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Questions tagged [statement-of-purpose]

Concerning an individual, what influences them, professional interests, and plan for the future, typically described as part of a college applicant's application for admission.

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89
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5answers
8k views

Should I explain to the graduate admission committee why I am older than most prospective PhD students?

Firstly, I know that there are plenty of questions here like this one but hopefully this is not a duplicate. I was born and grown up in Iran and belong to a religious minority (Bahai faith). As you ...
64
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1answer
20k views

Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose

The internet is littered with information on what makes a good SOP, but I would like to ask a specific question regarding mentioning one's research interests in SOP. What points should a student keep ...
41
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6answers
4k views

Reality check on advice for statement of purpose

I'm about to write a statement of purpose for graduate admission and my advisor passed along to me the following pieces of advice to keep in mind while writing (based on his style and experience in ...
27
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4answers
6k views

Is it a bad idea to say in my statement of purpose that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily to work in industry?

I am seeking some general advice from applied mathematicians at American universities. In my statement of purpose, would my stating that I want to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics primarily for the ...
22
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3answers
35k views

What is a good length for the statement of purpose in a U.S. PhD application?

Certain schools give you specific details about their statement of purpose. For example a maximum of a certain number of words, double spaced, two pages maximum, etc. If a school does not provide any ...
21
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8answers
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Can an emotional letter of motivation be harmful in a PhD application?

Today some of my friends were discussing a motivation letter. One friend's application was rejected. One reason his friends find out is that the letter of motivation is very emotional. So I was ...
21
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5answers
3k views

Is it a good idea for a nonnative English speaker to have native speakers help make the English in statement of purpose perfect?

I am applying to doctoral programs in the US. Since I am not an English native speaker, I am wondering if it is okay to have native speakers help make my English perfect in my statement of purpose? ...
21
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4answers
3k views

Answering “Why do you want to become a research mathematician?”-type questions in a statement of purpose

How should one address the classic "Why do you want to become a research mathematician?"-type question that is normally asked in the statement of purpose when applying to Masters (and also) programs? ...
20
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2answers
3k views

What should one look for in a statement of purpose (from the admissions side) in mathematics?

I'm a youngish (recently tenured) faculty member at a reasonably, but not extremely prestigious university in the mathematics department. While I've looked at some graduate admissions files, this is ...
19
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2answers
9k views

How many research interests should be included in a statement of purpose/objective

I am wondering how many research interest should be included in a statement of purpose. Is it better to include just one core interest or to include up to three as in my case?
16
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3answers
3k views

Should I link my research in my SOP?

I have done some independent research that I wish to mention in my SOP. The full account of what I have done till has been published as an e-print on arxiv.org. Can I give a hyperlink to this e-print ...
15
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1answer
13k views

(Master's Degree) What are they 'precisely' looking for in a Statement of Purpose, and does a SOP matter when one has excellent GPA?

(N.b. All my questions are concerning applying for a Master's degree) I have read a lot of websites, articles, extracts from different books about the Statement of Purpose (Motivation Letter). I'm ...
15
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4answers
3k views

Should an applicant to an university mention that her spouse is currently a student in the same University, as part of her SOP?

While writing one's Statement of Purpose for applying to a grad program, should one mention that her spouse is also a grad student in the same university? What are the pro's and con's of that approach ...
14
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4answers
2k views

Why do admissions committees consider the Statement of Purpose to be important?

Why do admissions committees consider the Statement of Purpose to be important? Anyone with a command of English should be able to write a Statement of Purpose, in principle, so it seems a poor way to ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Should I mention a “math depression” I went through in my letter of motivation?

I am a master student in mathematics studying in Europe and I am applying to several graduate schools in the USA. They aren't all Top 10 in these dubious rankings, but I am applying to Harvard, ...
14
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1answer
606 views

NSF graduate fellowship: how specific should the statement of purpose be?

Several of the students who have come to my group as summer students are planning to submit NSF graduate fellowship applications in the coming weeks. However, one question that I am not sure about is ...
13
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3answers
5k views

Unintentionally disrespectful in the Statement of Purpose/Academic essay

I am applying to Master's program in Computer Science. In my Statement of Purpose, I mentioned the names of a few Professors with whom I would like to work. However, accidently, I failed to address ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Should the personal/research statement be technical?

Related: Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose I know I must describe my past and current research in my personal/research statement or statement of purpose. But do I use ...
12
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3answers
2k views

How should one address negative circumstances with past advisor in a Statement of Purpose?

I am referring to a situation described in a previous question of mine: How to deal with an abusive advisor? To summarize for those who don't want to read the lengthy story: I had a difficult ...
12
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2answers
498 views

Post-doctoral research statement/project: current/future vs thematic

I am currently applying for several post-doctoral positions. For these applications I have to prepare a research document in which I present my current research and my future projects in a limited ...
12
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1answer
536 views

What is a good ratio of “What I want to research” vs. “My experience that shows I can research” in a Statement of purpose?

I am composing my statement of purpose for U.S. Graduate schools in Mathematics and am struggling to determine the proper balance of what my research plans are, and giving background in terms of ...
11
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2answers
772 views

What are the downsides of publishing your statement of purpose on the Internet after you've already been admitted to a PhD program?

After getting into some top schools, I linked my statement of purpose on my personal website so it could serve as a resource for others. Are there any reasons this might be a bad idea?
11
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1answer
653 views

Mentioning money in statement of purpose

I am currently working as a research assistant with a pay grade that is half of a typical entry level commercial job (computer programming jobs in particular). Is it beneficial to mention this in a ...
10
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2answers
6k views

Why shouldn't I quote famous scientists in my SOP?

In one of Ben Bitdiddle's comment, he confirms that quoting famous scientists in the SOP is generally bad. But I don't know why. Isn't SOP the place to tell our stories, our inspirations, our ...
10
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2answers
781 views

Is it okay to discuss multiple interests when writing statement of purpose for attending a conference?

Question: I am interested in two fields, mathematical biology and cryptography. Is it okay to discuss both of these interests in my statement of purpose? I'm currently a junior majoring in ...
9
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5answers
2k views

I forgot to rename the school when applying my SOP to another school. How bad is this?

I just realized that I referenced my desire to go to school A in a letter to school B (in fact, I did this by mistake for 2 schools!). Most unfortunately, I have already submitted the applications for ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Is it a bad thing if my Personal History Statement reveals my intention to immigrate?

I am an international student applying for Computer Science PhD in US. Some universities I plan to apply to require Personal History Statement in addition to Statement of Purpose. I believe that I ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Should I mention that I have a Bipolar disorder in my statement of purpose?

Should I mention that I have Bipolar disorder in my statement of purpose and ask my lecturers to mention it in their letters of recommendation(I am doubtful that they will) ? Bipolar disorder was a ...
9
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4answers
2k views

How to structure the personal statement?

Note: personal statement is a different to SOP/research statement. Some universities require this, while the others don't. Unlike the research statement (SOP), the personal statement fragments into a ...
9
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2answers
13k views

Explaining bad grades in application: SOP or separate letter

Question Should issues about past academic performance be addressed in the Statement of Purpose or a separate letter to the admissions committee. Background I had originally posted about my ...
9
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3answers
8k views

Advice on conclusion of a purpose statement

I am currently applying to PhD programs in mathematics and need to complete a purpose statement as part of the application. There are several things I'd appreciate any advice you can give me on the ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What do potential postdoc advisers seek in research statement letters?

I am putting together my application for a postdoctoral position in theoretical condensed matter physics. The position is not a fellowship and is a regular postdoc position. If you have gone through ...
9
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1answer
2k views

If you have broad interests, should you describe a narrow research topic in statement of purpose anyways?

All the advice for writing a Statement of Purpose (otherwise referred to as 'Personal Statement') for graduate (Masters) on the internet usually pins it down to narrowing down your interest to ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Statement of Purpose: How much detail in describing one's research

I am currently writing my Statement of Purpose for graduate admission in mathematics. I am wondering how specific I should be when describing my own research. Should I merely include the (broad) ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Good idea to name the keynote speaker of a local conference at which my paper was accepted to be presented?

I am applying to doctoral programs in the US, and I am wondering: Is it advisable to name the keynote speaker of the local conference where I presented a paper recently? The keynote speaker is a ...
8
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5answers
7k views

How important is the statement of purpose in a PhD application for admission to a top school in the US?

According to this MIT statement of purpose guideline, the statement of purpose seems to be an important part of a PhD application. However, I have also heard that, in the case of MIT, the statement of ...
8
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5answers
2k views

Should one avoid erudite vocabulary in statement of purpose?

I am not a psychology major. I came across this paper that shows that using erudite vocabulary will not do one good. What makes me want to ask here is a case study in the paper. Long story short, a ...
8
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2answers
837 views

What could/do applicants usually ask professors, and how does this reflect in a statement of purpose?

When applying for PhD programs (or MPhil or MS) that require only a statement of purpose and not a research proposal, I was advised to first check if some faculty members (or is one good enough?) in ...
8
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6answers
2k views

How to “tailor” the statement of purpose for a particular grad school

A prospective graduate student is normally not hyperspecialized and inflexibly hyperfocussed on a certain well-developed research line (like a more mature mid-career researcher could be) just yet. ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Is it harmful to list too specific research interest in personal statement?

I'm undergraduate who are applying US research program. I have one interest field in which I have read 1 survey and 3 other papers (I know it is not enough). I only have some vague and primitive idea ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Length of Supporting Statement to Faculty Position application

I'm currently applying for one "entry-level" faculty position in the UK (CS). Differently from other applications I have seen, in this one they ask the applicant to address each of the items listed in ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Lack of mathematical training for a CS Ph.D

I've graduated and I'm looking to apply to a Ph.D. program in computer science. However, during my undergraduate years I did not take math courses other than the ones required for the CS major (i.e., ...
8
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1answer
1k views

My internship mentor would not write a recommendation for me, should I include the internship in my statement of purpose?

I'm finishing up my MS and getting ready to send out PhD applications, and I am not sure about a particular item that should be included / or should not be included. I spent a semester at a high ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Where can I find good examples of personal statements [BSc, MSc, PhD]?

In my country, there is basically no culture of personal statements for university admission. However, now I find myself in the need of writing a convincing one (note: my field is mathematics). I've ...
8
votes
1answer
652 views

Should GitHub repositories be included in a resume or statement of purpose?

I am applying to a MS in information technology program coming from a BS in computer science and have worked on several projects over the last couple of years. I have 3 projects on my GitHub account ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Would it be a poor choice to focus on disability in both my personal history statement and diversity fellowship response?

I am working on my application to UC Davis. It requires a Personal History Statement separate from the Statement of Purpose. I've been through this process with UC Berkeley, and the prompts are almost ...
8
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1answer
4k views

What should go in a diversity statement if I believe I have had no relevant experiences?

So I am completing the application for UCSB, and they ask me to write a Personal Achievements/Contributions Statement, however, I feel I have nothing to say, since I have never experienced anything ...
7
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2answers
2k views

How negative to go in a statement of purpose?

Okay yes I know another 'I'm a bad candidate help me' post sorry. I was in grad school years ago but I quit because the program wasn't good for me. The exact program doesn't matter. It was a small ...
7
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3answers
3k views

Should I mention in statement of purpose that my undergrad degree is in a different field because my parents wanted me to do it?

Is it okay to mention in my statement of purpose for admission to grad school in math, that my undergraduate major is engineering because my parents wanted me to do it? I was initially wrote my ...
7
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2answers
16k views

Wrong font used for statement of purpose and résumé

I used wrong font for my statement of purpose, rather than the one prescribed under the department’s specifications. Will this hamper my chances of admission into that university?