How to write SoP with barely any research experience?

Jding
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:36 am

How to write SoP with barely any research experience?

Postby Jding » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:23 am

Hi everyone, I'm an international student(Asia) interested in applying for PhD in theoretical cosmology or HEP theory in general. Most universities require applicants to mention past research in their SoPs but I barely have any.

I only did a summer-long research in material science and a semester-long project on Higgs decay(probably doesn't even count as research) and is currently working on my 4th year thesis related to topological field theories. I have no publications.

What I do have is decent GPA, my position is top in my home university which has decent reputation in my country. My GRE is 95%+ and got perfect scores on all sections of TOEFL except for the writing part. I also did a 1 year exchange program in an almost unknown UK university(but I heard their best can get into Oxford or Cambridge) and ranked #1 in most of the courses I took. The professors really liked me and will write LoRs for me.

I'm aiming for universities that rank 30-60 in the US(not the world) and feel like my lack of research experience might really hurt my chances. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should explain/cover this on my SoP? Or am I aiming too high?

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: How to write SoP with barely any research experience?

Postby Catria » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:40 am

Jding wrote:Hi everyone, I'm an international student(Asia) interested in applying for PhD in theoretical cosmology or HEP theory in general. Most universities require applicants to mention past research in their SoPs but I barely have any.

I only did a summer-long research in material science and a semester-long project on Higgs decay(probably doesn't even count as research) and is currently working on my 4th year thesis related to topological field theories. I have no publications.

What I do have is decent GPA, my position is top in my home university which has decent reputation in my country. My GRE is 95%+ and got perfect scores on all sections of TOEFL except for the writing part. I also did a 1 year exchange program in an almost unknown UK university(but I heard their best can get into Oxford or Cambridge) and ranked #1 in most of the courses I took. The professors really liked me and will write LoRs for me.

I'm aiming for universities that rank 30-60 in the US(not the world) and feel like my lack of research experience might really hurt my chances. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should explain/cover this on my SoP? Or am I aiming too high?


No that's not too high. These three research experience items would, to be fair, look like what a typical admit at schools in the 20-40 range have (or perhaps even 10-20)...

Jding
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:36 am

Re: How to write SoP with barely any research experience?

Postby Jding » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:49 am

Catria wrote:
Jding wrote:Hi everyone, I'm an international student(Asia) interested in applying for PhD in theoretical cosmology or HEP theory in general. Most universities require applicants to mention past research in their SoPs but I barely have any.

I only did a summer-long research in material science and a semester-long project on Higgs decay(probably doesn't even count as research) and is currently working on my 4th year thesis related to topological field theories. I have no publications.

What I do have is decent GPA, my position is top in my home university which has decent reputation in my country. My GRE is 95%+ and got perfect scores on all sections of TOEFL except for the writing part. I also did a 1 year exchange program in an almost unknown UK university(but I heard their best can get into Oxford or Cambridge) and ranked #1 in most of the courses I took. The professors really liked me and will write LoRs for me.

I'm aiming for universities that rank 30-60 in the US(not the world) and feel like my lack of research experience might really hurt my chances. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I should explain/cover this on my SoP? Or am I aiming too high?


No that's not too high. These three research experience items would, to be fair, look like what a typical admit at schools in the 20-40 range have (or perhaps even 10-20)...


For real? There might have been some ambiguity in my second paragraph. What I meant was I'm working on my senior thesis on topological field theories. I might have mislead people to think that I have worked years on them. But if that's not the case then I'll try my luck with 20ish schools. Thanks!

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: How to write SoP with barely any research experience?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:11 pm

I agree with Catria, your research experience is standard for applicants applying to the top schools. Sure, there are people with a lot more research experience, but the amount is very small. The majority of graduate student applicants do not have more than 1 "term" of research experience (whether it is one single summer or their senior thesis work).




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