zxcv wrote:Worth reading: Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher
This guy is great.
astrofan wrote:I have seen this a lot on the forums, and really don't understand the emphasis everyone puts on the SOP. I talked to a professor at my school who is frequently on the admission comitte. Now, I don't go to a top 10 school, but he said that the comitte barley looks at the SOP. He said "personality" in the SOP neither helps nor hurts your cause.
He said there are two reasons for it:
1. Make sure the student is interested in studying an area of physics that the school actually researches in. He wants to see what you did research in and what you are interested in studying. Moreover, it is a cut for international students; make sure they are acutally interested in physics and not just trying to get out of their country. It helps if you can make it flow throughout the SOP rather than just stating what you want to study, but it is not make or break.
2. Make sure the student understands what reasearch is really about. No matter what you are studying, it is far less exciting than the media portrays. Hunting supernovae is a lot of tedius data crunching, with the exciting science a result of countless hours of analysis.
I guess this logic would not be applicable for eliete schools, since the students they are looking at would not have the above problems.
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