The first step of getting in to Stanford is applying. So let’s talk about that application!
First, let me share a little bit of my experience with the application. I will be the first to admit that I’m not a writer. I like science and numbers. And above all, I love speaking. If I’m going to get my ideas out, I’d prefer to do it face to face. However with college applications, there isn’t much of a choice. Secondly, I’m a procrastinator. Big time. I honest to god arrived at my friend’s New Year’s party at 11:59 because I was submitting college applications. I didn’t finish and submit the Stanford application until the next evening, just hours before it was due. In fact, I wasn’t even entirely certain that I was going to finish it. But I did, thank God. Personally, I found the hardest part of the application was crafting rich and meaningful essays that fit in the spaces provided…I always write long essays and papers, so my personal challenge was paring down my essays so they fit in the online forms without being truncated.
The Common App (commonapp.org) is definitely the way to go when applying to Stanford (I actually don’t know if you can apply without using the common app. Anywho…everything was online, and I only had to fill out my personal and extracirricular information once for all the schools that I was applying to, and then I completed an additional supplement form for each application. Sweet and time saving deal.
Now, onto the actual content of the application. Much of it is pretty standart–possible major, test scores, information about extracirricular involvement, some family information, etc. The essay questions are obviously the most work intensive portion, and require the most thought. There were two essays that went along with the common app, and the rest were part of the Stanford supplement. Here are the essays questions, their lenght parameters, and a little bit about what I wrote about for each.
Common App Short Essay: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracirricular activities in the space below. (1000 character maximum)
I wrote about my experiences in 4-H! 🙂
The main common app essay has 6 choices to choose from:
1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
This is the one I chose. I wrote about my experiences with my dogs–how showing and breeding shaped me as a person, and inspired my academic and career goals.
2. Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
4. Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.
5. A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
6. Topic of your choice.
The Stanford Supplement first asks for a little additional personal information (Social Security #, whether you have ever applied before, regular/early decision, and whether you have any siblings also applying.
Next, there were several questions that simply asked you to list some of your preference in a couple lines (no need to use full sentences). All have a maximum of 300 characters.
Name your favorite books, authors, films, and/or musical artists.
What newspapers, magazines, and/or websites do you enjoy?
What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
How did you spend your last two summers?
What were your favorite events (e.g., performances, exhibits, sporting events, etc.) this past year?
What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
What five words best describe you?
Then, there were the short essays…at least 250 words, but not exceeding the space provided (2000 characters).
Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.
I wrote about my experiences at Lac du Bois (French camp, part of the Concordia Language Villages), and how it not only helped me grow lingually, but shaped my cultual outlook.
Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – know you better.
I framed this essay around my Facebook profile. I stated how important I believe the pictues on someone’s profile are, and described some of the most important moments and pictures on my profile. I went on to talk about how Facebook, more than just being a biography and a photo album, is a way to connect people, and how I couldn’t wait to connect with m roommate!
What matters to you, and why?
I reworked a speach I’d written on scholarship for my school’s NHS induction. I talked about how keen intellect and academic curiosity not only benefits the individual scholar, but also society as a whole.
The rest of the supplement is pretty simple stuff. They ask you to list all the alumni in your family (I didn’t have any, don’t worry. It doesn’t seem very important), agree to the honor code, and agree to the additional instructions. And that’s it!
Good luck to anyone who may be a future member of Stanford ’17…I believe that you can start your application in about a month!