How much do essays/personality/passion matter?

<p>I've lurked CC for a long time, and I've read about a lot of surprise acceptances here (several unhooked people with <2000 SATs got in and so did someone with a 3.4 UW). Plus, a bunch of people have said that subjective factors like personal qualities, passion, quirkiness, etc. were far more important in Stanford admissions than just raw stats. How true is this claim? </p>

<p>Also, I'm thinking of applying just for the hell of it, but I'm not expecting anything more than rejection because of my unappealing GPA. Although my test scores and course rigor are good, I'll still be vastly outclassed academically. However, IMO my ECs are unique and I'm pretty sure very few applicants have what I have. In addition, I'm quite confident in my writing abilities and I feel that I have what it takes to write compelling essays. Do any of you know of applicants who got in with subpar academics and made up for it with essays/ECs/personality? Just wondering if it's a waste of money to try applying or not (I'm perfectly fine with applying though because I love the essay prompts).</p>

<p>Thanks and sorry if these were stupid questions >_<</p>

<p>Not stupid questions at all. Stanford does seem to look at the "whole" student. Its certainly not all about the grades but needless to say grades are important, so in answer to your question it really depends on how low your GPA is. Usually the 2000 SAT score is a recruited athlete and thats still low for them. My S knows a bunch of student/athletes on campus and they definitely did better than 2000. </p>

<p>Also, as a mom I would keep in mind one thing. At the end of the day, the vast majority of the student body in Stanford are in the top 1-2% of their graduating class, so if you aren't a part of that number now, you will be if you get accepted and will you feel comfortable? Not socially but academically. Remember that when you sit to take a test thats what you will be competing against. Thats what you go up against in the 'curve'. Certainly not impossible but just be ready.</p>

<p>I sometimes feel that kids want some of these big name schools and then forget that you should be really looking for 'fit' not 'name'. Again, its not to say that Stanford wouldn't be a good 'fit'. It just may be what 'you' need to start optimizing your academic capacity. It may make you reach your true potential. Only you know the answers to that. Just make sure you pick/apply to schools that will make you be the best that you can be.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>If you're applying for the hell of it, it'll show through. I don't know if you said that as a defense mechanism, but that's not a reason to apply to a school. So, yes, to be genuine is important.</p>

<p>@francais: Yeah I used that phrase as a defense mechanism just in case anyone gets the idea that I think I stand a reasonable chance of getting in. I would LOVE to go to the school, but since I'm realistic, I'm not going to get my hopes up. Of course, I'm still going to work hard on the app.</p>

<p>I'm not telling anyone (not even my parents) that I am applying there, for the same reasons. </p>

<p>2010 SAT (Low, obviously.)
4.62 GPA (Average, obviously. Won't help or hurt me.)
Unique and themed EC. (Possibly beneficial, but it awaits to be seen.)
And I believe I have written truly compelling, and unique essays. I won't share the topics for obvious reasons. I've been told by many people that my prose is far beyond my years. (What I expect to be the deal-breaker or maker.)</p>

<p>I too think I have a reasonable chance of getting in to Stanford - maybe I'm a raving madman, maybe I am onto something.</p>

<p>I also have a relatively low SAT score (2090 if you consider my highest in one sitting, 2100 if you consider sum of my highest scores from my SAT's). My GPA is 4.50, and as for my EC's, not sure whether they would be considered too awesome.</p>

<p>But of course, as for any "good college," essays are important in conveying your personality and your interests. Obviously, schools like Stanford don't want boring people, so you have to show Stanford how not boring you are.</p>

<p>As for the accepted Stanford students with low GPA's and/or low SAT scores, I bet that those students had really awesome EC's or awards or SAT II scores. I haven't seen one low GPA/SAT students so far that hasn't had either awesome EC'S, awesome awards, or awesome SAT II scores.</p>

<p>@francais: lol, I actually applied to Stanford for the hell of it. Didn't really look into the school much cause I thought I wouldn't get in, just saw it for it's rank. I put time into my app but I didn't stress over it, just gave it the appropriate amount of attention, submitted it , and forgot about it. I didn't REALLY look into the school until after I got accepted, that's when I really started loving it. Just food for thought. (But I get your point.)</p>

<p>I think that personality and passion matter A TON at Stanford. With all of the top-scoring vals they get in the application process, I'm almost certain they choose their students based on how passionate they are and their personality. I think it's much more than coincidence that the majority of students are really nice, open, sociable people. I wouldn't be surprised if Stanford picks their students a bit like how one might pick someone off of eHarmony or Match.com; they don't want boring students, they want smart, dynamic students that are interesting. The admit officers always said "Make us love you!"</p>