Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

swepi
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Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:15 pm

Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby swepi » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:11 am

The general consensus seems to be that it is a very good idea to name the professors you would like to work with in your SOP at the school you are applying to. My question is, would you give the professor you are interested in working with the title Prof. or Professor, or would you just names them by their first and last name? For example, if I wanted to work with Einstein, should I have said before 1955:

1) Prof. Einstein's work on unified field theories...
2) Professor Einstein is my hero...
3) Albert Einstein is the only reason I am applying to your department...

Are there any other ways to say it that I missed?

physicsdude
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby physicsdude » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:45 am

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Last edited by physicsdude on Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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G01
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby G01 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:56 am

My plan for naming professors was the following:

1. Find professors whose research interests you. Make sure you can see yourself working in that field, but also don't limit yourself too much.

2. Figure out which of those professors have money. A good way to do this is to go to their website and see if they are hiring post-docs or trying to recruit grad students.

3. Mention 2 to 3 of these professors in your statement.

The results:

1. You have shown that there are professors in the department doing research that you would also like to do.

2. The admissions committee knows that the said professors have money to possibly support you.

3. You are not limiting yourself. If you only mentioned one professors and they felt he had too many students, that would be a problem. But now you have other professors that you would also enjoy working for. You have backups and the admissions committee knows that your interest in there department goes beyond one professor.

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grae313
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby grae313 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:30 pm

Oh man... seriously? Just show respect in your title. First + Last name, Dr. Soandso, Professor, Soandso... it doesn't matter.

swepi wrote:The general consensus seems to be that it is a very good idea to name the professors you would like to work with in your SOP at the school you are applying to. My question is, would you give the professor you are interested in working with the title Prof. or Professor, or would you just names them by their first and last name? For example, if I wanted to work with Einstein, should I have said before 1955:

1) Prof. Einstein's work on unified field theories...
2) Professor Einstein is my hero...
3) Albert Einstein is the only reason I am applying to your department...

Are there any other ways to say it that I missed?

tmc
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby tmc » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:56 pm

physicsdude wrote:
swepi wrote:3) Albert Einstein is the only reason I am applying to your department...


Now that is a bad idea: if Albert Einstein is not on the admissions, his collegues will not admit you, because he already has too many students.

Unless it's true.

There are a few departments to which I'm applying where I really only want to work with one person, and if he doesn't take me, I would not even consider going there (UC Riverside with John Baez, for example). In those cases, I do mention it on my SOP, because I want to get turned down if he has too many students already.

physicsdude
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby physicsdude » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:27 pm

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Last edited by physicsdude on Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helio
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby Helio » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:28 pm

As long as you know what you want to do or you are banking on that you are already part in the research in the field and get admitted cause of that, you can just state one or two. Else you can just say what you would be interested in and just through around some names.

shouravv
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby shouravv » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:58 pm

I contacted professors at every school that I applied to, and for those who sent me an encouraging reply, I wrote in the SOP that:
a. I am interested in Professor XYZ's work,
b. I have communicated with him/her,and that s/he has encouraged me to apply to that school, and
c. I mentioned one or two other professors at that department whose work I also found exciting.

In case you don't get any reply or "encouraging" replies, simply mention more-than-one faculty who you'd like to work with. Mentioning only 1 person specifically seriously constrains you:
1. There may be a better candidate this year who also wants to work with that faculty (although you otherwise are good enough to be admitted);
2. That faculty member may not be expecting an opening in the group in the near future;
3. Everyone knows that a student might not like a specific project as much in the future, so why not admit that other guy who is equally qualified and has more diverse interest?

As for naming format, I used "Professor Albert Einstein" when mentioning each faculty for the first time, and "Professor Einstein" / pronouns later on.

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trani
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby trani » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:03 pm

I never mentioned any professor's name. Instead, I mentioned the experiments I am interested in. I don't know whether that is a good idea, but for me that usually covers 3-4 professors in that school and so I don't have to list all their names.

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secander2!
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby secander2! » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:48 pm

Like trani, I never mentioned experiments but not professors in my SOP when I applied last year either, and I was accepted to most of the programs. Since we're doing HEP-experiment, I think this is a better option, since the HEP groups tend to work pretty closely on the same things.

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Andromeda
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Re: Naming Profs in the Statement of Purpose

Postby Andromeda » Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:15 pm

I've just listed the groups I'm interested in working for etc, not specific professors. This is primarily because I'm not entirely certain yet what I want to do so my strategy is more an "I can fill a lot of niches and one prof won't make or break my decision to attend your school" one.




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