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Other “Good Fit” Options for Disappointed Stanford Applicant

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Replies to: Other “Good Fit” Options for Disappointed Stanford Applicant

  • MWolfMWolf 1140 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,148 Senior Member
    @lookingforward I'm not saying that the kids are correct in their assumptions, or even that the world should work the way they think it does. I'm just saying why these kids are unhappy with the results.

    The most important thing that applicants do not understand is the same thing that many job seekers don't understand - an acceptance is not a prize for academic achievements. It is not a prize at all. Colleges choose the applicants which are best for the college, not the objectively best applicants. Good academics and test scores will increase your chances, because having kids with high stats is good for the college, but they are not the only deciding factors. The holistic admissions process allows them to choose applicants based on what they perceive as the best cohort for them, which means one that creates the best balance between reputation and endowment.

    So, this means that there are criteria for selection that are in the control of applicants, and there are other criteria that are out of the control of an applicant, including the profiles of other applicants. If a college is looking for geographical diversity, cannot control how many people are applying from your area or your school. You cannot control your URM status or your legacy status (or lack thereof), how much you stand out, or what the specific admissions officers who look at your application think of your profile.

    Because of these factors, admissions are probabilistic, not deterministic. No matter how good your transcripts and ECs are, no matter how "savvy" you are, you can only increase the probability of being accepted, but you cannot ensure your acceptance. This means that a situation in which a person who has a low probability of being accepted will nonetheless be accepted, while a person with a high probability to be accepted will not be accepted.

    This will look like a deterministic process to most of the high stats students who are accepted, while it will seem random to high stats students who are rejected (as well as to lower stats students who are accepted).
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32209 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,545 Senior Member
    But low or high probability is still based on the application package the individual puts forth. You can't base it solely or even mostly on stats and some titles in ECs (or hierarchical elements like most vol hours or a more national awards.) Most kids are not savvy to this, ime.

    The app itself, including supps and LoRs, is not just a pretty package, an incidental wrapping. Its key to how this kid thinks, chooses stretch, understands what the college wants to see, etc, and shows that. You can be the brightest kid out there, have won awards, and still mess the application. You can proclaim your love of stem and not provde a stem LoR, instead, your sports coach. You can miss the Why Us. You can show personality elements that don't match.

    And only later, after you've done your part or not, do institutiona factors like geo diversity come into play.

    The kids who present themselves on CC as so bright, so accomplished, that they deserve a top tier, should be able to grasp that this is not simply about stats and "titles." (And not jump to the superficial conclusion that it's not heirarchical, so it must be random or a crapshoot.) Some get it. Many don't.
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  • MmeZeeZeeMmeZeeZee 624 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 638 Member
    So many things in life are more about meeting the minimum requirements, being seen and then performing. In college, that's grades+scores+EC medals, essay, interview.

    You may spend 12 years on the minimum requirements (for elite schools anyway) but that's still only 1/3rd of the equation.

    People seem to get touchy about chance and subjectivity but if being seen isn't about that I don't know what is.
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  • scandalpkscandalpk 8 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Just do what your heart says.
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  • YawnmomYawnmom 22 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    The thing to remember is that most of the billionaire speakers did NOT go to Stanford (or Harvard, etc.) Most of them went to any of a number of schools, but they all seem to have one thing in common: confidence in an idea or their own abilities. Some of them had one great idea that really panned out for them, others are brilliant investors, and still others are serial entrepreneurs. However, it's not where they went to college that made the difference. It's that they are smart, even brilliant, but also they are willing to go forward with their ideas, no matter what it takes. That's not really being emphasized much in this area.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    I wonder where else this student applied and his results.
    Stanford is a wonderful school. It gets to get the picks of the litter in tees of its kids, and the litter is mighty fine indeed. Simply too many qualified kids apply for limited seats. So it’s a lottery ticket unless you are one of the rarest student that meets the school’s particular needs. Like a great athlete in an impact sport that they want. I’m sure they have their development, celebrity picks as well.

    I certainly don’t blame any student for wanting to get into Stanford or wonder why so many apply there. I
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