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SOP: how long does it take to write?


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anyone got any good advice on SOP's from experience?

it takes around one hour to write a shit version that contains all the stuff you want to say, but how do you know that it's actually good enough, when do you stop looking for improvements and just send it?

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My first effort took about 2-3 months, the longest portion of which actually involved finding a research topic that was suitable. In the UK, you basically need to provide a complete research proposal, so the literature review also took a while. That attempt was a failure, I got rejected from two schools. The current effort took about a week, e-mailed an informal outline of my ideas which were bouncing in my head for a while to a few potential supervisors, got a good response and formalized the general concepts into a SOP. It was easier applying to Canada because they didn't really require a very detailed research proposal, with a positive result. I think it basically depends on how well you connect with the research you want to do and what's required by the schools.

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I wrote the first draft in August, then seriously worked on it in October-November, put it aside for another month (meanwhile let everyone I knew read it over) and then revised the hell out of it and ended up with the final version for each school as I worked on submissions in December.

There's no such thing as looking for improvements. If you reread and change things, then it's not done yet. That's why it's important to do the writing process over time and have input from plenty of people you trust. You need to be sick of rereading the damn thing and be absolutely sure that every word you wrote on it serves a defined purpose.

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