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So I'm just cleaning up my fit paragraphs for next week's deadlines, and something has occurred to me - should we be putting equal emphasis on what we can contribute to the department as well as how it would be beneficial to our educational goals? I know its implicit that you will be contributing via participation in colloquiums, lecture series etc., but mine are sounding a bit take, take, take to me... On the other hand I don't want to be like, 'Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful for you to have me...'

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By describing your project, you're already telling them what you'll be contributing to their program. You don't need to explicitly say "this is how I'll be contributing." Since most of your SOP is dedicated to outlining your future scholarship (and connecting it to what you've already done), they'll read that as your prospective sense of what you'd contribute. YMMV of course, but this is my sense of it.

Edited by Metaellipses
typo

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29 minutes ago, Caien said:

So I'm just cleaning up my fit paragraphs for next week's deadlines, and something has occurred to me - should we be putting equal emphasis on what we can contribute to the department as well as how it would be beneficial to our educational goals? I know its implicit that you will be contributing via participation in colloquiums, lecture series etc., but mine are sounding a bit take, take, take to me... On the other hand I don't want to be like, 'Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful for you to have me...'

My two cents (I'm bolding and underlining this, since it seems to have been missed by someone in another recent thread...): I think your contributions are implied (if not stated directly) in the body paragraphs of your statement. If you talk about the kind of research you do and what methodologies you employ, you're already telling them what you'll bring to the department. In my case, anyone who reads my SOP knows from the body paragraphs that I'm positioned as an early modern book historian with a particular focus on the transmission and reception history of editions. They're going to know the kind of research I'll be doing, so I didn't feel the need to spell out my strengths, per se, in the fit paragraph. Instead, when I could make a direct link between my research and certain POIs, I did (i.e. so-and-so's research on blank helped refine my thinking on... etc.). But I've also read successful SOPs with fit paragraphs that do both, or just mention POIs on the fly.

Again, this is just an amalgam of what I have read, heard, learned etc., so don't take it as authoritative.


ETA: cross-posted with Metaellipses!

Edited by Wyatt's Terps
Cross-posted!

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