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Why I selected Computer Science as my major - Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign prompt

nyanpasu 3 / 6 4  
Nov 3, 2016   #1
Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. If you're applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you're currently considering.

I have always had an inclination toward computers. I fondly remember my uncle teaching me how to play the Arthur video games when I was 7. It was intriguing to learn the logic of the game. I started seeing patterns in the game. When I realised that behind this game was just lines and lines of logic it was a revelation and it really piqued my interest. I first started coding when I was 11. My father would spend 2 hours a day teaching me QBasic over the summer vacation. Things got very frustrating when we got into arrays, but I gritted my teeth and finally understood the concept.

My interest in Computer Science was rekindled in tenth grade. We had Computer Science as a co-scholastic subject. I was one of the few students who took it seriously. I paid extra attention in class to absorb as much information as I could. We learned C, the programming language. I felt the most childlike joy when I learned how to swap two numbers! The concept of a temporary variable was such a fascinating concept for some reason. In tenth grade I was quite stressed out about my final exams, and playing video games got rid of a lot of that stress. I played strategy-based games like League of Legends. On doing some research, I found that the game was written on C++. The thought of combining two of my favourite things, coding and gaming, excited me. That's why in 11th grade I chose Computer Science as my elective subject.

Computer Science excited me. I never got stressed when learning new concepts. We learned C++ in 11th grade and I loved it. We had practical classes along with theory. If I completed my assignment early I would help my friends debug their programs. My understanding got better when I helped others, and I felt proud when I could help someone.

For eleventh grade we had to work on a Computer project. We had to use concepts that we had learned in school. I created a project featuring ATM function. It was a big accomplishment when I completed the project. I scored 93% in my final exams and I was elated. I improved in twelfth grade, with a 98%. I also participated in an IT quiz at the city level taught me that Computer Science and IT were more vast than I had previously thought. The childlike joy came again in grade 12 when I learned different algorithms for sorting, especially the insertion sort. I found its algorithm appealing. Learning further about queues and linked lists was really engaging.

Upon re-reading the prompt I realised that I never discussed how my interest in CS would tie with my future career goals. Sadly, this essay I've written is 438 words when the prompt calls for 300-400 words. I plan on explaining that I want to either be a computer programmer, or something related to cryptography. I feel like my love of programming shines through in this essay, so it would be easy to explain, but I'm not sure if I should mention my interest in cryptography. I only really read books and watched TV shows about it, which is how that interest was kindled.

So, my questions are:

1. What parts of this essay can be removed and what bits should be elaborated?

2. I plan on writing a short paragraph at the end, describing my future career goals. Should I just talk about computer programming or mention cryptography as well?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions! If there's any grammatical errors feel free to correct 'em too. c:

Holt [Contributor] - / 8,149 2303  
Nov 3, 2016   #2
Yamini, in answer to your first question, you should remove all references to your interest in programming starting from the age of 7. The reviewers always view such claims as an exaggeration on the part of the student and normally do not pay particular attention nor give any weight to such claims. Instead, you could reword your paragraph that talks about how you gained an interest in the CS while in the 10th grade. That sounds much more logical and believable to the reviewer.

As for your future goals, if you don't have any actual experience in Cryptography, I would not suggest using it in this essay. If you cannot give a strong justification for the goal, based upon your previous experience or related interests that you had pursued, it's going to be hard to sell that to the reviewer. Just go with what you know you can accurately discuss and support in the essay. You can never go when you do that.

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