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Looking for feedback on SOP (Biochemistry)


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Hello everyone,

I had made a previous post about this, but I recently made it a google doc so it's easier for you guys to look at it, comment, and edit (if you so desire). This way, there is no need for PMs, or emails, or a bunch of comments to be made on this post regarding that. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/143O5ez8D8Zs-EKr-IBWVfOFAPbKfgRlbAvdp6BzowjM/edit?usp=sharing

As of the moment, I know the intro is a bit generic, so I am working on fixing it. I also know it is a bit long and am currently working on shortening it. A few ideas I'm currently working on as of the moment (e.g. talk about less faculty members, but go into more detail regarding the ones I do discuss. I also don't go into too much detail regarding my focus, so I plan on integrating the details of my focus when I discuss the faculty members research in detail).

So if you guys get a chance to look at it, please let me know what you think! Thank you ahead of time!

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Hello 

As you stated, the major problem with your SOP is that it lacks any real specificity. You talk in very general terms and this will cause you to be rejected. At the PhD level, the applications are read by professors who are looking to see if the applicant is a great fit for that particular program. The most important aspect of that is seeing if there is a faculty member there who would be able to supervise the student throughout the lengthy process. Because of this, they look most keenly at the student's desired course of study. You need to fully spell out what you want to do and why you want to do it. Furthermore, when you were describing your research experience, you talked mostly about lab processes and not your value added. Fully flush out what your contributions to the research study were, how did you make processes better? These are the main elements that a good SOP for a science based program needs to have, 

Admissions Track

 

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47 minutes ago, AdmissionsTrack said:

Hello 

As you stated, the major problem with your SOP is that it lacks any real specificity. You talk in very general terms and this will cause you to be rejected. At the PhD level, the applications are read by professors who are looking to see if the applicant is a great fit for that particular program. The most important aspect of that is seeing if there is a faculty member there who would be able to supervise the student throughout the lengthy process. Because of this, they look most keenly at the student's desired course of study. You need to fully spell out what you want to do and why you want to do it. Furthermore, when you were describing your research experience, you talked mostly about lab processes and not your value added. Fully flush out what your contributions to the research study were, how did you make processes better? These are the main elements that a good SOP for a science based program needs to have, 

Admissions Track

 

Thanks for the reply! I am a little confused as to "flushing out my contribution to the study".  Are you saying I should describe my undergrad experience more as a play by play account of why I used each instrument, and it's results? 

E.G. After solving the structure and observing the dynamics of protein X using Y, I wanted to observe how mutations in the binding interface would effect its binding capabilities. So I conducted binding studies on various mutants of protein X using instrument Z. To help explain discrepancies between our data, I probed the dynamics of the mutants of protein X using instruments Y, and solved their structures using computational modeling simulations. 

The above is just an example, but instead of stating my contribution as a whole (found a mechanism for binding)  and just a list of the instruments I used, I go step by step and explain what I did and why. Is this what you mean by "flushing out my contributions"?  

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Thank you for the feedback. Changes made:

1) I slightly rewrote the introduction (I hope it sounds less generic now).

2) Discussed my research step by step, instead of instrumentation check marks.

3) Went into more detail regarding my focus, and now only 2 faculty members instead of 6

4) Shortened the whole thing by about 100 words

Let me know what you guys think, and thank you again as always!

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So made a few more changes

1) Rewrote the entire intro

2) Discussed my role in the research and my thought process (rather than I did then, then this, then this). I now explain why I do what I did. 

3) Went into even more detail on my focus. Discuss only one faculty member now, and what role I would have in their lab and where I could fit in. 

4) Cut out out the entire instrumentation paragraph,  and made it only 2 sentences describing how I would use the instruments and for what purpose. 

5) Rewrote the conclusion to display a more detailed focus for my future career. 

 

Edited by samman1994
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