Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Application

The first step of getting in to Stanford is applying.  So let's talk about that application!

First, let me share a little bit of my experience with the application.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not a writer.  I like science and numbers.  And above all, I love speaking.  If I'm going to get my ideas out, I'd prefer to do it face to face.  However with college applications, there isn't much of a choice.  Secondly, I'm a procrastinator.  Big time.  I honest to god arrived at my friend's New Year's party at 11:59 because I was submitting college applications.  I didn't finish and submit the Stanford application until the next evening, just hours before it was due.  In fact, I wasn't even entirely certain that I was going to finish it.  But I did, thank God.  Personally, I found the hardest part of the application was crafting rich and meaningful essays that fit in the spaces provided...I always write long essays and papers, so my personal challenge was paring down my essays so they fit in the online forms without being truncated.

The Common App (commonapp.org) is definitely the way to go when applying to Stanford (I actually don't know if you can apply without using the common app.  Anywho...everything was online, and I only had to fill out my personal and extracirricular information once for all the schools that I was applying to, and then I completed an additional supplement form for each application.  Sweet and time saving deal.

Now, onto the actual content of the application.  Much of it is pretty standart--possible major, test scores, information about extracirricular involvement, some family information, etc.  The essay questions are obviously the most work intensive portion, and require the most thought.  There were two essays that went along with the common app, and the rest were part of the Stanford supplement.  Here are the essays questions, their lenght parameters, and a little bit about what I wrote about for each.

Common App Short Essay: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracirricular activities in the space below.  (1000 character maximum)
I wrote about my experiences in 4-H! :)

The main common app essay has 6 choices to choose from:
1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
This is the one I chose.  I wrote about my experiences with my dogs--how showing and breeding shaped me as a person, and inspired my academic and career goals.

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