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I found many questions that ask about mentioning professors names in the SOP. However, this doesn't address my question. Is it a good idea to mention the name of a program's graduate in the SOP? I am an international student, and I contact one of the graduates who is from my country. The program has a few graduates from my country (he is the only one I am aware of and I found about him online, and he clearly was doing pretty good "high gpa"- studied both masters and phd there). I just said he thinks the program is great in both education and job opportunities. The program is a top program, and it is obvious that it has a great education and good job opportunities. However, i mentioned this to clarify that I am really interested and I tried to get more info and contact people to make sure it is a fit before applying. (Not mass applying)

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I think it would be ok, if done in passing; less than a sentence, perhaps. I think it would be much better, however, if one of your letters of recommendation mentioned the earlier (successful) student instead. I once benefitted from just that situation.

But, a word of caution. Make sure that your SoP is forward looking on your own plans and goals and how you intend to meet them. Don't get side tracked from the fact that this is, perhaps, your most important application document. Having someone else say certain things gives you a few more words to make the most important points.

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