A sample Cornell Entrance Essay.

After I received my iPod as a present for Christmas during my sophomore year at high school, I have been entranced and absorbed into the world of music. Delving into the most popular songs offered by iTunes, I have diligently followed mainstream music for the past few years. Along with popularity, the quality and technicality of music has also drawn interest to me. Sound quality, encoding and decoding, and compression standards became as important to me as the song’s place on the billboard charts.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, or MP3, is the industry standard for distributing audio to consumers. Differing from standard audio CD quality of 1410kbit/s, MP3 is a perceptual encoding format using a lossy compression algorithm in order to greatly reduce the file size and still sound like a quality reproduction of the original audio to listeners. The quality of a MP3 file is dependent on its bit rate, and iTunes offers a variable bit rate (VBR) of 256kbit/s to its customers. Listening to music from iTunes is good quality compared to the small file size. However, as storage capacities are increasing drastically due to technological advances, I began to look into 320kbit/s and even 640kbit/s compressions and other encoding formats such as FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec).

Even though higher MP3 bitrates can be obtained using LAME encoding, FLAC offers a lossless audio date compression that reduces file size and bandwidth up to 60% while retaining the original CD quality. The quality difference between FLAC and MP3 quality music is literally unbelievable when heard through a good sound system.

My interests in designing and modifying a better speaker system or developing a new codec for audio compressions has led me to plan a spare time project in the fields of electrical engineering and computer science. I want to modify noise filtration and cancellation of a store bought speaker and turn it into a better quality. I also want to develop or help code a new codec that can offer studio quality audio at acceptable storage sizes. An education at Cornell Engineering could help me learn the required knowledge and provide me with the tools and resources to successfully achieve my planned side project. Also, Cornell could offer me real world and research opportunities to furnish my ideas and turn them into practical applications and solutions for the mass public.

Cornell will offer me challenges and help improve my problem solving skills while providing me with a professional degree that will establish my future career, and that is why Cornell Engineering is perfect for me.

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