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How to Discuss “Fit” in Statement of Purpose


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I’m interested in how everyone approached the idea of “fit” within their statements of purpose. How did you go about articulating why you were good fit for their program? 

 

I tried to emphasize the professors who I wanted to work with and why I wanted to work with them. I only devoted about a paragraph to it and, while I’ve had success, I feel like I’m missing something in that area. 

 

 

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I’m interested in how everyone approached the idea of “fit” within their statements of purpose. How did you go about articulating why you were good fit for their program? 

 

I tried to emphasize the professors who I wanted to work with and why I wanted to work with them. I only devoted about a paragraph to it and, while I’ve had success, I feel like I’m missing something in that area. 

I didn't spell it out. but I'm weird.

my rationale : they can figure out that I'm into XYZ Rhetoric and they can figure out who I'd work with. Why waste a line saying "do to my interest in post 1933 XYZ Rhetorics I imagine I'd work best with Professor McGillicuty. Professor McGillicuty's article in ABC touched on my thesis in bla bla bla."

Perhaps I'd explain why their program appealed to me

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I’m interested in how everyone approached the idea of “fit” within their statements of purpose. How did you go about articulating why you were good fit for their program? 

 

I tried to emphasize the professors who I wanted to work with and why I wanted to work with them. I only devoted about a paragraph to it and, while I’ve had success, I feel like I’m missing something in that area. 

 

That's pretty much the strategy I followed too... and have had mixed results with it. 

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I’m interested in how everyone approached the idea of “fit” within their statements of purpose. How did you go about articulating why you were good fit for their program? 

 

I tried to emphasize the professors who I wanted to work with and why I wanted to work with them. I only devoted about a paragraph to it and, while I’ve had success, I feel like I’m missing something in that area. 

 

That's what I did too. Not too successful here but it worked for at least one school. And they were "impressed with my proposed research." But UCSD also wanted a 6,000 word SoP... A lot of words to explain why you'd be a good fit there.

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I spent a paragraph at the end talking about why the program was a good fit, then I read work by the professors I was potentially interested in and I'd talk about how their work might coincide/benefit mine. I don't know how successful this was. I've had two acceptances (one unofficial) and one wait list. My one official acceptance has mostly talked about my credentials and writing sample as being exemplary of my fit for the program. The unofficial acceptance put me in touch with several professors based on my SOP.

I was told I should only spend a sentence on mentioning POI, but I looked up example SOPs posted by programs I was interested in and they devoted much more than a sentence to fit, so I tried to follow that pattern.

Otherwise, I mostly hoped they'd focus on my past and future research that I spent most of the SOP talkin about. Not sure if that happened.

Edited by shortstack51
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I didn't mention any specific professors, but I did include at least one paragraph in each SOP where I talked about why I thought I belonged in that particular program. Each of these paragraphs shaped up differently for me, but I often included things such as references to specific coursework I saw on the department's website that I thought connected to my interests and how I saw myself fitting into certain areas within departments. I also pored over any listed department goals, mission statements, "about us" sections, etc. and tried to identify pieces in those sections that really spoke to me as an applicant. And I tried to reference those pieces in my SOP as well. Sometimes I even referred to specific resources that I knew were available at the schools (i.e. large library collections of materials I'm interested in working with and such).

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I threaded the idea of 'fit' throughout my SoP by starting with a smidge of information on how I found out about their program and how I became aware of the professors there with whom I'd like to work. I tied in my interests and mentioned it if I had cited a professor in my MA thesis. I further mentioned how my research goals would fit with the work being done by others in their department. Basically, I used 'fit' as a backbone to the SoP.

 

Then again I haven't been admitted anywhere yet, so I cannot say whether or not my strategy was useful.

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I was lucky enough to have two professors at my undergraduate institution who each read several drafts of my SOP. Both told me to include a paragraph at the end of my statement specific to the program in question, where I might comment on the fit between my project and the program at large. Depending on the school, this meant a range of possible comments, from the character of the program to specific resources available. But my professors also told me to identify two POIs within each department that I would like to work with, and to demonstrate that I understand the individual qualities of their work. (To give an example, one of these comments read something like "Prof. X's work integrates material and historical concerns as I aspire to in my own work.")

 

This strategy seems to have worked out well for me. I doubt that it's the sole source of my success this season, but I'm into two Ivies and change.

 

Best of luck!

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