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University of Pennsylvania supplement: What are you gonna do here?


prompt: How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (400-650 words)

education that matches my personal ideals and experiences



As my interest in neuroscience stemmed from my desire to learn more about Parkinson's Disease, which has severely disabled my beloved grandmother, the Biological Basis of Behavior Program's emphasis on clinical neuroscience will allow me to study in an environment that will constantly remind me of the reason and determination behind my major choice. In BBB, I wish to explore topics I'm fond of both through electives that cater to my specific interest and by engaging in extracurriculars such as research and teaching.

As BBB doesn't include specific concentrations, I feel excited to tailor my own learning experience. I will seek to not only understand the fundamentals of various neurological disorders but also examine the economic and sociological implications of these diseases in Neurobiology of Brain disorder. By taking Laboratory in the Structure of the Nervous System, I'll be able to gain a comprehensive knowledge in the nervous system and learn laboratory skills that will prepare me for independent research. Most importantly, advanced courses such as Neurodegenerative Diseases will allow me to achieve expertise in NDs and bring me one step closer to my life goal of enhancing patient lives through the discovery of better treatments or possible cures for such diseases.

BBB further attracted me with its newly formed Minor in Computational Neuroscience, a field in which my fascination with computer science can be effectively integrated into my pursuit of neuroscience. Supported by the minor's highly interdisciplinary nature, I will be equipped with knowledge in multiple fields of study to confront real-world problems. In the course Brain-Computer Interfaces, for example, I'll be able to combine my understanding of central nervous systems and computers to investigate how BCIs can contribute to the development of adaptive DPS therapies for Parkinson's. Furthermore, by taking Machine Learning, I hope to gain insights on not only ways to utilize computer algorithms to extract meaningful information from the vast bodies of data generated by modern neuroscience research but machine learning itself, which is quickly becoming an inspiring source for new theories on the workings of the brain.

What thrills me even more than the courses is the fact that I'll be applying my knowledge to answer questions that no one yet knows the answer to through research. I specifically look forward to joining the Chen-Plotkin Lab, where computational methods are incorporated into bench research to shed light on the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. The lab piqued my interest when I realized that its principal investigator, a PD neurologist, is pioneering the discovery of how genetic variants previously associated with Parkinson's actually cause the disease. I plan to not only take part in the laboratory studies but actively contribute to the lab by using my computational skills to assist in genetic database mining. In a lab that brings together expertise in clinical neuroscience and computer science, I wish to participate in and learn to appreciate research that strives to impact the devastating yet little-known neurodegenerative diseases.

Above all, I am drawn to the precious opportunity offered by BBB to serve the community through my favorite method-teaching. I'm excited to share my knowledge and passion in neuroscience with high-school students through ABCS of Everyday Neuroscience. With a unique, conversational approach, I will strive to provide students with an engaging learning experience and kindle a love for neuroscience in these young minds by leveraging my past experience in teaching. I would like to become a Moelis Access Science fellow to learn from and exchange ideas with other student teachers who are passionate about impacting the community by fostering a general curiosity about STEM in K-12 students.

I love the Biological Basis of Behaviors Program of Penn not just for its excellence in academics but because it provides a kind of education that matches with my personal ideals and experiences. I would definitely attend University of Pennsylvania if admitted there.

Dear Reader,

Which paragraph should I seek to expand on? Do my sentences sound repetitive?
It is due soon and I would appreciate your input.

Jan 6, 2018   #2
Wenbo, this is already a very long response statement. Don't you have a word limit on it? I feel like your presentation is not balanced between the academic pursuits and the academic pursuits based upon extra curricular activities. I think this could be better balanced if you present one classroom based pursuit, one research opportunity, then one extra curricular activity. You don't really need to impress upon the reviewer the length of your plans as a student at the university, you just need to present the ones that you feel will most reflect these interests and activities. Don't overwhelm the reviewer with information. Just keep it short but informative. Remember, you want to impress him not bore him with facts. When you present more than 3 varied activities, there is a tendency for reading boredom to set in. While your current information is not repetitive, it is too academic based in scope. More than 50% of your presentation is classroom based in presentation. Varying the content should help to make the essay more memorable to the reviewer. You will have to choose which parts of this essay you think is impressive enough and what you think can be removed. I can't make that decision for you because you and I do not think the same way and we will definitely have differing ideas as to what to keep and what to delete.


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