Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Page 1 of 9 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 88

Thread: How to write a good Statement of Purpose(SOP)

  1. #1
    TestMagic Veteran italos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,060
    Rep Power
    13


    5 out of 7 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    How to write a good Statement of Purpose(SOP)

    Sponsored Ad:
    The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an essay that contains solid information in support of your candidacy. At the same time there are many opportunities to make this essay significantly more convincing..However, there are things to bring in mind.Below I will discuss the most common errors of a SOP and will provide a structure on how to write an effective one.



    The first and most obvious weakness of the SOP essay is its extraordinary length. PhD essays rarely exceed 1000 words. Quite often they are limited to as few as 600 words by some institutions. Longer does not mean better. It usually just means longer.

    Second, the primary reason that generally this essay is so long is that it includes lengthy descriptions, statements, and assertions which should not appear in an essay of this type at all. Other information which is appropriate could be rephrased in a more concise manner.

    Third, the essay’s organization should not seem rather haphazard. Sometimes there is no sense of logical flow or causality in the essay. For that reason it seems to be quite repetitive in places. The sentence structures and grammar are also very complex and confusing in many places. Try to to make sure the sentences are grammatically correct,improve them and even making extensive rewrites if necessary.



    While there is no prescribed formula for a PhD essay, they do tend to follow a general pattern and include certain types of information regardless of the subject area or school. In short, a PhD essay should generally answer certain basic questions:



    What do you want to do?



    The simple answer is that you want to earn a PhD in economics from XYZ University. This could be just one sentence, of course, or you could combine it with some of your qualifications or with some of your research interests. In any case, simple as this may seem, it is critical to be clear on the purpose of the essay and why you are writing it. The essay is a self-contained document. It should be possible for anyone to pick it up and know what it is all about without reference to other information.



    What are your research interests?



    This description should be concise and allow room for changing your mind a bit in the future. It is sometimes effective to write this in terms of “questions.” That is: “I would like to explore questions such as whether the egg came before the chicken and whether the sky is really blue.” In any event, the reader should come away with a clear idea of what you want to explore.



    Why are you qualified and why should they take you seriously?



    Here you can indicate past research activities and other relevant qualifications.





    Why XYZ University?



    In describing why you want to study at XYZ University it is best to focus on specific reasons relevant to your area of interest. Grandiose statements of praise are not appropriate. They already know they are wonderful. You don’t need to tell them.



    What are your longer term plans?



    This should be brief and reasonably specific. Avoid generalizations and clichés about expanding horizons and the like.

    Finally, this essay obviously requires a lot of additional work, even to get it to the point where it can be edited successfully. On the other hand, by following the outline and guidelines I have provided you should be able to create a powerful and convincing essay in a very brief period of time. Most of the substantive information you probably wrote it and it is there. It just needs to be placed into a more logical sequence. The irrelevant and redundant information must be cut. It would also help to add a few words to explain how you came to be interested in your field, but keep it very brief and meaningful. Vague platitudes about the wonderful and exciting world of economics are not useful. Use concrete examples and facts. Remember: it is always better to show through example than to tell by making assertions. Telling the reader you are a hard worker is unconvincing. Showing the reader all the work you have done is convincing. The former is a meaningless assertion. The latter is a substantive recitation of facts.

  2. #2
    only Loeb spaces! reactor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    2,080
    Rep Power
    24


    Good post? Yes | No
    Looks like a good post Italos.
    Is this piece of advice written by you or are you reciting it?
    "It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not yet a winner." Vince Lombardi

    How to write a lazy proof

    Teaching yourself how to prove

  3. #3

  4. #4
    only Loeb spaces! reactor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    2,080
    Rep Power
    24


    Good post? Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by italos View Post
    it is mine!
    Excellent!
    "It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner, when you're number one. What you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not yet a winner." Vince Lombardi

    How to write a lazy proof

    Teaching yourself how to prove

  5. #5
    TestMagic Veteran italos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,060
    Rep Power
    13


    Good post? Yes | No
    I could have kept all these info for myself given that I am applying again this Fall.A wrong SOP could reduce the competitiveness and increase my chances but I simply don't behave in that sense!

  6. #6
    Homeless Cat
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,041
    Rep Power
    11


    Good post? Yes | No
    thanks, man that's great of u

  7. #7
    De-compressing jeeves0923's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Posts
    1,688
    Rep Power
    15


    Good post? Yes | No
    @italos: Have you worked on admissions committees before? You mention you are applying this year. Do you have your profile posted somewhere?

  8. #8
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ann Arbor
    Posts
    2,230
    Rep Power
    21


    3 out of 3 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
    It's good -- and very standard -- advice. It's nice of italos to have taken the time to write it up and post it, though I doubt that it will actually affect the overall competitiveness of the applicant pool

    For those looking for more advice about SOPs, here are a few links that may be helpful:
    *From SJSU (note that the "exercises" at the end are NOT necessarily ways to begin the SOP, just things you can do to practice writing one...)
    *From U-Mich (see the last paragraph; also note the descriptions of the relative importance of different parts of the application, from someone who has been on many admissions committees...)
    *From UCSD (My own take is that the only "correct" answer to "what are your future goals, at least in the SOP for a top 20 school, is that you want to do academic research as a professor at a research university. Also, I wouldn't waste too much space on their last element, "why are you a good match." Specifically, you do NOT need or want to discuss a specific professor as the primary reason for applying to the school; what if that professor has plans to leave or is overloaded with advising? Also, don't tell the adcom things they already know, such as how wonderful their school is... Do mention that your interests are well aligned with the department's strengths and move on.)
    * Wisconsin's application form actually has a nice, concise outline right on the form for you!
    * Information from someone at CalTech (an outline and some samples, from non-econ fields. In general, it's less important in econ than many other fields to emphasize connections or the fit with one or two specific professors. Remember that in hard sciences, grad students often "join a lab," and need to demonstrate that there is a good lab for them to join.)

    I think the bottom line is that there is a lot of good advice on SOPs, including what italos wrote earlier. The advice is also pretty consistent -- there really isn't any great mystery to this document. Make your SOP clear, concise, and relevant, and remember that it isn't all that likely to make or break your application. It's easy to stress about it because it's one of the few things still under your control come October or November of the year you are applying, but heeding any of the standard advice should yield you an SOP that satisfies the admissions committee and doesn't work against your application.

  9. #9
    TestMagic Veteran italos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,060
    Rep Power
    13


    Good post? Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by jeeves0923 View Post
    @italos: Have you worked on admissions committees before? You mention you are applying this year. Do you have your profile posted somewhere?
    No but I know a lot about admissions.Just read my signatures(and if you like them just add some reputation.Btw it is hard to understand why you gave me a negative reputation on this post! ).As for my profile I' haven't posted it yet but if you are reading frequently this forum you should already known something about me!Btw you could met me attaining this conference these days Program, July 19th 2008

  10. #10
    Eager! EnLaPlaya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    34
    Rep Power
    7


    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by italos View Post
    I could have kept all these info for myself given that I am applying again this Fall.A wrong SOP could reduce the competitiveness and increase my chances but I simply don't behave in that sense!
    Sometimes this forum is funny.

Page 1 of 9 12345 ... LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Post your statement of purpose (SOP) here
    By Fantiki in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-20-2010, 02:26 PM
  2. Statement of Purpose VS Personal History Statement ???
    By loveandpeacejoy in forum Graduate Admissions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-06-2008, 06:04 PM
  3. Statement of Purpose (SOP)
    By possible_phd in forum PhD in Business
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-12-2008, 06:50 PM
  4. Goals statement, SoP, personal statement??
    By rabab99 in forum Graduate Admissions
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-25-2007, 04:15 PM
  5. How to write the statement of purpose?
    By ekonomiks in forum PhD in Political Science
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-14-2007, 03:14 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.