Let’s face it – you probably shouldn’t bother. Stanford is not for everyone. Not just that it is hard to get into – which itmost certainly it, it may not even be the right school for you.
But if you are driven, entrepreneurial, and have 1400 on the SAT, it is about showing (not just saying) that you are someone who is going to add value to the Stanford community. Not just academically, but in terms of energy, enthusiasm, and the ability to make a difference.
You must be careful to not just state something as a fact, but rather put it in context (why it is a big deal) and show its value (who/how did it prove useful). Always start by outlining the possible strengths and story arcs you have – use the “My Story” capability in Spikeview, for example. And share different arcs with at least half a dozen individuals to see what resonates – the “Share/Presentation View” capability in spikeview is one possible mechanism that lets you customize those arcs – you can also create powerpoint deck for each and distribute them.
At a high level, the scoring rubric for Stanford applications values a demonstration of the following:
Intellectual Vitality (taking significant responsibility and initiative for your own learning process) How did you take the reins of your education and learn things that weren’t spoon-fed to you in school.
Purpose, Passion, and Meaning What drives you. All true interests are based in some purpose that gives you energy and motivates you to do better. How does this purpose and energy benefit those around you.
Challenges Met & Overcome What is the most meaningful hurdle that you’ve overcome. How did you do it, and why did you bother? What did you learn in the process.
Character is who you are when no one is watching. Help the reader of the story of your life get a glimpse into the real you.
Leadership.How have you benefited some community or group by showing the way, marshalling resources towards a particular cause, and being an example for others.
If you can speak to at least three or four of these in a compelling manner, you have a good chance of getting the FAT Envelope.
Don’t take it from me – here’s their former Dean of Admissions talking about it.