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I am currently in the process of applying for graduate studies in electrical engineering. A big part of my statement of objectives is dedicated to give a feeling of how I became interested in a specific area of research. I am worried that that part of my essay is going to make my essay be looked at as just another emotionally overdone statement, while I have been told by people who reviewed it that it is quite inspiring. How do members of a graduate school admission committee make sure that they have not built some kind of tolerance to personal stories as they go through a few hundred applications?

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    They don't? And there may be committee members who explicitly and intentionally try to build this tolerance, not avoid it? – Peteris Jan 23 '17 at 12:39
  • Feels like something you'll need input on from your advisors. – Jeff Jan 23 '17 at 14:32
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    To put into different words what @Peteris probably wants to say: The trick is not to make the last essay as interesting as the first one, but to make the first one as boring as the last one. – Wrzlprmft Jan 23 '17 at 14:41
  • Make yourself a grid, and put in your grid consistent notes about the content and the various aspects you consider important. – aparente001 Jan 23 '17 at 17:24
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    I am worried that that part of my essay is going to make my essay be looked at as just another emotionally overdone statement -- Then omit it. – JeffE Jan 24 '17 at 2:42
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A big part of my statement of objectives is dedicated to give a feeling of how I became interested in a specific area of research. I am worried that that part of my essay is going to make my essay be looked at as just another emotionally overdone statement, while I have been told my people who reviewed it that it is quite inspiring.

Your statement of purpose should be a professional statement and overview of the research you want to do in graduate school. It should be forward looking.

It should not be emotional or inspiring. And for most applications, not be done in narrative form ("when I was in sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be an engineer when my mom fixed the carburetor in our '58 Chevy."). Every paragraph you spend on the past is a paragraph you could be using to strengthen the articulation of work you wish to do in the future at this graduate school.

Leave the narrative history and inspirational material in your personal history or diversity portion of the application.

Finally, at my department we ensure all applications are read by multiple faculty. This helps protect against individual variability.

Caveat: I'm a social scientist but I imagine the physical sciences are even less likely to respond to appeals of emotionality.

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