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Physics is beautiful... (statement of purpose for transferrence to UT Austin)

Leobosco 2 / 3  
Sep 27, 2015   #1
Physics is beautiful; it is an area of the human knowledge that spans an enormous area in the sphere of human knowledge; mathematics, philosophy, every-day life; from the smallest to the largest realms of reality, and it is not easy. It is a study that takes utmost dedication, passion and constant training, as no one becomes magically good from the beginning. I realized this in my first year of high school (10th year in Mexico), which is when I realized that I had been slaking. I did not obtain the grades I wanted in middle school, and I knew that all my courses were only going to increase in difficulty. If I wanted to be the best person I aspired to be, I would have to start growing, and that there was no time to lose; I had lost some of it already.

I had always been interested in many, if not all, topics, and high school only offers a small portion of what there is to learn. I started to learn linguistics by myself and learn more about the same topics I had at school, as I knew that, in order to be able to study at a university that would fit my needs, I would have to excel in high school and college. High school was not the tough part, by far. If I wanted a better opportunity to develop myself, I knew that I had to leave my home country, and so I did. If I wanted to excel at Physics, I had to look for the universities that do so too. And so, my search took me to UT Austin. One of the crucial things a student has to experience in order to have a more complete vision of what he wants to do is to have the opportunities and the availability to choose from these opportunities. In my case, I expect to be able to explore the wide variety of Physics branches before deciding on what to specialize for graduate school, and I know that UT Austin is able to offer this opportunity.

All of the best professors I have known at UTEP have told me to reach as far as I can, and that means that it is going to be a challenge. Since I started college I decided to challenge myself with honors and extracurricular courses, like violoncello and social activism, as well as my major's courses, and to get as many credits as possible for my transference, which I was able to achieve with a 4.0 GPA.

I have always wanted to be a professor and researcher, because what is the point in gaining knowledge if you cannot give it to other people? And at the end of second semester my effort started paying off. I was recommended as a model student and hired as a tutor and then a Teaching Assistant, as well as starting to do undergraduate research. I was finally doing what I wanted to do (and I still am): obtaining new knowledge and helping other people that want to learn Physics. But I know that this is just the very beginning of a long journey that has taken me to UT Austin. I know that there I can get a better idea of all the ways I can develop myself in Physics and continue with this challenge.

Besides changes, what can I add or should I remove? Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this! :)
vangiespen - / 4132 1449  
Sep 27, 2015   #2
Leonardo, unfortunately, you need to change the whole essay because you wrote exactly about what the prompt told you not to write. The reviewer is not interest in your high school exploits or extra curricular activities. The university could not have been clearer about it since they said:

The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school or a record of your participation in school-related activities.

Since you did exactly that in this statement of purpose, you have failed to deliver the required information and as such, have just failed to gain consideration as a student at UT Austin. However, it is not too late to repair the damage. The damage is not permanent yet since you have yet to submit the document. Here is what I advise you to do in order to correct the paper:

1. Forget about high school and your extra curricular activities. This is not a college application essay. This is an essay that is asking you to tell the reviewer why they should consider you for the coveted slot of a transfer student. Therefore, your opening statement should be all about your interest in the field of Physics and how you have come to accomplish certain notable achievements in this field. This is all about who you are now, not who you were in high school. In fact, since you did not do well academically in middle and high school. it would be in your best interest to never mention it to the reviewer. The reviewer is not interested in the story of how you were a slacker in the 10th grade. They also do not care that you can play the violincello. Those stories and other activities are not related to your interest in Physics. Anything that can't circle back to your course at present and in the future should be left off the page.

2. Discuss the career plan that you have for your self. Since this is a statement of purpose, I can only assume that you are trying to transfer schools as a masters degree student. Therefore, you already know what your abilities are, how you developed those abilities, and where you hope advanced studies, combined with your previous experience and on the job knowledge, will lead you. That is one of the most important points that you have to make in a SOP. Without a career plan, you can't really convince the reviewer that you are going to complete the course. Advanced studies are not easy to complete so they need to know that you are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to see this action through to the end. Also, explain why your current school no longer suits your masters degree aspirations.

3. Expand upon your current research as it relates to your chosen field. Take note of and mention the ways that you feel UT Austin will be able to help you further advance that research. Be specific about the internships, training, or exchange programs they have which you plan to fully utilize in order to give you a better foothold in the world of Physics.

I strongly advise that you take note of my suggestions and write a totally new statement of purpose. The one you have right now should not be submitted. It won't accomplish the task it was expected to do with the reviewer. Take the chance to better address the requirements of the prompt. We will be here to assist you :-)
OP Leobosco 2 / 3  
Sep 27, 2015   #3
I like your help, but these is my current situation:
I did good at High school (4.0 GPA), and I am a sophomore in college, not a masters degree student.
Thank you so much! Will take that into account
vangiespen - / 4132 1449  
Sep 27, 2015   #4
Thanks for letting me know Leo. Please give me the chance to adjust my advice to you then. I still stand by my statement that you must revise the essay. However, since you made it clear that you are merely a college transfer student, you can do the following when you revise the paper to better suit your prompt:

1. You still have to avoid any mention of high school regardless of how bad or well you did because you are told not to do so in the prompt. Instead, I see that you can talk about your current college experience and how your studies are doing at the moment. Don't talk about extra curricular activities. Just talk about what inspired you in life to pursue a career in physics. Why did you choose Physics as your major? Who do you aspire to be? What do you hope to gain or become by graduating with a Physics degree?

2. What are the compelling reasons that you want to switch universities? This part needs to be highlighted because as a transfer student, you need to make the reviewer understand that your reasons for transferring are purely academic and not social in nature.

3. Reiterate in the end that you see your future as that of being a physicist and as such, you need the best guidance available. Don't belittle your current university though. Say you appreciate everything they have taught you but you feel that you can learn even more at UT Austin. These universities, even though rivals, still respect each other academically. So relate the studies you have done at your current university as a bridge towards gaining higher knowledge at UT Austin.

I hope this helps you better draft a new statement of purpose :-)
AmaraCakes - / 2  
Sep 27, 2015   #5
Looks good to me but I would advise you to format it a bit better.
OP Leobosco 2 / 3  
Sep 27, 2015   #6
Thank you so so so much! I will post an update today! :)

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