What are my Chances for Stanford?

Demographics: I am a white, middle class female who lives in the suburbs of a large city

  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student: US citizen
  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities): Illinois

Intended Major(s): English or Journalism with minors in Music (Piano Performance) and German

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
My school does weighted GPA on a scale of 4.33

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.85
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.05
  • Class Rank: 44 of 640
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 33/1450

(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))

5 AP Classes: AP German, AP Physics 1, AP U.S. History, AP Music Theory, and AP Literature and Composition. My school only lets you take AP classes as a junior and senior. AP Physics and US History were dual credit classes at my school, so I didn’t take the AP exam, and the AP Literature test had a conflict so I wasn’t able to take it. I will be taking the exams for German, Music Theory, and Literature in May. I will have taken 4 years of German. I will have also taken 4 dual credit classes (Physics, History, Public Speaking, and Psychology). I am a bit concerned about my science and math. I will have only taken 3 years of each, and the only math class left at my school to take this year was AP Calculus AB. I don’t know how this will affect my chances.


-Member of National Honor Society
-Member of Tri M Music National Honor Society
-Member of Delta Epsilon Phi German National Honor Society
-Participated in National Youth Leadership Training
-Completed the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards
-Currently in progress on my Eagle project for Scouts BSA
-Commendation for the German Seal of Biliteracy
-7 awards in writing competitions

(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)

-Writing: Weekly contributor to the local newspaper, included in a poetry anthology, author of a poetry book, 8 publications in literary magazines
-The Diversity Story: staff writer for this online literary magazine where I create content about culture and history
-Piano Teacher: Offers half-hour piano lessons to local students in order to further their piano technique, music theory, history, and classical and contemporary piano abilities.
-Church Praise Band Member: Attends weekly rehearsal and performs piano and synthesizer parts at Sunday service; has delivered 2 sermons to a congregation of 200
-Girl Scouts: 13 years of Girl Scouts; Completed my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards; Earned my PAT, CIT, and religious awards; served as counselor for younger girls
-Boy Scouts: Served as Senior Patrol Leader in Troop #40G for 1.5 years; completed National Youth Leadership Training; Started my Eagle Project Aug. 2021.
-Music: I’ve played piano for 12 years and play competitively. I also play trumpet, french horn, and euphonium. I’ve been in every band at my school, jazz band, gone to district festivals for jazz trumpet and euphonium, have done Madrigals, marching band (10th best marching band in the nation), and Wind Ensemble. I’ve held 1st chair trumpet in every ensemble besides Wind Ensemble, and won a Best of Day award on piano for solo competition.
-Model UN: I have been a lead delegate since 10th grade, have won many awards, including Outstanding Delegate, and served 2 years as Security Council delegate.
-Philosophy Club: Served as president for 1 year; Organized discussions and provided material for open dialogues about current events and traditional philosophers
-German Club: I participated in weekly meetings, along with competing in the annual Washington University German Day.
-I also list in various places during my application what my Gold Award and Eagle Award projects consist of. I mention training my horse since she was a baby and that I have completed over 200 hours of community service.

Anyway, please let me know if this is enough to get into Stanford. Here are some things that I am worried about:

-No AP exams yet
-I’ve only taken 5 AP classes
-No science or math this year
-Although most of my grades have been As, I’ve had several B+s and one B.
-Although I’ve done a lot of activities that I genuinely enjoy, it hasn’t been on a national level. I have many publications in small literary magazines, but nothing that is a national award or recognition. I know that a lot of my life has been poured into piano and writing, but I am afraid that it won’t be good enough.

Never say never - but 1%.

your rank is low, your rigor is short, your GPA is low, your ACT is low.

If you were valedictorian, maybe 2% - but honestly I don’t see you as a great candidate.

And frankly, if you are studying journalism, there’s a lot better schools for you, such as Cronkite at Arizona State.

Good luck.

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I would guess that your chances will be lower than the overall acceptance rate at Stanford, which means less than 4%. It is a very high reach.

You are clearly a very strong student. I think that you will do very well wherever you end up. I would be surprised if you end up at Stanford for your bachelor’s degree.


I don’t do chance me threads, and I am not qualified to chance you for Stanford. Stanford’s admit rate is like 4%, and I would assume unless you are an athlete or legacy that is what your chances are.

But please please please know that you are an amazing person and any college would be lucky to have you. To heck with Stanford and their lousy acceptance rate. There are plenty of places for you to shine!


Why Stanford?

Unlikely that you will be accepted to Stanford, but Stanford isn’t as good as a bunch of colleges which are better choices for you.

If you want a high reach, go for Northwestern. It’s journalism school is better than Stanford’s. Look at Missouri - it is considered one of the best journalism schools in the USA. Emerson is a great choice, Syracuse, and, as @tsbna44 wrote, Arizona State is also a top choice. Your in state, UIUC, is not a bad choice either. Iowa is great for English.


It’s tough to get admitted to Stanford, but don’t let that stop you from applying! Your ECs show you’re a very interesting student. Write strong essays that show who you are. Like any student, make sure you apply to a range of schools.

Don’t let negative reply’s deter you from your application plans, but always be aware of your admission odds at any and all schools.

Best wishes

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Save the $100 and find a reach schools that is a better fit from both a major and your profile. What are your Safety and Match Schools? I’m sure you will get a lot of great suggestions to help you formulate a list that is a great fit. You are certainly a strong student, and I’m sure you will have lots of great options

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No one is telling OP not to apply. The OP asked if they will be admitted and the likelihood is no as their statistics are far less than the typical student. One should always have a range of schools to apply to.

The OP is very solid - but not Stanford or Northwesternish in my opinion. There is no issue with applying - you get 20 common app spots and should use them all.

As a journalism major and knowing 90% of them don’t succeed in journalism (hence many schools require a second major), I would steer the OP to also look at strong journalism schools.

Since they are from Illinois, Mizzou has great scholarships and isn’t far. W&L is small, elite, well regarded and would hit the academic chops. It would be a reach - but not a Stanford/Northwestern reach and offers the potential for merit. USC would also be unlikely but would be stronger than Stanford in this regard.

My alma mater the Cuse is perhaps most well known and is a match for Newhouse school. Others people mentioned - Iowa - crazy strong in writing - UMD (match), Florida (slight reach), and American (match if you show interest) - are great journalism schools.

No one is denying the student the right to apply or trying to diminish them. We are trying to give an accurate assessment. If the OP has a safety (Bradley for private, U ofArizona for public) as examples, then they can apply anywhere and take their shots.

But in the question is what are my chances for Stanford, and based on what Stanford deems important, GPA and class rank, the fact that the stats are far below THEIR average, rigor isn’t there, the likelihood of acceptance is slim and that’s what people answered.

We also suggested for journalism, there would be other avenues as well.

When people are asking for answers, they are seeking the truth - and from our perspective that is the truth.

I wish the OP luck and hope they include a balanced list - that includes reaches, matches, and safetys.

Stanford happens to be the highest of reaches for just about every student in the country.

Good luck.


As the parent of a recent Stanford grad I know that what you say is 100% correct.

I also know that some admits have stats very similar to that if the OP. Additionally, the OP has very interesting ECs - something that Stanford values.

Still a long shot, but sometimes worth taking.

Agree with all of the above. You have a strong academic record. If you were a highly-desired athletic recruit, your other qualifications wouldn’t keep you out of Stanford. But without a significant hook, there is also nothing about your record that can reasonably be expected to get you in. It’s just too competitive.

Syracuse seems to have everything you want, in one place. The Newhouse School is a top journalism program. The Setnor School of Music offers a music performance minor and many ensembles. The German language offerings are sufficiently extensive for the College of Arts & Sciences to offer a BA in German Language, Literature, and Culture. There’s an equestrian club team. The Maxwell School of Public Affairs not only has an active Model UN program; it actually invented the concept back in 1927. You’d be a very strong candidate and likely get merit aid.

Bard could be another to look at. It’s top-notch for music. (All conservatory students do a five-year dual major, but you can also study music without going for the conservatory BM/BA.) It doesn’t have a journalism school per se, but it has a “written arts” program that might appeal to you. And, Bard has its own campus in Berlin, where you could study as briefly as a January intersession language intensive, or for as long as a full academic year.

These aren’t the very most competitive schools you could expect to get into - you’d be in the top quartile of entering students at both and could probably consider them low-matches if not safeties. But that’s where your college search should start - finding low-matches and safeties you could be genuinely happy to attend, because they fit what you are looking for in an academic, extracurricular, and social experience.

If you want to be in California, Scripps College could be worth a look as a realistic reach. It has a Writing and Rhetoric major, and students who are interested in journalism join the staff of The Student Life, the very high-quality joint newspaper of the Claremont Consortium. Graduates from TSL get internships and jobs every year at top-tier publications. (NYT, WSJ, etc.) The combined undergraduate population of the five colleges is about the same as Stanford’s. The German department is joint between Scripps and Pomona, and is excellent. There are solid music opportunities also, as both the Joint Music Program ensembles and the Pomona College ensembles are open to Scripps students, in addition to private instruction, theory classes, etc, based at both Scripps and Pomona. The Pomona Model UN team is open to Scripps, Pitzer, and Harvey Mudd students as well (CMC’s team is CMC-only.) Pomona itself would be a huge reach (not to say you couldn’t apply and take your shot), but Scripps would be a low reach or maybe high match… probably less than 50% odds of acceptance, but not a lot less.


Agree with the above. There is an article that I can’t find about the low rates of kids getting into Stanford from Illinois and the Midwest…

I usually tell families I know that their kids aren’t getting into Stanford. (nicely)… So far I have been right for many, many years. But… Definitely apply if it’s one of your schools. Have safeties and other schools with better rates of acceptances.

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Never say never. But with no hooks, middling stats(for Stanford standard), and extracurriculars that are not pristine, the odds of it working out are below 4%(the usual acceptance rate).

If you are to apply, do it RD as wasting an REA(basically ED) on a very far reach school is not worth it.


My D22 is in the same boat, with music dominating her life for many years (until recently). I’ve heard a few college counselors advising that unless you have potential to be a star (e.g., BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist - we’re in the UK), you should abandon it at around 8th grade and focus on something else where you can be stellar (if your aim are tippy top schools). D22 is not at that level but we have no regrets - we, as a family, have had many wonderful memories from D22’s music and are okay with any adverse consequences stemming from her commitment to music. Good luck!

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Absolutely - you should follow your passions and if her passion has been music, why would you stop? I’ve not heard that - but I would never advise my kid to do so.

This is college. There are thousands and all put out successes and all put out non-successes.

In many ways, people get over the top with they must go here or there. They love it - til they have a bad roommate or professor.

No one’s life will end because they go to UNLV instead of UCLA - and while I love the CC, the amount of stress these kids put on themselves is ridiculous.

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That advice is crazy. People should drop fine arts altogether unless they’re on track for national level recognition? That’s just messed up. (And if people are taking that advice, how many of them are achieving that level of recognition at something else after giving up something they love? For that matter, how many of these counselors have ever met their own standard? If they had, wouldn’t they be off somewhere being a star instead of dispensing toxic advice to high school students?)


Agree - although we came upon this advice only recently, we wouldn’t have followed it had we heard it earlier. But if the idea is to stand out among many highly qualified candidates, this advice does make some sense - relative to more obscure pursuits, there’s probably a glut of classical musician applicants to top universities.

We weren’t led by that consideration - focusing on classical music has helped D22 in many ways (e.g., teamwork, discipline, persistence, eye for detail, etc.), created deeper bonds between family members (e.g., an “old school” FIL who became softer and more patient - according to my wife - as a result of the passion he and D22 shared in classical music, D22 and I going busking to raise money for charities), enabled us to be part of a close knit parent community, given us opportunities to travel to different countries, etc. As I said above, no regrets.

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That’s like saying you should quit the tennis team because you can’t be Djokovic. Or stop playing soccer because you won’t be Pele. Could it be you heard it wrong? There’s no possible way that would make any sense.

But we also have to stop pretending to everyone out there that a perceived elite education is the only education worth a hoot. It’s not.

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Possibly, but I’ve heard it more than once, particularly with respect to classical instruments (since my D22 plays one).

I have also heard this about dance instead of music (and also think it’s completely ridiculous). When I quit dance to focus on my sport, I heard variations of “it’s good you’re focusing on something you can get recruited for” even though that didn’t seem to be in the range of possibility for me at the time.

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I assume you mean paid college consultants as opposed to admissions officers. Some are more reputable than others. Others are like internet links - just because they say it does not make it true. IMO, of course. :grin: