# SOP review: MS Applied Statistics

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Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks

**************************************************SOP Follows*****************************************************************

Statistics’ use in predicting and modeling are the most attractive to me. The ability to model phenomenon and forecast the future with these models has wide and practical utility. Statistics also has the power to make any process more efficient. This is why I desire to study statistics.

Having studied structural engineering, I have seen the application of statistics first hand. The Load and Resistance Factor (LRFD) design process has its roots in statistics. Instead of engineers extemporaneously arriving at amplified load combinations for structures, statistics was used to calculate the likely hood of loading events. Events with a higher likelihood of occurring and whose magnitude is known with the most certainty were assigned a larger amplification factor. This design tool has made the design process more efficient; monies that would have needlessly been spent on infrastructure—due to overdesign of structural members—now can be allocated for business and economy growing pursuits.

Data mining is also of interest to me. This field of statistics would make good use of my computer programming skills. With my programming experience in C++, Visual Basic Applications in Excel, MATLAB, and Python, I will be able to use my degree in statistics to glean the last modicum of information from a set of data.

Although uncertain, the future is bright for me with an advanced degree in statistics. Ideally, I would like to work in the intelligence sector of the federal government. Doubtlessly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the NSA (National Security Agency) needs someone to analyze and summarize data they get from their various sources. I see some use for statistics in the cryptography mission of the NSA; if you could quantify the likely hood of someone choosing a particular combination for a code, you could design codes that are less likely to be cracked. Modeling a country’s growth—be it economically or militarily—and using this model to forecast their future needs and weaknesses also has statistics written all over it.

I will also include a fair amount of actuarial science coursework into my applied statistics degree. If I cannot find employment in the intelligence community, I will work as an actuary. Once I retire, I will teach at the junior college level. Having taught high school mathematics for two years, I could see myself retiring to a community college in Florida.

*******************************************************The End********************************************************************

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Does the lack of responses mean my SOP is acceptable as is?

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What's the word limit? 500? It reads very short and there are some flow and wording issues. More when I am not on my phone.

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Hello Bamafan. There is no stated word limit. General SOP instructions were given and what you see was the result. Will be applying to University of Iowa and Texas A&M. Assuming by Bamafan you mean Crimson Tide. In which case, I'm sure you agree that Notre Dame is going to get assaulted in the championship game. It is going to be funny. Looking forward....

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Yes, sir, that's right. AJ McCarron is a bit of a scrub and Teo may be formidable, but ND hasn't seen an SEC-caliber defense like this yet this season. It's going to be a beat down to the tune of 28-3 or something similar.

Now to business, here are some of my recommendations. Since there is no word limit, you should definitely write more -- not more for the sake of having more, but because you have the opportunity to say more about yourself. My SOP is around 800 words, and I'm sure it's not a gold standard for a good SOP, but I think <400 is too short.

Statistics’ use in predicting and modeling are the most attractive to me. The ability to model phenomenon and forecast the future with these models has wide and practical utility. Statistics also has the power to make any process more efficient. This is why I desire to study statistics.

This doesn't flow well. I don't prescribe to the the philosophy of a catchy first line or a story either, but you should sound more enthusiastic about statistics. It's your career!

Having studied structural engineering, I have seen the application of statistics first hand. The Load and Resistance Factor (LRFD) design process has its roots in statistics. Instead of engineers extemporaneously arriving at amplified load combinations for structures, statistics was used to calculate the likely hood of loading events. Events with a higher likelihood of occurring and whose magnitude is known with the most certainty were assigned a larger amplification factor. This design tool has made the design process more efficient; monies that would have needlessly been spent on infrastructure—due to overdesign of structural members—now can be allocated for business and economy growing pursuits.

Too much passive voice and flow issues again. "I studied structural engineering at XYZ University, which illustrated to the importance of statistics in a variety of fields; for instance, LRFD blah blah blah." Perhaps tie it more directly to your undergraduate studies, and present the quality and breadth of your education/qualifications.

Data mining is also of interest to me. This field of statistics would make good use of my computer programming skills. With my programming experience in C++, Visual Basic Applications in Excel, MATLAB, and Python, I will be able to use my degree in statistics to glean the last modicum of information from a set of data.

Again, work on flow via opening statements and clinchers. Perhaps something like, "Given my background, data mining is another interest of mine. As an engineer, I have the training suited to determining how the intricate, and seemingly unrelated, constituents of a system work together in harmony -- how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Statistics provides a crucial means through which we can extract usable information from data and apply these insights to further our understanding of real world problems. With my programming experience..." You get the idea. Sound well read without being pretentious or too wordy. Often, people write convoluted sentences thinking more is better. More is only better when written well, otherwise, concision is key.

Although uncertain, the future is bright for me with an advanced degree in statistics. Ideally, I would like to work in the intelligence sector of the federal government. Doubtlessly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the NSA (National Security Agency) needs someone to analyze and summarize data they get from their various sources. I see some use for statistics in the cryptography mission of the NSA; if you could quantify the likely hood of someone choosing a particular combination for a code, you could design codes that are less likely to be cracked. Modeling a country’s growth—be it economically or militarily—and using this model to forecast their future needs and weaknesses also has statistics written all over it.

Speak authoritatively, do not use any conditional or uncertain terms. The future IS bright, period. Get rid of words like "would", "ideally", "some", etc. In fact, get rid of this whole paragraph.

I will also include a fair amount of actuarial science coursework into my applied statistics degree. If I cannot find employment in the intelligence community, I will work as an actuary. Once I retire, I will teach at the junior college level. Having taught high school mathematics for two years, I could see myself retiring to a community college in Florida.

I'd get rid of this too... This just doesn't belong in an SOP, nor does it sound professional. This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think you have a lot of work to do on this SOP. The biggest problem is that you are too colloquial; this isn't a conversation. You need to be completely professional here.

At minimum, I would add the following: your work/research experiences; how they make you qualified; how the former two items make you a good fit for the school and its program; your future career goals (don't give a bunch of hypotheticals -- say, "I plan to work in the intelligence community, xyz abc, or as an actuary, xyz abc."

EDIT: Also, avoid hyperboles or phrasing for the sake of sounding erudite like "to glean the last modicum of information from a set of data."

Edited by bamafan
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Here is the REVISION. I am applying to a MS Statistics program with an actuarial sciences concentration. Although it is geared towards aspiring actuaries, I hope to take many stat classes to make it more of an applied stat degree--more regression, modeling, inference, uncertainty,...classes.

********************************Beginning********************************************************

I am pursuing graduate studies in applied statistics’ because the ability to analyze data and forecast data trends has wide application. With a MS in applied statistics, I will be well prepared to extract meaningful descriptive data, analyze that data backwards and forwards for trends, and provide stakeholders with the necessary information to complete their task. As a result of the ***Insert University Here*** having a solid statistics program to complement their actuarial science program, I will be able to obtain a thorough understanding of the statistics behind the tools of an actuary while simultaneously learning statistical essentials such as probability theory, inference, and modeling. Upon graduation, I will work in a data driven occupation within the private sector or for an agency of the federal government.

Statistics’ use in predicting and modeling are the most attractive to me. The ability to model phenomenon and forecast the future with these models has wide and practical application. Statistics also has the power to make processes more efficient. Having studied structural engineering, I have seen the application of statistics first hand. The Load and Resistance Factor (LRFD) design process has its roots in statistics. Prior to the LRFD method, engineers used the Allowable Strength Design (ASD) method exclusively to calculate the weight structural members (beams, columns, base plates, etc.) had to withstand.

The ASD method multiplies all load effects—e.g. snow, wind, cars—by the same amplification factor to account for uncertainty in estimating how much weight a structural member must support. The LRFD method takes into account the certainty with which we can estimate certain loads; the weight of a piece of machinery can be estimated with more certainty than the load effects from a group of workers occupying a space for a Christmas party. Probabilistic models were used to come up with larger amplification factors for load magnitudes with high uncertainty and smaller amplification factors for load magnitudes with low uncertainty. Where the ASD method says you would need a column that can support 1500 pounds, the LRFD method would more accurately require a column that can support 1000 pounds. Less required strength means a smaller I beam could be used which results in money saved in steel.

The LRFD method has made the design process more efficient; money that would have needlessly been spent on infrastructure—due to overdesign of structural members—now can be allocated for business and economy growing pursuits. The rise in popularity of the LRFD method is a testament to this fact.

I am also interested in learning more about data mining. This field of statistics would allow me to apply my computer programming skills. With my programming experience in C++, Visual Basic Applications in Excel, MATLAB, and Python, I will be able to use my degree in statistics to glean the last modicum of pertinent information from a set of data.

The future is promising for me with an advanced degree in statistics. I hope to work in the intelligence sector of the federal government. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the NSA (National Security Agency) needs statisticians to analyze and summarize the data they get from their various sources. There is a use for statistics in the cryptography mission of the NSA; if you could quantify the likely hood of someone choosing a particular combination for a code, you could design codes that are less likely to be cracked. Modeling a country’s growth—be it economically or militarily—and using this model to forecast their future needs and weaknesses is of significant interest to me.

The statistics program at ***insert institution here***has everything I need to achieve a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of statistics. Desiring a well-rounded statistics education, I will supplement the required actuarial science classes with traditional applied statistics classes. Considering the quality of your statistics program—as demonstrated by your national ranking—and the strength of your actuarial science program—as demonstrated by your CAE designation by the SOA—I feel confident in ***insert institution here***ability to prepare me for the actuarial exams and a career in the actuarial sciences or statistics.

*****************************The End

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I really need 2 people--atleast--to review my revised SOP above.

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Here’s what I would do:

First sentence, write "because analyzing data" instead of "the ability to analyze...." and wide applications, plural, not application.

Second sentence, "I will be well prepared" ... well why will you be well prepared? Show don't tell. Also, while it's great to have career goals, to me, sometimes you seem cocky saying that "you will" work here or there or anywhere.

The second sentence of you second paragraph is basically the same as your first sentence, you are again, telling the very intelligent application committee, that such and such has "wide and practical application" which is vague and meaningless.... and it should be applications, with an s, but this is beside the point.

I would re-write paragraph three and make it clearer and more succinct. I feel like you could say the exact same thing with half the words and make it twice as clear and effective.

Paragraph five, why are you telling the application committee this? It looks like you are stumbling around and wasting time because you don't know what you really want to say.

I would say extract not glean. I also don’t know if I would say modicum. A good rule is if you can cut a word out, cut it out. If a smaller and simpler word will work, use it instead.

“The future is promising for me with an advanced degree in statistics.” – Don’t write this. What does this have to do with anything? And maybe your future will be bright, maybe it won’t. Who knows? What’s it matter?

Don’t write “significant interest.” Why not just write interest?

This university “has everything I need to achieve…” – Don’t write this. It’s corny and trite. And again, maybe this university won’t have everything you need. We’ve yet to be able to forecast stuff like this.

The last paragraph would be more effective if you mentioned specifically (what professors and their research) why this university is a good fit for you.

- Overall, I think it needs work. But, my sop needs work too. In fact, everyone’s does. Cut out the useless adjectives. Make your writing crisp. Show don’t tell! And if I can tell that you're choosing specific words to make your sop read the way you think an intelligent sop would read, then surely the professors reading this will sense its superficiality as well.

Edited by renwod90
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• 1 year later...

Here is the REVISION. I am applying to a MS Statistics program with an actuarial sciences concentration. Although it is geared towards aspiring actuaries, I hope to take many stat classes to make it more of an applied stat degree--more regression, modeling, inference, uncertainty,...classes.

********************************Beginning********************************************************

I am pursuing graduate studies in applied statistics’ because the ability to analyze data and forecast data trends has wide application. With a MS in applied statistics, I will be well prepared to extract meaningful descriptive data, analyze that data backwards and forwards for trends, and provide stakeholders with the necessary information to complete their task. As a result of the ***Insert University Here*** having a solid statistics program to complement their actuarial science program, I will be able to obtain a thorough understanding of the statistics behind the tools of an actuary while simultaneously learning statistical essentials such as probability theory, inference, and modeling. Upon graduation, I will work in a data driven occupation within the private sector or for an agency of the federal government.

Statistics’ use in predicting and modeling are the most attractive to me. The ability to model phenomenon and forecast the future with these models has wide and practical application. Statistics also has the power to make processes more efficient. Having studied structural engineering, I have seen the application of statistics first hand. The Load and Resistance Factor (LRFD) design process has its roots in statistics. Prior to the LRFD method, engineers used the Allowable Strength Design (ASD) method exclusively to calculate the weight structural members (beams, columns, base plates, etc.) had to withstand.

The ASD method multiplies all load effects—e.g. snow, wind, cars—by the same amplification factor to account for uncertainty in estimating how much weight a structural member must support. The LRFD method takes into account the certainty with which we can estimate certain loads; the weight of a piece of machinery can be estimated with more certainty than the load effects from a group of workers occupying a space for a Christmas party. Probabilistic models were used to come up with larger amplification factors for load magnitudes with high uncertainty and smaller amplification factors for load magnitudes with low uncertainty. Where the ASD method says you would need a column that can support 1500 pounds, the LRFD method would more accurately require a column that can support 1000 pounds. Less required strength means a smaller I beam could be used which results in money saved in steel.

The LRFD method has made the design process more efficient; money that would have needlessly been spent on infrastructure—due to overdesign of structural members—now can be allocated for business and economy growing pursuits. The rise in popularity of the LRFD method is a testament to this fact.

I am also interested in learning more about data mining. This field of statistics would allow me to apply my computer programming skills. With my programming experience in C++, Visual Basic Applications in Excel, MATLAB, and Python, I will be able to use my degree in statistics to glean the last modicum of pertinent information from a set of data.

The future is promising for me with an advanced degree in statistics. I hope to work in the intelligence sector of the federal government. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the NSA (National Security Agency) needs statisticians to analyze and summarize the data they get from their various sources. There is a use for statistics in the cryptography mission of the NSA; if you could quantify the likely hood of someone choosing a particular combination for a code, you could design codes that are less likely to be cracked. Modeling a country’s growth—be it economically or militarily—and using this model to forecast their future needs and weaknesses is of significant interest to me.

The statistics program at ***insert institution here***has everything I need to achieve a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of statistics. Desiring a well-rounded statistics education, I will supplement the required actuarial science classes with traditional applied statistics classes. Considering the quality of your statistics program—as demonstrated by your national ranking—and the strength of your actuarial science program—as demonstrated by your CAE designation by the SOA—I feel confident in ***insert institution here***ability to prepare me for the actuarial exams and a career in the actuarial sciences or statistics.

*****************************The End

Hi Can you revise my PS please? I really need help right now.

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