What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

toex
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What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby toex » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:25 am

Some schools require both, what should I include in them? I mean, how to avoid them looks the same?

pqortic
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby pqortic » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:34 pm

They are practically the same and I have never seen any application asking for both. can you tell me which school requires both of them?

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midwestphysics
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:47 pm

pqortic wrote:They are practically the same and I have never seen any application asking for both. can you tell me which school requires both of them?


Actually, I think Michigan, Michigan State, and maybe even Vanderbilt require both. Though I don't really remember so I might be wrong, I'd have to check their website again and that's assuming it hasn't changed.

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grae313
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby grae313 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:52 am

pqortic wrote:They are practically the same and I have never seen any application asking for both. can you tell me which school requires both of them?


Some of the UCs.

toex, the essay prompts tell you what to put in them.

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HappyQuark
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:21 am

toex wrote:Some schools require both, what should I include in them? I mean, how to avoid them looks the same?


Just to consolidate what has already been said, the Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement are usually regarded by most schools as either the same thing and/or similar enough to be unnecessarily redundant to have both. With that said, I seem to recall one school asking for both (I think it was either UCLA or UCI) and they explained specifically what they wanted in each. In this instance, the distinction they made was that the Statement of Purpose was meant to discuss research and other qualifications while the Personal Statement was meant to discuss personal goals, aspirations, life experiences, etc.

SPat
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby SPat » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:47 am

Statement of Purpose is something required by all schools, and where you talk about academic background/research experience/why you like that school etc.
Personal statement (which is required by the UCs and some other places like Michigan) will have a prompt like "explain how your personal background influenced your decision to pursue graduate studies...". I mostly put some BS, kinda similar to my college application essays.

I may be wrong, but I'm under the impression that for physics students, the personal statement can make a difference only if you are from a very non-traditional background and/or you're being considered for diversity fellowships.

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HappyQuark
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Re: What is the difference between a personal statement and SoP?

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:19 am

SPat wrote:Statement of Purpose is something required by all schools, and where you talk about academic background/research experience/why you like that school etc.
Personal statement (which is required by the UCs and some other places like Michigan) will have a prompt like "explain how your personal background influenced your decision to pursue graduate studies...". I mostly put some BS, kinda similar to my college application essays.

I may be wrong, but I'm under the impression that for physics students, the personal statement can make a difference only if you are from a very non-traditional background and/or you're being considered for diversity fellowships.


From what I recall, most schools pick either one or the other (i.e. SOP or PS) and then use that word to mean "The essay in which you describe your academic and research qualifications". I know this because on roughly 3-4 of my applications, I had to re-compile my Statement of Purpose to have the word Personal Statement in it instead. However, in the instance that a school makes a distinction between the two and asks for both, I've found that the way you've identified them is typically how they do it.




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