I think you might be asking the wrong crowd here. The true folks to ask are the admissions ppl. Even a perfect candidate is rejected for god knows what reason, and it's not like any of the applicants get any feedback about what they did wrong. The only thing we applicants get is a vague statement that the process is holistic...and blah, blah, blah.
i will give the same advice i give everyone.
1. Do well academically.
2. Do what you love in ECs
3. Be a good person you know, if the satisfaction of being a good person isnt good enough, it will come back to help you when you need recommendations...
4. learn to write well
Funny you should mention Stanford.My D, who was accepted into Harvard ,got rejected by S.Nephew who got into Yale ,got rejected by S.Another nephew accepted into Brown, rejected by S. Stanford does not do personal interviews ,which is a negative if you interview well.My D's interview for Harvard went 90 minutes,and might have gone longer but her brother had a train to catch!My own theory about top schools is that beyond fabulous grades,and test scores,some luck is involved .You need to make a strong connection with the reader of your essay,so they will cheer you on .It's impossible to predict this,so some luck is key to connecting at any top school /Good luck!
This coming application year will actually be the third year of Stanford's pilot program to determine whether its alumni interviews should be expanded significantly. In the meantime, no one should fret if they aren't in an interview location; it won't be a "negative" not to have one, especially since they will still only be available in about a dozen locations. Stanford really can't weight the interview much until it decides whether to "go wide" with them, since not all applicants will have access to them in the meantime.
after my interview, i talked to my interviewer a few times. he said he was curious about the process since interviewers received very limited instructions, so he contacted someone he knew at admissions.
he said the pilot program for a few years has VERY little significance on the admissions process for now. he said that admissions officers want to see how interviewer reports correlate to the admitted students, the yield information for those students, etc.
as far as admissions, the office wants to know a few things:
1.the general personality of the person.
2. communication skills. he said it would be a negative if the interview went horribly, but not really a positive if it went well. (so it can hurt but not really help).
3. any outstanding life circumstances
after they evaluate the program, they will decide whether or not to expand the program to almost all applicants. if they do so, there will be more significance to the interview process
also, he said that the instructions were vague and left a lot up to the interviewers. for example, georgetown, which requires interviews, gives a few questions for the alumni to ask and leaves extra information to them. stanford just told them general guidelines of discussion topics and didnt say they had to ask certain questions. apparently, they want to compare the different questions/answers from different interviewers for future use
please be aware, i have no concrete evidence of this information, and it is all technically hearsay. so make of it what you will. i can't guarantee it's all true, but that's what he told me from his "contact"
So what would get a reject by Stanford, and admit to H-Y-P? My D got 2 full scholarships based on merit ,all others admitted (going to Harvard ) yet reject by S?It is really annoying to not know.Did Stanford know about H acceptance somehow? That would make sense as we live in NJ.....We even forked out money for her to visit S ,and attend a tour .I am just curious if there is an answer here.
^^There is no way to know why it happens exactly, but I'm just curious. Was Stanford their first choice?
Every top college tries to protect their admit yield a little bit. Many east coast students, when given the choice of Stanford and HYP, will choose HYP because East Coast culture and other pressures tell them to. I saw that trend in my area. About 10-12 students were admitted from my county and the one next to us, but only 3-4 of us will be attending. When you compare that number (even though it is a VERY small sample) to the overall yield of seventy-something percent, theres a big difference. Students make similar choices all around New Jersey and in other states in the Northeast as well.
This is just a hypothesis: i think they may want to be careful with the students they admit from the East Coast. They don't lower their standards for admission, but I think they look for some subjective things that we just can't see in applicants. Many of them are still cross-admits to one or more of HYP (including myself), but there's something else.
Of course, there are many students from outside the East Coast who are admitted by HYP and not Stanford...so I may be completely wrong. But there are still some subjective factors that we just don't know.