Here's another thing you forgot: You should not (preferably) be Asian. They want diversity (even though it's illegal to base your decision off that), but they really stereotype on this. An Asian with much better grades than, let's say, an African American applicant and more passion (given both have a lot of passion to begin with to be competitive for Stanford) will have an equal, probably LESS chance than the African American.
That's sort of how I felt when I began the whole college application process-- I've always gotten involved in whatever interests me but have not yet discovered a single, driving "passion." However, in my essays I talked about things that I care about (languages, theater, travel) and I was admitted to Stanford. So, it seems like admissions officers appreciate well-rounded, articulate kids as well as the superstars with the singular interests.
In the Stanford facebook group, I see that ***everyone regrets using CC.*** So take this advice and get OFF.
Wait! The Stanford facebook group includes those that got in to Stanford that the used CC (because, otherwise, how could they "regret" using it?). If they used it and got in -- wait, wait!! -- what's to regret??!!! Your statement is illogical on its face. We need to have the facebook group for Stanford rejects who used CC in order to make your implication valid.
I've got to say that I loved the essay question on the Staford supplement concerning tell us about your intellectual passion or something like that -- in our school, a lacrosse player got in who has all the intellectual firepower of a doorstop. This is why Stanford makes it clear on its application (in case any lawyers are listening) that it can abandon any part of the application and just do what it pleases. This explains why we see all those lacrosse players exhibiting their "intellectual passion" -- or not.
My daughter's college counselor once told her that "These institutions make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the institution, not what is necessarily in your best interest."
If a school is going to field a lacrosse team (although I think Stanford's men's LAX is a club sport) they had better recruit someone who knows how to play lacrosse - and probably plays it well enough to well represent the university.
That will be a decision decidedly not in the best interests of applicants who either do not play lacrosse or do not play it well.
Another very old saying is appropriate here. Comparisons are odious.
You could do all of those things as the OP said, but I still think 85% of the criteria still is your GPA, SAT scores, rigor of your course etc (which puts in the door). Since there just are so many applicants. Also if you are in a competitive school, what I have seen is, typically only the top 1-2 get in (they obviously have the gpa and the stats) and then add on, some other excellence (sports, music etc). Not to put a damper, but in some ways, you are also competing against other kids in your school/local area. I haven't seen as much of lower ranked kids get in unless they are an athlete or urm.
Great advice! I would just like to add that Stanford has great interest in people who are very skilled at math. So if you qualified for USAMO or higher, you have a great chance at getting accepted (assuming your grades and test scores are decent)
And you're going to have to give us a little bit more than "top 10 instrument player in Cali" for us to chance you going into Stanford. I would suggest making a Chance thread, but personally, Stanford has holistic review so everything on your application is considered. And Admissions is usually a crapshoot anyway; it's hard to predict. CC chancing you isn't a definite indicator of whether or not you'll get in.
Talking about the random nature of admission. Someone in my high school got in. It surprised everyone including himself. His own word "why me?" Nothing about him really that stands out to the very top. His own guess-"could be one of my grand parents' native Hawaiian status". Similar case happened in my friend's prestigious private high school. Someone not really standing out in anyway got in Harvard and made everyone guessing why.
I really want to show my passion for music. Other than winning competitions, what else should i do? I play the cello. Should i go and do a live audition?
In other words how do i show my passion for music?