So how did I come to Stanford?…Introducing me!

Hey there internet!  This is the story of how I got lucky…er….how I came to be a member of the Stanford University Class of 2016!
In the upcoming days and months, I will give a more detailed picture of some of the general information about admissions, admitted students, and my freshman year…so keep posted.  Think of this post as a bit of an introduction!

Who am I?
I am a recent graduate of a small high school in Minnesota.  I love school, showing dogs, 4-H, riding horses, acting, giving speeches, playing the flute, traveling, speaking in tongues, reading, hanging out with friends, and discovering why things are the way they are.  I’m a little bit out there, and I love to speak my mind (but I don’t necessarily want you to be offended by it!).  Yes, I certainly am intelligent, but by no means am I a genius.

Academia?
At this point, I am almost entirely positive that I am planning on majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular and Cellular Biology.  In about 4 or 5 years, I hope to continue on to graduate school to study Genetics and pursue a career as a research scientist.
I love biology, chemistry, learning languages, and making music.  I may need a minor or two to  make sure all my interests are covered…

How did I get in? (alternately, “What makes you so gosh damn special?”)
As I said earlier, I’m not claiming to be the second coming of Albert Einstein/Mother Theresa/Barack Obama.  I will give you my best picture of the admissions specs, but do understand: I got in to Stanford, but I was also got my fare share of rejection letters.  My application read a little something like this:
SAT: Reading-740  Math-760  Writing-680
ACT: 35
SAT-II: French w/ Listening-640  Chemistry-670  Biology-740
GPA&Class Rank: 3.873/4.000 (unweighted)   12th/98
AP Tests:  2010:  US History-3;     2011:  Calculus AB-4, Human Geography-5, Biology-5;     2012:  French Lang. and Culture, Calculus BC, English Lit and Comp, Chemistry
PSAT: 215
National Merit Scholar Finalist
*Disclaimer:  These are simply numbers.  I know for a fact that there are people among the c/o ’16 with much worse scores than mine, and there are people with far better test scores that were rejected.
Outside of the classroom, I have been showing dogs for 12 years, and have become very competitive on a national level.  I have been an active leader in 4-H on the club, county, and state levels.  I have lettered 3x, been a captain 2 years, and received 2 state medals in competitive speech.  I have experience performing, writing, and directing musicals.  I have been very active in competitive marching band, honors concert band, and solo and ensemble contests.  I was the captain of my school’s math team.  I attended French camp for 8 summers.
I am one of 8 National Merit Scholars from my school ever, and the first in almost 10 years.  I am the only person to have gotten a 5 on the AP Bio test ever.  I have taken more AP classes/tests than anyone else in my graduating class.  I have taken several classes “independent study” and have received multiple credits by examination.  I am the only person from my school to ever be admitted to Stanford.
Ultimately, I think little thins tipped the scale in my favor.  My application showed that I am the kind of person who is willing to find opportunities that don’t readily present themselves in terms of both my academics and my social life.  I am very involved, but I achieve at a high level in much of what I attempt.  I think my admissions interview made a large difference for me–I met with an alum at a local coffee shop and had a chat for about an hour and a half about what I do in and out of school, what my long term goals are, and what I like about Stanford.  Ultimately, not only did he give me a very positive recommendation, but he wrote an additional letter to the admissions office on my behalf (I didn’t find this out until after I was admitted).  I also found out after I got my letter that the admissions office called my school’s guidance counselor about 2 weeks before the acceptance and rejection letters went out asking about my 3rd quarter grades…thankfully, I had straight A’s.
All in all, I would say that I got very lucky.

Why did I choose Stanford?
There are very many specific reasons why I chose Stanford.  I will be sure to elaborate on those in the future, however I will give the short version of the story now.
I applied to 9 different colleges last fall.  Stanford was the only school that I didn’t have a chance to visit before applying; it was the only school on the west coast, and we couldn’t swing a trip to CA just for one college visit.  I really wanted to go to Princeton, but I kept my mind open, and knew that I’d be happy with wherever I ended up.  Around the last week of March, the admissions decisions started pouring in, and my prospects weren’t looking quite as sunny as I’d hoped.  I was accepted to both of my backup schools, UMass Amherst (with a large scholarship) and Tufts, wait listed at Duke and Brown, and rejected to Yale, Vanderbilt and Princeton.  I was only waiting on Harvard and Stanford…it didn’t seem feasible that I’d get in to either, so I decided as soon as I got their rejection letters, I’d commit to Tufts, and stay on Brown’s waiting list.
A few days later, I got a rejection letter to Harvard….and my acceptance letter to Stanford!  I was in a giddy sort of shock for a week or so (I still don’t think it has completely subsided…).  A part of me knew that it was just meant to be.
I knew I had to visit the campus before I committed, so I went out with my parents for Admit Weekend (a weekend set aside in April for admitted students to visit and stay on campus…another topic for another blog post!).  That weekend gave me a sense of ease, and I saw that I could easily fit into the Stanford community.  I committed that weekend.  I haven’t looked back!
Ultimately, I am happier with my college decision than I ever imagined I would be.

I am sorry that I wrote a novel.  I forgive you if you didn’t read all of it.
I will be writing a lot over the rest of the summer about my admissions process and what it’s like to be a “ProFro” (prospective freshman) and a “FoShoFro” (committed student, incoming freshman).  I also plan to continue this blog as I start my freshman year.  I’m sure I’ll have lots of experiences to share!
Look forward to future posts about admissions statistics, the application, interviews, what sets Stanfy apart from its academic peers (from a student’s POV), admit weekend, the hallowed admitted students facebook group, Approaching Stanford, and much, much more!

~Amelia

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