Mathematics has always held a deep fascination for me, particularly the concept that a mathematical proof is the nearest it is possible to get to truth. Science subjects project theories that are then tested by observation or experimentation, but the conclusions can only be made by proposing an explanation that seems to fit. Maths is different; it is more clear cut, more precise and more absolute. Being able to draw out complex proofs is a great feeling.
I am lucky to have had encouraging maths teachers throughout my school and college life and my current head of maths has encouraged me to attend lectures at the university just on the doorstep, which are held for gifted and talented college level students once a week. This has introduced me to areas of maths that are not usually accessible to college students such as quantum mechanics and inequalities. This has opened my eyes to great new possibilities and has really whetted my appetite for studying mathematics at university level. The extension of my knowledge has also enabled me to obtain A* grades in my AS levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics.
Participating in a summer school for gifted and talented pupils was also a significant factor in my decision to choose mathematics. This again introduced me to some topics normally only studied at first year university level. For the first time I found myself in the company of people my own age who were just as passionate about maths and discussing topics such as Markov chains, proof by induction and using Maple was highly stimulating. It also gave me a much better idea of what it would be like to live as a student away from home and the opportunities for combining rigorous mathematical study with an active sporting schedule and a great social life all confirmed my ambition to choose a campus university quite a way from home rather than my local institution.
My choice of university has had a great deal to do with the mathematics courses available but I have also been impressed by the sporting facilities at your university. I am a keen badminton player, having represented my school, college and county in competitions. Squash is another great interest and although I haven’t played at such a high level, I am very competitive and train regularly to maintain my fitness so that I can play squash about 5 times each week.
My family lived in south east Asia for three years when I was growing up and I witnessed families living there with very few material possessions but who had rich and fulfilling lives. This has made a big impression on me and I realise the privilege of being able to even think of attending university. I feel the need to give something back and I have been volunteering at a local hostel for homeless people in my city, helping to run a meal station at weekends. This is something that I would want to continue doing when at university.
My mature approach to life, my additional insights into what studying mathematics at university will be like and my capacity to work hard should provide me with the necessary motivation and skills to make the most of a university maths degree.