Okay so I guess I should just say a couple of things about myself. My name is Ashley, I’m from Chicago and I went to a public school with about 2000 students.
Quick Stats: ACT: 33 GPA: 4.98/4.0 weighted Top 10%
6 AP classes total.
Activities: NHS, Student Council Vice President, Freshman Mentor, Culinary Apprentice for two summers and a school year
I am not a varsity athelete, nor legacy, nor are my parents insanely rich donors or whatever is supposed to get you in. I didn’t overload myself with APs or science courses and I’m not validictorian of my class or even in the top 10. I don’t do calculus in my spare time, nor have I cured cancer or saved anyone from a burning building. I didn’t send the Illinois admissions counselor flowers (Hey Sonya is a really swell woman though!), nor did I perform any ritual sacrifices or sell my soul to the devil.
So how did I get into Stanford? I can’t really tell you. My guess is that I didn’t spend my application talking about any of these above stats. I guess what I’m trying to say here is the admissions counselors know all these things about you from the Common App and your recommendations. So don’t tell them something they’ve already read. Earlier in this blog a guy wrote that you are telling Stanford whether or not you fit there. So by all means tell your admissions counselor about yourself. I wrote my essays about my attempts at making a pastry cream, a box of toys in my basement, and how heavy of a sleeper I can be. By the end of it I’m pretty sure it was an accurate a portrayal of who I was and my beliefs and was probably what got me in. So when you write your essays don’t bore them or write what you think they want to hear or will make you seem smart. I’m not saying that you can’t write about Einstein’s theory of relativity, Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, The Iliad or what ever else has you really super pumped in school (Although The Iliad is pretty boring so if that has you pumped…thats another conversation entirely). What you have to make sure you do is be yourself and relate who you are in what you write and not a wikipedia article. Remember admissions counselors are normal people just like you and me, if you’re bored writing it, they will be bored reading it.
I was actually the thirstiest being for all things Stanford after the decisions from Early Action came out. My biggest regret was not applying early because I literally stressed myself out daily leading up to March 30th. Here’s my advice on how to handle the wait to decisions.
- Try not to annoy your parents and or friends with it. Trust me. They get that you want to go to [insert dream school here]. Eventually they will stop listening.
- DO NOT READ COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL. It will psych you out. Especially those chance me posts. The things that website did to me… *shivers*
- Take a deep breath and think about other college options. Don’t be so caught up in the idea of Stanford that you can’t realize it’s not a good fit after all. The weekend decisions came out I was actually at another school’s admit weekend. (Which is another awkward story all together)
- Check your decision privately. You may want a moment to yourself. Chances are you’ll be making some awkward unattractive facial or be filled with an urge to hug a stranger. I know from experience.
- Other people do not know why you will or won’t get in so just relax and try to stay humble.
COLLEGE DECISION MAKING PROCESS & DIVERSITY
When your admitted to schools, even the ones that you are sure you won’t go to, give them a chance. I learned so much about what I did and didnt want. Plus you need to see if its a fit for you socially. I was pretty lucky and got invited to visit schools for their “Multicultural” or “Diversity” weekends. Here’s my blurb/diatribe on that as a minority student. The high school I attended was one of the most diverse in the city. So it was important to me to go to a diverse school or one making an effort to increase diversity. Don’t go to a place where you feel like your only contribution to their school is because of your race. Go to a school where you feel comfortable on campus and you will interact with others of all nationalities, perspectives, world views etc. I visited one school where I was so extremely cognizant of the lack of diversity that it made me uncomfortable. That being said know that where you get accepted or denied has less to do with your race, but more so about your personal accomplishments and what you add to the class. This is where you will be for the next 4 years. When I was on different campuses I searched for a definitive moment where I knew said school was for me. While I could have been happy a number of places, at Stanford I found one. And it wasn’t while watching the band play outside of MemChu, or fountain hopping. It was sitting on a couch in an all frosh dorm at two in the morning the day my flight left back to chicago from admit weekend. I was hanging out with other kids in the common room when it hit me. I knew then that these were my future classmates and felt comfortable enough to be myself. I had found my home.