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In regards to SOP length, for one school that I will be applying to, there are four questions that need to be address. 1) Your aptitude and motivation for graduate study 2) Preparation for your field of study 3) Academic plans or research interests and experience in your chosen area of study 4) Your future career goals, and how youre a good intellectual fit. 
My questions are : Whats an average length for SOPs? 
Concerning my preparation for my field of study, do I ONLY address research Ive conducted in my area of interest or can I mention research projects that are completely irrelevant to my area but they still have similar background interests? For example, I would like to study the roles of adolescent slaves after certain legislative actions to halt the slave trade in the US during the 19th century. However for two of my seminars, I discussed the growing adolescent involvement in cartel matters while examining their gang roles, their justification in joining – including how recruitment efforts worked – and their social image in Mexican society. Additionally, I also investigated how sixteenth century New England adolescent trials broke away from traditional legislative cases, by comparing trial procedures and verdicts to adolescent witch trials in the Germanic states. Unfortunately, I do not have any research papers revolving around 19th century US slavery.
Lastly, can I use my SOP for more than one school if they ask similar questions?  I will tailor my SOP to address the professors Id like to work with, and how Im a good fit into the program. 
Also, when I discuss my motivation for graduate study, should I mention that I would like to become a higher educator and be part of a community that produces knowledge? Sounds corny I know, but those are my main two reasons why Im going into grad school. Also because I have a deep passion for history =P. 
In addition, when I address my intellectual fit, how much space do I spend talking about my POI's research projects, and how it ties in with my own?
Edited by LeventeL
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The first thing you need to look at is any word/length limits for the individual programs. The schools I'm applying to range from 500-1000 words or 1-2 pages, so the statement of purpose may look quite different depending on the length. DON'T go over the specified limit. I think average length for SOPs is irrelevant--how much do you need to write to get your point across as concisely as possible? If your word limit is 1000 but you can say everything in 600 words, don't fill the rest with fluff.


On that note, I would include the directly related research interest in your SOP and maybe include other research in your CV, which is how I'm approaching the same problem (any research experience is good, but some of it just isn't relevant to my research focus). Your SOP is about what you want to do in graduate school and, while the other research may have been good practice, it's not directly related. Again, you might choose to include it in SOPs that give you a larger word limit but I'm of the mind that SOPs need to be as focused and clear as possible, without extraneous information.


You can use whatever you want to use for each SOP. I have a general list of things that need to be in each SOP (my research interests, focus, plan, etc), but I personally chose to write each SOP individually and tailor it to the specific school from start to finish. Everyone has their own method. If you think your schools are so similar that you only need minor changes, then go for it. Be careful about it sounding generic and make sure you actually change all the information for each school. There are plenty of horror stories on here from people who sent in SOPs with the wrong school/professor names.

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