2 answers

What is the first step I can take if I have decided that I will take my chances and apply to Stanford the following year?

Updated Kearny, New Jersey

I am a rising junior in my high school and I know that it is a really long shot that I could ever end up going there. However, I like to have a little faith that I can apply and hope that the college admissions office over there accepts me. I do not even know what to do now though. I take the PSAT's in less than three weeks so I am guessing that should help me out a lot depending on my score obviously. I was just wondering what to do now with this mindset that I am taking my chances and apply over there. I really like the robotics club they have over there and I would love to be in that club. I am pretty sure I would major in mechanical engineering over there if that helps. I have other options too, so even if I do not get in, I know that I will have other chances to pursue mechanical engineering. I just want to know other people's thoughts on the matter of applying to Stanford University.
#college #stanford #college-admissions #college-selection #university-applications #engineering

2 answers

Kelsey’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

It wasn't Stanford, but when I was in your shoes I also had my sights on a dream "reach" school that my guidance counselor even told me would be a long shot for getting into. But I had done my research about the school and what it offered (like it sounds like you have) and had visited the campus and met some students, and knew that it was a great choice for me, if I could get in. If Stanford has so many attractive opportunities to you (your desired major and a robotics club), I encourage you to apply - as they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take!


One thing that I think helped set my application apart from the thousands of other applications was that I made as much of an effort as possible to connect with people at the school, to show how interested I was. If traveling to Stanford on a campus visit is financially and logistically possible for you, I would suggest visiting the school and trying to speak with someone in the admissions office - or, even better, ask the admissions office to connect you with a professor or current students in the mechanical engineering program to learn more about that program specifically! Achieving your highest possible scores on the PSAT and SAT will certain help your application, but if you can demonstrate that you have done your research and taken the time to really "get to know" the program you are most interested in, and if you can express why you belong at Stanford after all that research, I think that would go a long way when they are evaluating your application for admission. Good luck!!

Kelsey recommends the following next steps:

  • Keep studying for standardized tests!
  • Contact university admissions department to request more information for prospective students
  • Connect with current university students or professors who would be willing to talk about the program you are interested in

Vikram’s Answer

I went to Stanford and just graduated recently, so I remember being in your shoes as I thought about applying .


I also thought about majoring in mechanical engineering when I was applying, and ended up being a Computer Science major. I don't have a formula for getting into Stanford, but I can provide some of the things I did that may have helped me get in.


I worked on studying the SAT/ACT. When I applied, it helped to get a 2100 on the SAT or at least a 30 on the ACT. I took the SAT twice and ACT one, and didn't end up with the ideal SAT score. I submitted both scores still in my application. So in my opinion, these scores don't matter too much but I think it helps if you can get a decent score. I studied for the SAT during my rising junior year summer!


I would also focus on how to showcase your passions on your application. Stanford's application is different from most colleges because they have multiple short answer questions that emphasize passion in my opinion. Stanford wants to know why you are passionate about learning, and how you would contribute to the campus. I would think about how to showcase your passion and show that you constantly want to improve your intellectual vitality. For example, I emphasized my love for science through the numerous Carl Sagan videos I would watch on the weekends and how I ended up starting a robotics club in my high school. Think about how you can utilize your next summer to emphasize this in the application!


Grades are also important and I would try to maintain a good GPA through high school. However, I think Stanford likes to see that you are pushing yourself and so taking difficult AP classes will also emphasize your desire to learn and take on challenges. Personally, I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, but I have tons of friends at Stanford who didn't have 4.0 GPAs. There were only 6 AP classes in my high school when I attended and I took 3 my Junior year, and 2 my Senior year.


Try to stick with the clubs/activities you did from freshman/sophomore year. I noticed that many Stanford students were in the same clubs/activities for 3 or 4 years in high school. This can show that they are dedicated to their interest and are extremely passionate about these causes. I think being a well-rounded student helps in applying to Stanford.


Hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck in applying!