Gunarm4's Essay

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Gunarm4's Essay
By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 12:45 am: Edit

Here is a possible college essay I've been working on lately. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks again.

What if 1 were equal to 0? Some may consider it a frivolous question, yet when I sit back and think of the changes in our everyday lives, I cannot help but imagine what life would be like. Certainly a mathematician’s worst nightmare, this would everyone. First start with the beginning of life, there would be no progression from infancy to one year of age. There would be no 1st year birthday party, no celebration of one year passing in a child’s life, simply because the 1 year old is actually a newborn. In later years, when a child learned simple arithmetic in the 2nd or 3rd grade, there would be no distinguishable difference between 0 apples and 1 apple. Throughout high school, 1st period would not exist, much to the delight of students, however there would be no satisfaction in completing freshman year, as it would be the same as starting again.
In terms of mathematics itself, the repercussions would be enormous if 1 were equal to 0. From the earliest stages of fractions, when a child is taught to place a whole number over 1, this fraction would now be undefined. In fact, the entire number system would be erased, as every number is divisible by 1. Yet putting this aside, the progression to geometry would have catastrophic effects. In a special 30°, 60°, 90° triangle, the sides across from these angles are in proportion of 1, Ö3, 2. Yet if 1 is equal to 0, this triangle ceases to exist, as a figure cannot have a side of length equal to 1.
As a child progresses to pre-calculus, one can only imagine the damage this simple statement can have on the whole field of Mathematics. When we study geometric and arithmetic progressions, the next number in a series is expressed as n +1. However, n+1 is simply equal to n, prohibiting any type of series at all. Critics of this train of thought may argue, since 1 is not equal to 0, why bother? But I feel that there is a necessity to bother. What if no one bothered to investigate other seemingly falsities, such as “it is impossible to enter outer space.” What if no one ever questioned, “the speed of sound cannot be broken?” Intellectual freedom is a key to success, and should always be encouraged.

By Emyh (Emyh) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:00 am: Edit

What if your adcom reader is an English person?

By Oops (Oops) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:01 am: Edit

Here are two thoughts that came to mind when I read your essay (on content only):

1. First the good - This is a really interesting idea, and makes it clear that you are a creative person with an inquisitive mind.

2. Second the bad - You don't seem to show enough interest in the subject. It seems that you bring up an idea, and then simply muses and say, "Ha! This is an interesting idea! See? I am creative!" You did have an inteersting idea, but you do not do anything with it except to come to a stock conclusion of "intellectual freedom is a key to success." The result is that your interesting idea becomes a gimmick. This essay would work if you tie this into some passion of your life--show how this relates to you. Be more personal. (I don't how you can do it with such a topic, but it is most important because this is an essay about you.) If you can do that, your essay will be excellent.

By Delirious (Delirious) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:01 am: Edit

What's the point of the essay? If I were an adcom, the only thing I would learn about you from your essay is that you're a kid who spends lots of time pondering about things that don't really mean anything (I don't know where you're tring to go with this 1 /= 0 thing.

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:03 am: Edit

ok thanks for the inpute, however harsh it may be lol

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:26 am: Edit

what do you guys think about this other essay i wrote???

(background info, 800 physics sat 2, 5 physics ap, 7 physics IB, gonna major in physics)

Throughout my Physics studies, I encountered one man who mentored me like no other, and allowed me to learn, yet personalize a way of thinking. In preparing for the AP Physics test this past May, there were various topics I needed to learn after class because of the differences between the AP and IB curriculum. Four days a week I spent after school studying supplementary aspects of Physics solely on the Advanced Placement test. Each day, after arriving at an answer, my Physics teacher would always question my thought process, method of solution as well as rationale. This insight required me to think about where I arrived and more importantly how I arrived there. For example, in solving various inclined plane problems, the standard kinematical equations can be used, however it is very time consuming. At the urge of my Physics teacher, I discovered that the conservation of energy method could be used. From this initial questioning by my teacher, I have developed this method to explore and utilize quicker and more effective ways of approaching various types of problems.
I adopted this methodology from my Physics teacher and yet built upon it. After every answer in varying disciplines I asked myself not only how I achieved my goal, but could I generalize, or create extensions using the same method? As displayed in my preparation for New York State Mathematics League and American Regions Mathematics League, I extended upon problems to form generalizations. Many times these attempts would not work, but that is just as rewarding as proving generalizations. I now know next time when approached with the same type of problem there is no generalization to be investigated.
I asked myself how many other methods there were to achieve the same goal. Concentrated in the physics field, I deeply grasped each concept; I did not simply grasp a formula.. I knew the derivation behind all methods, and this is what has allowed me to excel. I understood; I did not just memorize.
I was truly lucky to have a mentor like my Physics teacher with such a quest for knowledge. Not only was my mind stimulated at his call, I was able and am still able to excite my thirst for knowledge. I have successfully taken this concept and made it my own. I hope in the future to expand my knowledge even further and to pass along my mode of thought to help others truly understand “why” and simply not “how.”

By Serene (Serene) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:33 am: Edit

I agree w/ Delirious on


What's the point of the essay? If I were an adcom, the only thing I would learn about you from your essay is that you're a kid who spends lots of time pondering about things that don't really mean anything (I don't know where you're tring to go with this 1 /= 0 thing.

For physics... first sentence -- bad grammar btw -- seems to be talking about your physics teacher, while the essay is really about you. "shift" the weight in the topic sentence from your teacher to you. =)

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:38 am: Edit

Thanks Serene--assuming grammatical mistakes fixed, and that stress applied towards me, do you think it is an overall good essay?? Will it help my chances??? I am applying as a physics major

By Serene (Serene) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 02:10 am: Edit

well, what essay question are you answering?

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 12:10 pm: Edit

THe one on the common app (harvard's app), how has someone influenced you?

By Supernova (Supernova) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 12:54 pm: Edit

i think the physics one needs some more work although i don't have any helpful suggestions haha

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 07:52 pm: Edit

Thanks Supernova.

Anyone please help. I think a great essay can get me into Harvard, hopefully

By Serene (Serene) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Ah. Well... your physics essay in that case... if it's for Harvard, is really mediocre.

First, not enough details. You are telling instead of showing. You only used up 413 words instead of the 500 limit, you could include a lot more. It's not very interesting to read. And since you're answering the question how has someone influenced you, you ONLY MENTIONED YOUR TEACHER LIKE THREE OR FOUR TIMES IN THE ENTIRE ESSAY. That's definitely not enough "influence." And yeah, learning something from a teacher, methodology whatever, that's not influence. Influence is something BIGGER. Like how he influenced you to study physics, maybe. Perhaps you should choose to write about something else if you can't feel it. :(

Sorry if I'm a bit too critical, but I have seen many better Harvard essays than yours.

By Lalai26 (Lalai26) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 08:22 pm: Edit

My advice: Spend less time talking about how hard your AP courses were, it is already assumed that they will be. Your essay reveals VERY little about you. It's more like a long way to repeat your brag sheet. If it is about someone who influenced you (though I wouldn't recommend using the common application, since schools appreciate the person who actually goes out of their way to show interest in their school), perhaps you should write whomever it was that inspired your passion for physics. I hope you aren't relying on scores to get you into certain colleges, because the essay you have now is not revealing at all.

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 09:05 pm: Edit

Gotcha. Yea i'm using each college's own application. I'll try to fix it up. THanks again for the help.

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 09:10 pm: Edit

If i'm not really "feeling" this topic, what else do you suggest I write, utilizing physics?

Thanks again.

By Iloveharvard (Iloveharvard) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 03:05 am: Edit

dude, if you were equal to zero, you wouldnt be wariting a opinioon might be weeird bc im high as •••• dawg, good idea, dont try to seem precocious, just try to seem smart adn intellecutal. impress them but dont change them. it seeems like uyoiu thin,k you know ur •••• and they dont, yoju know what im saying?

By Beenthereil (Beenthereil) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 11:10 am: Edit

Gun...You need to go outside and have some fun with friends.

Go to an amusement park; a baseball game; throw stones across a small pond.

Can't imagine what your social life is like.

By Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:32 am: Edit

Hey, I am so copying those essays for my application. $$$$$ Thanks!!! $$$$$

Just kidding. But hey, I'm wondering if you would even realized someone might do that. Theyre pretty good.

By Irishtrep (Irishtrep) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:44 am: Edit

i don't like your approach, gunarm. you spend almost the entirety of our essay establishing the consequences of 0 equalling 1. this is pretty obvious. all you need is one or two sentences, saying how all of mathematics collapse (using the example about fractions, perhaps). this removes the need for all the other illustrations.

more generally, it is difficult to question the foundations upon which logic is based. if you succeed in "proving" that logic is flawed, it follows that the case by which you proved that is flawed also.

the point i'm trying to make it that is you distance yourself enough from the accepted axioms of logic, everything is meaningless.

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 02:05 am: Edit

I just have one small suggestion.....HUH? WTF?

By Stephenpmi (Stephenpmi) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 03:20 pm: Edit

Have you purchased any of the books such as "Accepted: 50 Successful College Essays" or "Getting in: Secrets of Harvard Students" or anything written by a former admissions counselor?

Try one (or more) of those books and they will definitely open your eyes to more essay possibilities.

I think your current essays are fine, but not exceptional. You need something that will set you apart from the pack...without turning an essay into a "brag sheet".

By Gunarm4 (Gunarm4) on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 03:22 pm: Edit

Thanks Stephenpmi!!!

By Spit (Spit) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 02:55 pm: Edit

if 1= 0 then alot of the things in your essay wouldn't have been possible in the first place. It's sort of a catch 22...

By Anothernycdad (Anothernycdad) on Thursday, August 14, 2003 - 01:06 am: Edit

Did you report on another thread that you were getting help from a "specialist"? If so, start over.

Take all the advice above. Chances will plummet if you don't.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Thursday, August 14, 2003 - 09:58 am: Edit

"if you succeed in "proving" that logic is flawed, it follows that the case by which you proved that is flawed also."

I agree w/ that. If you are proving logic is flawed, and your essay is based on logic, then your essay is flawed. Second, I didn't get a feel your personality/who you are/what you stand for in any of your essays.

I agree 100% w/ Serene and Lalai26 in that you tell mostly t han show. Put some emotion into it! I can think you tried to hard in your essays to show you are an analytical thinker. As I'm reading your essay, I want to know if you cried for joy after solving a complex problem. And also, don't be afraid to put specific names in your essay (such as your mentor. Again, it adds a personal touch).

If you submit these essays, make sure to fix all of your grammatical errors and awkward sentences. Ex. . . .

"I adopted this methodology from my Physics teacher and yet built upon it." -awkward opening sentence for paragraph

"I now know next time when approached with the same type of problem there is no generalization to be investigated." -Hard to understand how you got there

In terms of the whole 1 being 0 essay, I would honestly not use it. I liked how you tried to be creative, but you kind of beat it to death w/ all the examples.

I hope this helps

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