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Cornell LSA transfer essay - Game theory in Chinese agriculture


wwtyooo 1 / 1  
Mar 4, 2019   #1

motivation for study and future career



Question: Tell us what you'd like to major in at Cornell, and why or how your past academic or work experience influenced your decision, and how transferring to Cornell would further your academic interests. 4000 characters

Growing up in my father's business affairs and nostalgic talks between my parents, I am geared to build an innovative decision making system to completely revolutionize current agriculture which exclusively relies on unprofessional government officials with superficial researches. However, frustrated by those mathematical concepts and symbols in game theory papers plus more parameters from hilly environments, I decided to devote myself in mathematics.

An old photo caught my attention- mom and dad were leaning together with big smiles while batch transplanting in the paddy. An ugly leech was sucking blood unscrupulously on my mom's naked part of the right leg, while mom was totally unaware. The leech led me to find how hard farm-working is. During one third of my parents' lives, they struggled with farm work to make a living. Now my father is a successful businessman and we moved away from the small mountain village in Anhui Province. But villagers there still live in the way of 1980s for geographical constraints. Among the books my father treasures, The Great Defeat became my initial glimmer to tackle current problems by applying mature game theory from business to Chinese hilly agriculture.

This genuine motivation channeled me to seize opportunities to cultivate my skills. In the machine-learning lab, most my peers were Computer Science majors. To be on even footing, I self studied an online course CS231n in Stanford and Python. Under instructions of Dr. Xu about computer vision and natural language processing, I gradually understood basic principles of machine learning and incredibly came up with an idea that what if I collected those strategy data of typical successful agriculture and input them to train a neural network, then practiced on agriculturally primitive areas like my hometown. However, understanding leading models of machine learning like DenseNet requires profound comprehension of topology, function analysis and convex optimization. Besides, abstracting those strategies and mapping them to mathematically usable data can be a challenge.

Then the project No-Limited Texas Holdem Poker in the lab endows me a practice of game theory in machine learning, which ultimately enlightens me of how to apply game theory into hilly agriculture. Lacking guidance when reading papers and enough computation resources of Poker AI, I seriously think transferring to Cornell to major in mathematics will provide me more support for Poker AI research and my personal academic goal. Additionally, Cornell's world-beating level in agriculture will crest my idea of applying game theory to Chinese hilly agriculture.

With my passion in hilly agriculture and interdisciplinary nature of math, I hope to gain exceptional experience at Cornell. In courses like Dynamic Models in Biology, I will use scripting and graphics environment to construct a biological system model, which can be my prototype of my hilly agriculture project. Also with the course MATH 4260 Numerical Analysis, I will pay more attention to basic techniques of optimization for a nonlinear system, which can be equipped in the neural network part of my project since the neural network is a typical nonlinear system. Besides, if permitted, I expect Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos course, trying to apply those theories about nonlinear system to agricultural decision-making system.

Furthermore, I really appreciate Professor Joseph Y. Halpern for his multidisciplinary career in mathematics, economics and philosophy from whom I will learn across disciplines to meet my agricultural project demands. I plan to apply to be the teaching assistant at his class Decision-Making in Complex Environments to benefit my project. Outside the classroom, I will exchange mathematical ideas with fellow students in Mathematics Club on Thursday evening puzzle sessions. With the academic excellence and abundant resources, I know I can develop a solid math background, while continuing my hilly agriculture project.

Any feedbacks or grammar mistakes would be appreciated! That is my second version and I know my essay sucks because it is not attractive and unique at all.

Holt - / 7,528 2001  
Mar 5, 2019   #2
David, Ia m not sure if you know this but you went over the maximum character count by 5 characters. Maybe my advice how to edit the content can help you whittle this piece of writing down to below or exactly at the 4000 character count. I would like to say this right off the bat though, your essay takes way too long to get to the point. You don't need to set up the response to animatedly. The description of your parents and their lives, it just doesn't matter when you consider the prompt requirements. I learned more about your parents background and rise to success than I actually did with regards to your reason for wanting to study at Cornell and how your academic interests would be served by the move.

If I were the one writing this essay, I would revise it to build upon the content of paragraphs 5 and 6 instead. That would be the basis of my new essay. I would use those paragraphs to lay out a new foundation that more directly responds to the prompt questions. Remember, you have to write a character limited response. 4000 is the maximum for the essay, but it is not the goal. You can write only 2500 or even 3500 words and still come in with a very good essay. You need to focus on the quality of your response rather than meeting the character count. That is why your essay seems to lack focus and proper response development.
OP wwtyooo 1 / 1  
Mar 5, 2019   #3
Thank you for your comments. I guess I know your point: cut the parents thing, or even delete the second paragraphs, and focus on why mathematics? or why Cornell? I am not sure cause I think the first half of the prompt is asking why major(how the past experience influence the major choice) but Holt you seemed to mention why Cornell("your reason for wanting to study at Cornell"). Maybe I misunderstand it. I still really appreciate your comments and I will edit my essay.
Holt - / 7,528 2001  
Mar 6, 2019   #4
Yes, you did misunderstand the prompt. The first part is about academic (studying) and professional (work) experience on your part, in relation to your chosen major. What you experienced, not what you learned by observing your parents or what their experience taught them. They are not the ones applying for admission to Cornell. The reviewer doesn't care about their information. His focus is on your experience in relation to the prompt instruction.

The information that you wrote in paragraphs 5 and 6 relate directly to the reasons why you want to study at Cornell, that is why I am telling you to use that as the revised information for the response to the "Why Cornell" question. Since you are applying as a transfer student, you have to explain what you have learned so far academically and if you have had any practical work experience in the field. Based on that experience and learning, why do you think Cornell can still teach you more about this field? Why is it important to you that you continue your education at Cornell? These guide questions should help you better explain the reasons you chose Cornell to transfer to.


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