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The Requirements: 3 essays of 250 words or less
Why IIT? Odds are that you’ve seen this prompt before (or one very similar to it) and our advice is the same: start with research. Go to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s website and see what there is to see. What stands out to you? If you have the opportunity to visit campus, even better! Take notes and picture yourself as a student there. Would you complete your assigned readings under a tree in Grant Park? Would you revel in the windy city, a welcomed escape from the southern small town you were raised in? Which clubs would you join? Who would you want to take classes with? Are you chomping at the bit to participate in Pumpkin Launch, so you can engineer the best pumpkin catapulting device ever known to humankind? Whatever your reasoning may be, make sure admissions knows why you’re eager to attend next fall.
Now is the time to get nerdy. This prompt is all about your intellectual curiosity, but also your ambition for the future. There are so many reasons to pursue a degree in Mathematical Finance: because you’ve always wanted to apply your interest in math to the real world, or because you’re gunning for a career in bank regulation, or even because you hope to make policy changes one day. No one reason is more or less valid than the other, so first and foremost, be honest about your motives. Then refer to your notes to fill in the details with colorful examples. In a short essay like this, you’ve got to shoot from the hip, so be specific and succinct. What makes IIT the ideal place to pursue your higher education? How will their offerings and opportunities inch you toward your goal? And if you’re going in undecided, take some time to explore IIT’s academic offerings and choose a few to highlight in your response. IIT doesn’t expect you to have your whole life figured out just yet–but they do expect you to put time and energy into your response.
Take a look at your activity resume and visualize a day in the life of each job or activity. Admissions officers can assume that working at your local stables means you’re probably a horse lover, but do they know about the bond you fostered with the rescue horse who wouldn’t let anyone ride her for months? Admissions knows that being a novice gardener can be tedious and beautiful, but do they know about the pride and joy you feel whenever you notice someone admiring the flowers you planted at your local community center? Share with the Illinois Institute of Technology admissions department the experiences that may go otherwise unnoticed and use this as an opportunity to show them a new side of you.