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Unhooked Admit, Got into Stanford, CMU, Duke, etc. Need Help with CS Admissions? ASK ME ANYTHING!

CCadmin_SorinCCadmin_Sorin 2727 replies290 threads Community Manager
Austin Bennett will be attending Stanford University in the fall to study Computer Science. Like many students, he was super intimidated by the college admissions process. In his words "I'm not a super genius, I'm completely unhooked, I don't attend a feeder school, I'm not at the very top of my class, and, unfortunately, my parents couldn't afford the $500,000 donation to USC, but somehow it worked out for me."

@bennettge314 spent a lot of time on our website and wanted to at least tell about how he managed to pull this off. "The short answer is luck. College Admissions is totally luck-central. The longer answer, however, is in the Youtube video I made for y'all describing some general application tips as well as my stats, ECs, awards, and more.

School Results:
ACCEPTED: Stanford, Duke, Dartmouth, CMU (School of Computer Science), Rice, USC, UMichigan, Northeastern, RPI, Boston University
WAITLISTED: Caltech, UChicago, Cornell, Brown, Harvard, UCLA
REJECTED: UC Berkeley, MIT, Yale, Princeton

Austin is our Guest Student of the Week, so make sure to ask him all your questions!
edited May 10
40 replies
Tagged:
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Replies to: Unhooked Admit, Got into Stanford, CMU, Duke, etc. Need Help with CS Admissions? ASK ME ANYTHING!

  • Lila BearLila Bear 62 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited May 10
    Congratulations! Why did you choose Stanford over CMU?
    edited May 10
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited May 10
    Lila Bear wrote: »
    Congratulations! Why did you choose Stanford over CMU?

    Hi, @Lila Bear! The CMU vs Stanford choice ended up being pretty tough for me -- I spent two summers taking CS courses at CMU's AP/EA Program and fell in love with the school. I loved how theoretical/mathy the CMU CS curriculum was, as opposed to Stanford's more typically-practical CS curriculum; but, admittedly, I'm interested in a variety of fields, and I felt that Stanford would afford more opportunities for exploration.
    edited May 10
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11184 replies146 threads Senior Member
    Congratulations !

    Enjoyed watching & listening to your YouTube video.

    Key piece of advice offered by you in your YouTube video that merits further explanation: "as long as you portray it correctly"
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    Congratulations !

    Enjoyed watching & listening to your YouTube video.

    Key piece of advice offered by you in your YouTube video that merits further explanation: "as long as you portray it correctly"

    Hi @Publisher, I'm glad you liked the video! What I mean by "portraying an activity correctly" is explaining why it's meaningful to you. Talk about what you learned from it, or perhaps share a funny/memorable story, it helps the reader understand you a bit better and can help your application stand out.
    · Reply · Share
  • vgullavgulla 21 replies7 threads Junior Member
    This is great Austin
    Congrats
    Can you share your stats and ECs you had
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    vgulla wrote: »
    This is great Austin
    Congrats
    Can you share your stats and ECs you had

    Hi @vgulla! That's all listed in a youtube video I made for you guys. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72UaoocZEH4
    · Reply · Share
  • gamergirl91gamergirl91 15 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Please see my "Chance Me" :( I'm a really anxious junior.... I wanna go to Stanford, but I know it's super unrealistic.
    · Reply · Share
  • yearstogoyearstogo 760 replies30 threads Member
    edited May 11
    I enjoyed watching your video! Congrats on your success!!!

    Were you a legacy at any of the colleges you were admitted to?

    Also, can you tell me the author of the second book you mentioned in your video re writing the essay?
    edited May 11
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    yearstogo wrote: »
    I enjoyed watching your video! Congrats on your success!!!

    Were you a legacy at any of the colleges you were admitted to?

    Also, can you tell me the author of the second book you mentioned in your video re writing the essay?

    Hi, @yearstogo, I'm glad you liked the video! I wasn't a legacy at any of the colleges where I was admitted. Also, the name of the book is "On Writing the College Application Essay" by Harry Bauld.
    · Reply · Share
  • Kaylee2002Kaylee2002 9 replies3 threads New Member
    Hello! I would appreciate it if you could look over my stats and let me know if I am an eligible candidate for Stanford, Johns Hopkins, WashU, or a school of the like. I’m excluding SAT/ACT scores from this, because I have not yet taken them due to COVID-19. My school doesn’t provide AP courses- just an honors and dual credit program with SLU. Thank you so much for your time!
    ———————————————
    College List

    *5.6 GPA/4.0 GPA.
    *Haven’t taken SAT or ACT yet due to COVID-19.

    Overall interests: Medical Science/STEM, and public speaking and argumentation. I’m on track to become a surgeon. :)

    Debate all 4 years. Captain of Debate team junior and senior year. Won awards at local, regional, and state freshman through junior year. JV State first place speaking award as sophomore. (Opportunity to judge at JV state my junior year was cancelled due to COVID-19, as well as Varsity state being cancelled.)

    Speech sophomore and junior year. Competed in extemporaneous speaking, won 10 awards in total. Averaged 2nd place as junior varsity sophomore year, and averaged 3rd place as varsity my junior year— in regional tournaments.

    Merit and honors sophomore year, chosen as state candidate for National World Schools debate in the summer of 2019. (Club wasn’t funded to go summer of 2020 due to COVID-19 conflicts and jurisdictions.)

    Math Olympiad all four years. Won multiple regional ribbons. As well as placed 3rd in Chemistry at our regional Academic Challenge competition as a junior.

    Start up GCHS Robotics team sophomore year, been a captain sophomore, junior, and senior year. (Won 1st place in our 2nd meet of our rookie year feat 20 varsity teams.) —Learned Java and Blocks programming, CAD, creative building, working with others.

    Secretary of County Youth Board. Brought issues to the table, startup “Escape The Vape” Campaign (anti-vaping video campaign to demonstrate student arts in video creation, as well as spreading awareness about the negative affects of vaping). (Project postponed to Fall of 2020 due to COVID-19.)
    —Making website for future preparation over the COVID-19 affected months.

    NHS Secretary as a late junior and senior. (At our school, we enroll spring semester of Junior year and start events at the end of Junior year.— Postponed due to COVID-19.)

    Secretary of Science Club Junior year. (Science Club all four years.)

    School District’s Class of 2021 student representative. Brought key issues to the table from student perspectives, and signed off on new course availabilities.

    Competing in a home bound national Drone Team from March 2020 to August 2020 (May or may not be postponed due to COVID-10.)

    Was going to shadow a physician at WASHU/Barnes Jewish Hospital in the summer of 2020. (Postponed due to COVID-19.)

    Worked on making caps and masks for St Louis University during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Volunteered 200+ hours freshman and sophomore years for local hospital: Gateway Medical Center. (Was to continue summer after junior year, but COVID-19 cancelled volunteer opportunities.)

    *Working to develop an HOSA club, or a Future Healthcare Workers club with our Dual enrollment Bio teacher for my senior year. Nothing is confirmed yet because of interruptions due to COVID-19.

    *Currently working on developing a website for “Future Preparation,” to help students with futures in college, trades, and the military.

    Several honors including: district attendee for Girl’s State (soon to be cancelled due to COVID-19), district attendee for Illinois’ Student Advisory Committee, school representative and attendee to the Supreme Court Hearings showcase in southern Illinois, first selected “Student of the Month” for Rotary award, first selected “Student of the Month” for Elk Award, etc.

    Other clubs include: Secondary Honors program all four years, Saturday Scholars program freshman year, Renaissance program all four years, Foreign language club sophomore year, ALPHA program to teach freshmen health students my junior year, recently enrolled in RHO KAPPA , etc
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Kaylee2002 wrote: »
    Hello! I would appreciate it if you could look over my stats and let me know if I am an eligible candidate for Stanford, Johns Hopkins, WashU, or a school of the like. I’m excluding SAT/ACT scores from this, because I have not yet taken them due to COVID-19. My school doesn’t provide AP courses- just an honors and dual credit program with SLU. Thank you so much for your time!
    ———————————————
    College List

    *5.6 GPA/4.0 GPA.
    *Haven’t taken SAT or ACT yet due to COVID-19.

    Overall interests: Medical Science/STEM, and public speaking and argumentation. I’m on track to become a surgeon. :)

    Debate all 4 years. Captain of Debate team junior and senior year. Won awards at local, regional, and state freshman through junior year. JV State first place speaking award as sophomore. (Opportunity to judge at JV state my junior year was cancelled due to COVID-19, as well as Varsity state being cancelled.)

    Speech sophomore and junior year. Competed in extemporaneous speaking, won 10 awards in total. Averaged 2nd place as junior varsity sophomore year, and averaged 3rd place as varsity my junior year— in regional tournaments.

    Merit and honors sophomore year, chosen as state candidate for National World Schools debate in the summer of 2019. (Club wasn’t funded to go summer of 2020 due to COVID-19 conflicts and jurisdictions.)

    Math Olympiad all four years. Won multiple regional ribbons. As well as placed 3rd in Chemistry at our regional Academic Challenge competition as a junior.

    Start up GCHS Robotics team sophomore year, been a captain sophomore, junior, and senior year. (Won 1st place in our 2nd meet of our rookie year feat 20 varsity teams.) —Learned Java and Blocks programming, CAD, creative building, working with others.

    Secretary of County Youth Board. Brought issues to the table, startup “Escape The Vape” Campaign (anti-vaping video campaign to demonstrate student arts in video creation, as well as spreading awareness about the negative affects of vaping). (Project postponed to Fall of 2020 due to COVID-19.)
    —Making website for future preparation over the COVID-19 affected months.

    NHS Secretary as a late junior and senior. (At our school, we enroll spring semester of Junior year and start events at the end of Junior year.— Postponed due to COVID-19.)

    Secretary of Science Club Junior year. (Science Club all four years.)

    School District’s Class of 2021 student representative. Brought key issues to the table from student perspectives, and signed off on new course availabilities.

    Competing in a home bound national Drone Team from March 2020 to August 2020 (May or may not be postponed due to COVID-10.)

    Was going to shadow a physician at WASHU/Barnes Jewish Hospital in the summer of 2020. (Postponed due to COVID-19.)

    Worked on making caps and masks for St Louis University during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Volunteered 200+ hours freshman and sophomore years for local hospital: Gateway Medical Center. (Was to continue summer after junior year, but COVID-19 cancelled volunteer opportunities.)

    *Working to develop an HOSA club, or a Future Healthcare Workers club with our Dual enrollment Bio teacher for my senior year. Nothing is confirmed yet because of interruptions due to COVID-19.

    *Currently working on developing a website for “Future Preparation,” to help students with futures in college, trades, and the military.

    Several honors including: district attendee for Girl’s State (soon to be cancelled due to COVID-19), district attendee for Illinois’ Student Advisory Committee, school representative and attendee to the Supreme Court Hearings showcase in southern Illinois, first selected “Student of the Month” for Rotary award, first selected “Student of the Month” for Elk Award, etc.

    Other clubs include: Secondary Honors program all four years, Saturday Scholars program freshman year, Renaissance program all four years, Foreign language club sophomore year, ALPHA program to teach freshmen health students my junior year, recently enrolled in RHO KAPPA , etc

    Hi, @Kaylee2002! You profile seems very impressive, but I don't think that I can accurately chance anyone. You're definitely qualified for those schools; but they're reaches for a reason, so nothing is guaranteed. You'll have a great shot when applying though!
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Please see my "Chance Me" :( I'm a really anxious junior.... I wanna go to Stanford, but I know it's super unrealistic.

    Hi, @gamergirl91! You've also got a good profile, but I don't think that I can accurately chance anyone. Keep in mind that Stanford is extremely selective, but don't count yourself out. Just work super hard on your essays, and I'm sure you'll have some good options!
    · Reply · Share
  • 5364bear5364bear 8 replies2 threads New Member
    Hi! Congrats on your acceptances. I watched your video and I'm really interested in what you wrote in your additional comments section, as I've never heard of anyone using it to write a joke or something like that.

    Would you mind sharing your note to the admissions committee that was in the additional info section?
    · Reply · Share
  • ollieolliewayneollieolliewayne 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi,

    I know your CS, but I really want to get into CMU or Stanford for Math/Physics. I haven't won any major awards for Math/Physics, and the best thing that I've gotten on the AMC 12 is an 80 since I didn't really study for it. How do you think I can "compensate" for this lack of awards? I have some solid leadership roles for math/phys club, but I just wanted to hear if you had any ideas in this regard.

    Thanks for your time and congratulations dude!
    · Reply · Share
  • choosy2020choosy2020 16 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Congratulations!
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Hi,

    I know your CS, but I really want to get into CMU or Stanford for Math/Physics. I haven't won any major awards for Math/Physics, and the best thing that I've gotten on the AMC 12 is an 80 since I didn't really study for it. How do you think I can "compensate" for this lack of awards? I have some solid leadership roles for math/phys club, but I just wanted to hear if you had any ideas in this regard.

    Thanks for your time and congratulations dude!

    Hi, @ollieolliewayne! You definitely don't need to "compensate" for a lack of awards. While it's obviously helpful to have them, they're by no means a necessity. The leadership roles in your field show depth/passion, and I'd definitely write an essay about them. I know this may seem simple; but in my opinion, a good essay surrounding this topic would be a fantastic way to stand out.
    · Reply · Share
  • anonymous092001anonymous092001 6 replies0 threads New Member
    Congrats! I had some unfortunate circumstances last year that forced me to attend community college for a year but I just got into NYU and USC for transfer. I am in a very competitive internship program and have a 4.0 GPA and a 1390 SAT (not the best I know). I want to attend Barnard College, however, who rejected me today. If I maintain my 4.0 GPA standing at NYU for next semester, and have very solid supplemental essays, with your knowledge, do you know if I have any chance at transferring to Barnard for the Spring of 2021, assuming corona doesn't ruin everything? If I don't have a chance, then I don't want to apply and get my hopes up again for nothing, because I know I don't have a high SAT.
    · Reply · Share
  • bennettge314bennettge314 19 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Congrats! I had some unfortunate circumstances last year that forced me to attend community college for a year but I just got into NYU and USC for transfer. I am in a very competitive internship program and have a 4.0 GPA and a 1390 SAT (not the best I know). I want to attend Barnard College, however, who rejected me today. If I maintain my 4.0 GPA standing at NYU for next semester, and have very solid supplemental essays, with your knowledge, do you know if I have any chance at transferring to Barnard for the Spring of 2021, assuming corona doesn't ruin everything? If I don't have a chance, then I don't want to apply and get my hopes up again for nothing, because I know I don't have a high SAT.

    Hi, @anonymous092001! Unfortunately, I don't know much about transfer admissions; but looking at Barnard's Common Data Set from 2019-2020, they actually do have a fairly high transfer admission rate (about 22% last year). I wouldn't worry too much about the SAT -- it's in the middle 50 and I'd bet that your college GPA will probably be more important. In my opinion, you definitely should apply. I think you've got a great shot!
    · Reply · Share
  • Winky1Winky1 1395 replies4 threads Senior Member
    Hi Austin @bennettge314 , I just watched your video and want to say Congratulations! I am particularly impressed with how engaged and how in control you were of your PSAT studying, the books you read and recommend, the awareness of your course selection in high school, and your positive attitude! I am a parent, and I find it refreshing to see a mature young person really engage this process. I don't think it's common to have that type of focus and maturity about the college search and application process. Thank you for sharing what you have learned. All the best to you!
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