College Admission Essays

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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 world.

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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