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esparean

Looking for feedback on my SOP. Willing to return the favor.

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https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xBFjnYu8p9cCe7_ZSr2RefPNYqiAxngPXiGG4HO9kd8/edit?usp=sharing

It's for a Master's program in Applied Linguistics, but even if you're not familiar with the field, I'd appreciate any and all feedback on it.  You can leave a comment here, message me, or leave comments in the document.

I'm admittedly a novice at grad school applications, but in return I'm willing to read your SOP and give any feedback I can.

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I'm also new at this :) (I hope you don't mind I quote you a little here btw).

 

Some suggestions that I feel would make your sop even better:

 

"My undergraduate studies gave me an excellent foundation in both theoretical and applied linguistics" : here I would try to explain how. Be a little more detailed on how your linguistics courses gave you that broad foundation. They'll look at your transcript so don't just list courses, but rather explain some highlights of your coursework and involvement in linguistics.

 

"I believe one of the most important parts of being a teacher is to always strive to become better at it." : here again I would be more specific. Better in what sense? Maybe communicating better with students, using better resources, classroom management, etc. ?

 

Those are 2 parts of your SOP that i feel would benefit from more detail (though you might have word limits).

 

(if you could, my SOP is 2 threads above in this section)

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Hey @esparean ! I left comments on the doc. My comments may be a little harsh (sorry about that), but I hope you see the value in them. 

In addition, I would suggest reading the pinned posts about SoPs. There is a particularly good comment thread about how to organize the SoP. I like the Focus, Fit, Future approach. This means you talk about what your research interests are, some specifics of how you got to those interests and ways you want to pursue those interests (connecting methodology to the profs you want to work with, if possible) in the Focus section. Fit is about why you want to work with specific profs at the school and elements of the program that you could benefit/work within. Future is why you want to pursue this degree in the long run and, again, why this particular program is the best choice to help you reach those goals.

I'm also looking for editors right now. Let me know if you want to tear my SoP apart. ;) 

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@GreenEyedTrombonist Not harsh at all.  Thank you so much for taking the time to give very detailed and constructive feedback.  I will look through your comments in detail and make some revisions.

I would be happy to look at your SOP if you want to message it to me.  I don't know how helpful I'll be, but I'll certainly try. ^_^

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So I agree with most of Greeneyed comments on the SOP itself. As a whole, I'd say it definitely needs to flow better. A SOP should flow like a story, yours flows a bit like snapshots (e.g. you go from learning languages, immediately to become a teacher with no transition), and I'd say it's definitely not detailed enough (as Greeneyed has stated in her comments).

Secondly, it needs to be more organized. You want all your ideas in one place and concise. You seem to have 2 main interests (and a lot of minor ones), but they're split across 3 paragraphs,  and at the very end (these should probably be stated earlier). 

Finally, the SOP should show why you want the school, and why the school will want you. You vaguely discuss why the school should want you (hardworking, experience teaching, great interest), but again, most are vague and none of them flow (connect) together properly. I'd also recommend going into more detail about why you want to go to the school (maybe mention some faculty members who'd interests align with yours). There are also plenty of grammar issues and awkward sentences spread throughout. 

Hope this helps. All in all, I think it's a good start. Just some rewording, moving things around a bit, and a little bit more explanation and it should be good to go!

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@samman1994 Thanks so much for your input as well.  I can see what you mean about the lack of transitions.  As for the lack of details, I have a 500 word limit and am currently at 476 words.  I was finding it difficult to cover off on my research interests, relating my interests to this particular program, articulating why I want to do the program and why I'm qualified to be doing the program, and finally trying to put a blurb at the beginning that makes me sound human...  all in the space of 500 words.  I think trying to cram that all in there was also why it doesn't transition well.

I'll rework the organization so my interests are more concise and less spread out.  As for discussing why the school should want me...  Well, I'd be happy if I had a better answer for that. All I was really able to think of is "I've studied linguistics and I work really hard".  I have the degree and work experience that the program is looking for, but I don't know what to say beyond that.

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2 hours ago, esparean said:

@samman1994 Thanks so much for your input as well.  I can see what you mean about the lack of transitions.  As for the lack of details, I have a 500 word limit and am currently at 476 words.  I was finding it difficult to cover off on my research interests, relating my interests to this particular program, articulating why I want to do the program and why I'm qualified to be doing the program, and finally trying to put a blurb at the beginning that makes me sound human...  all in the space of 500 words.  I think trying to cram that all in there was also why it doesn't transition well.

I'll rework the organization so my interests are more concise and less spread out.  As for discussing why the school should want me...  Well, I'd be happy if I had a better answer for that. All I was really able to think of is "I've studied linguistics and I work really hard".  I have the degree and work experience that the program is looking for, but I don't know what to say beyond that.

Yeah with that word count that can be difficult. If there is one thing I've sorta come across writing my own SOP, is that you have to be very selective about what you want to talk about (especially in your case). I came across the issue that my SOP was more like a resume instead of a story. I listed a lot of general techniques and skills that I knew, and wanted to learn, but I didn't go into detail for any of them due to page limits. So instead, I cut out a bunch of stuff out, and focused on the most useful skills that would relate to my field, and instead went into detail with them. This also really helped my transitions as well, and made my SOP as a whole more organized. So instead of saying, I've become responsible, mature, learned organization, trouble shooting, critical thinking, maturity, etc. I decided to focus on just trouble shooting, organization, and responsibility instead. Bringing my list down to 3 made it a lot easier to link them together, and discuss them in more detail by showing how I am organized and responsible (rather than stating it).

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Man, 500 limit is tough. I only have that limit for 1 school (though they state it as 4k characters rather than words) and they have two essays (1 for research and 1 for personal history) so it's almost like having a 1k SoP...

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