pymtab wrote:Is it really imperative to name a professor or a research group that you would like to work with? I am very distressed because when I look at personal websites of different professors, I immediately see 2 things:
1) I am interested in many many things, and would not like to commit myself to a very specific research group.
2) I have never done any work that is closely related to anything that I see. Therefore, to comment wisely on a research group and why I would like to join it, will require A LOT of studying on my part. All I can do right now is say something silly that shows my lack of understanding, such as, "I am very interested in joining this group due to their research in 'X' which I find to be compelling and to align well with my research interests."
Do I have to be a *** expert in any field imaginable to write a decent SOP? Did anyone get accepted by plainly saying "I am interested in condensed matter theory and experiment," or something of that sort?
I really thought that I have a good chance at a top 10 school, but now i'm thinking that maybe I should stay out of top 100 (and I didn't add that final zero by accident).
HappyQuark wrote:"The only thing that keeps me going every day is the prospect of studying in the field of X with professor Y. If I'm not accepted by this program and with this professor I will throw a tantrum and quite possibly end my unsuccessful and miserable existence."
grae313 wrote:I think it's important to name a few professors, even if you aren't sure what you want to do and if you don't know much about what they are doing. The reason for this is that going to graduate school is about research and you need to show the admission committees that you know this. If you apply to a school without considering what research is going on there and whether there is any that fits your interests, that looks bad and it's important to show the schools that you have looked into their research. Also, in your statement of purpose you must discuss your past research experience. If you don't say anything about your current potential interests, they are likely to assume you are looking to continue your undergraduate research and they will wonder why you applied to a school that doesn't have any research groups doing that sort of thing. That's an easy way to get your application in the reject pile. It's fine to be unsure, but mention a few things that interest you and a few research groups that sound like they are doing cool things, and then at least they know you are thinking about that sort of thing.
pymtab wrote:I guess that's a relatively easy solution. I just keep fearing that they see through my utter lack of knowledge on the subject matter.
But on second thought, I guess the vast majority of applicants aren't experts on what they'd like to study (that's why they'd like to study it), so most won't have anything smarter to say.
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