Monday, December 08, 2008

Statement of Purpose Essay Contest

Are you a professor who wants to recapture your youth? A postdoc who would like to make a fresh start? A grad student who already regrets putting that Einstein quote at the top of the statement of purpose you submitted with your application to the grad program? You are in luck because now you are being given a second chance.

Announcing the first ever FSP Statement of Purpose Contest. Rules and information are as follows:

In the spirit of other literary contests that seek to emulate a particular author or style -- e.g. the Imitation Hemingway contest -- a Statement of Purpose (SOP) submitted to the FSP Statement of Purpose Contest should not be a sincere attempt* at a SOP. It should instead make mockery (gentle or savage) of SOPs, yet capture the essence of the genre. See a sample essay here.

Limit: Not too long.

Deadline: 20 December 2008, at no particular time; as long as it is still 20 December somewhere in the world, entries will be accepted. Late entries may be accepted if you beg and you have a really really good excuse, but probably not.

Prizes: Fame, respect, adulation, and perhaps even an FSP graph paper T-shirt (with or without the logo); winning entries will be posted, and maybe some losing entries too.

You may enter the contest as often as you wish because how would I know otherwise? Entries will be judged by a learned panel consisting of FSP and one or two highly caffeinated colleagues.

How to enter the contest: You can send me your SOP by email (see address in profile at right) or in a comment to this post. If you send me email, do not send an attachment! I realize that this eliminates some spectacular formatting possibilities, but many SOPS these days are submitted online by cutting/pasting into text boxes, and I would like to emulate that part of the experience as realistically as possible.

* To those of you who have sent me real SOPs to read in the past few months, I am sorry but I cannot give you feedback. I hope you can all find real people to read them and give you comments.


Anonymous said...

Oh how did you pick the end-of-the-semester distraction?

Anonymous said...

Okay, from the sample, it looks like I'm going to shoot for 200-400 words. Okay. I'm on it.

Ψ*Ψ said...

OOH! Can prospective grad students looking for some post-application-submission catharsis give it a shot?

Female Science Professor said...

Yes of course -- entries are welcome from prospective grads. This gives you the chance to write the SOP you would have written had you not been limited by concerns about professionalism and good taste.