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Applying for PhD at program where previously accepted for Master

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I am applying for a Phd program in Urban Planning to a department where I was accepted for a MS 2 years ago, but decided not to attend due to financial reasons. I assume they know who I am when I apply now because it is quite a competitive program and only a few people get in. My question is, should I use the 500 words that I have on my SOP to describe how my research interests have focused since I applied, and hope they take out my file from the MS application to fill in the gaps before that?

I will of course allude to the fact that I had gotten in, and how I have continued to pursue my research at another institution. I would like your opinions concerning how much I should keep and how much I should leave out. Also, i am in contact with some of the professors at the department, including the DGS. So you think I should ask them the question, and if that will work for or against me? Also, I think I should consider that there might be different people looking at my application than when I applied for MS, so they wouldnt necessarily be familiar with me.

Thank you for your replies!

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I think you should directly state that you had been accepted previously and did not attend for financial reasons. Then go on about how your work has been so great, etc etc (as you mentioned how you've focused your work) and persuaded you to strive for the competitive institution again.

Do not assume it's the same people on the committee. And I would bet they won't take out your old SOP. It's unnecessary, too. They'll know you were obviously good enough to get in before and to other places. Focus on your most current work.

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Your SOP should stand on its own. Don't assume that anyone will look up your MS application file and read its content--say everything you want the adcomm to know in your new SOP. Since it's a 500 word essay I'd suggest concentrating on the more recent development of your interests and not on the past. Hopefully if you mention having been previously accepted to the MS program the adcomm will know that you were a strong candidate back then, and are probably an even stronger one now.

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