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"intellectual interests" - Cornell: College of Arts and Sciences.


Paullee 3 / 7  
Oct 19, 2010   #1
Topic: Describe your intellectual interests, their evolution, and what makes them exciting to you. Tell us how you will utilize the academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences to further explore your interests, intended major, or field of study.

I like Math. I love the euphoria of solving challenging problems, no matter how long they take. As a matter of fact, I was once one of the math haters. "Where can I possibly use this complicated mathematics in the future?" was the endless conundrum of my life. The environment of my Korean high school forced me to learn Math in a very demanding way; Teachers did not made a slightest attempt to explain why I should learn math, but only made me memorize everything. Math was merely a requisite for success in exams. One day, my dad was given an official order to go work in Beijing, China. Moving to China brought me the opportunity to study math in a fun way, which drastically changed my mind-set for Mathematics.

The International school I attend in Beijing does not promote meaningless, rote memorization. Instead, math teachers make me see the fun side of how formulas are derived. Classes are no longer only textbook-based. Software is used to display different graphs. I learn how graphs are transformed by drawing a number of graphs using technology, not by memorizing how the graph will move if a part of the equation changes. Mr. Brook, my math teacher, often teach us history and more real world application of a particular topic we learn in class. This makes me see that math is of extensive use. Furthermore, the cultural diversity which exists in the school allows me to participate successfully in Math competitions, such as AMC and UKMT, hosted by different countries. During the preparation, I faced entirely new types of questions and had to discover plenty of brilliant ways to approach those problems. Realizing that Math can be a fun subject, I opened my mind to it.

I was chosen as the acting math teacher for year 5 and 6 students. The main reason why my peers voted for me was that, considering my passion and affection for Mathematics, I should be the right person to enliven little students with fun mathematics. To meet with their expectations, I employed technologies and games to teach different mathematical concepts. I knew by experience that having a board filled with numbers and formulas would not help them learning, but would turn them into math-haters.

With all new experiences, I realized that critical logic, not mere memorization skill, is crucial to my development in Mathematics. By reading news articles, I have been able to see and understand mathematical concepts at work in the world around me, which has ignited my passion. I came to recognize Mathematics as a milestone of various subjects, such as Economics and Physics. This idea led me to pursue those subjects that have mathematics as their essence. Economics taught me how math is used by economists in the market; Physics, how an abstract side of math is used to predict electron movement and the logic behind it. Writing my extended essay on the topic of Fractals strongly widened my view and equipped me with an insight into in-depth math.

Using fractal dimension to achieve maximum efficiency in the antenna industry makes me marvel at the depth of Mathematics required. Sometimes, I even think that the world is run by Mathematics. Now, instead of the old questions I had before, I have a new conundrum to answer: How far does Mathematics reach? I am applying to the College of Arts and Sciences to take the first step. The academic program of the college will widen my knowledge and develop my reasoning ability to help me form a solid foundation for future studies in Mathematics and my career as an applied mathematician.

I am planning on applying for cornell's early admission, but then I am VERY worried about my supplement essay :(. Please, I welcome any critique, advice, or compliment (if you have any..).

Thank you so much
EF_Kevin 8 / 13319 129  
Oct 23, 2010   #2
After the semi-colon, do not capitalize:
...t eachers did not made make the slightest attempt to explain why I should learn math, but only made me memorize everything.

Realizing that Math can be a fun subject, I opened my mind to it.---- at this point, half way through the essay, you have established that you now find fun in math, but it is time to move on to discussing specific concepts, specific intentions for the time you will spend in college.

I knew by experience that having a board filled with numbers and formulas would not help them learning, but would turn them into math-haters.----I see that you are indeed getting specific. And I like your promotion of this theme, "the math haters."

Using fractal dimension to achieve maximum efficiency in the antenna industry makes me marvel at the depth of Mathematics required (let's not keepo beating the point of how math applies. Let's just dive into talking about the specific interests you have.

Sometimes, I even think that the world is run by Mathematics. Now, instead of the old questions I had before, I have a new conundrum to answer: How far does Mathematics reach? ----very interesting! I would like it even more if it asked how far mathematics can reach in achieving a specific goal you have for contributing to society. Get specific! :-)

...my career as an applied mathematician.---is this really how you think of the career? I think of myself as a writer, but I also think I have to specialize. How will you specialize?


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