College Admission Essays :
Jonathan Bloom - Orchard Lake – Michigan
Jonathan is a gifted mathematician. During his summers he conducted
research at Ohio State University and General Motors. In his essay, he
shows his passion for the field and achievements that he made while still
in high school. He says the goal of his essay was to get the admission
office to share his application with the mathematics faculty to gain the
department’s support. In his spare time he volunteers, water skis and
juggles torches, knives and clubs.
Number Theory and Vehicle Weight Distribution - Harvard University
Near the end of my junior year of high school, I had yet to decide whether
to accept a summer internship at General Motors or to return to the Ross
Young Scholars Program at Ohio State University. The previous summer at
Ross, while fully immersed in number theory for eight weeks, I developed
a burning hunger for the in-depth study of mathematics. I learned how
to think scientifically and perform research independently. The founder of
the program honored me with an invitation to return as a junior counselor.
In this capacity, I would have studied combinatorics while engage d in the
development of first-year attendees. The founder and other OSU professors
repeatedly urged me to come back to Ohio State, and one faculty member
actually suggested that, at General Motors, I might be nothing more than
“Captain Xerox.” By taking their advice, I would have revisited a safe and
familiar academic experience. Instead, I took a risk and entered the corporate
My experience at GM could not have been more successful. Based on my
background, I w a s placed in the Operations Research Department of the
General Motors Truck Group. I conducted a study that identified the most
efficient method for accurately approximating the vehicle weight distribution
for their product lines. Ten weeks later, I had completed the project,
documented the results and given five presentations to increasing levels of
management. General Motors is now looking at ways to quickly implement
my findings, which will result in the company saving millions of dollars.
As the only high school student, it was a privilege to be a contributing
participant in a fully operational corporate workgroup. I worked comfortably alongside many talented individuals, half of whom had their doctoral
degrees. Invested with responsibility, I managed my assignment from
inception through completion. I also sharpened my oratory skills, presenting
volumes of technical data in a clear and concise manner. This required
reading a textbook on statistics and learning the fundamentals of Visual
Basic for Applications.
By not traveling to Columbus, I was able to take two courses at Wayne
State University, study and pass-out of Spanish IV at my high school and lay
the groundwork for my next research project at the University of Michigan-
Dearborn. Because I live on a lake, staying at home gave me the opportunity
to enjoy boating, jet skiing, water skiing and wake boarding with my
friends. I even took a little red Corvette, a company car, out for a spin on
Interstate 75. This summer, therefore, provided me with both a tremendous
sense of accomplishment as well as an opportunity for relaxation.
During the course of my young life, I have taken many risks by participating
in academic and extracurricular activities that are beyond my years. The
events of these past two summers have given me confidence that I would
thrive in a strong academic and research-oriented environment. I believe
that I would be a positive addition to the student body at Harvard College.
Why This Essay Succeeded
There is no question that Jonathan is smart. However, this essay also
allows Jonathan to show that his abilities can have a practical application
and that he can work with people outside of academia. While the
first two-thirds of the essay outline his interest and accomplishments
within the sciences, the last two paragraphs allow Jonathan to also
convey another aspect of his personality. He is not just a science nerd.
He enjoys water sports and foreign language and even taking a spin in
a Corvette. This helps to round out our image of Jonathan and show a
side that is probably not obvious by looking only at his application.
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