Length of SOP

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Length of SOP

Postby eddiemon » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:28 pm

Hi all.

I've submitted my SOP for some of the schools I'm applying to, and after talking to some of my friends, I've learned that a couple of the schools that I've applied to put something like "around 1000 words" in their description.

Now I wrote one statement of purpose for all the schools and changed the last paragraph to fit the particular school so the exact length may vary, but I'm pretty sure most of them were between 500~600 words, and certainly below 700 words. I don't think the statements were badly written or lacking in content. In fact, I think I said pretty much everything I thought should be said, WITHOUT putting too much mundane detail about my resume. (It felt forced and unnatural.)

I've showed them to a couple of professors, and they said it was well written and offered only minor corrections in spelling/grammar.

My question is, would this negatively impact my chances at the schools that seem to think a SOP should be around 1000 words?

I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Length of SOP

Postby vesperlynd » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:35 pm

Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Length of SOP

Postby kroner » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:35 pm

If your SOP were too long I think that might be a concern. The limits are in place to improve the lives of the people who have to read all the statements. If you can make a convincing case for yourself with less I don't think anyone would object.

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Re: Length of SOP

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:30 pm

My general rule for the SOP is to cut out every single piece that you can bare to lose and then cut out a bit more. With how many of these things the admissions folks have to read, it is to your advantage to make it short and to the point. This means removing as much of the personal and anecdotal reasons for being a physicist.

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Re: Length of SOP

Postby eddiemon » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:43 am

Thanks for the replies. That certainly makes me feel better.

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Re: Length of SOP

Postby surjective » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:12 pm

No more than 1 page is my advice.

I wrote a 500 word SOP when I applied to grad school, and got into every program I applied to (most of which were top-10 schools).

So, being short is not an obvious disadvantage.

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