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SOP Review: MS Applied Statistics

  1. Dec 19, 2012 #1
    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Patent/Copyright Pending. :approve:


    ********************************SOP Follows**************************

    Statistics’ use in predicting and modeling are the most attractive to me. The ability to model phenomenon and forecast the future with these models has wide and practical utility. Statistics also has the power to make any process more efficient. This is why I desire to study statistics.

    Having studied structural engineering, I have seen the application of statistics first hand. The Load and Resistance Factor (LRFD) design process has its roots in statistics. Instead of engineers extemporaneously arriving at amplified load combinations for structures, statistics was used to calculate the likely hood of loading events. Events with a higher likelihood of occurring and whose magnitude is known with the most certainty were assigned a larger amplification factor. This design tool has made the design process more efficient; monies that would have needlessly been spent on infrastructure—due to overdesign of structural members—now can be allocated for business and economy growing pursuits.

    Data mining is also of interest to me. This field of statistics would make good use of my computer programming skills. With my programming experience in C++, Visual Basic Applications in Excel, MATLAB, and Python, I will be able to use my degree in statistics to glean the last modicum of information from a set of data.

    Although uncertain, the future is bright for me with an advanced degree in statistics. Ideally, I would like to work in the intelligence sector of the federal government. Doubtlessly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the NSA (National Security Agency) needs someone to analyze and summarize data they get from their various sources. I see some use for statistics in the cryptography mission of the NSA; if you could quantify the likely hood of someone choosing a particular combination for a code, you could design codes that are less likely to be cracked. Modeling a country’s growth—be it economically or militarily—and using this model to forecast their future needs and weaknesses also has statistics written all over it.

    I will also include a fair amount of actuarial science coursework into my applied statistics degree. If I cannot find employment in the intelligence community, I will work as an actuary. Once I retire, I will teach at the junior college level. Having taught high school mathematics for two years, I could see myself retiring to a community college in Florida.

    ***********************The End************************************
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2012 #2
    IMO, this is a weak start. This isn’t a statement of purpose, it’s a description of why you think statistics is neat. Since this is meant to be a SOP, your first paragraph should define what you’re going to say. I imagine something like “I intend to earn a Masters in Statistics to use in _____, _____ and ________”. Then maybe mention why you think it’s neat.

    “Statistics has the power to make any process more efficient.” Really? Any process? Strongly disagree; knowing when to break out statistical methods and when not to is part of the art. It sounds like pandering anyways. Kill this one.
    I like this paragraph a lot, but it may need some tweaking. I have a scientific and statistics background, and I don’t know what you’re talking about. Obviously I’m ignorant of structural engineering technology, but the people who read this probably will be, too. I assume “loading” here refers to a critical load amount of some sort, and not just a description that there is some (possibly small) load.

    Can you describe what statistics were used? You say they made the design process more efficient, but I don’t understand why. You reduced overdesign, but why is that a result of the statistics? What did the stats do that deterministic statics couldn’t?

    Finally, you say “likely hood of loading events” and then “higher likelihood”. Should both be “likelihood”? I might change “monies” to “resources” or just “money”.

    Sounds good to me. But see next comments. . .

    I vote you drop the “ideally”, and instead roll these things you have interest in (data mining, intelligence, cryptography, actuarial work) into one paragraph. When you rank them you don’t buy yourself anything, but your reader is invited to question your decision. Is the person reading it going to be an actuary, like me? They may think little of putting actuarial work as your fall-back plan. Maybe they don’t like intelligence work, and now that’s who you are to them. Why open that door?

    Fix or kill this sentence. If the CIA/NSA need someone and you know it, you’ll say they need someone. If you aren’t sure but think so, you say “doubtlessly”. So as soon as I read that sentence, I decided you were someone who is unsure and hasn’t done their research. That’s not the impression you want to make.

    I think there’s a (not so) fine line between what goes in a statement of purpose and what you tell your retirement advisor. I also don’t think a SoP wants a list of things you might see yourself doing. They want to know what the purpose of applying is. That you might see yourself retiring to Florida someday isn’t your purpose.

    Overall, good, just needs tuning up.
  4. Dec 20, 2012 #3
    Thanks for taking the time to read my SOP Locrian.
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