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Few final SoP questions before I submit


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Currently in the process of finalizing my SoP before I start submitting them for the Dec 1st deadlines. I am going for an Anthropology PhD programs and had a few questions I'd like to get the forums opinion on first. Putting the questions in bold so if people want to skim it is easier to get the point :)

1.The setup is as follows:

Par 1 - Introduce how I got involved with the topic and what drew me to it

Par 2 - My questions, what interests me, what I want to do in a PhD program

Par 3 - Explain the topic in context to the questions asked, why are they important questions, what will they find out

Par 4 - Existing literature on my first BIG question and how my study can contribute

Par 5 - Existing literautre on the second BIG question and how my study will relate

Par 6 - My accomplishments as an undergrad/grad, thesis, funded research, teaching experience, awards, and language training

Par 7 - How I fit into the program at the university and who I want to work with

Is this a decent set up for a SoP? I tried to introduce it with a bit of a narrative like intro why I got involved, then get direct and to the point of what I want to do and how. I wanted to keep it between 2 and little over 2 pages since thats the average most programs I am applying to want.

2.In par 6, I basically highlighted my most significant accomplishments and what has prepared me for PhD work. Most notably my 3 years of teaching, funded independent research, award nominations, and publication. Is this too much, not enough, or just right?

3.Lastly, in par 7, who I want to work with an why I mention briefly but adequately "I want to work with Dr.Smith because his research and in particular his work on monkeys in space is of direct relevance to my project on donkeys in space and will provide a great resource for my overall study. Dr.Johnson's research on monkeys and donkeys will allow me to further understand the workings of these animals." Is this sufficient, or do I need to elaborate more?

Thanks everyone. I'm looking forward to your replies!

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That sounds great to me. I have a friend who works in the english department at my school and she just got her PhD from UPenn. She used a similar setup for hers and was very successful. She only had a couple sentences about the department and faculty she wanted to work with. While fit is the most important part of an SOP IMO, I firmly believe that how you describe your potential research areas helps the committee determine fit more effectively than you telling them how x professor fits into your research. I do include that kind of thing in my SOP, but not more than 1 paragraph for the entire program.

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Your SOP set up looks good. Is the SOP requirement 2 pages single spaced or double spaced? I am little worried about your SOP length though.

For paragraph 6, I think you should just mention 1-2 MOST and GREATEST accomplishments that make you stand out and that show how you will contribute to the program.

You are going to turn in CV anyways for your qualifications, awards, and such so I wouldn't bother listing out those things. I always felt like SOP is about showing you as a person beyond those numbers.

Good luck!

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I'm not familiar with anthro programs but in general is it standard to including supporting literature on your sop? Or is that just in specific fields that require that. It's the first I'm hearing of providing literature. I understand that we are to show that we are knowledgable and capable of doing research in our respective fields, but I assumed that just meant articulating your research ideas concretely.

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Thanks for all the feedback.

disillusioned14, I saw some successful SoPs from other schools and I think it is important to show familiarity with the other work being done and relate how that will contribute to your methodology and that was my aim in the early part of introducting the lit. I also make sure to do so after I present my questions and objectives so that they can see what my focus is and then how I plan to carry it out.

Follow up question: I only brifely mention at the end in one sentence that I hope to pursue a career as a future academic. Do I need to be more explicit or is this good enough?

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