Chance Me at Stanford, Cornell, Other Top 20 Schools

Hello, I am a Senior that wants to major in Computer Science. I am mostly concerned about my lack of regional/national awards for competitive schools like Stanford, but I would greatly appreciate everyone’s input on my strengths/weaknesses.

SAT: 1540 (740 ERW, 800 Math)
**SAT II: ** 800 Math 2, 800 Physics, 780 Chem
Unweighted GPA: 4.00/4.0
Weighted GPA: 4.8/5.0
Rank: N/A, but top 5%
APs: Calc BC (5), Physics C Mech (5), Physics C E&M (5), Computer Science (5), Chinese (5), World History (4), Chemistry (4), Computer Science Principles (4)
I’ve also dual enrolled in 3 community college courses, 2 for CS and 1 for physics:
Senior Year Course Load: AP Gov & Econ, AP Stats, AP Bio, AP Lit, Adv Calc, Adv Physics, AP Psych, Intro to Data Structures (Dual Enrollment)
IBs: None
Major Awards: NMS Commended Tentatively, none other than that



  1. Cyberpatriot (2 year Captain, 4 years)
  2. Software/Antenna Engineer Intern at Boeing (Summer, 7 weeks)
  3. Competitive Programmer (Compete at events like Google Kickstart, LeetCode and HackerRank weekly competitions)
  4. Quantum Mechanics Research with USC Physicist, included harnessing Python to analyze problems
  5. Computer Docent at Local Library (3 years, community service)
  6. E-sports Organization founder (I was a qualifier for 2018 Fortnite's $1 million Winter Royale tournament :blush: )
  7. Club and School Basketball (2 years varsity, 4 years)
  8. Basketball Counselor for clubs teams and week long camp
  9. Self-Employed Tutor for 3 regular students (2 years)
  10. Work for a SAT Prep company to tutor kids (2 years)


Personal Statement: I start out with a childhood anecdote of my love of playing Chess and evolve it into my passion for “playing games,” including my STEMmy games like programming competitions, sports like basketball, and eSports.

Other supplements: Going to elaborate on my Physics research and connect it to quantum computing and computer science, talk about my passion. Talk about my Freshman football experience of getting knocked on my a** constantly and how it helped shape my attitude in leadership positions. Also might touch a little on my love of analyzing anime plot & character developments (I’m a huge weeb hehe).

Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Asian (Chinese) and White (European and Middle Eastern)
Hooks: None that I can think of

Last Comments: I realize top schools are ultra competitive and even the most qualified candidates don’t necessarily get in. That being said, I would greatly appreciate feedback on what parts of my application are strong/weak and how strong it is overall. Thanks!

How much have you really researched what it takes to get into Stanford or any top 20, the sort of kids they like? You’re fretting over a lack of awards, when they’re not the “it.” It suggests you think hs stats, a long run of CS related courses, and computer activities are what makes one compelling . In fact, while that’s impressive, it’s far from the whole that adcoms will look for.

Look at what the colleges themselves say and show, to get a better idea. Not hearsay or assumptions. It takes work, is more than just looking at numbers or profiles.

I think you’ll be competitive anywhere but as you noted, T20s are reaches for all students. Be sure you have matches and true safeties on your list.

Thanks for your inputs. As far as activities/grades are concerned, I realize they’re not the only thing admissions consider. I’ve done a good amount of research looking at what individual colleges look for in essays (passion in learning, “intellectual vitality” pops up a lot) and I feel I can reflect on how I show these traits.

I’ve seen a fair amount of people with high-caliber awards, and I find input from my relatives/friends to be biased. From what you are saying though, they are not necessary? (Correct me if I’m wrong) What else would you recommend me to look into for these schools or what other general words of advice do you have for me? Thanks!

There are far fewer of these awards than there are places available in the most popular colleges out there. If these awards were a requirement, there wouldn’t be enough students to go around.

Moreover, not all EEC activities even have any awards, much less national ones.

National level awards definitely help, but they are not required.