I actually opened the second email first. The email that tells you what your Student ID is. I looked at the email for about 30 seconds, really really REALLY confused. Then I realized I was probably missing something and rechecked my inbox. I held my breath as I saw the email with the subject line: Your Stanford Admission Decision. And then I opened it. And then I screamed. Dec. 9th 2011, I screamed my little, brunette head off, and then proceeded to call everyone I knew (still screaming). As you can probably guess, I had been accepted. I probably busted more than a few eardrums that night. My mother then took me out for a celebratory dinner in which I ate waffles and mini corndogs.
Washington? The One that Rains A Lot or the One with the President?
It’s the rainy one. In a little town called Anacortes. It’s on an island with 17,000 people, and it has a small, public high school with about 800 people. I was the first person from our school to get into Stanford since about 2006. Last year we had a girl go to MIT and another to Yale, but most kids go to UW, Western Washington University, or Skagit Community College.
Soooo, You Must Have a 2400, Right?
- When I took the SAT Sophomore year I got a 1950. Two years later, I managed to pull off a 2250 (I took the SAT in October, the last time I could take it before REA applications were due. Guess I got lucky, hm?).
- Subject tests? Math II: 720, Lit: 700, Physics: 660. Suggestion: Don’t wait a year AFTER you’ve taken a class to take the subject test. That 660 was with A LOT of hours of studying.
- PSAT = 212, which made me a National Merit Commended Scholar.
- I took the AMC 10 and 12 at my school, and I got the highest score on the AMC 10 in my school my Sophomore year. On the AMC 12 I got 2nd and 3rd my Junior and Senior years (respectively).
- Yes, I do have a 4.0.
- I took more AP classes than almost anyone at my school, and I even ran out of math at my high school and took University Level Multivariable Calculus and Microeconomics through the Stanford Online High School (that application was actually longer than the normal Stanford app).
- My APs were AB (5) and BC Calc (5), US History (3) and Gov (3), Lang and Comp (5), Music Theory (4, Aural: 3, Nonaural: 4), and Spanish (Figure out on July 1st!). I also took AP Lit and Comp, but when I figured out I had gotten into Stanford and that they DIDN’T accept the test, I figured I’d give myself a break. 😉 No need to take something that doesn’t count, hm? These things also made me an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Since I turned in my application I also went to State in Knowledge Bowl and, out of 200 Seniors, received the Math Department Award at my School. Go lady mathematicians!
Do You Do Anything Other Than Study?
I actually do lots of things other than study. But the important thing is that I did things I really loved. One of my essays was about my love of having the freedom to try anything new I wanted. Here’s a few of my stats:
- Math Team President (Secretary Sophomore and Junior year)
- I ran for Secretary at the very first math team meeting I attended, by saying that, as a girl, I had better handwriting than all of my opponents. I won.
- I also went to state my Sophomore and Senior year.
- Concert Choir Treasurer
- I sent in an art supplement singing German and Italian songs. My thought: I doubt an art supplement would hurt me, so all it can do is help me. So why not?
- Actress/Improviser at my Local Theatre
- I was also an unpaid teacher’s assistant for elementary school acting classes.
- FIRST Robotics Secretary
- This was Sophomore and Junior year. I got really tired of being secretary after a while so, thankfully, Senior year, I was finally done with the Secretary shtick in a few clubs.
- Tutor in Math
- During the summers I went to CTY Saratoga Springs, NY for two years where I took Cryptology and Chemistry. Between exploding gummy bears, Canadian teachers, and Chinese TAs from London, it was amazing. Last summer when I went to a drama camp where I learned that, as much I love and adore acting and singing, math is my true passion. It’s astounding how few drama kids want to talk about Calculus.
You’re at Stanford… Now What?
I’m hoping for a major in Mathematics and a minor in Drama. Or maybe I’ll major in Computer Science. Or Mechanical Engineering. Or minor in Music. Or… well, who knows?
My grandfather once switched his major because he didn’t want to take a required 8:00 am engineering class. He is now a very happy, successful man with a major in Business.
It’s never too late to change your mind. Or your major. Or your minor. And apparently (just look at my grandpa), there’s never a stupid reason to change your major.
This is the Last Part, I Promise…
DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN’T. OR THAT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Do all the things you love, because you love them. Are grades important? Sure. Are SAT/ACT scores important? Sure. But it’s who you are that matters.
When you get into Stanford, you get a letter in the mail with a handwritten note on it. My note said, “Your genuine appreciation for the freedom to pursue many thespian and intellectual interests makes you a wonderful fit for the Stanford environment. I am thrilled for you to bring you love of calculus, math jokes, show tunes, languages and ‘poetic gibberish’ to the Farm! Looking so forward to meeting you in April!”
A phrase I heard again and again that my admissions officer used to describe me? A “lover of calculus, math jokes, show tunes, languages and ‘poetic gibberish’.” That silly phrase “poetic gibberish” that I used in one of my essays stuck with her. It’s who you are that really grabs people. And it will make you stand out.
Don’t be afraid to be as silly, as serious, as whatever you may be, as you really are. Remember: You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you! Don’t be anything other than your own unique, amazing self, and don’t be afraid to show it to the the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford. 🙂 You might be surprised by what happens.