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Mathematics education - Statement of purpose for grad school


anne09 1 / 2  
Feb 25, 2017   #1
I am trying to apply for a scholarship and this is my SOP, I hope you could help me improve this. Thanks in advance!

back to school



After almost two years of teaching and tutoring, I decided to go back to school as a student to pursue a Master's degree in Mathematics Education.

I have worked as a teacher and as a tutor in private institutions before taking up my current position as a junior high school Mathematics teacher under the Department of Education. I have loved every minute of my work. It does not only include teaching mathematical concepts to students but also motivating them to learn the subject matter and help them apply it to their lives. In my course of work, the biggest challenge is motivating the students, not only to understand the lessons but also to see the importance of Mathematics in their lives and its impact to our country. I have realized that I am still lacking in skills and knowledge in effectively teaching the subject matter so I decided to pursue graduate studies. My colleagues also think that I am ready for this phase of my life.

As a child, I have always loved teaching but my love for Mathematics came during my junior high school days. In my XXX year, I have the opportunity to be one of Mrs. XXX' students. She is very strict but very good in delivering her lessons. I have always thought that Mathematics is a difficult subject but she was able to teach it effortlessly. She made sure that we understand the practical uses of Math through projects and assignments. Her passion and enthusiasm with her work was shown through her teaching. I have loved Mathematics since then and I wanted to be able to teach Math effectively and effortlessly like her. I wanted to be another Mrs. XXX.

In my undergraduate level, I have taken up Bachelor of XXX and my final thesis was about how to teach Mathematics effectively through the peer tutoring strategy. I found that most students' difficulties in Math were from ineffective techniques used by the teachers. For the past few years, teachers in the XXX are using Strategic Intervention Materials (SIM) to help low-achieving students understand the lesson and to help the teachers deliver the lessons effectively. This is very challenging to the teachers as the materials are not easy to make and takes time to create. And it is not actually as effective as we were expecting. I think that we need to implement new methods and techniques to effectively teach the subject matter.

It took me two years before deciding to take up a graduate degree because: first, I have to take my Licensure Examination to be a professional teacher which I fortunately passed a few months after graduation; and second, I want to see and observe the current situation of the XXX in Mathematics education. The two-year gap gave me a chance to observe the country's education system through teaching in private and public schools, and in tutorial centres. During these jobs, I was able to compare the strategies used in different institutions. I was also able to see that our country needs help in increasing the quality of education especially in Mathematics and Sciences.

The XXX lag behind in terms of Mathematics education. On the contrary, Korea is one of the best countries in the subject area and XXX University is one of the top schools in teaching education. I believe that I would be able to hone my skills in your university and will be able to acquire new learning and strategies in teaching Mathematics. I am excited to interact and be taught by your professors. I am looking forward to learn mathematical and leadership skills which I will be able to apply in improving the education system, not only in my country but also in other countries. I am also looking forward to join your Math club and be able to improve my skills and at same time be able to share my knowledge to other students. I believe that I will be able to contribute and learn to the challenging environment of your university.

Holt - / 7,527 2001  
Feb 25, 2017   #2
Anne, this does not sound like a statement of purpose for a scholarship application. This is more of a personal statement geared towards the university application. Is this essay meant for a university scholarship? Or is this supposed to be for a specific, non - university related scholarship grant?

There are a number of points for removal in your essay. The first, is the reference to your peers thinking that you are ready to go into masters studies. Their opinion does not matter to the reviewer. Then, there is reference to your childhood and high school interests in Math. Remove those references and focus more on the professional reason why you believe that you need to study an MS in Math. Discuss the relevant shortcomings of your college training in the field. Overcoming those difficulties will become the motivating purpose behind your higher studies.

Take out the paragraph that discusses how long it took you to decide to enroll in the MS course. That is not relevant to your application. What matters to the reviewer are the reasons and the purpose behind your desire to enroll in the course. It is already assumed that you qualify on all counts for the MS course so your apprehensions have no place in the essay.

BTW, are you applying via KGSP or are you applying on an individual level to the university? If you are applying through the KGSP, you have to tell me because the statement of purpose for that program is totally different from that of an ordinary SOP. If you are, then we will need to revise the whole essay to be more prompt responsive.
OP anne09 1 / 2  
Feb 25, 2017   #3
Yes it is for KGSP, university application.
Which ones should I remove and revise?
Holt - / 7,527 2001  
Feb 25, 2017   #4
I am sorry to say this but the essay that you wrote does not fall within the KGSP prompt requirements for a self introduction letter, which takes the place of the statement of purpose. Did you look over the required essays for the scholarship application before you wrote the draft? It does not feel like you did actual research for the application requirements, which is why your essay is so far from the required elements of the scholarship self introduction. Regardless if you are applying via the university or embassy track, the essays required are all the same in terms of content.

Your first essay is called a "Letter of Self Introduction" which takes the place of a statement of purpose. For this letter, you have to supply the following information to the reviewer:

-Your course of life, your view of life, study background, your hopes & wishes, etc
-Your education and work experience, etc., in relation to the KGSP program
-Your motivations for applying for this program
-Reason for study in Korea

As you can see, your essay does not exactly follow the required elements. Specially in the first, and third parts of the required discussion. In this case, it will be difficult for you to insert the other necessary portions into this existing essay. It would be best if you just write a new essay, one that better reflects the prompt requirements, using the essay that you wrote as a reference for the presentation of some other information that is required by the reviewer for your application.
OP anne09 1 / 2  
Feb 26, 2017   #5
I tried to write another essay as you said. Here it is. You MUST post it in a new thread..
Holt - / 7,527 2001  
Feb 26, 2017   #6
The professional aspect of your discussion is too short. You need to expand upon the discussion to show how your professional experience has helped to prepare you for your masters degree studies. Basically, your motivation to gain higher learning should be based upon your professional experience and the problems that you encountered as a teacher and tutor. A masters degree student is usually motivated by his current career and the demands of the job that he feels he cannot accurately address within his current capacity as a teacher.

The reasons for your desire to study in Korea is also not sufficient enough. Try to come up with a reflection of the current teaching trends and practices being done in Korea, specifically in the area of Mathematics. From there, discuss how you got your inspiration to continue becoming a better teacher by using the best available teaching methods. Then explain why you believe Korea presents that opportunity for you.

Basically we just need to strengthen the weak points of the essay. You got 2 out of 4 revised properly. So I am sure that you will get the last 2 properly written with the next round of revisions. You are almost done. Just hang in there and be a little bit more patient.


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