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USC Undergraduate Admissions Supplement Essay- Major: Applied Mathematics, Intended Minor: History


JackZhang898 2 / 2  
Nov 17, 2015   #1
Describe your academic interests and how you plan to pursue them at USC. Please feel free to address your first- and second-choice major selections (250 word limit).

I have a confession to make: I am a math addict. The "past purchases" list on my Amazon account is filled with books such as Love and Math, A History of Pi, and Archimedes' Revenge. To feed my obsession further, I ordered a Larson textbook last year to study calculus independently. However, my fervor for mathematics transcends merely number crunching; I hope to study applied mathematics to pursue my interests in biochemistry and one day create algorithms for DNA replication and explore processes of the cell cycles. Despite my strong interests in mathematics and biochemistry, I reject the harmful dichotomy within today's education system: STEM versus humanities. My STEM knowledge is obsolete without the analytical skills and moral understandings I learn in humanities courses. For instance, in addition to studying mathematical computations, I love to learn about the history of mathematics and its impacts on society. Why did calculus thrive during the Scientific Revolution? What effects did Galileo's kinematics studies have on the Industrial Revolution? USC can provide me the resources and education to investigate these interdisciplinary questions. "Breadth with depth", a quote from the Dornsife College webpage, epitomizes my idea of a successful college education. I hope to become a Renaissance Scholar at USC by seeking a major in mathematics and a minor in history to fulfill my broad interests.

vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 17, 2015   #2
Jack, I can sense your love for number crunching across the screen of my laptop. It really does seem like you are dedicated to spending your time at USC finding a way to combine STEM with Humanities. That is why I am wondering why you wasted your valuable word count by presenting questions instead of discussing how you plan to combine STEM with Humanities as an USC student. Don't you think that discussing that would have been a better use for the word count?

The way I see it, you need to develop your response to shed more light upon how you plan to pursue those courses at USC considering that they are supposed to be at odds with one another. It would have helped if you discussed a method by which you see yourself enrolling in those classes and then combining what you have learned to create a unique or totally new math concept that would rely on inspiration from both fields of study. Or something along those lines.

Remember, the purpose of this statement is to let the reviewer know that you have some definite courses in mind to enroll in. Having accomplished that, you can discuss why you feel the need to pursue both fields and how these should successfully come together for you as a student at USC over the next 4 years. I know it sounds hard, but a response like that is exactly what will make a reviewer take note of your application and make it more memorable to him.
Kyonabelle 2 / 4 2  
Nov 17, 2015   #3
Hello there! @vangiespen listed quite a few good tips, so I won't repeat what was said.

'I hope to study applied mathematics to pursue my interests in biochemistry and one day create algorithms for DNA replication and explore processes of the cell cycles.', '...USC can provide me the resources and education to investigate these interdisciplinary questions.'

Is there a specific class or module in USC that caters to this? The question asks specifically about how you would pursue them at USC, so it might be good to answer the question directly.

You managed to handle a good balance between math and history, so that's good.

'I hope to become a Renaissance Scholar at USC by seeking a major in mathematics and a minor in history to fulfill my broad interests.'

Perhaps you'd consider rephrasing this. Perhaps sound a little more sure, "I believe..." < then link it again to why you and USC are a great fit. Try to think of it like you're on a date and you're telling your date why you and her are a perfect fit. Point + elaborate + link (Your beauty is unrivalled - your eyes are my greatest inspiration. With your beauty and my Wes Anderson skills, we'll make great films together)

Other than that, wonderfully written :)
justivy03 - / 2,367 607  
Nov 22, 2015   #4
Zhang, I'd like to share my thoughts on your essay.

Your essay is written well, in fact it's strongly written and you have a clear outlook of what your future will be with USC.

The way you transition your essay from the obsession you have with mathematics and numbers to writing about
how you would like to pursue it as a course in the university is very interesting and you manage to write it smoothly.

For future reference, try to play with big words too, your already good in mixing words of conversational English with mathematic terminologies
so you should not have any problems in using big words into your essay.

I hope to see more of your writing pieces here on EF so we can assist you further.
hasdymath 11 / 25  
Nov 23, 2015   #5
hi JackZhang898, let me help you out regarding your essay. After reading it, I have met two mistakes.

The first, obout this sentences

I have a confession to make: I am a math addict. [...]
[...] and one day create algorithms for DNA replication and explore processes of the cell cycles.


you need to add background statement why you are going to choose mathematics in biochemistry before the third sentence. It is because in the first and second sentence you do not mentiond your intention about biochemistry. It will make reader easily to understand your point.

the second, about this sentence

Why did calculus thrive during the Scientific Revolution? What effects did Galileo's kinematics studies have on the Industrial Revolution?

I think, you should give sentence connector or short sentence before that sentence, in orde to be connected with the previous sentence.


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