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Too Specific vs. Two Different Interests?


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So I'm applying to materials science at Stanford, considering research in energy. I'd say my primary interest is energy harvesting, and my secondary interest is energy storage.

I'm in the middle of writing my SOP, and I realize how specific mine is. So far, I've mentioned a professor who does research in energy harvesting, which is something I'm very interested in. I've contacted this professor, and he responded rather positively, saying I can mention him in my application. In my SOP, I've talked about my interest and have mentioned this professor, and I think I've shown how strong I feel about this topic, but I'm aware that I'm putting myself at risk by mentioning only one professor.

Should I also write about my secondary interest, so that I don't seem like that applicant who is interested in only one professor? It's also another topic I'd like to work in, thanks to a previous internship I found to be a valuable experience. I'm worried how this might be construed as me still exploring and undecided between what could be two varied interests.

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I'm also worried about this. At my first choice school, I devoted about 4 sentences to outlining how my research interests intertwine with those of a particular professor. However, I don't have the space to mention any more professors (limit for essay is 600 words), and even if I did just add in a sentence about someone else it seems like it's maybe not the best idea to go on about how enthusiastic you are about one and then just throw in another name at the end.

Anyway I guess I don't have any advice as I am in the same situation. At my other schools I mention 2, sometimes up to 4, faculty members who I would be interested in working with, but that's because the match (unfortunately) isn't nearly as good as this particular professor, as much as I've tried to find someone like him elsewhere!

Is it bad to be "that applicant who is only interested in one professor?"

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Is it bad to be "that applicant who is only interested in one professor?"

That's what I've heard. You'd sound like someone who fits the professor, but not necessarily the school itself. You may look like a more close-minded applicant, I guess. And people have talked about stuff like how that professor's reputation in the department may affect you if you sound like you're interested only in that professor, or how stuff like that one professor going into sabbaticals all of the sudden potentially screwing you.

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Yeah, that makes sense I guess. Well, thankfully after staying up all night reading articles and books, I managed to work someone else into my statement, albeit more indirectly, so now I at last have two.

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