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Advice on my Ecology SOP?

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Can anyone offer advice on my SOP?


Obviously,___ is an internationally known and respected university, which is what initially led me to look at it as a potential home for graduate study. Upon further investigation, I found the Department of ___, and saw the immense amount of wonderful and interesting research that is being conducted here.

The research being performed by ____ and ___ is of particular interest to me, as I believe my research interests align with theirs, and I have been in contact with both of them in hopes of joining one of their labs next fall. One of my research interests lies in invasive insect ecology. All over the world, invasive insects are wreaking havoc upon the environments they are invading, so it is necessary and important to better understand how and why they are able to have such an impact, as well as to model potential invasions in order to better protect the environment. ___ research involving bromeliads is unique and fascinating, and I hope to be able to research these bromeliad communities and their reaction to invaders during my graduate career, if I am fortunate enough to join her lab. ___ research into the how and why of speciation is equally captivating. If accepted into his lab, I would like look into whether or not speciation is occurring within invasive insect species populations in North America, because current management techniques might not be effective if substantial speciation is taking place.

I understand that being successful in the Department of ___ will require a considerable amount of effort, as I will have to balance my schoolwork, research, and teaching assistantship job (if I receive one), and I welcome this challenge. I believe my time at the University of ___ has equipped me with necessary tools to succeed and flourish in the grueling environment that is graduate school. For the past three years of my undergraduate career, I have had to balance my schoolwork with my part-time job (where I work 20 hours a week) and with my participation on my university’s basketball practice squad. My ___ GPA during my undergraduate time illustrates that I have been able to successfully balance these three commitments, and shows I have acquired important time management skills that will enable me to thrive in graduate school.

In addition to these time management skills, I have developed critical communication and research skills during my time at the University of ___. A good amount of emphasis is placed upon group work here at the ___, so I have heaps of experience in working with multiple people on projects, which I know is critical to success in graduate school, as most research projects are collaborative in nature. Also, I have recently joined ___ Disturbance Ecology Lab here at ___ as part of my senior research project, which has not only given me applicable experience in ecological research (my research is focused invasive insect biology), but also insight into the life of a graduate student, as I have made it a priority to pick the brains of the grad students in my lab.

So, my academic goals are straightforward: I wish to obtain an MSc degree, followed by a PhD degree, hopefully conducting research of interest to me. As for my long-term professional goal, I envision becoming a research professor at a university. As a researcher and the head of a lab, I would, ideally, have the freedom to be able to pursue my research interests (granted I have the necessary funding) and surround myself with like-minded individuals, and as a professor, I would have the ability to teach and mentor students, hopefully to help them develop plans for what they want to do in the future. The professors here at the University of ___ have greatly helped in fostering my desire to research and ask questions about the world, so I hope to be able have this kind of positive influence upon students someday as well.

___ is an internationally known and respected university, but that’s not why I wish to attend graduate school here. My desire to come to ___ is two-fold: I want to work with the best minds in ecology, and I want to contribute to the amazing research being performed by the Department of ___ students and faculty. I am confident that my educational background has provided me with the necessary tools to work successfully with your department’s great faculty, as well as perform amazing research of my own.

Thank you for your consideration.

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I'll get to it later after work.  In the meantime, way too much hyperbole, too many "ifs" and "...hopefully conducting research of interest to me." are going to kill your application no matter how well it is written.  Definitely a rough rough draft for sure but one that in no way demonstrates that critical communication skill you claim.  

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