How to write application essays to get into Actuarial Science programs in US?

Q:

I am a corporate scholar currently doing ADP (1+4 program) in Taylor’s University. I am doing Actuarial Science and I plan to apply to UPenn (The Wharton School) and University of Wisconsin-Madison. May I know what is the best approach to the admission essays in order for me to get into these school?

This reader wishes to pursue Actuarial Science at UPenn (Wharton) or University of Wisconsin.

This reader wishes to pursue Actuarial Science at UPenn (Wharton) or University of Wisconsin.

A:

Hello! It seems that we share a pretty similar Pre-U background. First of all, it’s quite difficult for me to give you good advice on how to approach the essay without knowing the question. Why don’t you come back to us when the questions or prompts are released?

Secondly, essays are not all there is to your application. Don’t forget about SAT 1 and 2, because your scores in these tests matter a lot too, especially if you’re applying to competitive universities like the Ivy Leagues. And It’s not just the Ivy Leagues, there are a lot of stuff you have to pay attention to in order to get into any school: SAT 1 and 2 scores, TOEFL/IELTS scores, the essay and the interview. Without a decent score for SAT 1 or TOEFL, your admissions chances will be dented even if you have a good essay. By the way, your sponsoring body will not allow you to go abroad if you do not get the CGPA (in ADP) required if I am not mistaken. If you have already sat for TOEFL, SAT 1 and 2, and you are happy with your scores, I don’t mind finding current students from UPenn (Wharton) to help you with applications! I’ll be very happy to help another Malaysian student get accepted.

I am very pleased to know that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is in your list of schools too. My big advice on this school is to apply as early as possible because there are lots of applicants and admissions might not have the time to read yours. This incident happened to me and my friend. Most of their admitted students have SAT scores between 1810-2000. Furthermore, SAT 2 is not a requirement for Wisconsin! How awesome is that?

Oh! And are University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Pennsylvania State University – University Park and University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign in your list? These public schools have excellent actuarial science programs too. Do update us if you have any more questions!

Answered by: A corporate scholar who is currently pursuing a degree in Actuarial Science at Pennsylvania State University after completing the ADP (1+4 track) at Taylor’s University.


Hi. I just wanted to add that your intended major might not matter as much as your passion, personality and opinions (collectively known as “who you are”) when writing your college essays. Speaking from my experience applying to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s Actuarial Mathematics major (I eventually got admitted), I didn’t even touch on my intended major in any of my essays. I wrote 3 essays for UMich, and they are the Commonapp essay that is sent to every school you apply to via Commonapp, and 2 more essays just for UMich. The Commonapp questions are very personal and don’t explicitly ask why you chose your major. For example, last year they asked applicants to write about their failures or a defining event in their lives, among others. The prompts should remain the same this year. The UMich questions were about my identity and the standard “Why our college?” What I mean to say is, don’t worry too much about your major when writing your essay, and just be yourself, no matter how cliched that sounds.

Answered by: Yeong Wern Yeen, a JPA scholar, will be going to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this fall. She just finished Cambridge A Level at Taylor’s College Subang Jaya.


Syaza Nazura, an Actuarial Science student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, also wrote an article on how to approach the US application essays, in response to this reader’s question.

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