by Kareem Carr

**The deadline for this scholarship is November 30, 2010.**

I recently noticed this offer of a scholarship on Terry Tao’s blog.

We intend to offer one new scholarship every year.

The UCLA Math Undergraduate Merit Scholarship provides for full tuition, and a room and board allowance for 4 years. In addition, scholarship recipients follow an individualized accelerated program of study, as determined after consultation with UCLA faculty … The program of study leads to a Masters degree in Mathematics in four years.

The application can be found here.

There is also an interesting discussion in the comment section of Terry’s post on whether it is a good idea to strongly accelerate the education of a child in a particular aspect such as mathematics. One commenter called M. says in part:

A person who gets a scholarship like above and as a freshman starts taking classes with graduate students and senior, who are all quite committed to mathematics, is probably on a one-way to ticket to become a mathematician. Do you really think it is correct for a person to commit himself or herself so seriously to mathematics as early as this?

Terry’s four-point response includes the following:

More generally, I don’t see that increased exposure to, say, higher mathematics is necessarily a “one-way ticket” to becoming a mathematician, though it obviously is a useful preparation for such a possible career goal.

I will throw in my two cents by reposting a comment that I wrote in response to Outreach by Brian Simanek.

Earlier this year, I tutored a gifted student in Mathematics as part of a local gifted students program. It was quite rewarding. The student was in sixth grade at the time.

It was a large program with a huge amount of diversity in terms of the kids. I suppose it would be the type of situation one would expect if one selected all redheaded kids and tried to come up with a common strategy [for education them]. These children seemed to have very little in common besides the trait of being advanced in one or two aspects of their education.

What I came to understand was each child is different, especially when it comes to education. There really did not seem to be any hard and fast rules about helping them along. It would be like saying there were hard and fast rules about being a friend or a father. By the way, the mentorship relationship seems somewhere in between being a parent and a friend in one very narrow aspect of their development as a person i.e. their education.

I think someone who is considering getting off the well-worn path of standardized education needs a mentor (or several) to shepherd them along the way.