Emailing college to let them know they're my first choice?

I was planning on applying Restrictive Early Action to Stanford because they’re my first choice school, but my dad passed away and I couldn’t complete my application on time.

Would it be worth it to email the admissions office to let them know I would have submitted Restrictive Early Action and Stanford is my number one school? Obviously it’s not going to make or break my application but it might help a bit?

My condolences on the loss of your father. I am sure he would be very proud of your achievements and ambition to attend Stanford.

I don’t think your sending an email would have any benefit. Stanford yielded 80% of accepted students last year, meaning the vast majority of students who get accepted to Stanford viewed it as their first choice.

In other words they know they are awesome, you telling them it probably doesn’t move the needle.

Best of luck.


I am sorry for your loss.

If you already referenced that in your RD supplemental essays, no, do not send.

And if you did not include that in your RD application then I would hold off sending anything else right now. If you are waitlisted maybe then you can share some more. If you are interviewed maybe you can share some appropriate personal information at that time.

More importantly, understand that Stanford is a high high reach for all. Unless you have a major hook REA or RD will not make a huge difference.

Where else have you applied and did you have time this past fall to fully research your safeties? That may be a better use of your time as you wrap up senior year. Also, find some time for self care. This has been a stressful time for you.


I totally see your point. My only concern is that they see my application for the RD cycle as someone who is less interested in going to their school than someone who had applied REA. I’d really only want to send an email to make it clear that I am interested, and I would have applied REA had life not decided to throw me a curveball.

Here’s the email I would send:

Dear Stanford Admissions Team,

I’m writing this email to make it known that Stanford is my first-choice school, and I would not hesitate to enroll if I were accepted. I had planned to apply Early Restrictive Action, but my dad passed away in September. Despite my best efforts, I simply couldn’t finish my application in time.

I understand most of your applicants are as enthusiastic about attending Stanford as I am. My goal is not to make excuses or write a sob story. If anything, I would just like it to be noted that my decision to apply in the regular application cycle in no way means I’m not dedicated to attending your school.

Thank you for your time.


I just worry that sending it could hurt my chances. Thank you for taking the time to help, btw.

Your candor, directness and forthrightness in the email come through. I doubt it makes a difference but I also don’t think it would hurt in any way.

I also suspect you want to send it and may second guess yourself if you don’t. Follow your heart and gut would be my advice.

I sincerely wish you the best!


Just check Stanfords CDS and an applicants level of interest is not considered.

See Section C7:


I don’t think Stanford interprets an RD applicant as less interested than an REA applicant.

I understand Stanford claims there is no admissions advantage to applying REA and Stanford KNOWS it is a reach school for everyone. That means there are many students for whom Stanford is a first choice who nevertheless do not want to limit themselves with respect to schools that are more likely to admit them by filing REA with Stanford.

I don’t think it will make a difference.