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Some Advice on Writing an SOP

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This conversation is everything wrong with academia and those who profess to encourage and exhort learning and public discourse but do so only until their personal threshold is crossed and all their "respect" alarms warnings go off.  Once in awhile you get the person who always thanks you for your participation--but still no honest evaluation or a "I will consider all you say . How interesting."  Frankly, you both have made yourselves suspect. I am just coming from the Me-Generation Madonna school of life perspective.  I am a product of the 80's and that makes me a SME-- Subject Matter Expert-- on taking oneself too seriously! It reeks of childhood issues.lol  Did no one ever tell you that you were valuable and did not have to earn worth ? I am probably less intelligent than both of you but IMHO we do not need to "sell" good information or fight its battle as if it were a fort under attack.  We present what we know with confidence and proper support and the rest is out of our hands. You have a choice here. You need to ask yourself why in the world you would use this time from your life doing this? What is there to be gained? Who do we serve? Would my mother find me embarrassing? Does this prove the students right in their comments on Rate My Professor?  

 

 The best way to move past those who seem to arrogantly challenge us, we believe are wrong and are unaware of just who they are dealing with is to remember that Marx was pretty sure of himself too!  it is silly to die on these hills and fight for the old while hip hop and  STEM dollars make this as quaint and relevant as the Amish.

 

I had always been told that books are alive. The information is always in the present. This was information from 30 years ago given to me by Miss D- a 7th grade English teacher who made me diagram sentences and recite poetry. She is dead and has no thoughts on the current media. <3 chillax.

Edited by alesso

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Have you guys read this explanation from WUSTL?

It is very succinct and I think it can be applied to other majors broadly.
I've already submitted several application, and I wish I read this earlier! Think I haven't done well on my mentioning faculties...

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I apologize if this topic has already been covered, but I need a clarification.  One of the programs I'm applying to specifies a "professional, not personal" SOP.  Could someone explain to me exactly what this means and how it differs from a personal one?  I'm a little lost.  

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On 12/8/2015 at 6:21 AM, Mrs A.K. said:

I apologize if this topic has already been covered, but I need a clarification.  One of the programs I'm applying to specifies a "professional, not personal" SOP.  Could someone explain to me exactly what this means and how it differs from a personal one?  I'm a little lost.  

I believe that means what it is you're planning on doing professionally, not your back story and how great you are. I HIGHLY recommend contacting the department for clarification; they'll know best! Usually there is someone administratively who can assist you further. I've had TREMENDOUS help at all the University's of interest for me.

ALSO - take a look at that Columbia link above; fantastic info!!

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SOP has to be precise description in few paragraphs, 

  1. about your background
  2. motivation for research (limit it to research experiences in the past and its learning, not to mention childhood ambitions/other auxiliary reasons)
  3. areas of interest and Professors your are keen to work with in that university
  4. experience in the industry(if any).
  5. possibly add details about you plan after the graduate course at that university.



Steps for SOP:

  1. draft your sop
  2. request peers to review the SOP



Dos:

  • refer only to SOP structure from online. take someones help for that.


Donts:

  • please never try to indulge in plagiarism, it defeats the purpose. You need to find a way to express yourself, SOP is one best opportunity.
  • never read an example SOP, it spoils the originality. ask someone to read few sop and outline the template like the above i have suggested. 


Please draft the SOP, i can review (if you would like me to).

LOR (you need not worry , its recommenders challenge. please choose them wisely )
Universities look at the LOR as establishment of your credibility, basically LORs from your previous college is very important and impressive only if you are new grad or a few years out of college. With some the industry you can get one from peers.

Attributes: establish instances where your guide recognized your motivation and contributions, methodology and approach in problem solving, clear evidence as a strong individual and research candidate. 

Work experience related course:

  • 2 LOR from you industry peers
  • 1 LOR from professor whom you worked very closely with. 


No prioir work experience related to the course:

  • 3 LOR from professors whom you worked very closely with. 

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Should I include citations in my statement of purpose? I'm applying to bioengineering programs, and have 5 peer reviewed publication from my undergraduate research. I talk about the projects in the SOP and I have the citations on my CV, but should I cite the publications as I discuss the projects in the SOP?

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3 hours ago, PickleRick said:

Should I include citations in my statement of purpose? I'm applying to bioengineering programs, and have 5 peer reviewed publication from my undergraduate research. I talk about the projects in the SOP and I have the citations on my CV, but should I cite the publications as I discuss the projects in the SOP?

I did not include citations in any of mine, but I was applying biomed, not bioengineering.

Also, check the prompt for each school's written parts closely. I did not go into my research in detail in any statement of purpose as mine asked me to talk about why I'm motivated to do science and my aspirations, not what research I had done. Some asked me to talk about research I wanted to do, but half of my schools had a separate research statement or summary that I was to submit about my previous experience.

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I'm also wondering about including citations, but in a slightly different context. In discussing PIs I want to work with, I mention some of their papers (a couple of potential PIs I have contacted have said to do this). Should I include a bibliography when I mention their research? Seems a little overkill but wouldn't want to leave it out if it's expected...

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19 hours ago, kellmcc said:

I'm also wondering about including citations, but in a slightly different context. In discussing PIs I want to work with, I mention some of their papers (a couple of potential PIs I have contacted have said to do this). Should I include a bibliography when I mention their research? Seems a little overkill but wouldn't want to leave it out if it's expected...

Probably unnecessary. Just give enough details for a reader to find the paper. E.g, Smith 2017 (Journal of Magic Unicorns) will usually be sufficient. 

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