Mentioning research experiences in SOP

srijal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:07 pm

Mentioning research experiences in SOP

Postby srijal » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:14 pm

So I have four research projects under my belt and Im working on my SOP at the moment. All of them are pretty interesting (all physics) but then again it will make my SOP too long. Any help from successful applicants or member of selection committee will be highly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch

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grae313
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Mentioning research experiences in SOP

Postby grae313 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:10 pm

My advice:

You're talking about your research experience not to teach the admission committee all about what you did (they're probably not terribly interested in your results), but to use examples to show that you are the type to succeed in a research environment. Briefly summarize all of your experiences, but choose one or two specific examples where you did something impressive or that you were really proud of and use it to highlight your abilities and what you learned about tackling unanswered problems doing research. Instead of treating all five projects equally and somewhat superficially, I'd definitely recommend spending a paragraph or two describing something you accomplished in detail even if it means being very very brief about some of the other things you did. Of course, if any of the projects are more relevant to your proposed area of study in graduate school, favor them as well.

In general, specific examples are more interesting to read and more persuasive in these types of essays then generalizations. You can say things like, "I'm capable of taking initiative and showing creativity in applying my physics knowledge to solve unanswered problems in both group and individual environments" or you can describe something you did that demonstrates these attributes and then highlight them: "I enjoyed the opportunity to apply my physics knowledge... blah blah blah"

vesperlynd
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:28 am

Re: Mentioning research experiences in SOP

Postby vesperlynd » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:35 am

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

srijal
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:07 pm

Re: Mentioning research experiences in SOP

Postby srijal » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:06 am

Thanks grae313. I like what you explained.

geshi
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Mentioning research experiences in SOP

Postby geshi » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:36 am

vesperlynd wrote:
grae313 wrote:Of course, if any of the projects are more relevant to your proposed area of study in graduate school, favor them as well.


What if none of your projects are relevant to your proposed area of study? Does that mean you should change your proposed area?


I sort of did this for my SOP. I did a lot of research in UG involving nonlinear dynamics and chaos. I usually found some research going on at the schools that involved NLD or chaos and mentioned it in my SOP (basically to me it was my justification for why I was applying to that particular program). I don't know whether or not it really helped my application, but I'd like to think it did.

Side-note: I believe schools are just interested in whether or not you are actually interested in their program. If you can justify your application to their school, then that probably benefits you. That being said, they don't admit you with the expectation you will follow whatever research path you mentioned in your SOP; it's not a contract written in blood.




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