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Admissions Opinion on Statement of Purpose

  1. Sep 1, 2016 #1
    I recently returned from visiting family in Oregon. I toured the University of Oregon (unofficially) and really liked it. I've also read up on some of the professors and their work. I'm going to apply there.

    Universities always want you to explain why you think that they are a good fit for you. Do you think it would be wise to include that I'd have a strong support system there already in place (my family)? Or does that just make it sound like I'm applying there because my "Mommy and Daddy" are there?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't think that strengthens your case.

    Have you looked at Oregon State? Corvallis is maybe an hour from Eugene.
  4. Sep 1, 2016 #3
    I somewhat agree that it will have no positive (nor negative) impact on your SOP, however I did mention it in one of my applications. I've included the excerpt:

    I would like to finish this statement with a personal note about (city). I have lived in (area) for my entire life and I visit the (university) quite consistently, whether attending football games there or visiting my sister, who is a graduate student in the department of atmospheric sciences. I would be honored to attend such a prestigious university so close to home.

    On one hand, I do sound like a suck-up. On the other hand, the graduate admissions committee is concerned only about the probability of you being successful; and having a support system is key to success.
  5. Sep 1, 2016 #4
    Yes, I did visit both actually.

    I'm planning on applying to both. UO will be one of the schools that I'm pretty sure I have a decent shot at getting into. OSU will be a bit of a safety school. I actually need to research more on OSU though. Currently I've looked in depth at most schools in SoCal (Where I live) and U of O.

    Thanks for your input Vanadium 50.
  6. Sep 1, 2016 #5
    This is exactly what I was thinking. They want people to successfully get through the program (at least I hope they do). I figured that having that support system increased my chances ever so slightly. Could just be one more little positive point added to my application perhaps.

    Thank you for the input Dishsoap.
  7. Sep 1, 2016 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, but you also have to look at the opportunity cost: there are probably other things that you could write that will help you more. I just can't see anyone saying "I think we should take Applicant A over Applicant B because Applicant A has family in the area, which could mean a better support structure."

    As for Oregon vs. Oregon State, I agree that Oregon has a better overall reputation, but at this level you have to look at individual programs. For example, in biophysics, Oregon State is heavier in the "bio", and Oregon is heavier in the "physics" - more in the direction of soft condensed matter. Depending on your interests, one could fit better than the others.
  8. Sep 1, 2016 #7
    For sure it is a very small positive nugget at best. I may only add it if I'm real short on words, which isn't much of a possibility I don't think.

    As for program specifics, I'm mainly looking for ones that are doing thin films, magnetic materials, spintronics, I guess that's basically solid state/condensed matter? UO seems to have a few Physicists currently working in these fields luckily. Most big schools seem to it appears.
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