… by Emma / from NJ, USA / BSc Mathematics / 1st Year (UG)
Each year, the School of Mathematics gives international applicants the opportunity to apply for the Edinburgh Global Undergraduate Maths Scholarship. As a part of the application, applicants are encouraged to discuss why they are essentially seeking the scholarship and how they think it will help them throughout their University career.
In my second semester of high school, after I received an offer from the University, I researched the Global Maths Scholarship. At the time, I understood the scholarship to be competitive, but I decided to just go for it as I often do with most things that have the potential to be quite rewarding.
What motivated me in my application was seemingly the impression I had received when I first visited the School of Maths. In the US, it would be somewhat unique to be able to study your own degree in the first two years of university and only your discipline. In other words, in many US colleges and universities (and in virtually all of the universities I applied to last year), you are required to fulfil certain requirements in other disciplines, or what is coined as “liberal arts requirements.” While being required to take courses in disciplines such as history or literature as a math student may possess its benefits, it was quite eye-opening and exciting for me to have the opportunity at Edinburgh to only take math courses and then have the liberty to take three outside courses in my first year. Evidently, I was keen for the curriculum at the School of Maths, which ultimately influenced my decision in coming across the pond for university and pursuing this scholarship.
I was lucky enough to be granted the scholarship before I arrived at Uni in the fall. In the summer before coming to Edinburgh, I was able to work part-time and save up money. I anticipated that I would want to join societies, attend different activities and events, and travel outside of Edinburgh. As a result of the scholarship, I have been fortunate enough to not have to pursue a time-consuming part-time job whilst being here. The scholarship has undoubtedly helped to relieve some of the financial stress of Uni education and the life of a student. Not having to balance work with other aspects of university life has allowed me to have a smooth transition to moving to a new country, meeting new people, and trying all sorts of different activities. I am able to utilize my free time by trying new cafes and restaurants with friends, going to optional lectures that pique my interest, playing intramural hockey, and by overall taking advantage of so much that the city offers to its students. Additionally, before coming to Edinburgh I was and still am very keen to travel around the UK and continental Europe. Having the scholarship has encouraged me to take advantage of my proximity to so many other countries and plan those trips, since the concern of finances has been diluted in a sense.
The scholarship has also encouraged me in an academic sense as well. Being awarded made me realize that I have a responsibility to maintain my willingness to participate in my course of study. I also feel more motivated to do the work that perhaps too often is tempting to not complete to my fullest ability. Without having a part-time job to maintain, I do have the time to focus on both my math courses and my outside courses which has been beneficial for me.
In general, I would certainly recommend to those accepted into the School of Maths to consider applying for the scholarship. While submitting a personal piece of written work can be a bit daunting, like many things, the end achievement outweighs the perhaps trying process. The opportunity is somewhat unique but also representative of the School of Maths’ aim that those who are keen to study and improve in their degree should have the resources to do so, without any inhibitions.