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Stanford Admission Advice, please?

zakkusuzakkusu Posts: 86Registered User Junior Member
edited December 2011 in Stanford University
I am a junior in high school, who for the better part of his life has either dreamed of going to Stanford or Columbia. But I keep hearing things that these students must have all As and all 5s on APs, 2400s on SATs, presidents or officers of every club they join, etc. So here are my basic questions regarding Stanford.

If I got say maybe three Bs in total freshman and sophomore year combined, would that hamper my chances severely of getting accepted?
Which has more weigh? Academics, extracurricular activities, or standardized tests?
Does this school wish to see applicants spread thin in 20 clubs, or truly dedicated to a select few clubs, and diligently working in those clubs?
And my final question: What's the music department at Stanford like?
Post edited by zakkusu on

Replies to: Stanford Admission Advice, please?

  • rachel909rachel909 Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    The reality is that there will be kids applying who meet all of the criteria you've been hearing and believe me, it'll be immensely intimidating, but despite that, a large number of them will be rejected. Stanford could easily fill its freshman class with all of those kids who are "perfect" but that would definitely not create a diverse student body. Not to say that these kids don't deserve it or are not good enough because they are definitely some of the most qualified. However, as much as Stanford admires these kids it wants students who have a life outside of school; students who have done well academically but not for the sole purpose of getting straight A's and perfect scores but also pursuing passions and approaching things intellectually merely becuase they are curious. So now to answer your questions... I don't think you should worry about your 3 B's. From my understanding, Stanford does not look at your grades from freshmen year, although they will look at what courses you took. However, from this point on you definitely want to work hard through the remaining years of your high school and aim for straight A's. Even though several of those "perfect" kids will get rejected, their stats still remain impressive. The increasing number of nearly "perfect" students has set the standards so high that really high scores and grades are now more of a requirement than something special that distinguishes you from the crowd and guarantees acceptance. As far as weight distribution in what Stanford considers, they're all pretty important. Your grades, extracirriulars, test scores, letters of recommendation, essays, etc. I suggest looking at this link from Stanford's site: Stanford University: Common Data Set 2008-2009
    Scroll down a little and click on the link that says "First-Time, First-Year (Freshman) Admission. Then scroll down until you see a chart underneath "Admission Requirements". The chart tells you what they consider and of how much significance it has in your admission decision.
    As for clubs and organizations, Stanford would rather see dedication in one or a few extracirrulars than a large laundry list of 20 activities. Although it's nice to be a well-rounded student, being involved in EVERYTHING prevents you from really being dedicated to something. I'm sure that some kids get in with having been in 20 activities, but dedication to a particular activity is so much more appealing. Also, keep in mind that that dedication definitely sparks interest in your application and can help make you stand out. Student government, being the president of nearly every club, being a member of the National Honor Society, and doing thousands of hours of community service are all admirable and definitely not something to be ignored, however I can guarantee you that most applicants will have them on their application. If you're involved in any of that then you definitely want to include it but I'm just saying that it's going to take more than involvement nearly every academic organization and club. As for what the music department is like, I'm not really sure. Sorry. I'm not a student there but I want to transfer. I applied for freshman admission and didn't get in. Since it's still the school I want to go to and I've been really persistent about it, I decided to visit the school and speak with an admissions officer to get a better understanding of what they look for and how we should approach the application process and this what she told me. I hope it helps! :)
  • hairypotterhairypotter Posts: 36Registered User Junior Member
    My word of advice: do something that no one else in the next 100 applications the read will do. Do not go to africa and feed the hungry (unless you actually care about it)
    think of one thing you are absolutely passionate about and will want to do in the future, and persist in it! It doesnt' have to be charity, but it need to go large scale. good at music? practice 4 hours a day and win all the state competitions.
    it's almost impossible to get an unweighted 4.0 in high school nowadays, especially with the competitiveness of IB and Ap classes, if you go to a large public school. So try and do as much as you can in the future to show them how close you can come to getting an unweighted 4.0
  • llpitchllpitch Posts: 4,318Registered User Senior Member
    If I got say maybe three Bs in total freshman and sophomore year combined, would that hamper my chances severely of getting accepted?

    First of all, Stanford doesnt consider freshman year grades. And a couple B's aren't going to hurt you. I had 2.

    Which has more weight? Academics, extracurricular activities, or standardized tests?

    You need standardized tests and academics to a point, and then you distinguish yourself in the applicant pool with your ECs, essays, recs, and the "story of your life" you tell in your application.

    Does this school wish to see applicants spread thin in 20 clubs, or truly dedicated to a select few clubs, and diligently working in those clubs?

    Is that a real question...? No one wants to see anyone spread thin in 20 clubs. That's just stupid and a waste of time. Sure, the guy probably has time management skills, but at the same time he hasn't had an impact on any of those clubs. Do 1-3 things you truly enjoy, and become spectacular at it.

    And my final question: What's the music department at Stanford like?

    Not sure. Someone else can answer. (or use the search function)
  • lalacalalalacala Posts: 5Registered User New Member
    I know its a holistic approach, u come in a package and academics is only one part of it.
    the music department, the Braun Music center has all the instruments you need. The basement i believe is where you can practice.
  • zakkusuzakkusu Posts: 86Registered User Junior Member
    I entered this in the Stanford 2014 class page, but no one seems to be able to help me. I'm hoping maybe one of you guys will be able to help me out. Thank you.

    Freshman: 4.3 both sems
    Sophmore: 4.3 both sems

    Junior Year
    Precalc Spec: A
    APUS History: A
    AP English: A or B+
    AP Psych: A
    Italian III: A
    AP Chem: C+

    And these are for my semester, so the admissions people are bound to see that last letter. My SAT scores are exactly 2100(I'm going to take it again, hopefully get a 2200+). I'm heavily involved with my school's drama program, and have gotten a lead in all three productions which I have been involved in, and have competed at the state level for drama twice for singing. I'm the sole student of one of the top voice professors at UF, and have also won a competition for purely classical singing twice at the district level, and am competing this year in the Regionals. Besides singing, I'm also a dilettante composer, and have sent my works to two competitions(results TBD). I'm also the founder and President of our school's Salsa/Capoeira club. Besides that, I've been doing eastern martial arts for the past 8 years or so. As for my rank, I'm #20-22 in my class or so, and I am in the Top 10%.

    If I get better results for the next semester, possibly get that Chem score to a B+, maybe an A if I'm lucky, does anyone think that I have any decent shot at Stanford? Please be honest. And what can I do to improve my chances, assuming I have any. Thanks for your help.

    PS: If anyone has taken AP Chem, and can help me with studying tips(particularly for Thermodynamics) that would be fantastic. Thank you very much.
  • RBFRBF Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    My son was admitted to Stanford 2014 class and had a B- in one of his AP classes, but he was also the lead in his school musicals, and is a classically trained tenor who has been recognized in state competitions. His weighted GPA was a 4.3 and SATs are 2240. My advice is to continue to focus on your musical gifts and on academics. Also, submit an arts application. Pay attention to the deadlines for submission at Stanford.
  • ariellebellariellebell Posts: 13Registered User New Member
    I would definitely encourage you to apply. I think rachel909 really hit the nail on its head, so to speak. Stanford wants to see people that care not only about academics, but about something greater as well. They don't want lemmings who spend their entire lives dedicated to the pursuit of a 4.0 and 2400. That being said, having a 4.0 and a 2400 is not going to hurt you. I would encourage you to continue with your academic and musical pursuits. Definitely submit an supplemental arts application. You have as good of a chance as anyone. Best of luck!
  • 3rdplanet3rdplanet Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Apply! Stanford students are smart, but they are also passionate. I think Stanford cares more about the passion than the smarts, as long as you are at a certain level of academic capability. A few B's won't hurt you.
  • priyag79priyag79 Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    hi, i'm a sophomore right now
    i have been getting b's for math lately, however, i am 2 years ahead in math and am currently in pre-cal

    do u think this will hinder my chances for stanford

    i have about 4-6 b's (freshman and sophomore year combined) (that's cuz my high school is extremely competitive)

    my rank is 27/ 636; and my gpa is somewhere around a 4.188457 on a 4.0 scale
    (I go to a school where there is a division for 9-10)
  • stanfredstanfred Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    My S got into Stanford class 2013 (Early Action). None of his schools valedictorians and salutotorians got in EA. My advise to Profros (Prospective Frosh) is to have a passion in doing something - it does not have to be earthsaving or even benevolent. It could be stamp collecting but if you are good at it then you will attract attention. The secret is getting the attention of your application reader from the multitude of essays that he or she reads, all describing how great their GPAs, SAT/ACT scores. My son had his share of Bs, was not even an officer of any student organization. But he was a writer (not editor) for the school paper and violinist for a community junior orchestra. His passion though was making music videos for YouTube when it was just starting. I guess admission folks now look at YouTube and Facebook though get an idea of the real person behind the application. So be real and have a passion.
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