of things within sociolinguistics that I like and am interested in, but it's hard to narrow it down to one.

Will this be an issue? Should I try to come up with a specific topic to mention in my SOPs? I guess I'm not sure how specific they expect me to be beyond the subfield that I am interested in...

Thanks in advance for your help!

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I think schools like specificity-- but what do I know, I haven't gotten in yet! I think being able to give a sense of what you'd like to focus on is helpful because then you can see if profs at a school are a good match or not.

Something I'm trying to remind myself is that I can always change my mind...ONCE I AM IN GRAD SCHOOL! Don't just make stuff up, but I think it's okay to just postulate what you might be interested in.....

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You need to be able to explain some specifics relating to your interests. It's a crucial part of determining fit. If you have no idea of what you want to do beyond "sociolinguistics" it's not going to be clear to an adcom at any university that they have potential advisors and resources that fit your needs. You don't need to go as far as proposing a project, but you should definitely mention 2-3 (related) ideas or interests.

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related question-- if I am applying to an NSF GRFP and the project proposed is related to stuff that a POI does, is it appropriate to mention it? Or is it better to just talk about my interest in the topic without mentioning the NSF part?

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