Can I get in Harvard or UC Berkeley with a math report?

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: Can I get in Harvard or UC Berkeley with a math report?
By Polly (Polly) on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 09:00 pm: Edit

Hi, everyone.
I am writing a mathematical report on the subject "Power Function."
No one has ever written a comprehensive paper on this subject, my private math teacher said.
I haven't finished it yet, but it is in progress and I am going to submit it with college applications.

Do you think that this will help me to be accepted in good school such as Harvard and UC Berkeley?
The teacher said that most of the people who wrote papers on math and science topics got in good school, so I'm wondering if it will happen to me.

Here in the information about me:

- in one of the best youth orchestras in the state
- have been playing violin for 13 years
- have been a section leader at some orchestras
- my school orchestra has gotten many awards
- received an award that is given to the best student in each subject at school
- was a class president at my high school in Japan
- got 770 on SAT Math IIC (plan to take again)
- got 730 on SATI math (plan to take again)
- doing volunteer at a city library for 2 years
- got award for a statewide examination in math
- have taken several classes at a community college and got A's and B's
- got 5 on AP Music Theory
- got 4 on Calc AB, 3 on Calc BC
- got Certificate of Merit for playing violin
- received a few awards at my school as groups

I came to the US 2 years ago, so I'm afraid my verbal score on SAT is bad...
But I'm going to take SAT's again and hope I'll get much higher score on them.

By Hsimpson2k4 (Hsimpson2k4) on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 09:03 pm: Edit

You have a shot. Can you tell me more about this math paper? What is the Power Function? I am not going to steal your idea but have always been interested in trying to prove my own theories and such. Can you please tell me some more.

By Polly (Polly) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 12:10 am: Edit

Hi. Thanks for your response. :)
Sorry for a vacuous question, but what do you mean by "have a shot"? I'll be glad if you could tell me about it.

About the math paper, a power function is a funcion such as y = x^2.
There are basically 12 kinds of power functions.
I looked at the photocopy that my math teacher got from a Chinese math book of preparation for math olympics, but they even didn't put the correct information about power functions.
Basically what I'm going to write on the paper is a table that sorts all kinds of power functions with some graphs, and maybe some practice problems.

There is Intel Talent Search, so I'm going to submit this paper. The deadline is November, so I have to hurry up...
If you are also interested in this competition, you can request a pamphlet to Intel.

By Polly (Polly) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 12:18 am: Edit

Using HTML tag, a power function is represented here:

y = x3

By the way, only high school seniors can apply to the Talent Search.

By Geniusash (Geniusash) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 03:44 pm: Edit

"have a shot" is the same as "have a chance"

By Anduin (Anduin) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 06:12 pm: Edit

Um, the function f(x)=x^2 is a polynomial function, not a power function. Those have been studied in considerable depth, and I would be extremely surprised if your paper were to contain a significant advance in Galois Theory. If you are talking about exponential functions, such as f(x)=e^x, I would also be extremely surprised if you had something new.

Otherwise, you might have a shot; what are your grades and SAT I Verbal? Also, please be more specific about these group awards. If they are not important enough to explain clearly, then they are probably not important enough to put on your college application.

By Polly (Polly) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 06:59 pm: Edit

Thanks for useful information.
I'll ask the teacher about the math paper more specifically.

But... I think power function is of course a kind of polynomial function. It just doesn't have more than one term, but basically they are the same thing.
I searched on the net and most of the pages listed functions such as the one I listed above.

Like these ones:

By Cmaher (Cmaher) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 03:57 am: Edit

Are you joking?

I'm sorry but your idea sounds unimpressive unless you are going to perform complex proofs or something about power functions.

Making up an information sheet with a few graphs and practice problems won't win a prestigious research contest.

By Y17k (Y17k) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 05:05 am: Edit

these have been done to DEATH, so i doubt you will find anything new...

why dont you try something quite recent like vectors or complex numbers (not that recent, but recent compared to these functions)

By Polly (Polly) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 07:44 am: Edit

Yeah, sure I'm going to write about complex numbers, too.
It's complicated, you know.

By Pacman (Pacman) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 09:42 am: Edit

Polly, I don't think you should waste your time at such things as a math report. Mathematics is one of the oldest brand of human knowledge, and those topics you are talking about...are completely done centuries ago. If a you can write something new, what are all those mathematicians for?

If you want to use math to impress the admission officers, than try for the Interntional Mathematical Olympiad. It'll make you a "sure admit" for any college. And it's a thousand times easier than trying to write something new on century old topics like the power function of vectors.

By Polly (Polly) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 10:23 am: Edit

Yes, math is one of the oldest subject, but there are still many unsolved problems.
I don't mean that power function is unsolved, but I believe it's worthwhile to analyze the power function.

By Pacman (Pacman) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 10:36 am: Edit

Polly, I hate to break it to you but the whole idea of yours is naive. NO ONE can discover any new theorems in mathematics unless they are a true supergenius. Even being a professional mathematician is not enough, they must be a SUPERGENIUS to discover anything new in this era. And when they do, it's not going to be something a high school student can understand.

By the way, polynomials and power functions are COMPLETELY different things. From what you've typed, you seemed confused about the two.

Why don't you try to qualify for the USAMO?

By Polly (Polly) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 12:05 pm: Edit

No, I'm not going to DISCOVER a new theorem or something like that.
Basically I'm just making a big table of power function. It's not that big paper, you know...

I admit that I was confused with the definitions of power functions and polynomials.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 02:27 pm: Edit

If you were confused about the two, chances are your readers will be too.

By Anduin (Anduin) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Um, you don't have to be a supergenius to prove a new theorem, nor do you have to be a professional mathematician. However, you pretty much have to be at least one of the two, and most of the truly famous and signficant results of the last few centuries have been proved by people who were both.

Topology and graph theory are two relatively fresh fields (and topological graph theory is even more so), and I've read about several applications of combinatorics to myriad other areas of mathematics

While qualifying for the IMO would be a sure admit, if you're a senior it will come too late for college admissions.

By Polly (Polly) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Actually I didn't know about IMO until those days, and I'm a senior so I think it's too late...
But Anduin, thanks so much for your advice. :)

By Pacman (Pacman) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 10:11 pm: Edit

"While qualifying for the IMO would be a sure admit, if you're a senior it will come too late for college admissions. " -Anduin

But you can still TRANSFER! Beside, if you qualify for IMO, who cares what college you go to. You'll be smarter than 99.9% of the people at Harvard anyway. I would give 1000 times more respect to an IMO qualifier than to a Harvard graduate.

By Polly (Polly) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 11:53 pm: Edit

um... How can I apply for IMO??

By Justinfiddler (Justinfiddler) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 12:10 am: Edit

take amc. score above 100
then take aime, get above 10
take usamo, get really high, i don't know how high

then you take international math olympiad

polly, it's very hard to do. only 300 people in us qualify for usamo i think

i only got to aime

By Pacman (Pacman) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 09:45 am: Edit

You need more than 100 on the AMC to qualify for USAMO. 100 will qualify for the AIME technically, but then you'll have to get like a 13 on the AIME. But then if you only get 100 on the AMC, you'll probably only get a 1 or 2 on the AIME at most.

As a senior, you should get at least a 135 on the AMC12. Then get at least a 10 on the AIME. Then you should qualify for USAMO. That alone will get you pretty much anywhere.

By Polly (Polly) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 11:38 am: Edit

Thanks... I might want to try. I think at my school, everyone will take AMC.

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