You made it! I hope you have recovered from your trip to Admit Weekend and are enjoying your last moments of high school. May 1 is now behind us, and you have officially committed to life on the Farm. Congratulations!
When you and all of your future classmates were roaming campus, I was reminiscently transported back to the same time last year when I was standing where you were. There was this overwhelming sense of relief that the fight of high school was over. No more waking up before the sun rose in the morning, no more packing my lunch and, more than anything, no more application essays. After the approximately bazillion scholarship and college application essays I wrote during my senior year, I was thrilled to be finished with that era of my life.
But now, I need to be the bearer of bad news, the cold shower to your peaceful nap. I am writing to deliver the unfortunate news that the application process to Stanford is far from over; in fact, it is just beginning.
In May, I was sent the heavy Approaching Stanford packet where, among many other requirements, I had to write multiple essays detailing my feelings of going to college, what I would want my RAs and academic advisors to know about me and my extra-curricular interests. Only a matter of days after my graduation, I sat down for what I hoped was the last time to write an essay describing myself and my ambitions for my time at Stanford. Little did I know that this process was a vicious cycle that would follow me through my frosh year and beyond.
Whether it is being selected for introductory seminars, clubs or even for a place to live, my first year of college has been filled with applications to various aspects of campus life. I am not going to lie to you. Some of these processes have been very enriching, while others have been an annoyance at best, but now that you are stuck with us, I thought it would be best to speak openly about my experience as an applicant to Stanford — post-Common App.
Pretty much every application is written with the primary goal of understanding who you are and what you want out of a particular opportunity. In this sense, being a Stanford student will feel a lot like an ongoing application, where you as the applicant are being asked who you want to become through your time on campus. This transition was a difficult one for me because I felt like I had already been through this process in high school. I thought it was Stanford’s turn to tell me who I should want to be, not the other way around.
What I have come to realize is that the feeling of applying over and over again is not just in the fine print of being accepted to Stanford. It is the reality of adulthood. The biggest difference between a few months ago and now, however, is that nobody gets deferred or rejected. Stanford will continually prompt you about who you want to be, but it will also help you figure out how to fill in the blanks. You are now part of our family, and we can’t wait to see how you grow through your time on campus.
Contact Trisha Kulkarni at trishak8 ‘at’ stanford.edu.