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dandeliondream
11-29-2014, 09:24 AM
Hi,

I'm at the very last stretch of finishing up my SOPs, and I'm wondering if naming professors I'd like to work with in my statement is a good thing to do. In my opinion:
- Pros: it shows that you have done research on the department, and you know how your interests might align with the faculty
- Cons: those people might be leaving; I might sound superficial by name-dropping without elaborating specifically why I want to work with these professors

For those who have finished your applications, what are your thoughts on this?

Kaysa
11-29-2014, 02:48 PM
Don't do it.

ColonelForbin
11-29-2014, 03:10 PM
Kaysa -- what about naming other departments with faculty who could augment your research agenda?

Something along the lines of: School X is also good for me because of Department X, Department Y, Department Z.

You could imagine something like: Berkeley ARE --> Haas & Economics Department

econ2015
11-29-2014, 05:13 PM
Don't do it.

A little elaboration please?

Kaysa
11-29-2014, 05:28 PM
Kaysa -- what about naming other departments with faculty who could augment your research agenda?

Something along the lines of: School X is also good for me because of Department X, Department Y, Department Z.

You could imagine something like: Berkeley ARE --> Haas & Economics Department

Hey Colonel, could you elaborate a bit more. I just want to make sure that I understand you.



I would indicate that you are interested in someone's work, and also explain why. However, I would not specifically say who you want to work with because you do not know these individuals. For some people, this is very off-putting. I am not sure why, but it is. Hence, I would advice doing so just in case.

fake22
11-29-2014, 08:39 PM
SoP is meant to write about YOUR interests and why they fit their department. That means, in my opinion, that if naming a Prof. will help them get an idea of what you want, then go ahead. But only to prove that you did what any other person can do (read their website) maybe it is not a good idea. Thats how I see it! I wish you the best luck!

ColonelForbin
11-29-2014, 08:54 PM
Hey Colonel, could you elaborate a bit more. I just want to make sure that I understand you.


For example, Berkeley is a fantastic place to do energy-related work. I'm applying to the ARE, but there are tons of faculty in Haas & the Economics Department and the Energy & Resources Group (some of whom are economists, other who are not) who do this sort of work.

In essence, Berkeley ARE is a great department for me (given my interests), but Berkeley as a whole is a great university for me, because there are faculty in Hass/Econ/E&RG who share my interests too.

One related question: Is it a bad thing to not include any names in my SOP? I mention that the faculty in each department is a good match, but I don't mention specific names.

dandeliondream
11-29-2014, 09:16 PM
I just realized that in many online applications, applicants are asked to name a few people whom they would like to work with. In that case, maybe it's not necessary to specifically mention those people again in the SoP. Thoughts?

xjxji
11-30-2014, 01:21 AM
In my opinion, I think you should briefly mention some professors' research that you are interested in. By doing so, you will be able to show that you are not submitting the same sop to every single school, and, therefore, some respect to the department. Notice that many schools mention on their online application that you should mention the name of faculties that you might be interested in working with in your sop.
On the other hand, I think you should not go into too much detail on these. A couple of sentences or a short paragraph should be enough. My argument for that is, as above mentioned, sop is about yourself and not really about the department. Also, the more detail you go into, the more risk there is that you are misunderstanding the faculties' research project, which is pretty horrible..

pch
11-30-2014, 03:40 AM
At one of the schools where I\ve applied, I got a waitlist that turned into a rejection. I later contacted the admissions head and he informed me that one of the reasons why I was rejected was that they thought I was not a good match to faculty. I did put faculty names in SOP but did not elaborate. In fact, the reason was that they were an okay match but not a good match. So IMHO: if you do it, add a sentence or two that explains WHY they are a match and what specific research is a match. Do not write something like: I look forward to working with Professors X, Y and Z because they all do econometrics and that's what I want to do too. That's pointless. But again, I do think that naming faculty shows that you did at least a little research about the department and that you are serious.

ColonelForbin
11-30-2014, 04:27 AM
Perhaps the dominant strategy depends on what tier you are applying to. The T20 have people working in just about everything, give or take a few subjects at each school. Lower down the ladder, it might be the fact that you need to be a match because that school can't jibe with certain interests.

Kaysa
11-30-2014, 02:37 PM
For example, Berkeley is a fantastic place to do energy-related work. I'm applying to the ARE, but there are tons of faculty in Haas & the Economics Department and the Energy & Resources Group (some of whom are economists, other who are not) who do this sort of work.

In essence, Berkeley ARE is a great department for me (given my interests), but Berkeley as a whole is a great university for me, because there are faculty in Hass/Econ/E&RG who share my interests too.

One related question: Is it a bad thing to not include any names in my SOP? I mention that the faculty in each department is a good match, but I don't mention specific names.

I don't know the answer to that question because it has never come up. I remember hearing something similar to that when I was a graduate student. However, I do not remember what the graduate adviser told me :upset:

weakerthan
12-02-2014, 06:43 PM
It seems like this question really lacks consensus, which is too bad given that it comes up a lot (I'm dealing with it myself). Perhaps, more optimistically, it suggests that there's really no wrong answer.

fake22
12-02-2014, 07:14 PM
It seems like this question really lacks consensus, which is too bad given that it comes up a lot (I'm dealing with it myself). Perhaps, more optimistically, it suggests that there's really no wrong answer.

It is difficult to find out what is the right answer, if there was one. Nobody is going to tell you that you haven't got an offer because you did the terrible mistake of (not) naming the professors you would like to work with.
In my opinion you should trust yourself, if you feel comfortable doing it, do it. The SoP is your personal touch in the application and this decision is a part of it.
I have submitted a few already, in some of them I am naming two Profs, or only one Prof., in some I am naming none.
I wish you good luck!!

dandeliondream
12-02-2014, 10:28 PM
Thanks guys!

I've submitted a few schools without professors' name, and I'm fixing up a few more SOPs with professors' name and the work they do that I'm interested in. We'll see how this plays out.