Never base an important college application decision on a post by a high school student. Your best bet is to do some research, and use some common sense.
While obviously strong grades and standardized test scores are important. But don’t let low academics discourage you from applying to your dream school. Stanford uses a holistic approach to decide on their entering class. Unbeknownst to you, you may possess one or more other appealing attributes that Stanford wants.
There are things you can control; and there are things that you cannot control in the application process. Focus on the things you can; and don’t worry about the things you can not to optimize your chances.
The key to getting into Stanford is to “stand out.” Grades will not do that for you. To show your competitiveness, be at the mean of the entering class for GPA, and between the 25th and 75%tile for the SAT. If you do this, you have a chance. More importantly, you must figure out who you are, what assets you present to Stanford, and deliver this package of abilities, accomplishments, education and experiences in a compelling way. Do this and you stand a chance.
It is OK to be average. One does not have to be perfect in every way. Stanford is looking for specialists, not masters of everything.
Academics aside, Stanford is looking for authenticity and conviction. Stanford wants to know who you are, what you stand for and what you care about.
You must create a narrative, find tune your message, describe your passions with clarity and detail. Finally, you must make the reader laugh, cry, root for you. But, they must feel something. If they are bored. Then you lose. You must reach the reader on a personal level. Make an impression such that the reader will want to meet you on campus.
Make sure that every component of the application compliments each other.
Stay on point, never dilute your message trying to cover too many things. But, do go into depth on topics that truly matter to you. Be sure to growth and progress over the years on topics that you care about.
Take “calculated” risks when it means that you are being authentic and true to who you are.
Don’t use gimmicks, unless you are naturally funny.
Don’t waste your time trying to find the perfect essay topic. It becomes perfect when you “make it yours.”
Be sure to think and ponder about your future, and reflect on the last four years of high school.
Have faith in the process. Ultimately, you will end up where you are supposed to.
Stanford Admissions officers want to accept. They want to write “accepted” on your file.
Adapted from Tyler Su’s YouTube video on 7 Tips on how to get into Stanford