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How difficult would it be for someone like me to get into a really competitive school?

I have recently been looking into Stanford and it literally looks like the college of my dreams. Great looking campus, low student to faculty, small student body, etc etc. But my question applies because at my high school, I am class rank #1/530ish with a 4.0 unweighted GPA along with a decent amount of extracurriculars and as much AP/honors classes available to take (except for history). At my first shot, I managed to get an ACT score of 26 which I found very disappointing (19 R, 24 E, 31 M, 31 SC), this was mainly because I failed to prepare for the english and I was only half way through before time got cut short and I bubbled in (I am sure I can get this score up though, maybe to about a 30). Despite this, I feel I've have worked pretty hard at all my classes, yet I have made a much greater individual achievement I hope could maybe weigh some in the applications process. Through the course of my high school career, I have lost 100+ pounds of fat, and have made significant lifting gains through my hard work and dedication. I plan to study chemical engineering and apply what I have learned about weight loss to possibly the whole food industry in the future. Change up how us Americans eat, and find better food substitutes to not only improve our health, but also our lifestyles as a whole. Perhaps get into the business industry too with what I know.
#weightloss #engineering #chemical-engineering #food #competitive #admissions #transformation #stanford #college-admissions

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Matthew’s Answer

Antonio,


Thanks for posting this question. I hope many other students will benefit from your curiosity regarding highly-selective post-secondary institutions like Stanford! The more research and perspective you gain now, the easier it'll be when it's time to submit your application.


OK, based on the information you provided in this question, and based on my experiencing in counseling high school and college students, I think you've got a very good shot at consideration for admission. Your current unweighted GPA looks quite strong, so a job well done there! Being involved with various extra-curricular activities is good. I'm not sure how many are in a "decent number," but the more you're able to present yourself as a young student well-versed in various activities, the more you'll stand out among the admissions folks. Here are some other things that might help you prepare for that next step...

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

Keep that personal story about losing weight - which is an excellent story - very close. More specifically, I think it could work very well in terms of the essay requirement in the application for admission (https://admission.stanford.edu/apply/freshman/essays.html). You've done some amazing work there, and your voice on paper should reflect this clearly for the reader. Also, keep brushing up on your writing skills in general, not just because of the essay requirement but also because Stanford requires a test (SAT or ACT) with the corresponding writing section included.
Don't sweat the low score on the ACT. I know it's not what you expected, but you have a much better idea of what to expect the second time you take the exam, which I would strongly encourage you to consider. Additionally, take a look at the SAT. It wouldn't hurt to submit both scores whenever you take the tests. Stanford doesn't require both, but it doesn't negatively affect your chances of admission if you take both.
Keep doing good work! Whether it's in the classroom or in the community, it seems like you've done some great things over the past few years! Finish what you started, and do it the best you can. That's all anyone can ask, and I'm confident you'll be fine!
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Peter’s Answer

You are right. Stanford is a very excellent university. It is much-sought after and difficult to get into. But it looks like you are doing an excellent job in high school with a high GPA and college-credit courses. I don't know what "a decent set of extra-curriculars" means. But membership (particularly some leadership) in an engineering group or competition would be very helpful. So would some outside social volunteer work. Your insight into weight loss and life changing experiences can be effectively used for the mandatory essay needed these days with a college application.

Finally, consider taking the SAT Test, unless Stanford has a clear preference for the ACT.

Good luck, Pete Sturtevant, PE

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