Hello! This is my first post on EssayForum. I have answered the following prompt for the 500 Word essay for QuestBridge College Match:
Tell us about a concept, theory, or topic you have explored simply because it sparked your intellectual curiosity. Why do you find it intriguing? How do you want to further explore it?
My essay is below. Please leave any feedback you may have. Fellow applicants, please don't plagiarize! I really have put a lot of effort into my application, and am just looking for more opinions. Thanks!
I didn't want to go to sleep
It was already half past midnight. I had just wrapped up my homework, and all my body wanted to do now was tumble into bed and sleep. But my mind, as it so often is, was in rebellion, and simply wasn't up to it. After many, many hours browsing the Mathematics StackExchange website, I decided to delve into something that, at the time, I could not even begin to describe - Number Theory. Now, on a shelf a couple of feet away, lay Hardy and Wright's An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers, which I had discovered completely untouched in an obscure corner of my local library. While I knew about as much about the subject as Columbus did about the Americas when he set sail in 1492, I was eager to explore the 656 pages that lay within those covers, those two pieces of cardboard as blue as the sea.
Indeed, in my head, I did feel like an explorer of sorts, and I still think that wasn't all just imagination. I may not have been looking for glory and land to claim for a king, but to take a step into this vast unknown seemed just as great. And so I did. Soon enough, I had become absorbed into the text, although many of the concepts detailed in each chapter still felt quite foreign. It was now 2 AM, and I had come across a page describing one of the most notable problems in Number Theory - Fermat's Last Theorem. I read the page multiple times, and the underlying concept seemed so tantalizingly simple. Yet mathematicians had found that proving it had been tremendously difficult, and involves mathematical spaces of which I have yet to comprehend the basics. And this is what I have found so intriguing, so captivating about Number Theory. The sheer amount of solutions left to be found has provided the freedom for mathematicians to entertain even the most far-fetched of conjectures, and where such ideas may end up is incredible to think about.
But I have only skimmed the surface so far, and an infinitesimal portion of the surface at that. After my first introduction to the topic, I completed a course from Stanford University on Elementary Number Theory, and want to continue this voyage in the years to come through attending seminars, taking classes, and, of course, reading books. I want to explore the applications of this form of mathematics, such as modern cryptography and the secure transmission of data, which resonates with my love for computer science. There is so much left to learn, and even more left to discover.
And to think it all started because I didn't want to go to sleep.
Hi, the time sequence in your first paragraph is a bit confusing to me. When did you spend hours browsing the website? At night when you couldn't sleep, or earlier? Because when did you get the book? Maybe you browsed the website that and that inspired you to read the book? Or maybe you had browsed the website earlier and that inspired you to choose the book from the library? It is hard for me to figure out and is therefore distracting. Besides that I think you have done a pretty good job of answering the two questions in the prompt.
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Ayush, the last sentence in your essay that start with "And to think..." is actually not necessary in the essay as it weakens the closing paragraph that you wrote before it. That was already a strong enough closing statement that clearly ended the essay on a note that would have been highly impressive and memorable to the reviewer. So the last line was a bit of an overkill when you think about it. You already established that you got involved with number theory because you were unable to sleep. There is no sense in repeating it. The presentation is strong and shows that you have really thought things through in your presentation. However, I believe that since you established that the book interested you in number theory, you should go beyond the written page and perhaps, present the name of a number theorist who further inspired you to look into the possibilities of this study. That way, you create a continuing flow of interest and an evolving need for education in the field. It makes it all the more obvious that this is something that continues to spark your intellectual curiosity as your interest in the topic veers into more serious fields of interest in relation to it.