Monday, October 11, 2010

Length of SOP

What is the proper length of a ‘Statement of Purpose’ for an economics doctoral applicant? Well, this depends how much you have to write about your academics and research prior to applying. However, you cannot just keep on writing and writing. There is a limit on the length of the SOP. Even if there is no limit; an ideal SOP should not be too long as it might distract the readers and they may miss out the important information. At the same time, it should not be too short such that it looks too abstract and difficult to understand. This happens because of the use of multiple complex sentences and due to the lack of cogency.
An ideal SOP should be of around 1200-1500 words. Not more than that. The committee has a large number of applications to evaluate and choose the right candidate from a large pool of applicants. So they want to extract the relevant information in as little time as they can. 1500 words is more than enough to write relevant information for you where you can easily show them your strengths and prove why you are a suitable candidate for PhD and of course, also for the assistantship.
Some of the universities require that SOP must not be more than 500 words. Reducing 1500 words 500 words is not an easy task and some important information may not be incorporated. It's better to limit your SOP in 500 words in those cases, however, there can be a few more words but not too many. One good idea when you are not able to fit all important information in the limit provided, is to conatct the department. In certain case they may increase the limit. That’s a pain. In any case, it’s advisable to keep the 2 drafts of your SOP ready, one with 1500 words and one with 500 words such that you are not under pressure when you find out that a certain university requires 500 word SOP. As mentioned under ‘Writing your Statement of Purpose and Resume’ this is a very important part of your application which shows your personality and creativity. Include only the correct information about yourself and don’t lie! Look convincing whatever you write about yourself.

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