Hey everyone! I’m Sarah, another incoming freshman at Stanford. A little about me: I’m from San Jose, California (yeeee, Bay Area!) and graduated from a large (~3500 students) public high school. It’s safe to say that I have spent more time on the softball field than in the classroom (or anywhere else for that matter), but I didn’t get into Stanford through athletics and won’t be playing any sports at the varsity level. I’m also a lover of volleyball, naps, pop-rock, and of course the San Francisco Giants! I am an engineering/science kind of person and have probably written more in bullet points than actual prose, so I’m gonna do the same for this post! Here are my thoughts/tips for applying to Stanford:
- JUST DO IT. I honestly thought there was no fricken way that I would get in, but luckily my parents forced me to, hahah. Think of it this way: this is most likely the BEST chance you will ever have to get into Stanford/any other top-tier school, so go for it! The $90 application fee is nothing compared to the chance of a lifetime.
- Don’t worry if you’re not a 4.0 student who’s also the president 6 clubs, concert master, and founder of a successful business – I still find it difficult to believe people like this actually exist. Stanford (and pretty much every university) isn’t looking for the perfectly well-rounded student, but instead looking to build a well-rounded community. There really is no formula that can guarantee an acceptance – or rejection – so stick to who you are and just roll with it.
- Activities are more important than SAT scores or grades. Sure, the numbers do count, but that’s not what you should be worrying about. My SAT score was pretty below the average scores listed on collegeboard or whatever (my critical reading and writing scores didn’t even clear the 25th percentile, LOL) and I was really only involved in one club throughout my four years of high school, but I made it clear that I was extremely dedicated to sports and very interested in my intended field of study.
- For the essays/short answers: be yourself, and don’t try too hard. I personally hate cliche sayings like that, and I apologize for all the rolled eyes and annoyed sighs, but there really is no other way to say it. Since I didn’t think I would get in anyway, I really didn’t put a lot effort (sounds terrible, but it’s 100% true) into depicting myself as a brilliant, all-around kind of girl (ex: my entire roommate essay was about my obsession with the SF Giants. No lie.). It doesn’t matter what you are interested in – cancer research, sports, the sci-fi channel, yu-gi-oh cards, fruit pie – just find a way to relate how it has formed you and represents you as a person. And trust me, writing about something you have a passion for is SO much easier than writing about something you think will make you sound good.