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Statement by MIPT Alumnus (01/2003)

The Mathematics Student admitted to UC Berkeley, NYU

This application is very important to me because completion of a PhD degree in Mathematics


will be the best chance for a unifying career development with my labor of love -
mathematics. I am confident that when I become a serious and mature researcher my desire to
make a contribution to mathematics and to our understanding of this world will remain my
main driving force.

I don't remember when I became keen on mathematics. At first it was only entrainment as I
found it exciting to solve intricate problems. Later it became something more than a mere
hobby. I particularly enjoyed the ineffable feeling of triumph when you realize that the
problem is solved; that you have got the idea. I think it is the profundity of this feeling that
made mathematics my chief enthusiasm. I have taken part in Olympiads and Conferences.
The most valuable contribution of these competitions was a possibility to meet the same
enthusiasts in mathematics. I was particularly impressed when I was invited to participate in
an International Summer School and Conference in the ancient town of Pereslavl-Zalessky.
There I had an opportunity not only to work on appealing research problems but also to
interact closely with working mathematicians such as X and Y. It is difficult to describe the
feelings that overwhelmed me but they did incite me to further progress.

Being a high school student I was doing a course on inequalities at Kiev State University
where I conducted my first research work. It was essentially proof of Karamat inequality that
utilized properties of convex functions and Murhead inequality. It was unforgettable, how the
main idea of my central proof dawned upon me. That evening I went to sleep the happiest boy
in the world. Although, relatively simple, I did something really innovative, something that no
one had ever done before with elementary methods. That was my first moderate contribution
to mathematics.

Later, while being a freshman at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), I
refined the proof and presented it at the 52nd MIPT Scientific Conference where it was
honored the first prize.

In my fourth year when students of our University get involved in research activity, Professor
X suggested to be my supervisor. Under his guidance I wrote my thesis Integration of
Multivalued Mappings and defended it with Honors. Essentially it consisted in a study of
necessary and sufficient conditions under which there exists Riemann integral of multivalued
maps. My task was to find some classes of sets of attainability and to investigate relation
between Lebesgue and Riemann integral for Multivalued Maps. In this work I analyzed
properties of spaces of compacts with Housdorff metric and properties of support functions of
convex compacts and applied these theoretical findings to several problems of theoretical
mechanics. During this work I acquired a broad range of research experience and background
necessary for further research in convex analysis.

My current research work is devoted to differentiating of multivalued mappings and


differential inclusions. The main task is to become familiar with ideas and approaches
introduced in the Sci. D. thesis of Professor X and to improve the results that are obtained in
it. One of the most challenging tasks in the project is to obtain Pontryagin maximum principle
in Hamiltonian form from Lagrange form (in terms of tangent cones).

After graduation I plan to continue my scientific career in mathematics. Differential games,


convex analysis and Optimization theory are of particular interest to me. I have the strongest
incentive to advance as far as I can in this captivating science and feel confident that
application to the University of Chicago is the best possible step to accomplish it. I would
regard my admission to your University not only as a great honor but also as a great
responsibility and an obligation to work hard.

Ivan Ivanov 12/15/2002


Statement by a Student from Bulgaria currently studying in US (01/2003)
The Physics Student admitted to the University of Chicago

Statement of Purpose (on-line


application)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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I always think of my knowledge the same way a wealthy person thinks of his bank
account, all he really knows is addition. My strong analytical abilities invariably
attract me to unresolved theoretical problems either at the foundations of physics
or at the frontiers of technology. Challenge intrigues and motivates me to discover
unique solutions. The act of solving difficult problems not only provides an
excellent way of gaining a significant amount of knowledge per unit time but also
enables me to derive a deep sense of pride and satisfaction from my hard work.

Before entering Sofia University, I studied at one of the best specialized science
high schools in Bulgaria. XX, a well-known in Bulgaria high school physics
teacher, profoundly impacted my intellectual development at that time by engaging
me in the schools physics center and teaching me calculus, linear algebra, and
differential equations at the university level. In addition, he instilled in me a spirit
of competitiveness and intellectual curiosity. While preparing to represent
Bulgaria at two International Physics Olympiads, I realized that being good in
physics requires constant effort. Like an athlete training his or her muscles for the
championship game, I refined my abilities to solve complicated problems through
many hours of daily practice. The fact that I was awarded a bronze medal at the
1991 International Physics Olympiad in Cuba, gave me a deep, long - lasting
confidence in my abilities. Due to the high level of expertise in undergraduate
physics that I acquired during my preparation, now I am confident in my abilities
to be an effective Teaching Assistant. In fact, I am currently a grader for the
honors physics class at the X State University and look forward to the challenges
awaiting me as a Teaching Assistant next quarter.

Following my graduation from Sofia University, I engaged in further development


of my analytical skills from 1998 to 2000 while being a Research Assistant in the
field of theoretical optical pattern recognition at the Bulgarian Academy of
Sciences. I was responsible for developing mathematical methods to obtain a scale
and rotation invariant correlation filter that may have exciting applications for
image recognition of fingerprints, faces, cells, etc. The problem has remained
unsolved for over 30 years. I worked on an independent basis, since no one in
Bulgaria had theoretical expertise in the field. This unyielding work contributed in
developing my intellectual persistence. My adviser, Prof. X, frequently remarked,
I am amazed you have not given up yet! Although I was unable to find the
general solution, I succeeded in both generalizing the existing methods and finding
two new partial solutions. The results of my strenuous work were published in the
two attached articles. I am especially proud of the last article, which will appear in
the January 2003 issue of Applied Optics. It presents an analytical derivation and
computational test of a new scale-only invariant filter that has shown one of the
best performances in the field.

I am currently concentrating in elementary particle theory, including string theory.


My interest in this topic stems from numerous discussions with a friend who works
in the field as well as numerous Internet searches on the subject. A book from
Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell, further struck my imagination with
its powerful ideas about strings, quantum gravity, black holes, and time travel. The
mathematical demands and richness of new physics concepts attracted me to
explore this field in greater detail.

In the summer of 2001, my interest led me to the CDF (Collider Detector at


Fermilab) experimental high energy group at X State University. My task in the
group was writing C++ software for data analysis. The CDFs software is very
good although not perfect. For example, the analysis programs usually crash when
the structure of the input file is not of the type expected. Such failures motivated
me to write the first program that was able to probe the structure of the input file
and not try to read nonexistent data. My program never crashed and the members
of the group started using it extensively.

My major project in the group was developing xxxx. I was specifically responsible
for writing the routines that selected the tracks pertaining to a common vertex. I
developed and implemented two completely new methods for xxxx. I performed a
substantial amount of analytical work and computational tests to complete the
design. My enthusiasm for the project, often translated into working until the early
morning hours. The result was great in that I substantially raised the efficiency of
the primary vertex finder to the level of vxprim (the standard vertex finder) and
above. I presented the results in the talk I gave at Fermilab in August xxxx
(attached).

While exploring the experimental side of high energy physics, my interest


gradually shifted towards elementary particle theory. The recent advances in the
field are promising - the Grand Unified Theory is closer than ever, gravity may be
reconciled with quantum mechanics, and the extraction of details about the
superstring theories at the Large Hadron Collider seems plausible. In addition, my
personal experiences listed above have enabled me to realize that I have a natural
inclination towards analytical work. I have already taken one course unit in
quantum field theory and three units in particle physics. Studying the Standard
Model and mastering the math machinery behind it fascinated me. Despite being a
successful theory, it has too many phenomenological constants such as the quark
and lepton masses and there is a great deal of work for a researcher. The
enthusiasm I felt during these courses convinced me that I had made the right
choice of subject. Additionally, my time here at the X State University has enabled
me to attend some impressive talks in superstring theories by leading lecturers in
the field that have also further stimulated my interest.
I tested my general theoretical preparation in September xxxx when I passed the
Qualifying Exam at the X State University with a score of 89% (results attached)
compared to an average of 47% among my student colleagues. Next quarter, I will
continue to strengthen my background by taking the last units of the quantum field
theory as well as any course offered on superstrings. I have also been studying
group theory on an independent basis. In my opinion, a good theoretician must
have expertise in areas outside of the major field. That is why, led by my
intellectual curiosity, I took a course in superconductivity during spring quarter
2002. Furthermore, next quarter I will be enrolled in courses on general relativity,
nonlinear dynamical systems and chaos, and a nuclear theory course that will
discuss applications of effective field theory to many body systems.

The intensive and more advanced level of research in elementary particles theory
at the University of California at Berkeley has strengthened my belief that your
program provides better opportunities for me to continue my studies of the
Standard Model and the superstring theories. The Berkeleys first-class faculty
and the presence of a competitive student body that more appropriately matches
my own high level of preparation would certainly stimulate me more to achieve
the highest standards of academic excellence in physics. Furthermore, I find the
research conducted at Berkeley more contemporary and intriguing. Of particular
interest to me in my field is the research of Prof. Lawrence Hall in physics of extra
spatial dimensions and symmetry breaking and that of Prof. Petr Horava in string
theory. Graduating from Berkeley would have a profound impact on my future
career in physics by providing better opportunities for professional realization in
the academic sphere.

In conclusion, my comprehensive background in theoretical and computational


physics, my strong interest in theoretical particle physics, and my proven abilities
to independently obtain solutions in highly unyielding theoretical areas (optical
pattern recognition), give me the confidence that I have the appropriate potential
and motivation to meet to your high academic standards while being an innovative
contributor to the science of physics.

IVAN IVANOV: DATE:


Statement by Indian Student (01/2003)
The Biomedical Engineering Student

Draft version. Some of my comments are left in italic.

I am interested in Biomedical Engineering as a field to pursue my career in. I find its unique
mix of Engineering, Medicine and Life Sciences very exciting. It is a fast growing area with
tremendous potential for research and also an increasing number of applications in today's
world of medicine and technology. I am paricularly interested in the application of
microsystems technology and the latest microelectronics technology in developing implanted
biomedical devices and other medical products. My research interests lie primarily in the
areas of Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems. My parallel areas of interest are the
design and fabrication of Biomaterials and determining the mechanical, transport and
biocompatability properties of implantable artificial materials and the applications of
Biomedical Instrumentation. To help you understand my current professional goals and
research interests better, I would like to first explain my educational experience up to this
point.

I have recently graduated from the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at XX
University where I completed a non-thesis Masters program in Computer Engineering. My
decision to pursue graduate studies in Computer Engineering was the natural culmination of
my undergraduate coursework in Electrical and Electronics Engineering where I majored in
Computer Organization and Microcomputer Systems. Also, I wanted to broaden my horizons
and gain relevant exposure in the field of Computer Hardware.

During the one and a half years of my graduate studies I gained a deep understanding of
various fields in Computer Engineering mainly microarchitecture, VLSI System Design
,Analog Electronics and the fundamentals of computer networking and communication. As
part of my graduate coursework, I received a number of opportunities to work closely with
semiconductor technology through various design, implementation and research projects.
Working on key projects like the design of a 4-bit slice microprocessor, 6-bit FLASH Analog-
to-Digtal Converters and a number of simulations and experiments to design and determine
the performance of computers at the microarchitecture level, I got the opportunities to use
state-of-the-art hardware design and simulation tools like the Cadence , Synopsys, Hspice and
Verilog.

It was during this phase that I developed an interest in exploring the areas of application of
semiconductor and microsystems technology in non traditional fields like the Medicine and
life sciences. My studies revealed to me both a high research potential and a significant
growth in the application of microelectronics and microsystems in the field of Biomedical
Engineering. What I discovered significantly improved my understanding of the subject and
further enhanced my fascination for it.

[Have you worked on any particular research projects? If yes, definitely elaborate on this.
Are you interested in any particular faculty at W.University? If yes, definitely mention it.]
I look forward to a career in committed research where I can not only use my academic
background to achieve my research goals but also make original scientific contributions to my
field of interest and to mankind in general. I believe that graduate studies would provide me
with the opportunities to attend advanced courses and be the stepping stone to my career in
research. Graduate study at Wayne State University holds this promise for me. The quality of
the faculty, flexibility of the graduate program, the diverse areas of ongoing research, the
carefully designed depth and breadth of courses, cultural diversity in the graduate school,
seem to me as the right ambience to nurture my research interests and work towards my goal.
It would be a matter of great pride for me to be a part of this rich interdisciplinary
interface [This is all very general ideas and your statement needs to be personal, about you.
Plus next paragraph gives praise to the university and one paragraph is plenty, so I would
suggest eliminating this paragraph altogether or partially adding it to the last one]

My strengths are a strong academic background, sense of teamwork, integrity and ability to
put in sustained quality effort consistently . It is my desire to have a mutually beneficial
association with your University and to contribute my best to the field of Biomedical
Engineering .I am aware that X University has high standards for admitting students to its
graduate programs. I believe that my academic credentials together with my research interests
and potential would help me gain admission to the esteemed Department of Biomedical
Engineering at X Universuty. I hope that on reviewing my application package, the University
would be convinced of the same. [You might want to change your last paragraph, especially
last two sentences. It needs to be more powerful, not hopefull. See examples on my website. I
would rewrite this paragraph altogether.]

Ivan Ivanov
Statements by Americans
The Engineering Student

A simple bridge truss was the first structure I ever analyzed. The simple combination of
beams that could hold cars, trains, and trucks over long spans of water fascinated me. Having
the tools to analyze the loads on the truss further increased my interest in structures. I
encountered the bridge in a textbook for my first engineering class.

Knowing that the professor, Mr. John Doe, was a tough teacher, I asked him for the textbook
so I could study and get ready for the class over the summer. Just arrived from Belize, I was
determined to succeed. In class we learned about forces on simple members and then we put
the members together to form a simple truss. At this point I had almost decided that structural
engineering was the career for me. From there the class just took off: We went on to frames,
distributed loads, considered friction; basically we were incorporating real world
considerations into structural members. I loved the practical, problem solving aspects of the
field.

At UC my classes were even more advanced. In my analysis and design classes, I especially
enjoyed studying steel design because we not only learned the use of the load resistance factor
design but also applied that knowledge I designed a four-story building. The professor was
a practicing engineer, and he always related the subject to real life steel structures he had
engineered, for example, the SB Medical Center, an all steel building with a base isolated
campus. This is the kind of project on which I would like to work, designing the structure and
considering how the building will respond to ground motion. After two quarters of structural
analysis, I had come as close as possible to analyzing real world structures. Looking back I
realize, I had learned great tools for structural analysis, but my "tool box" was still
inadequate. I lacked a very important tool: finite element analysis. According to my professor,
finite element analysis has revolutionized structural analysis.

Although I liked my classes, my internship experiences really confirmed my interest in


structural engineering. While working at Caltrans as a student volunteer, I reviewed computer
grading output for streets under construction. The computer suggested numbers for the road
grading, and I had to plot the numbers and make sure there were no abrupt grade changes so
the water can drain off easily to the sides of the road. It was exciting to know that I was the
last checkpoint before the whole project went for approval. It was enjoyable working on
something real Main Street but I was somewhat disappointed I did not have the chance
to work on any structures.

At UC I volunteered through the Student Research Program to work in the geotechnical


library. I worked directly with a doctoral student and helped him to develop a geotechnical
data base for the local area. I interpreted the data Caltrans had collected and recorded it in a
form accessible to the computer and easy to read. It took hours to finish the job, but I enjoyed
the precision involved so I did not mind putting in the time. My supervisor liked my work so
much, he hired me to continue the project during the summer. Working on this project also
showed me the importance of soils in determining buildings responses to earthquakes and
awakened my interest in the response of skyscrapers to seismic stress and movement.
At First Choice U, I plan to enroll in the structural engineering and geomechanics program. In
this program I hope to draw on my structural analysis and geotechnical research background
as a foundation for studying more advanced concepts. I am particularly interested in
researching the ties between the structural engineering, geomechanics, and applied
mechanics. I believe research is necessary to acquire data and formulate theories, but it is just
as important to know how to apply those theories and use that data in the real world. I hope to
be involved in some structurally related research at First Choice U. I am particularly
interested in two research facilities: The Structures and Composites Laboratory and the
Earthquake Engineering Center.

After completing my degree in engineering and working on engineering projects, I know I


want to design structures. That is what has fascinated me since I took Mr. Does class. I also
know, however, that designing structures of a complexity that appeals to me requires "more
tools in my toolbox." Those I can acquire only by continuing my education. To be competent
and competitive I will need a masters degree. After completing my degree, I would like to
work for an American engineering consulting firm and engineer complex structures and tall
buildings, perhaps focusing on the problems surrounding designing for earthquakes. My long-
term goals are to return to Belize and found my own engineering consulting firm there.

Structural engineering will allow me to pursue a career where I can be creatively involved in
problem-solving and design functional structures, like the simple truss bridge that initially
captivated me in Mr. Does class. My classes, work at Caltrans, and internship in
geotechnical engineering have increased my knowledge of and interest in structural
engineering since I first looked at the textbook shortly after my arrival in the U.S. A masters
degree will give me the up-to-date tools and knowledge to be competitive and competent.

Good Statement of Purpose SOP Mathematics


Mathematics has always been my passion and obsession since my childhood. It always occupied
most of my time and I never had any ambition in my life other than being a research
mathematician. I was introduced to mathematics at an age as early as two years through basic
arithmetic operations. When I grew older to enter primary school I was haunted by the questions
like what is addition and what is subtraction etc. I was not at all happy with the basic school level
idea of computing the sum for two given numbers. I started asking the question to myself, what
is a number. The non-rigorous nature of school level mathematics always pained me and I tried
to have my own way of defining mathematical concepts for myself, which I came to know to be
true later. When I was introduced to Euclidean Geometry, the book told me the conditions when
two triangles are congruent. But it never told when two figures in a plane are called congruent.
So I defined
congruence for myself, and in the process I conceived the notions of isometry and
equivalence relations. This way I always tried to rigorize the elementary
mathematics. While leaving school I had developed my keen interest on number
theory also. In the penultimate year in my high school, I took part in Regional
Mathematical Olympiad-about ten thousand students took that test-and got
selected for participation in Indian National Mathematical Olympiad. I also took
part in several mathematics talent search examination that is widely taken by
almost all school kids nowadays. And I never achieved anything except the top
grade. I also took part in several national level quiz competitions and represented
my state. I also received the top grade in Australian Mathematics Competition, in
which students from all the countries participated. After completing fourteen years
of schooling I joined the Indian Statistical Institute (I.S.I) as an undergraduate
student in 1997 and completed Bachelor of Statistics (Honors), a three years
undergraduate course. After passing Bachelor of Statistics (Honors) with First
Division in 2000, I joined the Master of Statistics - a two years Masters program. I
am presently in my final year of Master of Statistics doing advanced courses in
Mathematics. I.S.I is an Institute of National Importance in India and reputed for
its high quality teaching and research in Mathematics, Statistics and Probability.
Entry to I.S.I is a highly competitive business. Selection is done through a nation
wide examination on mathematics followed by an interview by the I.S.I faculty.
This selection carries substantial financial support apart from the tuition waiver all
through the undergraduate years and the two years of masters. Besides the stipend
we are provided with other facilities like contingency grant etc. I.S.I. is the only
institute in the country that provides financial support for the undergraduates and
hence the competition involved at the entry point is very keen. In I.S.I., I got
interested in Probability Theory and Analysis. I received a very strong and
rigorous training in both analysis and probability theory. My advanced courses in
analysis include courses on functional analysis, Fourier analysis on locally
compact abelian groups and Brown-Douglas-Fillmore Theory. And as for
probability I have been exposed to training in Brownian motion, Martingale
Theory, Markov Processes, Diffusion Theory and Stochastic Calculus. I got
interested in Differential Geometry when I was trying to understand the structure
of Mbius Strip, whose non-orientability drew my attention. Then I visited our
Bangalore Center to start my study on Differential Geometry under Prof. V. Pati.
Then subsequently I visited the School of Mathematics of Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research (T.I.F.R) (the national center of the Government of India
for Mathematics and nuclear Science) twice to take part in Visiting Students
Research Program (V.S.R.P.) where I worked with Dr. Pablo A. Gastesi on
Differentiable Manifolds and Lie Groups. During my next visit to T.I.F.R. I
worked with Prof. T. N. Venkataramana on Analytic Number Theory. I also
attended acourse on Set Theory meant for fthe Doctoral students. While continuing
my study on Differential Geometry I felt that I should have some knowledge of
Algebraic Geometry also. So I started to learn Commutative Algebra and
subsequently Algebraic Geometry also. This year I took part in International
Conference on Algebra and Geometry held during 7th to 12th December 2001 at
University of Hyderabad. I was the only student invitee in that conference. I am
also attending the Workshop on Operator Theory and Operator Algebra in Indian
Statistical Institute, Bangalore. Presently I am working on deriving some known
properties of Riemann zeta function using some probabilistic techniques, and
metrizing certain class of figures in the plane and looking at the convergence of
shapes. And also I am reading some materials about Brownian motion on smooth
manifolds. Throughout my student life I had also given a lot effort to extra-
curricular activities also. I have been playing violin for quite a few years from
now. I have always been interested in poetry also and have been publishing them
from time to time. I have also borne the responsibility of editing a few magazines
on literature and science awareness. I have been also acting in several stage
performances of plays and audio-dramas from my childhood. I have also put great
effort in order to teach mathematics at elementary level in a rigorous fashion. I
have been the in-charge of the mathematics cell of an organization that is involved
in science awareness. Thus teaching has always been of great pleasure to me. I
carried out several training camps in mathematics and many of my students
performed excellently in Regional and National Mathematical Olympiads. And my
background in acting has always enhanced my skill of presentation. I have also
given several student seminars in my institute, which were widely appreciated. The
topics of my seminar include Differential Geometry, Analytic Number Theory,
Measure Theory and many more. But learning mathematics for myself has always
remained at the center of my attention. Apart from having the requisite
background, I am confident that my dedication, hard work and strong will to
achieve success will help me create a niche for myself in the areas of my interest. I
am also confident that I will be able to meet the demands and requirements of the
graduate courses and research work in your department. I hope to pursue a career
in research in mathematics, and eventually contribute significantly to this branch
of knowledge. Thank you very much for considering my application.
3.2 Personal Statement

The personal statement is what brings out your uniqueness. Devote a lot of efforts to this part of
the application!

OK NOT OK

Make yourself sound unique and motivated.


Discuss why you wish to attend grad school. Avoid clichs like Math is beautiful and
Show creativity, curiosity and enthusiasm for I want to save the world.
learning.

Describe your accomplishments and exhibit


Dont be arrogant or overconfident.
pride in your work.

Talk about research experience or interesting


Avoid listing courses you want to take.
courses you took.

Mention briefly (using technical language) one Dont write about a subject unless you
or two specific examples of mathematics that know about it: mathematical nonsense is
you like. deadly!

Mention areas of possible research interest. If


Avoid generic statements about the
there is a professor you might like to work it,
prestige of the school and/or its faculty.
mention him/her in your statement.

Ask someone to proofread and critique your


personal statement, for example:

The UCI writing tutors (Langson Avoid (English- and math-) typos!
Library 229)
Your friends at the ANTEATERS
MATHEMATICS CLUB
A math faculty member or a math
graduate student.

3.3 Letters of Recommendation

Here are some good tips, courtesy of Prof. Orrison (Harvey-Mudd College), and slightly edited
by Dr. Pantano.

1. Ask a professor who taught a class in which you did very well: Your letter writer will
be asked to rank you.

2. Ask a professor who knows you very well. You need is a personalized letter, that says
much more than: "Albert was my student; he got an A." Hence, plan to:

Enhance your class participation.


Attend office hours frequently.
Visit your professors and discuss your graduate school plans before you ask them for a
letter.

3. Allow your letter writer plenty of time to write the letter. Include all necessary forms
and addressed UCI Math Department envelopes for the non-electronic applications. A
week before the deadline, send a gentle reminder.

4. Provide your letter writer additional information about yourself. At least two weeks
before the letter is due, bring the professor a folder containing an unofficial copy of your
transcripts and a copy of your personal statement.

5. The more details the better. Email your letter writer a detailed answer to the questions
below.

What are your name, year and major?


For what are you applying?
What makes you particularly qualified for this position/honor/award?
How would you describe yourself?
What are some of your academic and non-academic accomplishments?
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
What are your long-term goals?
Additional comments (REUs, summer schools, interesting jobs, hobbies, etc...
Mentoring experience, talks, math-related extra curricular activities). Mention anything
that could be beneficial to the application!
How long have I known you?

For what class(es) have I had you, what final grade(s) did I assign you and how did you
distinguish yourself in my class(es)?
What makes me particularly qualified to write a letter for you?

Sample Statement of Purpose for Mathematics

Go face the force of the wind, and fight the slash of the rain, the palm of your hands will
thicken, the skin of your cheeks will tan. But you will walk like a man. This is the motto that
has always endowed me with important inspirations, whether on the occasion when I led my
departmental basketball team to win the all-university championship by scoring the winning goal
minutes before the referee blew his whistle at the end of the match, or on hundreds of occasions
when I compiled computer programs to realize my mathematical conceptualizations. This remark
has become a constant source of motivating force that has infused into me the energy to forge
ahead relentlessly. This determination is reinforced by the words uttered by Maximus, the
protagonist in the Hollywood movie Gladiator, on his horse before the battle: What we
accomplish today will resound with rotundity in the eternal future.

I cultivated an intense interest in mathematics as early as my elementary school. Sometimes


termed as the gymnastics of logical thinking, mathematics naturally became my central focus
of study as I achieved consistently exceptional scores in every final-term examination, earning
the nickname of mathematics prodigy. At middle school, I represented my school to participate
in the national Mathematics Olympics Competition to win a second-class award. As soon as I
had access to computer in the senior middle school, I became enchanted with the computer
programs that possessed equal logical beauty as the mathematics vocabulary and language.
Consequently, when I entered Nanjing University where I studied at the Department of
Mathematics and Computer Science, I felt as if plunging into a vast reservoir of knowledge that
allowed me to absorb precious learning to my hearts content. Not satiated by the theories of
mathematics taught in class, I attended many courses in computer theories and application as my
subsidiary program, courses that included Data Structure, Operation Systems, Assembler
Language like Programming with C Language, Multimedia & Internet Technology, and
Mathematical Analysis. Those courses helped to develop my enthrallment with abstract symbols,
figures, vocabulary and language.

Although mathematics as a specialized subject is a purely theoretical discipline, I paid much


attention to the improvement of my ability to apply mathematics to the solution of practical
problems. In my spare time, I liked to study mathematical models and algorithms, trying my
hands at their realization by compiling some computer programs. Two classmates and I formed a
mathematical model construction team and we researched on the subject of Economic Growth
Model, which focused on the modeling of economic growth by applying differential equations of
mathematics. My sound ability in programming was fully manifested in compiling codes. My
involvement in this undertaking not only deepened my understanding of mathematics, but also
perfected my computer techniques. This project was awarded second-class prize of Mathematical
Modeling Competition among the colleges and universities in Jiangsu Province.

Another thing that I like to do in my spare time is learning both the hardware and the software
computer skills. So far, I have passed the Grade III Computer Test and Intermediate Level
Programmer Test, achieving qualification certificates from large internationally-established
software and hardware companies such as MICROSOFT, CISCO, SUN, and GIGABYTE.
Among the seven tests for Microsoft Certified System Engineer, I achieved the highest scores in
three tests in the entire city of Nanjing. During the two years in which I acted as chairman of the
Computer Association of our universitys Students Union, I organized several major campus
events in which, by exercising my special talents in computer technology, I launched computer
training programs to students of non-computer majors. Within a short period of time, the
association developed into the largest student organization on campus and under my leadership
more than 400 members devoted themselves to honing their computer skills. Besides enhancing
my organizational capability and my leadership, I was awarded the honor of the Outstanding
Student Organization Leader, an honor which made me very proud of myself.

In order to test the validity of my knowledge, I attended many off-campus seminars and press
conferences at product and technology promotions. In addition, I have published approximately
20 papers featuring my research findings in professional computer journals including
Microcomputer, Computer Journal, Computer Lovers, etc. During holidays, I have worked at a
number of major computer companies. At HP China, I was responsible for providing clients with
solutions to the information platform and for post-sale services. At the Users Software, Chinas
largest financial software company, I was in charge of offering solutions in the field of e-
commerce and office digitalization to government organizations, hotels and other institutions. I
also conducted extensive internship at the Software Lab of Landsoft Company. Those activities
all contributed to strengthening my ability to study solutions. So far, I have acquired successful
experiences in more than 10 cases. Last but not least, I am now working part-time at Nanjing
Milkway Network Transaction Center offering training courses in MCSE.

Nevertheless, I am painfully aware of the fact that in China one has very limited
chances to apply practical mathematics skills and to experience advanced
computer knowledge. Although I have received high-level professional trainings in
China, I still face the predicament resulting from the break between theory and
practice when I come to tackle practical problems. I have been made sharply aware
that my systematic and formal trainings are far from sufficient. Hence, my
determination to go abroad to seek further studies at some prestigious universities
with mature theoretical research and advanced technologies.

When I studied multimedia and Internet technologies, I discovered that almost all
the most advanced multimedia communication technologies and the most mature
information platform solutions are derived from Europe. It is frustrating to find
that in present-day China in-depth research in these areas is virtually non-existent.
Under such circumstances, as an aspiring young student, I have no choice but to
pursue advanced trainings in England to study the most updated information
technology. Among many prestigious European universities, the University of -----
--------- comes on top of my priorities. My penchant for English universities is not
only related to the fact that their long-standing academic tradition, which is
universally acknowledged, and nurturing academic environment can satisfy my
longing for a quality education. It is also because I, as a person who started
learning English in the second grade of my elementary school, have always
cherished a special love for English culture. Nothing can delight me more than
going to the country where great authors of such ever-lasting literary works as
Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and David Copperfield were born to directly
observe, to experience to learn, and above all, to understand.
It is beyond doubt that Europe plays a leading role in the world in the field of communication
technology. The communication media in the future will complete incorporate the visualized,
multi-platform and highly efficient technology. The problem of bandwidth in data transmission
has always been the major obstacle in the development of this technology. I am interested in the
field of data compression and de-compression by means of optimized algorithms, a field of
research in which lies the ultimate solution to the obstacle in data transmission. I am soberly
aware that I am bound to encounter a series of challenges and difficulties in my future academic
pursuit abroad. I have to learn a great variety of theories and knowledge in my chosen field on
one hand and to face fierce competitions on the other. It is conceivable that I will come under
significant psychological pressure. But I am equally convinced that, by availing myself of the
excellent intellectual environment and lab facilities of your esteemed university and closely
following and grasping the most sophisticated computer technology, I will be able to achieve
constant improvement of my abilities on both the theoretical and practical levels. Like Maximus,
I have the implicit faith that the efforts that I undertake today will resound with lasting echoes
in my future.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Mathematics has always been one of my favorite subjects. When I was young, I used to derive a
lot of pleasure in playing with numbers and applying mathematical concepts. I took part and won
prizes in several National Talent contests in mathematics. However, it was later that I realized
that mathematics was not just fun, but also an excellent tool for decision-making. The ability to
extract so much information from a limited source made a deep impact on me. During high
school, I spent countless hours to pursue my interest in mathematics and statistics and prepare
me for an undergraduate degree in that field. My hard work and dedication paid off when I
ranked successfully among the top 30 of over 10,000 applicants in a tough entrance examination
to gain admission to the prestigious Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), in Calcutta, India.
The ISI is one of Asia's premiere research institutes, that specializes in research in applied and
theoretical statistics. I completed my bachelor's degree with honors in statistics at ISI with a full
scholarship and book grant from the Government of India. I pursued my passion for mathematics
and statistics, and am currently specializing in Bio-statistics and Data Analysis. I am scheduled
to graduate with a Masters degree in Statistics in May 2001.
At ISI, I came across a lot of real life problems through the assignments and projects, which
were an integral part of the coursework. Among the various projects that I was involved in, the
one that I liked most, was a problem on traffic data analysis. The project involved not just the
analysis, but also required careful collection, storage and management of the data. It was a class
project and I almost single-handedly organized the data management part. The dataset contained
10,000 data points and made me aware of the problems that arise in handling large amount of
information. Through a Regression project on Model Building to assess the 'Performance of the
CPU', I was able to see statistics being put to use for a real-life problem.
I enjoyed making presentations in the class on various topics such as 'Generalized Linear
Models', 'Re-sampling Techniques', 'Missing Data Analysis', and 'Nested Linear Models'. Apart
from making me aware of new areas, these presentations also helped me realize my teaching
potential. I learnt to venture into newer and diversified areas not necessarily confined to the
realm of statistics.
Along with developing a thorough grounding in statistics and mathematics, I also nurtured my
deep-rooted interest in computers. My love for computing dates back to my high school years,
where I learnt basic computing concepts and programming languages such as Basic, Pascal and
C. During my high school years, I took classes in addition to my school syllabus such as
"Operating Systems Concepts" etc., so that I learnt not just how to use computers but also how
they actually functioned. During my undergraduate years, I quickly realized the significance of
computers in the application of statistical concepts to challenging real world problems. I also
realized that knowledge and mastery over computing concepts is essential to make the most of
my skills in mathematics and statistics.
I decided to actively pursue that goal by taking courses on "Data Structures", "Algorithmic
Concepts" and "Database Management", in parallel to the statistics and mathematics courses that
I had already enrolled in. Apart from completing the formal courses that I took, I also spend a lot
of time trying to constantly learn new things about computers. It was this interest that helped our
team of three students succeed in developing a 3-D interactive computer game, which can be
played on the Internet, for our annual college festival.
(http://k.sreekrishna.tripod.com/vspark/welcome.html).
My interests in advanced studies and research stem from my dual passions for mathematics and
computing. My research areas of interest include fields like Pattern Recognition, Artificial
Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms and Data Mining, which use a great deal of both statistical
and computing concepts. As a further step in this line, I am now doing a project in "An
Application of Self-Organization Maps for Speech/Word Recognition" using Hidden Markov
Models.
I believe that my strong and unique background in mathematics and computing will distinguish
me from other students and would enable my success as a graduate student at University of
California, Santa Barbara. Apart from having the requisite background, I am confident that my
dedication, hard work and strong will to achieve success will help me create a niche for myself in
the areas of my interest. I am well aware of the reputation enjoyed by your university and your
distinguished faculty and feel that UCSB offers the most exciting and challenging opportunities
for me to realize my dreams. I consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to
pursue my Master's degree in Computer Science at UCSB.
Thank you for considering my application.
Sree Krishna Kumaraswamy