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Personal Statement advice

  • Thread starter CornMuffin
  • Start date
  • #1
67
5

Main Question or Discussion Point

I am applying to graduate school in applied math and I was just wondering if there was anything more I should add or take out of my personal statement.

Here is a brief overview of what I incuded in my personal statement:

I first talked about what got me interested in math which are math competitions in highschool and college, and by attending SUMS (Symposium for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Science), and why I choose applied rather than pure math.
I also talk about getting a low grade (C+) in differential equations for applications then saying that I received an A in numerical analysis that used differential equations extensively.
I talk about this course I took for two semesters where each semester I would choose a topic to learn more about and write a paper on and how it taught me to use LaTeX. And I also talked about my proficiency in mathematica.
Last thing I discuss was my research interest (numerical analysis)

Length: about 1 page, 460 words

is there anything else I should include or exclude?

Below is my actual statement, but I don't expect anyone to read it, what I wrote above is everything I included in the letter


My true inspiration to further my mathematical knowledge first came from participating in math competitions while I was still in high school, such as math club competitions and the AMC (American Mathematics Competitions). It was then that I first began to understand the joy that math brings to my life, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to pursue a career in mathematics. While in college, I have had the pleasure of participating in several other mathematical competitions, such as the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competitions, calculus competitions hosted by the University of Connecticut and an intercollegiate mathematics competition hosted by Central Connecticut State University. As Professor S**** will inform you in a letter of recommendation, I scored well on the calculus competition and the Putnam competition. My decision to choose applied mathematics wasn’t an easy one, but the major event that waved my decision was by attending SUMS (Symposium for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences) at Brown University. I have attended SUMS twice before and I look forward to attending it again in March. A lot of the talks at this conference were of applied mathematics, and I began to realize how much interest I had in applied, rather than pure mathematics.

During my sophomore year, I was immature in balancing my academic and social lives, which led to my getting a C+ in a course in differential equations for application. However, I took a full year of numerical analysis the following year, in which I received an A, which uses differential equations extensively. During my sophomore year and into my junior year, I was enrolled for two semesters in a course called undergraduate seminar. During each semester in this course, we would choose a topic in mathematics that we would like to learn more about and by the end of the semester we would write a paper about the subject in LaTeX. (I chose to learn more about the Vigenère and Enigma Ciphers the first semester and the Apollonian Gasket the second semester.) This course not only taught me how to type in LaTeX, but it also taught me to be more independent in my studies in mathematics, which are both invaluable skills to have for graduate school. In addition to being proficient in LaTeX, I have gained experience using Mathematica in many of my classes.

Overall, I am looking forward to going to graduate school in applied mathematics, as my long term goal is to become an applied mathematician at a research university. My main specific interests are within numerical analysis which is the subject in which I want to conduct research. Since your department has a research group in numerical analysis, it would be an especially good fit for me during my graduate studies.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
54
0
I actually did read your personal statement, and I feel that it includes all of the information that personal statements usually contain - it sounds great, and very impressive!

The only thing that stood out was "As Professor S**** will inform you in a letter of recommendation" - I feel that this just makes you sound kind of full of yourself (which you have every right to be!) I also feel that referencing something else that is going to be read anyway is somewhat redundant.

Other than that, excellent and good luck!
 
  • #3
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
8,107
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The only thing that stood out was "As Professor S**** will inform you in a letter of recommendation" - I feel that this just makes you sound kind of full of yourself (which you have every right to be!) I also feel that referencing something else that is going to be read anyway is somewhat redundant.
It also makes it look like you know what is in each of your reference letters. Saying this is not a great idea as reference letters that the candidate has not seen are normally taken as much more credible than those that the candidate has been able to read.
 
  • #4
308
0
I'd leave out the Latex part, and write more about your proficiency in mathematica.
 
Last edited:
  • #5
459
1
I'd leave out the background for why you want to be in math. Also, leave out the conversation of your C+, one C+ isn't a big deal and you did well in follow up classes it speaks for itself.
 
  • #6
67
5
Thank you guys, much appreciated
 

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