Stanford Junior Got to See My Admissions Records through FERPA: ASK ME ANYTHING!

@mohave is currently a rising junior at Stanford University and graduated from high school in 2018. At Stanford, she studies political science and she’s a premed. During the college admissions journey, she applied to 21 colleges and gratefully chose to attend Stanford. Through a FERPA provision, she filed to see all of her admissions documents (including what her admissions officers and alumni interviewer said about her and the results of the admission committee vote).

@mohave is our Guest Student of the Week, so make sure to ask her anything about college admissions or collegiate life at Stanford! Go Cardinal!

Are you a first-year admit or are you a transfer student?

Hi! What were your main extracurrics in high school?

How do you think you got into Stanford?

Just got admitted as a transfer, can’t wait to get to the farm! What is your favorite thing about the campus atmosphere?

@ivysky I am neither a first year student, nor a transfer. I’m in the middle of my second year. But I do have friends who are transfers, if you have any questions about that!

@alwaysconfused02 I was involved in Model United Nations, Youth in Government, CONA (Conference on National Affairs), played trumpet in my school’s band, and played a varsity sport. I downplayed these extracurriculars on my application, because I wanted to emphasize a nonprofit/program I had started that grew to involved 10 or so schools and a few hundred students. I spent nearly 1000 hours volunteering for this initiative, and this was something I cared about far more than the other extracurriculars (which I also enjoyed doing, but more because of friends)

@quantumgrav HUGE congratulations!! Stanford will be lucky to have you! The only answer to your question for me is the STUDENTS. For the next 3 or 4 years you will be surrounded by people your age who are truly passionate, talented, driven, and caring-- ultimately, people who will inspire you. Stanford, at least for me, remains a haven of intellectual curiosity. Everyone around you will be asking life’s biggest why questions-- and more than that they will be actively seeking to answer the questions, through research, service, conversation, start-ups, and more. It’s a unique place, because of the students more than anything else. And yes, there will be days you feel like you don’t live up to the standard, but every other student feels that way at times too and people aren’t shy about sharing that feeling. I would rather be here (figurately speaking because I’m at home b/c of COVID-19) than anywhere else in the world, and I hope you’ll feel the same way too :slight_smile:

@penguin2, that’s a really good question for me, because I actually filed to see my admissions documents, so thanks! I was really involved with poverty and racial inequality in high school-- I started a nonprofit in this area, received two national awards for this nonprofit, and one very well-known regional award. When applying to Stanford, in the Why Stanford essay, I wrote about how I wanted to study poverty and inequality at a higher level, and Stanford is one of very few institutions that has an entire center dedicated to this research. The two people who read my application both centered their statements around this-- in essence “she’s very qualified in this area, and this leads to a clear reason why she specifically wants to attend Stanford, and we think she will be a very good fit for Stanford” .

Hello, I am currently a freshman in high school, and I’m still working to find out what I want to do with my major and career in the future! How did you decide and/or find out what you truly wanted to do?

Thank you so much for your help!

hello thank you for doing this! Do you know any international students? Ive reached a dilemma. Stanford has always been my dream school but Stanford admits barely any Canadian International students, so to have a chance I would probably need to apply REA and ask for no financial aid (since stanford is need aware for international ppl). The problem with this is that I don’t want to put the burden of that much money on my parents since many banks or gov probably wont provide that large of a loan to an education outside of canada (Even if I were to be able to take out that loan I would be in debt for like decades).

I am unsure whether I should apply to Harvard REA (or other schools that are need blind to international students) because I would rather be at Stanford for almost every reason.

Ultimately my decision on which school I should apply REA /ED to is crucial since most schools admit the majority of international students then and i heard a rumour that it is much harder to get in RD. For me, this processes is highly stressful and I am not sure if I want to chose my dream school (stanford) and have a larger chance to get in (by asking for no financial aid) or another “elite school” that i will be more indifferent abt and probably less happy at.

I dont think that my ECs or test scores are good enough to get into Stanford with that much financial aid (my family income is basically to the point of free tuition).

Do you have any suggestions how I could approach this?

(btw for schools like Harvard, there’s a lot more Canadian students . tbh im not sure why but its probably due to loan policy)

@onaire Hi! I think nearly everyone at every stage of life feels similarly, that there are so many different futures to be explored, and only one that you will ultimately live. Though I do have my major, I can’t say that I’ve found out what I want to do with my life-- and I this idea is less of a destination and more of a journey. We don’t suddenly find what we will devote our lives to, instead we keep journeying and find what we love on the way. The best advice I can offer is to explore. If you believe you love medicine, shadow a physician and ask thoughtful questions, read books by physicians, practice patience with your family and friends because you’ll certainly need it as a doctor. If you are interested in teaching, spend a day in a different school as your own, offer to tutor others, be observant when you are in class. Hope this helps!

@fettaalfredo I’m so sorry to hear about this predicament. I wish Stanford offered more accessible financial resources for international students. I have a wonderful friend who is also a Canadian international student, so rest assured, Stanford does admit from this demographic! I would strongly recommend against applying to Stanford without asking for financial aid. If you would have to take out enormous student loans to attend Stanford you should go ahead and let the university know up front, even if this is to the slight detriment of your application. But I don’t actually believe this is the case. If Stanford wants a prospective student enough, a matter of financial aid will not keep them from admitting said student.

I myself applied to Harvard SCEA, was deferred (then waitlisted). I applied to Stanford RD and was accepted-- This to say that we cannot predict how such selective institutions take their students based on statistics-- Stanford RD is statistically much more selective than Harvard RD. I’m interested to know why you would prefer Stanford “for almost every reason”. Though I know where my heart is, I can think of a few advantages that Harvard has over Stanford. Both are incredible institutions and I am sure you could easily find yourself at home at either (as well as several other academic institutions in Canada and America).

I am interested in starting a nonprofit or program and wanted to know if you have any tips or advice? Also, what extracurriculars did you do and for what years did you do them?

Hi @geofan! Without any other information about what you would be intending to do, I would say start a program in something you are truly passionate about and would enjoy devoting a lot of time to. No man is an island, so be willing to reach out to others, adults/ teachers especially for help. Being associated with established nonprofits in your area gives credence to your program. And don’t just start a nonprofit/ program for the sake of getting into colleges, because admissions officers can see through that ploy very easily.

As stated in a previous response, I did Model UN and Youth in Government for seven years (through middle school and high school). I played varsity lacrosse, and trumpet in my school’s band. I attend Governor’s School for my state, interned for two years at a local nonprofit, attended CONA (Conference on National Affairs). I started a program/nonprofit in high school that grew to alot of schools and hundreds of students that dealt with race relations and poverty, and the vast majority of my extracurricular time was devoted to this.

When you read through your admissions file, do you recall seeing something like “x-y-z” where x-y-z added to 4? If so, do you remember what those numbers were (or do you know anybody else’s)? I’m asking because others who’ve looked through their FERPAs all had numbers saying “4-0-0,” which I assume to mean 4 acceptances, 0 waitlists, and 0 rejections. Thank you for the AMA!

@dropper Haha you must know alot of people who filed!! Yes, exactly, 4-0-0 which I thought meant either 4 yes, 0 no, 0 abstaining or 4 accept, 0 reject, 0 waitlist.

Thanks for doing this .

For a rising senior with ACT = 35 and SAT = 1570 ; which SAT subject tests would you recommend taking to get into pre med program ?

EC’s are Model UN , Skills USA , debate club

What was the most interesting thing you read in your file? The thing that either surprised you the most or you feel gave you insights into the admissions process?

Thank you for doing this! How would you describe the premed experience at Stanford? Are there particular classes that are extremely competitive or difficult?