General Education

How to Get Into Stanford: 3 Insider Tips From a Recent Grad

How to Get Into Stanford: 3 Insider Tips From a Recent Grad
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Bobby Touran August 18, 2014

Want to be among the elite seven percent accepted into Stanford? We've got some inside tips from a recent grad that might up your chances.

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Stanford is constantly ranked as one of the most difficult schools to get into.

Stanford University remains one of the world’s leading universities. It’s prestige is surpassed by very few, if any, institutions in the United States.

With that prestige comes a massive flood of eager and ambitious students aspiring to become one of the very few people accepted into the school’s freshman class each year. Boasting a 7% acceptance rate, receiving the big envelope in the mail from Stanford is statistically less likely than gaining acceptance into Teach For America or a top Med School.

Given this difficulty level, we reached out to Meka Este-McDonald, a recent graduate of Stanford and founder of job-searching platform JoKno, to gain some insider tips on how to make your application to this esteemed university stand out.

Here are his thoughts:

Have a passion outside of school and make sure that comes through in your application.

Diversity is a huge buzzword among colleges, and although many define diversity as strictly mixture of ethnic backgrounds, the concept of diversity goes well beyond that.

Schools are looking to build a diverse campus with a plethora of students with varying interests and passions. If the college sees that you are passionate about something, they believe you may become more active on the campus and add more to its culture. There is nothing that will turn a college off more than apathy, and that rings especially true for Stanford.

So, make sure your application screams that you are passionate about something other than school. It may even be best to really focus on one thing you are truly passionate about as this appears more authentic and makes your application more memorable than if you have a hodge podge of interests.

Your application needs to “tell the whole story of you."

There is more to Stanford than a rich history of superior academics, so there needs to be more to you than just your GPA and SAT scores.

The academic numbers are important, but they become more powerful and help you stand out if your frame those numbers within the context of the “story of you".

Again, be passionate. What is your story? What makes you tick? How did your academics play into these things?

Use your essay to market yourself and how you will add to the school’s storied culture.

Your essay is your interview, so you should treat it as such.

The admissions department has to cycle through thousands upon thousands of essays, and chances are they are going to be pretty tired and bored when they get to you, so wake them up! Catch their attention by telling your story, marketing yourself as a person with unique passions that will add to the school’s culture.