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areas of focus/emphasis

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I'm trying to write a SOP for a grad school where I'm applying for an MA in English with a "structured emphasis" in Rhetoric and Composition. Rhet/Comp is solidly where I want to focus, but I also have "side" interests in medieval Scandinavian lit AND modern poetry (ie- Frost, Auden, etc.)...if I'm writing my SOP to talk about Rhet/Comp, is it bad to mention the other two? Is it bad to mention both of them? Or am I hopelessly indecisive in what I want to study? Truthfully, I probably do enjoy the modern poetry more than I do the Scandinavian lit, but that's a recent interest so my transcripts are definitely slanted towards the medieval side..


So..yep, sorry this is vague...any input would be appreciated, because I want to be honest in the SOP about what I intend to study, but I also don't want my SOP and my transcripts to say two different things, and I don't want to come across as somebody who wants to study EVERYTHING...except that that's minorly true, and my understanding is that in some ways grad school will help me narrow down my interests, especially since I'm already going primarily for Rhet/Comp and the poetry/medieval dilemma is only about my secondary interests..

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In my experience, this is an issue that surfaces regularly. It's a challenge, indeed, but it's also an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of your academic interests. In fact, many scholars in the humanities, especially at the doctorate and post-doc level, are experts in several tangentially related fields, so your multiple interests can definitely work in your favor! The key is to 1) be decisive about the fact that Rhet/Comp is your primary focus while 2) smoothly integrating that with the other two interests in a way that unifies them under one strong, multifaceted scholastic objective.

Truthfully, a lot of SOP writing is just finding a way to express yourself that puts a positive "spin" on something that, if written improperly, might seem negative: so, a student is not "indecisive" but "intellectually curious"; or, a couple semesters of bad grades are not evidence of "poor performance" but actually a "turning point" or "wake-up call to do better." The key is crafting the language in just the right way - that's the challenge but also the power of words!

Anyway, hope this helps. Feel free to send me a private message if you have any other questions.


Edited by fuzzylogician
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