I submitted my applications for United States doctorate programs in computer science with a personal statement. This statement detailed the meaning of research, academia, and AI to me, as well as my experience in the field and why I wish to attend that school, instead of career goals and in-depth examples of why I wish to pursue my specific subset of AI. This initially happened because I read a few posts detailing what people like to see in a computer science application that required a personal statement, which I absentmindedly assumed was the same thing as a statement of purpose. How much of an issue will this pose? Do I still have a change of getting accepted? I've applied to top 30 schools as I am coming from a fairly strong undergraduate university and have research experience.

  • Why do you care? You can't know for certain either way! So you'll just have to wait and see anyway regardless of what anonymous people on the interwebs tell you... Dec 15, 2019 at 1:16
  • I was planning on pursuing graduate school, but if my chances of acceptance have drastically dropped, I need to start planning on applying for jobs in industry when I graduate.
    – jarbus
    Dec 15, 2019 at 1:19
  • I wouldn't sweat the SOP too much. But you should definitely have a good plan for industry no matter what. Nurturing your industry connections now will be tremendously useful even after grad school... Maybe even during grad school! Dec 15, 2019 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


No one can really judge how others will look at your application, but there are a number of people here who are currently involved in doctoral admissions who say they ignore (or merely scan) the SoP. You missed an opportunity to detail your future plans and a specification of field, unless you stated that elsewhere.

But, I doubt that it is disqualifying. If your admissions materials paint a solid picture of your accomplishments and your letters of recommendation stress your likelihood of success you should be fine.

But if you have a chance to amend your application, you might want to do that. And fix it for future applications you might make.

This might be more of an issue outside the US-Canada region, I think, but probably not a huge deal here.

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