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Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS) 2022 Application Essay Guide

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Calling all Albert Einsteins and Katherine Johnsons! It’s time to make sure your PROMYS application is as strong as it can possibly be. And that starts with polished and authentic essay responses. Let’s dive in!
Deadline: March 15, 2022
Recommendation: Give yourself an abundance of time to work on the problems.
Decision Announcements: Mid-May 2022

Please tell us about yourself by answering the following questions. 

Have you ever participated in a special program in mathematics or science before? Applicants are not expected to have had such an experience, but if you have, please tell us briefly about it.

If you have not participated in a special program in math or science before, you can respond with a simple sentence stating such. If, however, you have had the opportunity to attend a similar program, we encourage you to address what you learned or took away from the experience. Bonus points if you can build a bridge between your past experience and PROMYS to show the natural progression of your skill development.

Tell us about any other mathematical experiences you have had. For example, have you ever done a special math project, entered a math contest, or participated in a math club or math circle? 

Alright, this prompt is for everybody. If you’re applying to a competitive summer program for mathematicians, odds are you’ve dipped your toe into the math-verse before. Use this space to reflect on your experience, interest/passion, and takeaways. Maybe your participation in math club allowed you to learn new tricks and connect with like-minded people. Or, perhaps, you and your friend built an app to help trans youth find LGBTQ+ friendly hostels, allowing you to apply your mathematical prowess to solving real-world problems. 

What other interests and hobbies do you have? 

What do you do for fun? How do you like to spend your free time? Don’t overthink your response to this question, and don’t worry if it has nothing to do with math! Make a preliminary list of your hobbies and consider how you can turn that list into a story. Maybe think about your ideal Saturday: how would you spend it? Would you start by cooking a gourmet breakfast (Gordon Ramsey, watch out!) or writing a poem? Maybe you’d go fishing with your dad or play basketball with your friends. The more details you can pepper into your response, the better. Bring your reader into your world to deepen their understanding of all things you.

What do you hope to gain by coming to PROMYS? 

This prompt is a classic in the world of admissions essays. In short, why are you applying? What interests you about the PROMYS experience and what do you hope to take away from the experience? Start by writing down everything that comes to mind. Next, head to the PROMYS website to read up on what they offer. Take specific notes on what appeals to you, and then marry your freewriting notes with your research notes. A strong response will also touch on your plans for the future and how the PROMYS program will help you get there.

After trying the application problems, tell us which was your favorite problem and why. Describe your process of working through the problem and what drew you to it in particular. 

If you’re looking for an opportunity to nerd out, look no further. Admissions seeks to gain insight into how your brain works. In your response, you need to address the following: which was your favorite problem and why, your process for solving it, and why it appealed to you in the first place. Your answers will reveal information about the kind of mathematician you are and will become. Good luck!

Did you triple check your responses for errors?
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