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ColonelForbin
11-20-2014, 06:13 PM
I'm writing my SOP -- I mention a few papers that I have authored (i.e. thesis/paper with senior advisor) in my SOP. I don't really have space to explain the outcomes of this research. Is it advisable to include links to full-text versions of the papers that are housed on my website?

I'm sure there is other fat to cut while writing my SOP -- but I'm trying to get it down to approx. 750 words.

My feeling is that those reading your SOP don't care so much about your results, but do care a bit about the research design and the topic of the paper (unless of course your paper turned the field upside down).

It seems a bit superficial to approach the SOP in this way -- but I like to think that highlighting research experience is more an indication of "I know what I am getting myself into" as opposed to "look at the results of my research".

How do you suggest towing this line? Are the links OK? Should I briefly explain the results to each project I mention? Is it ok to not explain the results, as long as I very briefly outline the topic of the paper?

Imagine this:

I conducted a randomized evaluation on the use of Urch forums on admissions outcomes to US Economics Ph.D. programs. I found a quadratic relationship between time spent on Urch and admission to ranked economics programs, with clear diminishing returns after an estimated 100 hours per admission cycle.

I think the second sentence above is unnecessary for the SOP. Do you feel the same way?

Team3
11-20-2014, 07:28 PM
I'm writing my SOP -- I mention a few papers that I have authored (i.e. thesis/paper with senior advisor) in my SOP. I don't really have space to explain the outcomes of this research. Is it advisable to include links to full-text versions of the papers that are housed on my website?

You can always put that stuff in your CV, maybe with a shorter abstract

ColonelForbin
11-20-2014, 08:31 PM
You can always put that stuff in your CV, maybe with a shorter abstract

Good idea. I'll write up some short abstracts.

One other question:

What about highlighting software skills (and other soft skills)? I'm assuming these are implied based on the work that I am doing and generally an economist probably doesn't care that your a wizard in Stata until they want to hire RAs. I can't imagine they make admissions decisions based on this sort of information. Again, this information is denoted in my CV.

Insti
11-21-2014, 02:52 AM
The space in the SoP is extremely limited. My take on it is to tell people things about my self they could not otherwise deduct from transcripts CV etc. you want to convince those people you will be a good student in their program use the SoP to provide new arguments not to repeat old ones

ColonelForbin
11-21-2014, 03:44 AM
Well said, insti. That'll help me shave off some words with that in mind.

aeea
11-21-2014, 04:41 AM
Do adcomm members even read the SOPs?

Given the focus on math classes, GRE quant scores and LORs that people have here, it seems as if the SOP, CV, etc are ignored. One faculty member told me it would not even be read!

Some times I even feel LORs are only useful if they are from faculty who are friends of adcomm members and/or are well-known professors.

Econhead
11-21-2014, 11:59 AM
Do adcomm members even read the SOPs?

Given the focus on math classes, GRE quant scores and LORs that people have here, it seems as if the SOP, CV, etc are ignored. One faculty member told me it would not even be read!

Some times I even feel LORs are only useful if they are from faculty who are friends of adcomm members and/or are well-known professors.

If the material on this board is truthful at all, then they are probably not read a lot, and virtually never completely (just skimmed to glean some particular insight). That said, you would still expect them to be useful at the margin-either in determining between candidates or when an applicant has a very OBVIOUS break in their performance (whether that is a single outstanding course that does not fit, a semester, or some particular time frame). The only way they could know your mother died, your girlfriend commuted suicide, and you got into an accident and your left arm had to be amputated all within a 3 month period is by letters including it or it being included in your SOP. For this reason I included a very brief section devoted to the structural break in my performance (where I wernt from 3.9 to 2.0). If you are a stellar candidate, it probably means almost nothing.

Think about it another way: it is unlikely if your SOP is well written that it will ever hurt you. As such, there is no downside to including a well-written SOP. The only potential problem is the opportunity cost associated with writing it and what else you should (perhaps) be focusing on.