Interest verified

Colleges are interested not only in what you are interested but also in how you express your interest, curiosity or excitement. You cannot just declare your interest; you have to prove it as genuine, passionate and your own.

I was just looking at someone’s essay for Caltech. The task was: “In a page, more or less, tell the Admissions Committee how you express your interest, curiosity, or excitement about math, science or engineering.” The essay seemed to be completely off topic as it mentioned:

a) that his interest was inborn as his parents are engineers;

b) how some relatives sparkled his interest in math / science / engineering;

c) his accomplishments;

d) how important science is;

Listing your accomplishments is a bit off topic here. They’ll be listed in your resume / application anyway. Your teachers will probably mention them in their recommendations.

Here you have to SHOW your passion at work (or rather at play 🙂 ). What are the things you do for fun, out of curiosity, without anyone pressing you? Please, don’t say “taking part in competitions”.

Try to be as explicit as possible. Describe the process, some scenarios, some things you have created on your own. Tell them the books and articles you have read on the subject. Interest might manifest itself in many forms.

For example:

If I were writing about my love for blogging, I would tell them that I have several blogs. I would describe their content. Of course, I could provide links to them, just as someone might provide a portfolio of images or records. These are the products of my passion.

Still, the products are not the most important thing. The process matters even more. So, I could tell them that the moment I open my eyes in the morning I start thinking, reading, and writing down some thoughts of mine, some things to explore further. Almost every morning I have come up with at least one text before 9 a.m. and I am eager to post it. I could also tell them that with one of my blogs I take a lot of time choosing images. I am also careful about making the blogs user-friendly and interesting for my readers. I could tell them how often I check my traffic, how I feel about comments, etc.

In short: I’ll try to immerse admissions committee into my experience: the product, the process, the thoughts, the feelings … everything 🙂

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