Why Major X - Mathematics

Essay Prompt

Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person … any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.

Sample Essay

For as long as I can remember, Mathematics has been my favorite subject. It was an easy decision to pursue Math as one of my higher level subjects in my IB curriculum and to have it be the focus for my extended essay because it is something I never get tired of studying. It is something I always want to know more about. We just finished the calculus chapter in school, and all I want to do is learn more about differential equations and integration. Right now, I puzzling over how to solve a problem that my teacher said isn't solvable. I probably won't be able to solve it, but the challenge is irresistible.  

I think I am fascinated by numbers because they represent a universal language that connects the world – a concept that all humans from young to old, men and women, every culture and group, can understand in the same way. As I studied the beautiful rules of numbers at a number theory course this summer, I was intrigued by theorems explaining perfect patterns that numbers fit into and the logical proofs that back up those theorems.

It thus seems only logical that my major in college will be Mathematics. I know that I will be able to satisfy my intellectual passions and curiosity at Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. Who wouldn’t want to take courses called “Totally Awesome Mathematics" or “Introduction to Combinatorics?” Beyond the courses are the opportunities to learn from and with faculty and students who are equally enthralled with mathematics and the magic of numbers. The research being done at Cornell is amazing and I would love to find a way to convince Dr. John Hubbard to let me help with his research on the behavior of differential equations and iterative systems (not just because of the topic, but also because he uses the latest technology available and clearly has a sense of humor as his moving eyebrow on his research page shows -- http://www.math.cornell.edu/~hubbard/).

Finally, I am excited to join the community at Cornell because much of my most inspired and breakthrough thinking happens after I have played my trumpet. I've been a serious trumpeter for nine years and I want to continue playing in college. Joining the CU Winds would allow me to do that with the added benefit that it could bring on a wave of brilliant insight to a mathematical problem.

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