Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

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PoincareSection
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:00 pm

Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by PoincareSection » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:09 pm

Hi Everyone:

I am in the process of updating my CV and SOP and I am wondering if it would look too indecisive if I listed both theoretical and observational cosmology under research interests. I honestly think I would love both, and I would like to keep it as broad as possible.

I would also like to get your opinion on what makes an SOP really good. (I bet admissionprof has some great suggestions!) I am trying to stay away from things like "I have wanted to be an astronomer since I was six months old!", but it's really hard to say how I got into this in the first place without it sounding cliche.

Thanks!

physicsdude
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:16 pm

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by physicsdude » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:11 pm

Here is part of my statement, which I think made an impression:
I first became fascinated by laws of nature when I was six years old. I accidentally pushed my younger sister down the stairs, and as she was was bouncing on her way down, I remember thinking "What makes her fall, actually?" Fortunately, she was not seriously hurt, so being a budding scientist, I helped her up the stairs and pushed her down again, this time on purpose. Later that day, as my father was delivering a massive spanking to my bottom, he complained about his hand hurting. "Ah, Newton's third law in action!", I thought to myself. And that is how my scientific journey has begun.

valkyrie
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:50 am

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by valkyrie » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:18 pm

I personally don't think it's too indecisive to be interested in cosmology from both a theoretical and observational viewpoint, but then again that's maybe because I am too :) (And I'm mentioning that in my personal statement. I mean, it's to some extent hard to separate them - for my senior thesis I'm working with both n-body simulations and observations in what is ultimately a theoretical project.)

As for other personal statement things - well, I think it's ok to mention how you got interested in astronomy (in like one or two sentences), but I've been adviced to keep the childhood anecdotes short. I tried to focus on the experiences that made me convinced I want to do astronomy as a career rather than a hobby, which in my case started with a really awesome course followed by a summer REU and several other projects later.

I also really like this advice and sample essay. No matter what you write it will not be quite that bad :D

physicsdude
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:16 pm

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by physicsdude » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:40 pm

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Last edited by physicsdude on Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PoincareSection
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:00 pm

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by PoincareSection » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:07 am

physicsdude wrote:Here is part of my statement, which I think made an impression:
I first became fascinated by laws of nature when I was six years old. I accidentally pushed my younger sister down the stairs, and as she was was bouncing on her way down, I remember thinking "What makes her fall, actually?" Fortunately, she was not seriously hurt, so being a budding scientist, I helped her up the stairs and pushed her down again, this time on purpose. Later that day, as my father was delivering a massive spanking to my bottom, he complained about his hand hurting. "Ah, Newton's third law in action!", I thought to myself. And that is how my scientific journey has begun.
HAHA! That is awesome!!!

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twistor
Posts: 1530
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by twistor » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:30 am

That's what she gets for whoring around.

happymonkey
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:47 am

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by happymonkey » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:50 am

valkyrie wrote: I also really like this advice and sample essay. No matter what you write it will not be quite that bad :D
Thank you! Not only information that makes me a bit more relaxed about the condition of my SOP but also the most hillarious mock inspirational SOP I have read yet. I was so enjoying,
I have always collected things: shells, pebbles, cats. I even tried collecting staplers for a while to try to get over my fear of them, but although that didn't work well, it shows that I am not afraid to face obstacles and at least try to overcome them. Now my passion will be collecting data.
rofl.

Juston
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:15 pm

Re: Research Interests, and What Makes a Good SOP?

Post by Juston » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:29 pm

I know a professor who has done work in both theoretical and observational cosmology, so it's not entirely unreasonable to list both.



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