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Please criticize my REU personal statement

  1. Dec 29, 2012 #1
    Please only constructive criticism... if you simply flame my essay it really won't do much for me although it may pad your ego. I tried to keep the word count under 500 words but it ended up being a bit longer so I do plan on cutting some parts to it.

    I have censored alot of the information in the essay just because I felt that was a good idea.

    On a side note my friend already told me that I should omit stating particular achievements and only give general achievements. He told me that I am coming off very egotistical. I am not this way in real life but I just wanted to analytically lay down some of the things which I have achieved. Weighing in on this madder would be nice. (I personally feel that I am underqualified compared to a lot of the other REU candidates so I was thinking being precise about what I have done may help, but he seems to think I'm going about that backwards)

    Heres the link:

    http://www.squidoo.com/writing-apersonal-statement [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    You have too many sentences and words that are just not needed. For example:

    The entire first paragraph is not useful.

    "These skills will help me to succeed in future endeavors when I attend graduate school."
    Who ever reads this will not need this sentence.

    "Academic research is largely responsible for shaping everyone's future and I am actively striving to participate in it. "
    They know.

    "Upon transferring to my university I was very anxious to partake in the active research."
    So? Any student applying for an REU would be.

    "However I felt it was more prudent to spend my first semester establishing myself as a capable student at my new institution. After feeling that I succeeded at this task, I scheduled several meetings with professors at my university to pursue studying my research." This, to me, just serves no purpose.

    "However I found that the work done in that field to be slightly isolated and that is why I chose to pursue physics." This is superfluous.

    "A big achievement for me at this internship was gaining the trust of my employer who by the end of the summer allotted me a 5,000 $ budget to design and assemble a server for the company."
    This can easily be rewritten to say: "I was allotted the resources to design and assemble a server for the company."

    " Before summarizing I would like to briefly touch on some of my prior accomplishments which include serving as..." This kind of phrasing is just poor writing in this kind of document. This should read: "Other previous accomplishments of mine include..."

    There's more, but you need to overhaul this a lot. Clear and concise is better than wordy and roundabout.

    Edit: I want to be clear. My SOP for grad school was terrible. I was lucky to have someone brutally honest tear it apart so I could rewrite it.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  4. Dec 29, 2012 #3
    No worries.. I asked for your brutal honesty and I appreciate the reply. I will make some of the alterations you listed and bump afterwards. In the meantime any other criticism is still welcome.
  5. Dec 30, 2012 #4
    I think ZombieFeynman gave a lot of useful comments above. In your second paragraph,
    and I am certain I won't grow bored in your lab."

    I think this is unnecessary. In the second paragraph as a whole, it will be nice to be specific of a problem you like that the group does. Reading it as it is, it is not specific. So look what the research that the REU people you apply do and mention why you like it or mention something you did that kind of relates to the reseach they do. The third paragraph is very specific and does well on showing your internship experience so use that as a model to improve para.2. All the best
  6. Jan 1, 2013 #5
    Changes have been made. I have made the essay specific to a single program so that it will be representative of the final draft.

    Here is the link again:
    http://www.squidoo.com/writing-apersonal-statement [Broken]

    Again thank you for any help i've gotten thus far.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jan 3, 2013 #6
    It's looking good, but I would suggest the following changes-
    (Yes it is nitpicking but very often small changes can make big differences-I've edited a lot of copy)
    paragraph 3: "summer's" (possessive) should be summers (plural).
    Paragraph 4: Why did you suddenly decide to quit using any reference to yourself? I would replace "Also worked' with "I also worked...".
    Paragraph 5: You wrote- "Furthermore I feel it will be mutually beneficial because I will walk away with real research experience in a field I may aspire to partake in."
    I would suggest: "Furthermore I feel it will be mutually beneficial because I stand to gain real research experience in a field that I would like to learn more about."
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