RayneeDeigh

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2007
1,346
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
It seems like people I talk to have very different views on this, so I thought I'd bring it up here. When writing statements of purpose, do you briefly address what you think are your application's weaknesses, or do you focus on your strengths and hope that they overshadow the bad?

Of course, all of you seem to have such strong applications that this question seems almost silly. :luck:
 

Sorg1123

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2006
167
0
Boston, MA
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
I didn't acknowledge any of my weaknesses (many) in my PS. I did leave school for a while though and mentioned why and what I was doing with my time.
 

Psych_Ho

Lurking in the shadows...
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2006
51
0
Status (Visible)
In general, no, do not discuss any "weaknesses" in the SOP. Of course, there are always exceptions, but in general, no. It's not the appropriate place to discuss those. What exactly do you mean by weakness? :luck:
 
About the Ads

RayneeDeigh

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2007
1,346
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
I think my weaknesses are my lack of clinical experience, and my crappy first year grades.

I addressed them in my SOPs so maybe that's where I went wrong...
 

paramour

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2007
1,977
7
Status (Visible)
I think my weaknesses are my lack of clinical experience, and my crappy first year grades.

I addressed them in my SOPs so maybe that's where I went wrong...

I think it all depends upon how you word it. I addressed my lack of research experience the first time around due to various reasons, as well as what would make me a worthwhile candidate, even without it. Those who interviewed me indicated my writing ability was actually what drew them to my app even though I did not have half the experience as many of their applicants. There are some who may have kick-ass experience but do not know how to share it, orally or in writing. They, of course, would prefer someone who can do both, but if they have someone who has the research but can't write worth a flip, then they may look elsewhere. You may be able to train someone to do the research; but it may be a bit more difficult to train someone to write well at this point in life.

Sooo, it all depends . . . which seems to be the standard answer for everything in this process!

And, then, there are some programs who ask for you to include your weaknesses in your app (both overall & personal). I incorporated part of this into some of my later essays and was told it was just fine, very insightful, etc., etc. Especially since I also included how I control or compensate for those weaknesses.

Overall answer--it depends. What works for one may not work for another.
 

perfektspace

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2006
251
0
Status (Visible)
When writing statements of purpose, do you briefly address what you think are your application's weaknesses, or do you focus on your strengths and hope that they overshadow the bad?

Of course, all of you seem to have such strong applications that this question seems almost silly. :luck:

No I would not. It is a very tricky task and often sounds like your making excuses or looking for sympathy.

For example... I applied last year and got 1 interview no acceptances. This year, with an identical CV, I am 4/5 with interviews and have 5 schools still in the mix. The only difference? I retooled my statement and focused on my research and writing experiences. No BS just straight to the point about what I did and how that translates into my success in their program. If they want to know about shortcomings they can ask me at the interview. A 2 page statement does not allow enough time to adequately explain most problems.

in short, I don't know if my statement made the difference but it was the only thing that changed.
 

dakwegmo

Irregular Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2005
54
0
West of Between
www.dakwegmo.com
Status (Visible)
In most cases your SOP has a maximum word count, so you'll want to use as many of those words as possible to explain why you should be admitted into a program. Using too much space to talk about your weaknesses seems counter productive, even if they ask about it specifically. You'll want to make sure you answer the question, but it shouldn't be the most notable part of the statement. I had some poor grades while working on my first undergrad degree, so I basically said in one sentence that my grades got better once I figured out what I was really passionate about.

I also think how you address your weaknesses is important. I would avoid using negatives, or flat out saying you don't have what they're looking for. Because as soon as you say, 'I don't meet this requirement' they're likely to move on. If they ask to describe your clinical experience, and you don't have any, then you'll want to show that you understand what's involved in doing clinical work, and why you feel prepared to do clinical work. Stick to positive/affirmative statements, don't make it easy for anyone reading the statement to say, 'not qualified'.

One last thing, if you do choose to explain a deficiency in your application, have a bunch of people read it and ask them point blank if it sounds like a lame excuse. Experience has taught me that what may sound like a good reason to you, will often sound like a load of BS to someone else. Professors don't want people who will cause them problems, so don't give them the impression that instead of a productive apprentice they would get an unproductive excuse-maker.
 

amy203

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2006
333
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
If you're really worried about it, there are ways to address weaknesses without saying "my weaknesses are..." For instance, you could put "during my sophomore year, I discovered my passion for psychology and really began to focus on school." (OK, less cheesy, but you get what I'm saying...) That way, if someone is actually concerned by your grades, your PS will have an explanation, but it won't draw the attention of someone who isn't concerned.

I have a not so excellent quant GRE score, so I wrote a lot about all of the advanced stats classes I've taken and got a letter of rec from my stats prof. So I addressed the lousy score without ever bringing it up.
 

RayneeDeigh

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2007
1,346
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Thank you so much you guys, that's really helpful!
 

Joepa69

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2007
19
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Congrats Perfektspace!
Where have you received 4 interviews if you don't mind me asking?
 

perfektspace

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2006
251
0
Status (Visible)
Congrats Perfektspace!
Where have you received 4 interviews if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks Joe! After last year it feels great. I've got interviews @ Texas Tech, Sam Houston, Southern Miss., and Bowling Green. I think Kansas is out of the running but I'm still on hold for the rest. Thanks for asking and I hope your having good luck as well
 

perfektspace

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2006
251
0
Status (Visible)
I have a not so excellent quant GRE score, so I wrote a lot about all of the advanced stats classes I've taken and got a letter of rec from my stats prof. So I addressed the lousy score without ever bringing it up.

+1
That's what I was trying to say! Good advice.
 

Joepa69

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2007
19
0
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Your welcome...you deserve it, 4 out of 5 is pretty impressive. Is there a program that you want to go to more than others? I am 2 for 5 so far. I want to go to University of Memphis or Boston college counseling, but haven't heard from either. USC is one of my top choices and I do have an interview there. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
 

paramour

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2007
1,977
7
Status (Visible)
If you're really worried about it, there are ways to address weaknesses without saying "my weaknesses are..." For instance, you could put "during my sophomore year, I discovered my passion for psychology and really began to focus on school." (OK, less cheesy, but you get what I'm saying...) That way, if someone is actually concerned by your grades, your PS will have an explanation, but it won't draw the attention of someone who isn't concerned.

I have a not so excellent quant GRE score, so I wrote a lot about all of the advanced stats classes I've taken and got a letter of rec from my stats prof. So I addressed the lousy score without ever bringing it up.

I think Amy describes what you should do perfectly--although there may be a part of your app that is glaringly weak, you can still address it in your statement . . . but do it indirectly by pointing out all the positives that would override it.
 

perfektspace

Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2006
251
0
Status (Visible)
Your welcome...you deserve it, 4 out of 5 is pretty impressive. Is there a program that you want to go to more than others? I am 2 for 5 so far. I want to go to University of Memphis or Boston college counseling, but haven't heard from either. USC is one of my top choices and I do have an interview there. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

I will PM you.
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 14 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.