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The Economics Student- ()     10/23/2007 22:42 PM
 


In this essay I am going to concentrate mostly on the incentives that stimulate me to pursue further studying, and reflect the motives for my choice of Princeton University as well as state my future career objectives.

I have chosen to work in the area of international microeconomics because it has such a demand for new ideas. At the same time it requires a good mathematical background and has obvious implications in real life.

My education suits this field very well, I have Master of Science with Honors in the field of applied mathematics and physics and a Master of Arts in economics with a specialization in international economics. I already have extensive research experience both in applied sciences and economics, know basic economic models and have strong background both in abstract modeling and data manipulation. All this probably makes me an economist, but my objective is to become a good one.

I have been taught by very good lecturers. After course I took with Professor Branson I decided that there is nothing more interesting than international economics. Professor A made issues of monetary economics and government policy fascinating. Lectures delivered by Professor B attracted me to labor market problems. I enjoyed listening to them and want to teach my mind to operate in a similar manner -- attention is paid to every individual fact and each formal problem solved reflects a real economic situation.

While writing my master's thesis I had a chance to see that a simple look at a graph can be more useful than application of sophisticated economic techniques. One of the reasons I want to study further is to reach at least the same level of intuitiveness and panoramic view of the subject as my teachers have.

My Master of Arts degree was in the field of Health Economics, which I am very interested in. It was mostly empirical dissertation. My dissertation was titled ".." and I worked under the guidance of Professor C. The greatest part of my work was devoted to macroeconomic cross-country econometric (panel data) analysis. The task was complicated by the necessity to work with omitted variables and low quality data as well as the low reliability of data for developing countries and countries in transition.

We also made efforts to build a model that explains the impact of macroeconomic parameters on health deterioration and the probability of death. My master's thesis has been presented at the "Russian Economic And Political Institutions In Transition" conference and currently we are preparing it for publication.

At this time I am also doing empirical research devoted to inflation and monetary policy. I feel cautious specifying which area of economics interests me most for further study, but I do not think that this is a drawback. I find economics particularly attractive for the fact that it is broad, and has not yet been split into a set of narrow sub-branches -- economists all speak almost the same language. I also think that in the face of complexity we face in this discipline, it would ineffective to specialize too narrowly.

This year I realized as I had not before that I wish to continue my studies. Being a teaching assistant in Professor A's Macroeconomics and Advanced Macroeconomics classes, I understood a lot of effort must be applied for a good student to turn into a good teacher. I feel that a similar gap lies between a good student and a good researcher.

I am a hard-working and determined person, and I am ready for a new leap in my economics career. I will work hard in hope that the quantity of the effort I put in will result in high quality knowledge. The fact is that the best possible supervisors and a highly competitive atmosphere are necessary for this quality. The only reasonable decision for me was to aim for such a place. All this gives me the motivation to apply to Princeton University.

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Mohit- ()     09/23/2007 06:23 AM
 


Admitted to: Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, as a Transfer Student from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

For: Remainder of Undergraduate degree

1.Please state your reasons for transferring to Penn. If this is not your first change in colleges explain your reasons for the previous transfer. An evaluation of your college education to date and why your education goals may be better served at Penn should be addressed. If you have not been enrolled in school continuously since high school graduation, please indicate how you have spent your time.

I have been nurtured within a family enterprise established over a century ago. The group deals with trade and export of an agro-based commodities to Eastern and Western Europe, South America, Japan, and Southeast Asia. It is evident that market demands are shifting and business needs to reinvent it self to stay ahead of competition. Work experience as a summer trainee in my father’s company has further strengthened my desire to bring a comprehensive set of skills to traditional systems. Having actively participated in client meetings and having gained an understanding of agricultural commodities markets and export trade, I know that I would like to return to this enterprise, bringing to it the innovations and strategies necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy. This is the long-term, the future.

To achieve this, I need to rely on relevant experiences that foray into a logical combination of finance, marketing and its retail component. I gained significant exposure to finance through a summer spent with Merrill Lynch in India. I learned that finance was the fulcrum that underpins all activity. I am inclined to pursue a short-term career in the are of FMCG or food manufacture with a distinct tilt towards retail. The family enterprise exports bulk commodities. I would like to grow and expand the business by adding retail component to it. The Wharton Business School will help me lay the groundwork in my efforts to learn about business strategy, brand loyalty, product placement and distribution, so that I am successfully able to reach the consumer. Having the opportunity to participate in Prof. Kahn’s marketing classes will be an invaluable lesson in my pursuit of the end goal.

Being part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Michigan has fuelled my interest in research. I have filled every moment with learning in Michigan but now feel ready to take on new challenges. At the Wharton School, I would especially welcome the opportunity to be part of the Weiss Center for International Financial Research, and have a chance to increase my knowledge in international finance and its impact on world economies, under the guidance of distinguished professors like Prof. Marson and Prof. Dumas.

The Wharton Business School’s emphasis on personal qualities like leadership, dynamism and vision along with specialized knowledge will provide a base to etch a career that may span continents both physically and ideologically as business integrates. Interaction with highly qualified and talented students from all over the world will be an education in itself. Additionally, the opportunity to study and learn from a group of achievers, thinkers and doers will be an enriching experience professionally and personally. I believe that the Wharton Business School will instill in me the theories that drive good business decisions, in order for me to make intelligent choices when I come into my own.

2.First experiences can be defining. Cite a first experience that you have had and explain its impact on you.

Resilience in the face of stern opposition is formidable to achieve, especially having to overcome the anxiety. This was never more poignantly driven home as the test of mettle on court.

A hushed silence pervaded; I was struggling through the last set; I could sense the pain of lost. I know I had given away the match too easily because I had lost the will to challenge after losing the first two sets. Having played the last point into the net, I dropped my racket to the ground. With slumped shoulders and my head hanging low I walked over to congratulate my opponent on a win well deserved. That loss, and my own anger with myself, proved a turning point for me. That evening, my coach and my teammates helped me understand my loss and my attitude. They directed me to transform my anxiety into a positive weapon. I still had a second chance when I played the same opponent the next day in reverse singles. No doubt, my opponent was better than I was, but I was determined with a new resolve-to give him a run at all cost. It worked, I won. I learned an important lesson; it did not pay to lose heart. The thrill of that hard-earned win and the pride at having the courage to bounce back will last me a lifetime.

There is a potent danger in winning a large part of the time-it can make one complacent about striving to rise above prior trophies. It happened to me too as I participated in competitive tennis at the University of Michigan. Little did I envisage that the talent pool was quite unlike what I had dealt with while in school. The stamina and electricity in the game I witnessed around was unlike any previous experience I might have had. I was unprepared, out of my depth in the midst of such driven sports people and I knew I had to reassess my self. I had to infuse my game with the punch I would need to succeed. As the realization dawned, I set myself up against excellence and have come a long way since my first match.

It is special to be a member of the UMICH Junior Varsity Tennis Team – it stretches every reserve of energy and every strategy one may devise to win. There is camaraderie that I draw upon in the face of an indomitable opponent and those are the moments that one appreciates the cheer of teammates on the stands. It is vital to belong and equally necessary to do one’s best in the interest of one’s buddies on the team. It has enriched me as I observe the best. It has taught me to share the few things I know and to carry along those that could do with encouragement.

I practice as if my life depends upon it. I have given my best and I have stayed on the team for the two years that I have been at college. Together we are a force to reckon with – alone I know that perseverance will pay me the dividend I continually seek.

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Vivek- ()     09/05/2007 21:39 PM
 


College/University: University of Florida, Gainesville
Degree: MS in Industrial Engineering

The Scenario That Was:
A 6-year old child’s face is a picture of concentration as he struggles with a puzzle. He repeatedly looks into a manual for guidance. Five hours of meticulous work later he is beaming with pride at having built his first LEGO robot.

A busy day in 2002. Scores of New York City pedestrians are walking the footpaths. These aren’t, however, just regular footpaths. They are compressible, with pipes of water running underneath. The pressure created by the pedestrians results in the water in the pipelines gushing forward and eventually producing hydroelectric power. This was a project I conceived in the 7th grade. It was also one of the reasons that I had decided at a very early stage in my cognitive development that I would like to study Engineering.

As the son of a Computer Scientist, I have always had intelligentsia in high regard. Growing up at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research meant that my peers consisted of the children of scientists. Within the clique, it was the unspoken truth that each of us was good at what our father’s researched upon. Naturally, I was, as expected, excellent at Computer Programming. On noticing my aptitude for his subject coupled with my lobe for robots and machines my father enthusiastically encouraged me to learn more by providing me with books and hardware to build different mechanical paraphernalia, hence teaching me to apply any theoretical knowledge I gain, practically.

The current picture:
Maturity sets in our case study. A world full of opportunities beckons and opens a Pandora’s box of prospects.

As I grew up, I started getting drawn towards the world of finance. The cutthroat world of Finance Management excited me to no end as I realized the weight that decision-making held in sustaining a company. Also the stratagem of calculated risks played its part in exerting a pull on my interest to this field. There was also no small part played by the pioneer in me who was adamant to follow a path that had never been trodden in my family. However, my need for a more mature outlook as well as my childhood “experiences” in it resulted in me taking up Engineering. Computer Engineering, which would have been the obvious choice, was outdone by my love for the pure engineering disciplines. Areas such as Fluid Dynamics, Transfer Theory of Heat and Mass among others resulted in me opting for Chemical Engineering. I was also in for a pleasant surprise as recently included courses like Computer Aided Design attracted my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed this course as it provided the correct interface between programming and various mechanical aspects of Engineering. Principles of Economics and Management and later Chemical Engineering Economics helped me gain important insight into how economics is applied in the field of engineering. However, the catalyst for my decision to purse Industrial and Systems Engineering was a course called Process Simulation and Optimization. I had been inclined towards probability theory and linear programming since the time I was in high school and hence the prospect of applying them to an engineering field left me rubbing my hands in anticipation. Also, I found the new topics such as Operations Research and Optimization extremely stimulating.

My interest in the interdisciplinary fields continued in my final year project that I am doing jointly with my college and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The topic is “Removal of Metal Traces from Industrial Effluents by Biosorption”, and although it is a biochemistry topic in which I have no previous experience, I nevertheless jumped at the opportunity. It was a first in the history of our College as a Research and Development project. The project consisted of Biomass culturing, mathematical modeling of the columns and finally Treatment of effluent at the tertiary stage. In fact, so engrossed was I in the project that I have also been selected to represent the college at an International Environmental Design Competition organized by the Waste Education and Removal Consortium (Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA). Although the basic aim will remain the same, I am currently researching upon alternate technologies that would also fit the bill.

On the horizon:
Even since I made my decision to pursue graduate studies in the U.S.A., and more specifically with Industrial Engineering as my Major field, I have looked excitedly towards The University of Florida. In fact, after having a look at the tracks that are being offered, I was sure that The University of Florida was definitely the place where I would like to develop and hone my skills. The Manufacturing and Logistics Systems option provided excites me to no end, as it seems like a course that has been tailor made for my interests. Also, Centers such as The Emulated Flexible Manufacturing Laboratory (EFML) and the Supply Chain and Logistics Engineering Center (SCALE) would provide me with learning opportunities that I have not till now been able to experience. Hence, an opportunity to hone my “talent” skills, be it technical, managerial or personal would be a dream come true.

Back to the puzzle. But this time, the pieces fit perfectly:

Currently, I am at a point in my life where I finally know exactly what I would like to do. I may not have all the necessary background for this course. What I do have… is tremendous faith in that 6-year-old boy who build his first LEGO robot from scratch, never once contemplating the failure and disappointment that might have been.

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Student- ()     08/23/2007 23:12 PM
 


What can be more interesting and exciting than the structure of the world surrounding us – the Nature? Physicists extract the most fundamental knowledge about Nature and make it serve the humankind. These aspects of being a physicist appealed to me since high school and are the major reason why I decided to be engaged in physics and entered Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. While studying at MIPT I have chosen theoretical condensed matter physics as an area of specialization. Possibility to investigate microscopic properties of the world at macroscopic level is the issue that attracts me so much in this area in Physics.

I realize that research in theoretical physics is not an easy job nonetheless I think I have strong training and every quality to succeed.

I gained my first research experience as early as in high school, while participating in Young Physicist Tournament. This was a team competition that required a half-year everyday work on 17 problems that included experiments and theories far beyond the high school program. In the final round of All-Russian Tournament in xxx my team of 4 high school students took 1st place and represented our country at the International Young Physicist Tournament in City, Country, getting back with diploma of Excellent Performance.

Due to my victories in Physics Olympiads of different levels I was admitted to Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology without a requirement to pass entrance exams. There I spent 3.5 years in very competitive surrounding of best Former Soviet Union physics students. Although I am in average 1 year younger than other senior students, I always wanted to be on top. I studied a lot independently and my self-organization and interest helped me succeed. At the end of the first year I became and remained strong A -student.

During the xxxx/xxxx academic year I was also a student at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP, Moscow), specializing in elementary particles. There I became acquainted with principles of Quantum Field Theory which has impressed me by its profoundness and beauty. At that time I made a firm decision to specialize in theory. However I realized, that pure high energy physics has little connection with “real” life. Thus I have chosen condensed matter physics to be my major, as an area where ideas and methods of QFT have brilliant application.

In spring xxxx I successfully passed “Landau Theoretical Minimum” Qualifying exam on Quantum Mechanics to Prof. X and was admitted to the theory group at Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP Landau). Among problems that I solved to pass that exam were energy levels of a roton in an oscillatory and Coulomb potential and hydrogen atom levels in high magnetic field.

My specialization in condensed matter physics at Landau Institute has begun this year. By June xxxx I will complete one year of courses there. Now I study lattice dynamics and theory of metals. I also attend weekly seminar on modern condensed matter physics, which helps me to learn more about current "hot" topics and trends in the field. Not long ago I myself presented a review on xxxx. While preparing the report I studied several articles (from PRL and RMP) about xxx. These areas became of interest to me.

Currently I am involved in a research project under the guidance of Prof. X. My problem is connected with xxx. I am investigating xxxx. Soon we will prepare an article with our results.

Since high school I got used to work in cooperation. Today collaborative work is an essential of my study and research at Landau theory group. I frequently and fruitfully discuss various questions with a number of professors, students and graduates.

 

Now being 19 years old and getting B.S. in Physics from MIPT in June xxxx I have serious intention to continue my education at the graduate level. Princeton University attracts me by its strong theoretical condensed matter group. I believe that studying at Princeton University would be a good chance for me to get a thorough education and great research experience and to become eventually a researcher in theoretical physics.

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Student- ()     07/12/2007 10:36 AM
 


Dear Professor,

Thank you for taking time to read my application. I believe that having read my materials, you will have a good idea of who I am. Before starting about myself I would like to write a few words about my school: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), where I study, then I will set forth my goals to and reasons for wanting to study at Your University.

MIPT is the foremost educational institution of the former Soviet Union in physics, (this is not a boast but a valid generalization of many facts). It provides preparation comparable to US educational standards; independent study being emphasized. It is my hope that you have already met other MIPT students who can confirm its reputation. If so, I would like you to consider me as an applicant from MIPT, not from somewhere in Russia.

My first acquaintance with physics occurred at the age of 7: I saw a science fiction movie. For the aliens in their spacecraft time passed much slower than for people on the Earth. My childish imagination was so struck by this fact, that with help of my parents I read my first book in physics: Gardner’s “Theory of Relativity for Millions". After that I started was and still constantly reading a variety of different books in science with my main interest in physics.

Since the 7th grade I started to take part in Physics Olympiads. These Olympiads were held on different levels of competitions. Not satisfied with these standard school programs at the age of 13 I passed entrance competitions and entered school that specialized in physics, math and computer sciences. New school gave me an opportunity to communicate with other young students who also had a keen interest in physics and math. And the spirit of competition among my peers made me study a lot by myself in order to be the best I could be.

In 1994 I entered MIPT, as a student in the Department of General and Applied Physics. I was automatically exempted from the entrance exams in physics as a previous winner of Regional Olympiad in Physics. At MIPT I continued to work hard. I spend a lot of time doing research. I have always dreamt of doing physics research myself and MIPT offers me this wonderful opportunity.

My first-year at MIPT I started to work at the Solid State Institute which is part of Russian Academy of Sciences. Under guidance of Dr. A I held my first real experiments. In his laboratory I am doing a lot of things myself: tune installations, take measurements, treat the results on computer. Generally our experiments concern exploration of the structure and phase transformation of the amorphous semiconductors under pressure. For me this is very interesting branch of Condensed Matter Physics. Work in the laboratory of Dr. B is very useful for me, because I independently read many books on the subject trying to understand better problems on which I am working.

During my second year of studies at MIPT I also started to work in one of MIPT laboratories under guidance of Professor A . Last year I held very interesting experiments in which I measured coherent characteristics of different light sources. For that purpose I designed special optical interferometer. Currently I am researching optical pumping of neodimium glass in the laboratory of Dr. A . I am usually so busy and fascinated with my research work that sometimes my transcript contains more B's than I desired. Still I always receive an increased fellowship (125% of usual).

Regarding my interests in science, my specialization at MIPT is Optics, though I am still working in Solid State Institute (for more than two years) concentrating in the field of Condensed Matter Physics. I know more in these fields and find them very interesting. Despite that I still have required courses which I must complete and they last until the end of this academic year. These include General Physics, Theoretical Physics as well as a big deal of courses in Mathematics, Chemistry, Electronics, Computer Science and Philosophy. These courses will help create an excellent base of knowledge from which I plan to choose the topic of my future study. I will make a decision upon my future course of study as I come to know both the subject and the faculty of your department better.

Of course the main purpose of my longed-for studies at Your University is getting excellent education to launch myself on a career in physics. I feel and, I hope you also do, that I have been able to convince you along with my supporting materials, that this is a field I can excel in.

My second reason to apply to Your University is my desire to join the community of outstanding student, faculty and alumni of Your University. At MIPT I have mixed with the brightest students and some of the best scientific minds of Russia. I can well see that contacts with such people are the best way of intellectual development, which is, in my opinion, indispensable to real professional perfection. Your University is a famous place of concentration of the most prominent and creative people. I am sure that contacts with the brilliant people of your current staff could make the most valuable part of my education.

In conclusion I must say that I would regard my being admitted to Your University not only as a great honor and success but more as high responsibility and privilege. I will work hard to uphold and further the reputation of such a fine University. As to whether I shall have this honor is your decision but if I do, I will spare no pains to justify it.

Again thank you for your time and consideration. I feel that I can be a student you can be proud to say that I attended Your University.

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Russian- ()     04/27/2007 18:22 PM
 


Department and Degree: Physics, PhD

When I was a tenth-grade high school student, I used to always ask my teachers: "Why do different branches of physics seem so unrelated? They must be similar to each other!", but they didn't appear to be interested in the question. I believed that I was the only person trying to find the answer until I got acquainted with a professor of theoretical physics at XX University. He told me that analogies between different areas of physics do exist and that many scientists are exploring them. I cannot forget my excitement when I talked to him and found that I wasn't alone in my attempts to solve the puzzle. Since then every step in my life brings me closer to the answer.

In 1998 I entered Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). As a winner of XXIX International Physics Olympiad in Reykjavik, where I received Gold medal and a special prize for the best solution of a theoretical problem, I was admitted without entrance exams. There, in addition to a thorough standard course of study, I have taken a number of elective advanced physics and math courses. One of my hobbies was to solve complicated non-standard problems in physics, calculus and group theory. I also attended advanced lectures on topology and differential geometry at Independent University of Moscow. My hard work paid off: in 2000 I earned the highest score in MIPT's Physics and Mathematics Olympiads among all 2100 undergraduates of MIPT.

At the same time I gained my first research experience: I proved a theorem of high importance in calculus regarding Whitney's extension problem and my results were published in Mathematical Notes, one of the top Russian mathematical journals.

I spent my 3rd year at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics specializing in particle physics. I actively participated in weekly seminars on gravity and quantum field theory (QFT). I especially enjoyed making presentations on topics such as instantons in modern QFT, entropy of black holes, and conformal field theory.

I was fascinated by beautiful mathematical constructions of QFT and string theory, but I also became interested in deep interconnections between QFT and Condensed Matter physics. In order to get to the bottom of these interconnections, I decided to deepen my knowledge of Condensed Matter theory. Therefore in September 2001 I joined the theory group at the Landau Institute and spent my 4th year there. It was the most interesting year of my studies at MIPT as the requirements at the Landau Institute are extremely high. For instance, in order to pass the exam on Diagrammatic Techniques, I solved about fifty complex problems such as finding quantum correction to the conductivity of two-dimensional system with the help of diagrammatic methods.

Problems involving a combination of both High Energy and Condensed Matter Physics are of special interest to me, for example, quantum Hall effect, superconductivity, and modeling of cosmological phenomena in condensed matter systems. My Bachelor's thesis called "Even denominator Hall states" was in the field of fractional Hall effect. There I described the analogies between Moore-Read Pfaffian state and liquid helium. Currently I am working on a research project under the guidance of Prof. X. We are exploring properties of fermion zero-modes living on vortices in unusual superconductors.

During my years at MIPT I have acquired research experience not only in Condensed Matter, but also in QFT. About a year ago I met a graduate student who was working on asymptotically free theories. Soon we became collaborators. We have developed some aspects of principal chiral field model and are currently preparing a paper for submission to JETP Letters.

I am convinced that I should continue my education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. First, I would like to get more experience with superconductivity and quantum Hall efect. Research in these areas is very active at Condensed Matter group of MIT. Study of strongly correlated systems by Prof. Lee, Prof. Wen and Prof. Levitov is of particular interest to me. Second, MIT High Energy group is also extremely strong. I believe that communication with such experts would be priceless for my education.

I am confident that graduate study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology would be a great step towards my goal and the experience gained at MIT will allow me someday to get to the core of connections between different branches of Physics.

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Manish- ()     04/25/2007 14:23 PM
 


Admitted to: Columbia University, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, New York City, New York
For: Undergraduate degree in Engineering

1.Limitting yourself to the space provided briefly describe which (school-related our outside) activity/interest listed represents your most meaningful commitment and why.

The activity that adds the most meaning to my life is playing the drums. Music has always been my passion. Playing the drums helps me to express my creative side. It is a great way to ease the stress of schoolwork. It also helps me meet interesting like-minded people.

2.Please tell us what you find most appealing about Columbia and why.

Initially, Columbia’s prestige and its location in New York attracted me to it. After learning more about it, I feel that it is perhaps Columbia’s emphasis on a broad liberal education in general, and the Core Curriculum in particular, that are the most appealing aspects of an education at Columbia.

3.For the applicants to the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what attracts you specifically to the study of engineering.

As a scientific person, I have always been good at logical precise reasoning. I feel this would make me a good engineer. I am also interested in creating things that people can use to enhance their daily lives.

4. Write an essay which conveys to the reader a sense of who you are. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, experiences that have shaped your life, the circumstances of your upbringing, your most meaningful intellectual achievement, the way you see the world-the people in it, events great and small, every day life – or any personal theme which appeals to your imagination. Please remember that we are concerned not only with the substance of your prose but with your writing style as well.

As a scientific person, it troubles me when certain matters (even non-scientific ones) defy easy explanation of definition. I spend hours mulling over questions that have no personal relevance to my own life, but entice me with their apparent inexplicability.

Take the idea of ‘infinity’. Some people seem to find it easy to make peace with the idea that is universe is infinite. Not me. I have often tried to imagine infinity, only to repeatedly find it impossible. If the universe is infinite (I might ponder in the shower or on my way to school), does that mean that there are an infinite number of planets? And does that make the changes of there being other earth-like, life-sustaining planets high? Or is there an infinite variety of planets too?

Another ever-confounding questions is that of God. Being a scientific thinker, I find it hard to buy into the anthropomorphistic ‘man with a white beard on a cloud’ view. But then what is God? A physical force of some sort? Will science and religion always ignore each other, or can God one day be incorporated into modern science? Does evolution disprove the existence of God, or does the idea of an indefinable intelligence, constantly perfecting nature, simply recharacterize God? As I mentioned earlier, there are questions that do not, and perhaps will never concern me, but perplex me all the time.

I often spend hours contemplating the nature of life itself. Not the meaning of life, because the meaning (or the meaninglessness) of life is subjective. I wonder about the actual physical nature of it. What force tells each of the billions of cells in our bodies to perform their unimaginably complex functions? Ca a micro-organism be called unintelligent despite the fact that the process within it are carried out with the precision of a microchip?

Perhaps these questions do not have answers that people will ever find. Yet I have too restless a mind to accept that. As long as I can think I am sure I will continue to try to explain the inexplicable, define the indefinable and comprehend the incomprehensible, with or without success. Whatever the outcome of the aimless wanderings of my mind, I know that it is my thoughts that make me who I am.

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Indian- ()     03/14/2007 00:16 AM
 


“Conceiving ideas and developing systems that deliver that promise” is a personal goal that I have set for myself. When translated into actions this goal has reinforced my belief in leadership through creativity.

As a student in high school I had the idea of a drip irrigation system by a windmill. Using some old hose pipes, plastic tubes and a pulley arrangement I developed the model. This model won the gold medal at the prestigious Indian National science congress. While still in the third year of undergraduate program in Engineering I became the Technical consultant for a start up company. My technical idea won the first prize at Eureka 50K, India’s first Business Plan competition. For the past two and a half years I have been working in XXX corporation. The will to learn and the ability to spend long hours of cerebration on trouble shooting have made me a dependable team player.

Today as a 24-year-old individual I perceive that life for me has been a process of conscious evolution. The most integral part of this growth is the value system imbibed in me by my parents, teachers and my mentors and an intrigued liking for science. This played a vital role in my decision making for the future. As I finished high school I was selected for the Indian Naval Academy with merit ranking in the Top 25 in the country. However my liking for science guided me into pursuing a Bachelor degree in Electrical Electronics and Power (EEP) Engineering. This decision gave me ample opportunity to consolidate my creative energies and harness my technical aptitude.

In college, I always enjoyed long hours in the labs. It gave me the opportunity to correlate theory to practical phenomena. This in turn gave me a better understanding of the subject and newer lines of thinking. The course in EEP covered a wide panorama of subjects. Besides the core Electrical Engineering subjects I also studied major electronics subjects like electronic devices and circuits, Linear Integrated Circuits and Pulse and Digital switching circuits. I learnt programming in ANSI C and by the time I was in final year I developed a fair amount of expertise writing complex pieces of code.

In the third year of my engineering studies I was introduced to the subject of Control Systems. The first session in the labs was devoted to developing simple programs for a Simatic PLC. A combination of AND, OR blocks generating a complete control circuit for a motor fascinated me. I took up an internship in the Controls Lab and got to interact with Prof. A, a professor of great repute in the field of Automation and Controls. He introduced me to the synergies of Information technology and Automation systems. Under his guidance I completed the thesis in PC based Load Flow Analysis and also worked with the Mechanical Dept for PC based control of Robotic Arm.

Working on the projects gave me a sound technical base. But the greatest advantage of involving myself in these activities was that I developed the ability to multi-task effectively. Besides the college academics I was actively involved in the extra-curricular activities. I represented my college at state level Table Tennis and Debate competitions. I wanted to self-finance my education and worked part-time. I was also an active amateur environmentalist. The driving force behind all this was my aim to develop all the facets of my personality. In this process I could not achieve the grades I wanted to in the first and second year. But soon I garnered the skill of judicious allocation of time and energy. I did well in the third year and final year of Engineering. Moreover I do not feel that the marks I scored are the sole indicators of my understanding of the subject. A cogent reason to augment my belief is the final year of my engineering.

XX ( my present employer) visited the college campus and offered me a job in the area of Process Automation and MES. I was among the twenty candidates selected from the best institutes across the country. I passed the six rounds of technical and personal interviews and I was the only student to be selected from the college. I decided to take up the job. For me it meant a chance to apply the knowledge gained so far in Controls and Automation systems and gain some industrial exposure. Besides this the job can help finance some part of my future education.

Unlike the milieu of the college, the corporate environment was very much different. The concept of learning on the job, accountability for the work at hand, conformance to in- housework flow standards gave me a greater focus. The most challenging aspect however was the rate of the learning, which was immense. In one year I developed competence in Real - time Energy management solutions. As part of my first project I developed software for Energy Management in a Cement Plant. The concept was based on the collection of Real-time Data from the DCS (Digital Control System) and populating a Database. With a certain degree of intelligence built into the software energy saving in the Cement unit was as high as 5%. This was a solution implemented for the first time by XX corporation in a Cement Plant. In recognition of my work I was selected as a team member for the deployment of the XX Industrial IT platform solutions.

I deployed solutions in the field of Statistical Process control and Asset Optimization in Metals and Cement Industries. During these projects I got to interact with the R&D teams in XX and I also went through some research papers in my leisure time. The experience gained in the deployment of solutions and interaction with the technical teams of customers gave me a new insight. I realized that the business process decision making and the technical processes are not integrated in Real time. Although solutions like ERP aim to achieve this goal, information still exists in islands. In order to seamlessly integrate these areas a new architecture that links Automation systems and MES solutions needs to be developed. However this calls for comprehensive research. I cannot pursue this idea while still in a job. Besides an academic program under the guidance of able professors would help me identify my specific research interests. Hence I have decided to pursue my Master degree in a research-focused environment.

The Center for Intelligent Machines Industrial Automation Lab at YY offers the best courses in this domain. The application driven research and development carried out in this lab coheres to my liking. I would like to carry out my research under the guidance of Prof. B. I believe that under his supervision I can proactively contribute to the work done in the Lab. His areas of work are of great interest to me and I believe that I can prove to be an effective and reliable team member in carrying out cutting edge research in this domain.

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Zarir- ()     10/03/2006 15:49 PM
 


College/University: Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Degree: Undergraduate
Junior College Attended: Jai Hind College, Mumbai
School Attended: St. Mary’s ICSE, Mumbai. Rishi Valley School, Andhra Pradesh

Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

I have felt very close to nature all through childhood. I knew for sure that I wanted to make a significant contribution to the environment movement around the time I was in seventh grated. At this time I had shifted from Mumbai city to Rishi Valley School, founded by the visionary philosopher J. Krishnamurti, in rural South India. It was here that I became ‘eco-conscious’ and began to realize the importance of adapting in an integrated way without adversely affecting my surroundings.

As part of an activity called ‘Village Study’ our group would go to the villages near school and interact with the villagers. It was amazing to see these small villages function as self-sufficient units. Each village was relatively cut off from the rest of the world. The villagers lived in harmony with their environment. For three years [1998-2001] I participated in an extensive afforestation program. We dug pits, planted saplings, re-filled the pits, watered and nurtured the saplings. This gave me an immense sense of fulfillment.

Mumbai, where I live, is a great metropolis and the commercial capital of India. However as we clearly see all around the world, growth and development come at a great cost. This beautiful city is now plagued by the destruction of forests and mangroves, dangerously high levels of pollution; accumulation of garbage, wastage of water and electricity… and the list goes on. Why is India, a country with abundant resources and intellectual capital, in such a state of decline? The problem lies in the shortsightedness of man. We resort to repairing mistakes that could have been avoided in the first place.

Some of the books I have read have influenced my thinking to a great extent. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring really evoked in me a strong desire to protect the earth. Masanobu Fukuoka’s thought provoking, The One Straw Revolution, is about a conventional scientist who developed his own unique farming technique that is rooted in tradition. I believe that even in the most adverse conditions, one person who can “see the world in a grain of sand” can have a far-reaching impact.

In the summer of 2002, I apprenticed at Sanctuary Asia, a nature and wildlife magazine. I was mainly involved in researching and categorizing wildlife photographs for the Sanctuary Photo Library. I learned to respect the intricate mechanism of nature. I worked with people whose aim in life is to ensure that the earth will still be a beautiful place for future generations to live in. To derive satisfaction from providing service to others is admirable.

The protection of the environment will have even greater implications in the future. I would like to study the interrelationships of the ecological, social, man-made and organizational environments. I hope to return to India and alleviate the situation here. The reason I want to study at Knox is that its rigorous academic standards and wide scope for interdisciplinary study will demand of me the best I have to offer.

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Chander- ()     08/15/2006 16:22 PM
 


Admitted to: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
For Undergraduate Degree

A Significant Personal Experience

Sometimes I shudder as I look back at my childhood diet, which was carnivorous to a large extent. I was too young to understand then that if I loved animals I should also care about how they felt about being killed for the table. For the last three years, I have put my money where my mouth is and demonstrated my love for animals in the most genuine way I know. Becoming a vegetarian as my first independent decision and one that I am very glad I made.

I recognized my passion for animals in an unlikely and anticlimactic way. One day, when I was little, I had to write an essay on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Having nibbled my pencil, (an age-old trick for inspiration, it appears) For a long time, I couldn’t think of anything, so I went to my sister, who is a good ten years older than me. “What should I be when I grow up?” I asked her, fairly certain that she would know. She didn’t bat an eyelid (as a result of having been confronted with worse questions before), and told me, simply, that I should be a vet. And I know she was right.

I spend a while thinking about this profession, and then followed it up with some action. I proceeded to our bookshelf at the age of ten, and began a search that brought me close to writers like Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. This introduction to the world of strange animals and people who loved them was the best thing that ever happened to me. One of the results was that I began to think that it wasn’t entirely right (at least from my point of view) to spend a night treating a sick goat and then come home to a dinner of lamb chops.

By the time I had this figured out I was fifteen. I plotted for a long time about how I should break the news of my intended vegetarianism to my distinctly carnivorous family. Finally I announced my decision one day over dinner. There was silence at the table for a whole minute. That was the only time anybody was quiet about the matter for the next month! My family tried every method of changing my opinion from calling me crazy to inviting gourmet cooks talk to me about what I was missing. Then they resorted to telling me that my health would definitely suffer, that I would never grow and many other equally terrifying things. I stood my ground, and am happy to report that at almost eighteen I am neither short nor particularly sickly!

An, though it wasn’t easy at first, I have come to love my cabbages and carrots more than my spare ribs. I have also learned that being true to myself makes me happier than anything else.

Admitted to: University of Virginia, Virginia, as a Transfer student from the University of Rochester

For: Remainder of Undergraduate degree

What is the most surprising thing you learned during your time at college?

It starts to snow as I sit bundled up in the cold, waiting for the bus that would return me to the safe refuge of my residence hall. The wait seems too endless, the cold is unforgiving. For miles around one can only see the white that has blanketed the city of Rochester for what seems like ages now. Not many venture out into the cold at this time; I am alone.

It is in the quiet of the snowy evening that I begin to ponder this questions-what is, in fact, the most surprising thing I have learned in my short time at college. To pick one is a difficult task indeed. Having graduated from high school in India, my entire college experience has taken place in an environment relatively alien to me. Each class I attend, each stranger I meet, every sign I read and every activity I involve myself in brings with it something new. Gazing wistfully into the horizon, I am even intrigued by the striking beauty of snowflake, which aided by the gentle breeze, dances in front of me before it falls softly to the ground.

The bus finally arrives to my relief. As I walk in I take notice of the fact that the bus is almost empty, with just a couple of people seated at the rear. I take a seat near the front, and as I sit down I notice a collection of signs and posters advertising events on campus. Most of them following consistent theme, reading something like this:

“Discuss President Bush’s Economic Policy- FREE FOOD!”
“Join the Campus Times. Meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm- FREE FOOD!”
“Help the Homeless-FREE FOOD!”

This ‘FREE FOOD’ phenomenon is obtrusive in a host of activities. The apparent generosity of student organizations is wide-spread. However, I had never before contemplated the significance of such behavior. It is in my ennui that I begin to read into what had earlier warranted nothing more than a cursory glance.

High School activities had always been mandatory, rendering the philanthropy I have described unnecessary. It is only in my months at college that I have noticed this characteristic that plagues a majority of advertisements. It is unfortunate that even the most meaningful activity is forced to cater to students’ stomachs. Are we as human beings unable to participate in beneficial activity, without being lured by the smell of Krispy Kreme Donuts? Can we engage in intellectual debate, attend lectures aimed to help us, or serve society only when we are rewarded with the satisfaction of selfish desire? Or is this feature of the signs I see before me redundant? Are the big, bold letters announcing the ‘free food’ uncalled for?

Simple observations suggest that my claims are not unfounded. Out of a student body close to five thousand, an average of fifty students participate in the news magazine’s weekly polls that questions burning issues on the campus and in our world. Ten percent to the population struggles to make it to vote at the annual Student Association Senate elections. Discussion groups are often greeted with empty rooms and sports teams play in front of deserted bleachers.

The fact that lethargy creeps into our systems when called to perform activity that doesn’t directly satisfy an immediate need is surprising to say the least. It startles me to learn that motivation other than that of the greater good of ourselves and the community in which we live is needed. What adds to my astonishment is that we, as people, are sensitive to the issues that concern the world around us. Selfishness is not a characteristic that I would use to describe humanity. And yet we find the need to have signs shouting vociferously at us to come for the pizza and soda, if nothing else.

The bus pulls up to my stop and I alight, feeling somewhat enlightened. I trudge gingerly through the snow, back to my hall. I stop at the notice board before I call for the elevator and scan through the various events taking place in the evening. The debate union is meeting at the second floor lounge. Perfect. It’s almost time for dinner….

2. Discuss why you would like to transfer to the University of Virginia.

Having applied to admission to the University of Virginia as a freshman, I was first placed on the waiting list before being denied admission. My interest in spending my college years at Virginia has continued nevertheless, and I am still confident of contributing positively towards campus life there.

The University attracted me at the very outset of my college search. Besides being widely regarded as one of the premier public schools in the nation, I have heard a myriad of positive minutiae of the place from acquaintances that graduated from Virginia a few years ago. While my brief time here at Rochester has been eventful, I realize that I haven’t really found my niche here.

The challenging academic climate here is offset by certain features that leave me a tad disappointed with the quality of student life. While I have tried to immerse myself in activities on campus that interest me, I find that the level of involvement of the student body in University events is minimal. Sporting events are often greeted with empty stands, the newspaper is left largely unread and the prolonged, severe winters leave little room for outdoor activity on a regular basis.

When two schools are juxtaposed, the pulse that evidently seems to run through the University of Virginia is attractive indeed. The enviable academic climate is bolstered with a proud school-spirit and an apparent bustle of student activity. The larger, more diverse population of Virginia seems to be better served by the abundance of opportunities available to each student.

To conclude, I have a keen interest in experiencing life at Virginia. I would like nothing better than to seize the opportunity to contribute positively towards campus life in ways that I am capable of, and take advantage of the wealth that a University of Virginia education has to offer.

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