Potential Inconsistency with SoP?

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Potential Inconsistency with SoP?

Post by starch » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:55 pm

So I know that the last thing I should be doing now is thinking about my applications because there's nothing that can be done, but unfortunately that's all I've been doing. So here's my situation.

For certain schools, they require you to list your top choices of study and while most of my undergrad research was in HEP-th and condensed matter, I put QI first and HEP-th and Condensed matter second and third. Then in my statement of purpose, I mentioned again that these were my areas of interest. However, when I wrote why I wanted to go to (Name of University left out for privacy), I talked more about the research going on in HEP-th. Will this be seen as an inconsistency because I put QI first and then talked more about HEP-th when discussing my compatibility with the university or am I stressing out over nothing?

Thanks for listening! :)

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Re: Potential Inconsistency with SoP?

Post by Conga11 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:03 am

My intuition so far after some interviews is that the SOP does not really matter because it's likely that nobody will read it (carefully). Besides, I guess the point of indicating your preference in the application is so that they can forward the applications to respective groups. In any case I doubt that such inconsistency has any consequence. Good luck!

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Re: Potential Inconsistency with SoP?

Post by sjewalkers » Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:38 pm

I actually have to disagree with Conga11 to an extent. Although never in an interview myself - having a strong SOP can outweigh a low PGRE for some schools (mid-tier to low). If you can explain your knowledge of the field you want to go into and the passion you have for excelling in their program, it can definitely tip the scales. I think most of my acceptances so far have been because of my SOP and writing skills over my low standardized test scores in Physics and Quantitative. Certain schools are valuing a "Fire in the Belly" SOP and understand the pGRE has little to indicate whether someone will succeed in Grad School.

Conga is right in that most people forget your SOP by the time they schedule an interview... BUT it's the gut reaction that happens when a committee reads it the first time that sticks in their memory.

Ofcourse this all depends on what demographic you are competing within. Since I'm a domestic male student - that's who I'm competing against with scores and SOP's... and international students are competing among themselves.

That said... don't worry about inconsistencies too much. I don't think it will really matter - the essay is trying to surmise a bit of your character and preparation not necessarily the exact specifics of what you'll be researching in grad school but your general interests and knowledge of a field.

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