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Statement of Purpose - Review

pmeiburg

Hello all!

I am applying for graduate programs (background unrelated to design/arch), submitting applications and portfolio soon. I know my undergrad GPA is awful and GRE isn't stellar...but I hope to have the portfolio, SOP and recommendations push me to acceptance.

M // 28 // American // B.S. Sport Mgmt & M.A. Higher Education Leadership

Undergrad GPA: 2.4/4 Graduate GPA: 3.5/4

GRE: 151 V, 151 Q, 4.0 W

Portfolio: Woodworking, Wax Carving, Sculpting

Applying for M.Arch at a spectrum of schools (stretch & safety): Texas-Austin, Clemson, Oregon, Washington, UBC, NC State (Alumni) and UNC-Charlotte.

Thinking of adding one or two of these schools: UT-Arlington, UT-San Antonio, New Mexico, UW-Milwaukee and Ball State.

I'd appreciate some constructive feedback on my SOP below. Since I'm going into this with no architecture background, I've been trying to get as much feedback and advice as possible. Happy Holidays to all!

-------------------------------------------

     Lines, edges, points and other elements of our world have forever caught my eye. I use to think this fascination with our built environment was just that, an attraction to beautiful work. I am applying to the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture for Fall 2017 admission to turn this fascination into a lifestyle and profession. Two of the most important factors for application stem from my desire to positively influence others and to bring connection to those who feel unconnected. My path has taken me through several different universities and positions, each of which has uniquely prepared me for this new challenge.
     I have always sought after something to create, fully immersing myself into constructing with any material that I could find during my adolescence. The path I find myself on today, applying to the University of Texas, logistically began in 2016. However, I would argue that this path and the interest and passion for creating started in my youth. From the moment I could begin expressing myself creatively, I was doing so through various projects, in art class or bringing my imagination to life through Lego bricks.  I haven’t always pursued what I’m most natural at, but this path has connected me to the foundations of my natural tendencies. 
     With the assumption that I would follow the same career path as my parents and other family members, I headed to college as a means to enter the world of business and sales. I was not so in tune with what my genuine talents were. My lack of understanding myself and my aptitudes for the first few years had a negative effect on my educational performance. Once I began to understand the value of hard work and studied more closely to my interests, I was more successful in my academic pursuits; completing my undergraduate work and heading to the graduate level.
    Although I was headed towards successfully completing my graduate coursework in conjunction with working fulltime, my hunger for inner fulfillment continued to grow as I was drifting further away from my natural tendencies to design and create. One of my most substantial professional contributions thus far occurred during this period. In a fast-paced environment of college athletics, I played an integral role in constructing Appalachian Athletics’ strategic plan through interdepartmental collaboration. This showed me the value of working well in association with others. Practicing collaboration early on paid off well as I stepped into the role of leading the University’s Athletic Marketing department. Managing the needs and interests of 20 varsity coaches and their programs required a high level of teamwork.
    After coming to the realization that I had not been utilizing my natural abilities and feeling like I had untapped potential, I committed to this current process of exploration through intensive aptitude testing at the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation. This was truly the awakening that I was waiting for. An awakening revealing that my natural aptitudes of structural visualization and design memory could be utilized in a profession such as architecture. It validated the fact that my interests and skills from my youth could be translated into adulthood. Completion of the assessment sparked a tremendous desire to take my passion for the built environment and to embark on pursuing a career in architecture.
    
This brings me to the present. Rather than marinating in past experience, I am looking ahead with goals of admission to UT SOA, licensure and practicing in a medium-sized firm. There are several driving factors that are behind why I want to formally study the built environment. As evident throughout my story, I yearn to use my naturally gifted abilities towards helping others in the following ways.
    One factor that has led me to study architecture is that I want to serve others directly and indirectly through the built environment. The best avenue to do this is through designing structures that serve the community and individual. I want to help construct environments that are safe and inviting for those who will utilize the spaces; specifically, for people in low-income communities, office settings and schools. I want to create an atmosphere for individuals that stirs their emotions toward excitement and positivity, rather than dull and mundane.
    The biggest factor that has had an influence on my desire to study at UT SOA has been my close relationship with individuals who have battled depression and addiction. It is my desire to have a positive impact by reducing isolation through unique designs of structures. Isolation is one of the biggest contributing factors for many individuals who suffer from depression, addiction, or other mental illnesses. I believe that with smart design intended to connect people together, individuals battling these diseases can find hope in the structure they are in. I have seen firsthand through personal relationships how addiction and depression can affect one's outlook on life. I hope to use my creativity with the intention to connect; a hope shared by the author William Plomer: 

“It is the function of creative people to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things, or forms of expression that may seem utterly different, and to be able to combine them into some new forms – the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.”

I want to connect seemingly unconnected individuals. Learning from Dr. S***** S***** is of great interest to me, as he is one of nation’s foremost experts in the areas of psychological disorders and addiction treatment.
    As I close, I hope this has painted a picture of my journey, shown why I want to study at UT SOA and shown that I possess the passion which will successfully carry me in my academic and professional pursuits.

 
Dec 22, 16 5:28 pm
Koww

Here's a good statement of purpose:

 

I have wanted to be a White House intern ever since November 8, 2016. That night, my younger sister looked up at me and said, “What are we going to do, Katniss?” and I got out my computer, made a user name and password, uploaded my high-school transcript, and turned to her and said, “Go see if Peeta has any thread and old bread sacks, because I’m going to need business-casual clothes. And a recording device.”

My name may be familiar to you. That’s because it sounds like the very common name Katherine. I’m from District 12, a poor area. I didn’t have a dad growing up, so I’m in need of a father figure with strong values, preferably one who takes frequent naps in the vicinity of executive orders awaiting signatures.

I have been interested in politics since I saw the television news graphic under the state of Florida that said “Leaning.” I am passionate about issues like education and the location of White House cameras.

You’ll notice from my transcript that I was captain of my archery team, which means I have leadership experience, and I would be able to deliver messages to Republican leaders on the Hill without leaving the White House lawn. I am also effective at data entry. Another unique skill, which I included on my C.V., is data deletion, with a special emphasis on the names and addresses of citizens of District 12 who are at risk of deportation.

I have a lot of practical skills, too. I can get coffee. I can put cups of coffee without lids on the top of slightly ajar doors. I have good upper-body strength. I can carry takeout boxes, arrange bagel spreads, and peel bananas. I can dispose of those peels in a pile on the floor.

I can make copies. I can fix the copy machine if, for instance, it starts printing exclusively the word “RESIST” in 345-point type. But I want to be honest in my application and admit that I don’t have a lot of experience with sound systems, so I would not be able to explain why “Lemonade” might play on repeat during White House briefings.

One of my strengths is managing internal Microsoft Word documents. You may not know this, but “great” and “gay” both start with “g,” and “Make America Gay Again” is a common, perfectly innocent typo that could appear on White House e-mail blasts, T-shirts, and caps. This is the kind of real-world knowledge I would bring to the internship.

I had to manage household tasks when I was growing up, and I wouldn’t mind doing the same as an intern. I can put “Caution: Wet Floor” signs yards away from a puddle. I can put “Caution: Wet Floor” signs on the desk of the climate-change denier Scott Pruitt. I can put two “Caution: Wet Floor” signs face down at the top of a set of stairs where White House employees might slip and slide down into a delegation from the Organization for Incarcerating Flag Burners.

I know that White House interns often face unusual challenges. For example, when every tweet from the President, regardless of content, starts to include “#StandwithStandingRock” and “#WaterIsLife.” Or when holes leading to mysterious tunnels appear in the White House lawn. Or when a very real-looking, vaguely familiar Susan B. Anthony apparition prevents senior staff from sleeping, with her pained moans and dramatic readings of the American Equal Rights Association newsletter The Revolution. I would stay calm in these situations, because I’m a person who gets things done, and I don’t believe in ghosts.

No task is too small. I can keep track of office recycling. I can push around the wheeled industrial trash can, collecting the trash from all the smaller bins. I can get a running start and let go of the industrial trash can so it knocks into Strategist Bannon, and he falls inside head first and rolls all the way into a copy room, which I would lock in order to reduce theft and waste of office supplies in my capacity as White House intern.

I hope to learn more about Vice-President-elect Pence’s homosexuality-conversion-therapy technique. Does it involve electroshock? Would Vice-President-elect Pence be able to arrange for a demonstration at an off-site location? I hope to get as much as I can out of this important opportunity.

I’m pleased that soon the manufacturing jobs will be coming back to District 12. I’m looking forward to finding out what, exactly, we will be making. In thanks, I will be bringing a special gift of District 12 squirrel meat to my interview, along with this mockingjay pin, which would look best on your lapel, close to your mouth as you are speaking.

Thank you for your consideration. ♦

Dec 22, 16 7:33 pm
pmeiburg

^ that's a huge help...

Dec 26, 16 10:43 am
Threesleeve

Your statement is too long, contains a number of grammatical errors, and mostly calls attention to your scattered past and rather vague aspirations. All of the stuff about adolescent art projects is tired to the point of being a joke amongst architecture school admissions people. You focus too much on your past, which is a particularly bad idea in your case because your history is scattered and makes you look indecisive and immature, and your academic history is so weak.  You don't get to "this brings me to the present" to more than halfway through, and absolutely everything that comes before that should be scrapped in its entirety.  There isn't enough focus on the detail of what you will achieve and contribute to the school and profession.   You're writing this for graduate-level study - not getting into a high school summer career exploration camp - you're statement that you want to "serve others directly and indirectly through the built environment" is far too vague.  The last few sentences, about addiction, begin to touch on a substantive idea - I suggest starting there, and fleshing that paragraph out into your whole statement (how do you imagine this informing the built environment, what specific steps will you take to investigate that, and how are these schools going to benefit from the presence of you and your work?)  Finally, unless Dr. so-and-so is known to have existing connections to the architecture school, or is already an acquaintance of yours, I would not mention the idea that your intended connection with him is a reason to attend that university, as the mere presence of a particular person somewhere in the university does not generally guarantee any interest in collaboration, or that such a thing is even remotely feasible.

Dec 26, 16 6:02 pm
Bench
Koww wins Archinect post of the year.
Dec 26, 16 6:48 pm
Non Sequitur
Throw in a high school still life painting and I've got a full bingo card.
Dec 26, 16 7:55 pm
bhardwajjoshi

It is true that sometimes doing perfunctory job for long enough actually motivates us to follow something that we would never have imagined otherwise. It is really an intrinsic element of human nature that plays a pivot role in building such a psychology where one doesn’t realize the need to step out of the domain unless forced to do the routine job for a seeming eternity.

I had my awakening after having worked long enough on the same project where my main job was, till first eight months, just to switch between two sandboxes and make sure that they looked the same. During my college, I was one diligent student who was constantly motivated to move further. This same diligence let me earn myself a Gold Medal for being a state topper in Diploma Engineering (in Information and technology) and then lead and Develop final year B.E (Bachelors of  Engineering) project, the latter of which I am more proud of. The project I developed in B.E was my first hands on experience with such extensive amount of code in Java and the appreciation which I received for it during the final year inter college project fare added to my confidence of becoming a skilled programmer in future. In order to survive the competitive environment of IT companies, I upgraded my skills by learning some heavily used frameworks like Spring MVC, Hibernate, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Python etc during the buffer period before the joining date.

Since the job did not offer much to code and by the fear of losing the grip over programing, I started practicing on sites like LeetCode, Programcreek, InterviewBit, CodeChef, Project Euler etc[BJ-(-ALaC1]  where I discovered the true purpose of Mathematics in programming. [BJ-(-ALaC2] While preparing for Google Codejam I came across many programming problems which were primarily focused on simple Arithmetic. This was the first time where I was truly intrigued by the application of Math in Computer Science. I was not always so fond of Math and rather feared it which is common across all the students in beginning but as I learned its application in real world I started getting more inclination towards learning it. Earlier when Math was just a subject and solving equations aimlessly was the only task, I found it uninteresting but the day I started following online sources I learned there is not even a single field where it is irrelevant and I found it a bit fascinating.

This shift towards Math is actually the consequence of many such experiences like when I took online course on Machine Learning delivered by Sir Andrew NG on Coursera. The video series delivered detailed explanations of algorithms used, yet he quoted a few times as – “If you want, you can skip nuance of the math applied”. This is where I realized that learning algorithms, from an expert, would be easy but understanding the nuance of applied Arithmetic would be even more interesting. My approach towards anything I aspire always tends to be comprehensive and rigorous but it assures me gratification of having discovered something which I’d rather have missed with superficial approach. Following this I learnt that first one needs to understand the basic Arithmetic and so I began with Linear Algebra and Calculus 1 on MIT open courseware. Lucid explanations by lecturers persuaded me to realize about the much broader aspect of Math than what I had previously known.

Ever since then I’ve wanted to study Mathematics of Computer science and so I began reading research papers and online materials to augment my knowledge. I bought one course on Udemy on Fourier Transforms and its Applications since I wanted to know how it sits at the roots of digital signal processing, like image processing for instance. I believe that true learning lies in digging deep in respective philosophy and referring sources which have wider scope. I mostly like to work on my own and seek for guidance only when I am stuck and this is the reason why I took one month Leave Without Pay(LWP) and prepared for GRE on my own. My scores, though not satisfying for any Ivy, are result of sheer perseverance. I believe that with acute guidance in proper direction combined with my diligence will let me grow and make me capable of contributing more in the community of research and development.

After 2 years of job I think that I should thrive for more knowledge and take myself a step ahead. I love doing math and I love finding its application in every field possible. I would like to be the part of Harvard community and pass on the knowledge which it may give me.

 


My GRE score is 306.

Can someone help in reviewing my SOP?

Aug 9, 18 12:58 pm
Anonymoose

Jesus. I hope you're not serious. You need to scrap everything and start from scratch. Fix all those grammatical errors. Are you applying to an architecture school? 

Non Sequitur

Cool story bro, but we’re all out of bananas.

prakratividyarthi

The world has never been so connected, as it is today. Loads of information can be

exchanged at just one touch. Globalisation has been made possible due to the advent

of Information Technology. It is the accomplishments like these, that have drawn me to the intriguing field of computer science. I completed my Bachelor’s in Information Technology from National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, and would like to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science at your prestigious institution. With the aid of your exceptional faculty and sophisticated research facilities, I will be able to realise my dream of undertaking cutting-edge research in the domain so as to address the varied problems that we face today.

My very first interaction with programming was with LOGO in the third standard at school, and the creation of a version of ‘Minesweeper’ in JAVA in high school formed my first accomplishment in programming. During my undergraduate studies, the courses including Data Structures, Algorithms, and Operating Systems laid a strong foundation and gave me a greater understanding of computer science as a subject. In the winter of 2013, when I attended a workshop on Computer Networking and Ethical Hacking (Netcamp), I was introduced to the intriguing world of computer networks. There, I learnt about simulating networks and the journey of packets through the networks.  Although I scored a ‘B’ in the computer networks course, I didn’t let it affect the curiosity within me for the subject. I took up a project in the following semester and worked on Software Defined Networks under Dr. Shashank Srivastava. After working on the emulation and necessary network analytics during this project, I wanted to know more about the deployment of these networks in practical scenarios.

To get answers, in the summer of 2015, I interned as a software developer at Arista Networks, a pioneer in data centre networking. I got an insight into the role of software defined networks in a data centre and my interest grew. Owing to this, I decided to complete my final year thesis project on Software Defined Networks, titled ‘Detection of Distributed Denial of Service Attacks in an SDN’. To this end, we used self organizing maps, which are unsupervised neural networks, as a machine learning paradigm for classification of attack and normal traffic. We built an application that ran on the SDN controller and successfully detected attacks on the emulated network. But the project had its own set of complications. Since ‘Software Defined Networks’ was a relatively new term for everybody, including faculty and scholars, there were times when we seemed to have been hopelessly stuck. Google searches didn’t help and faculty consultation was also unfruitful. There was a time when the results did not agree with my seemingly perfect code. I had to look through the library code as part of the debugging and was able to uncover a bug in the JAVA-ML library code. It was a gratifying moment when the Neural Network worked and I submitted my first library bug fix. (Ref:https://github.com/AbeelLab/javaml/tree/master/src/net/sf/javaml/classification)

In a bid to add practical value to my education, I joined Arista Networks as a software developer where I got to delve deeper into computer and networked systems. Over the course of my stint here, I worked on multiple projects ranging from security and multicast to Quality of Service. Along with computer networking, I have had great exposure to elegant software engineering designs and principles, after working on a large code base with experienced programmers. I had the experience of debugging network failures, kernel crashes and customer escalations.  I also had the opportunity of mentoring software engineering interns in the summer of 2018, which I thoroughly enjoyed, owing to my love for teaching.

I have always believed that one should maintain a healthy work-leisure balance and to this effect, I ensured that I participated in activities that are beyond the scope of my education or work. During my college, I have been an integral part of the organising committee and have coordinated various cultural festivals and inter-college events. Over the course of my four-year study at an NIT, I interacted with students from all over the country, each unique in their thought processes, ideologies, and approach to life. It was indeed an exhilarating experience to witness such diversity living in close proximity to each other, and working towards the same goal.

Having acquired a working knowledge of computer technology and a corresponding practical experience, I wish to gain a deeper perspective of the field. With each passing day, there are new developments in computer technology and it is essential to be updated with these developments. Hence, I feel completing my Master's degree in computer science is the most natural next step for me. A master's degree will help me in my professional growth, provide me with research exposure, and open avenues for me in different fields. I can choose from the sub-field of Artificial Intelligence, Computer Architecture, Computer Theory or Information Technology itself. However, I am most interested in pursuing computer networks and operating systems and thus working in designing, managing, and securing computer networks. I would like to  I am certain that the stellar program at your esteemed institution, the learned faculty, and the world-renowned infrastructure will equip me with the skills required to succeed professionally and personally. I conclude by earnestly requesting the admission committee to consider my application.



I need a review for the SOP for masters in CS 

Nov 28, 18 4:34 am
archeyarch

Your third paragraph from the last was great.  

Nov 30, 18 11:39 pm

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