Is it odd to use bold fonts to highlight particular important words in your SOP, such as the name of Professors I am interested to work with, or the name of a Lab? I have seen someone do this to highlight the Professor he is keen on working with. I am curious if this is an acceptable practice.


At Rice University, the works of Dr. Gerard Fuller are well suited to my research experience and goals.

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    Some university applications only allow plaintext, so any formatting like boldface would not work. – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 12:39
  • Thanks for your reply. I am curious about the cases where the universities ask you to upload a PDF file of the SOP. – Rio1210 Jan 1 '18 at 12:41
  • Alright, why not extend this line of reasoning to include hyperlinks, pictures, and video? Wouldn’t a multimedia SOP > text SOP? – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 12:46
  • Let me reframe that, another approach to your question is, “what value would boldfacing be compared to its absence?” The subject is clear in the sentence, the reason is also clear. When one bolds something, it draws the reader’s attention to it. Like WARNING smoking is hazardous to your health. So if you bold a professors name, what additional meaning does it confer to the reader? – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 12:54
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    I think using boldface is overkill. You can reserve something more discrete (say, italics) for translation of a foreign term or the definition of some very specific and technical term of your research. – Ivo Terek Jan 1 '18 at 15:34

You are overthinking this. It's not going to make a difference whether or not you boldface names or other parts. Focus on the content of your statement, instead of spending your mental energy on issues such as boldfacing some text.

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  • Cannot agree with this enough. The essay is an important part of the application and one should worry about selling themselves as high as they can. – Sean Roberson Jan 1 '18 at 19:15
  • Thanks for putting things in perspective. Your answer makes sense. – Rio1210 Jan 2 '18 at 19:54

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