# Beyond Plug-and-Chug Math/ Examples of successful admission essays

MIT

I have always been a math-science girl. I sighed and sulked through classes on US History and French in eager anticipation of the formulas and applications I would be learning later in the day. I believe there are many factors which attribute to my success, two being my fascination and persistence.

When I was seven, I once asked what math was good for and why I should learn it. The answer I received simply does not do math justice, “One day when you’re in line at the grocery store the cashier will give you too little change, and you’ll be glad you learned this.” Now in calculus, I see the application of all these once foreign symbols, formulas, and letters. I am often amazed by the calculations I am able to do using the cumulative information acquired from nearly 12 years of education, such as how to maximize the volume of a box given a certain surface area. Math is not just plug and chug as many view it, but it requires creativity and thinking out of the box to solve the problems encountered in the real world. Beauty lies in its simplicity and in the fact that proofs and observations are what brought the golden rectangle from Ancient Greece, Pascal’s triangle, and the Pythagorean Theorem as well as a host of other theorems, equations, and postulates. Math has made the impossible possible and the once long and tedious, simple and quick. The genius of it is amazing, as well as the fact that any person is capable of applying and discovering it. I draw graphs and try to make shapes from functions for fun, count to 10 to calm down, and save money at the store, too. For all of these reasons and many more, I am fascinated by math.

I wasn’t always good at math, contrary to what students in my classes might say. When I first showed interest in math in the 5th grade, my parents laughed; middle school was even worse. Incoming 6th graders were given a test on the second day of school and depending on their scores were placed into a high or low speed math class. I was put in the slow speed math and missed a lot of class my first year, as a result my grade drifted from a B to a C to a C-, then I got help. I knew I liked math and I didn’t want to do bad in it, so I bought books and hired my older brother to help me. I eventually made it to a B+. Later, in the summer after my junior year, I took a course that covered nearly a year of Calculus. I was told that if I decided to take Calculus AB, I would be bored, so I went for a challenge. My strongest subject began to take up most of my time. I had to read review books, go online for help, and stay in during nutrition and lunch for extra instruction. It was hard, but my dedication paid off, and I earned an A. This persistence and drive also help me excel in math.