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Statement of Purpose Questions


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Hey all!

So, I've basically constructed my statement of purpose solely on research taken from these forums. Mostly because I've been in limited contact with my professors over the holiday. I viewed the samples on the Splintered Mind blog. I've had a standing appointment with my chair to discuss my statement all week, the problem? Snow days...the...entire...first...week...of...school. Which would normally be great, but not in this situation. I feel as though waiting until Monday is pushing it entirely too close. I've already asked for an email correspondence; however, assuming that too gets pushed to Monday, I was wondering if you all could help me with some things...

1.) What's the rule on negativity? For instance, I did not start off as a philosophy major, I was in Mass Comm and then switched because I thought very poorly of the program. Should I mention that I switched at all? Is a previous major relevant at all? I'm curious because I have a string of bad grades early on in my academic career (3.0,2.5, 3.3 semesters). These grades were from mass comm classes (which is still my minor.) Should I explain them away, running the risk of basically saying "I did poorly because I didn't care about the classes." or should I just avoid mentioning them at all? My major GPA in philosophy is a 3.9 at my university, and a 3.7 if one is to take into consideration all classes considered university electives (which don't count toward the philosophy degree but are in the department.)

2.) I got sick last fall and did a botched withdrawal. My scholarships are set up in a manner that if you are struck ill, you must withdraw from all your classes so as to not have the illness affect your GPA. I withdrew from the majority of my classes, however, 2 of my professors stated that they'd worked with me, and they did. The problem? One of the teachers, while not holding the absences against me (since at my university 3 absences = automatic failure), wouldn't allow me to make-up work. I thought it'd be fine if I did well on the final, but I ended up getting a bad grade in that class. The other class came out fine. I replaced the bad grade with an A the next semester, (I got all A's that next semester), and so technically I have an "A" in the class, but my transcript still shows the original bad grade. The class was not a philosophy class, it was a language class. Should I explain?

3.) I have rough OCD, which is not allowing me to write personalized conclusive paragraphs for each university. This is because I know if I personalize for each, I will obsess every second of everyday after I submit my applications wondering if I confused the names of the universities and faculty. How important is personalizing the SOP? I'd much rather leave it generic for peace of mind.

4.) Would anyone be willing to do a quick read through of my SOP for any red flags?


BG Info:

Unknown undergrad institution.

3.53 GPA

3.9/3.7 Phil GPA

311 GRE

Applying to masters programs in early modern history and continental.

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