Stanford University is a premier institution in the California Bay Area. Ever since its inception over 150 years back, it has continued to make strides in bringing up refined scholars. The institution boasts of a student fraternity that is abreast with startup opportunities. They also exhibit a great entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes their student life. As regards STEM, the university has placed tremendous focus that no other institution on the east coast has matched. Even as they do this, they still offer great humanities majors.
Stanford has continued to set trends, attaining the status of the most selective university. Its current admission rate is set at 4.65% for the class of 2021. Aside from this, it has also attained the status of the 2nd largest campus worldwide. It sits on a vast 8000 acres. The enrollment of students that are pursuing undergraduate courses has reached 7000. No wonder Forbes ranked it the 2nd in the nation as at 2017.
When a student applies for enrollment at Stanford, they are required to give a valid response to 7 different short questions. They are also required to respond to 4 longer essay questions. This forms part of the admission process. Well, if you are doing a freshman application at Stanford and are getting jittery, worry not. EliteEssayWriters is your friend. We are here to give you the best tips that you can apply to have the best outcome in the upcoming Stanford application essays.
How You Can Write the Stanford University Essays
The Short Response Questions
- What are some of the challenges that society faces in contemporary time? (50 words)
- How did you spend your summer holidays? (50 words)
- What significant event in history do you wish to have experienced and witnessed? (50 words)
- What three words describe you? (50 words)
- What do you read, listen, or watch, when it’s up to you to make the choice? (50 words)
- What experience are you looking forward to at Stanford? (50 words)
- If you had an extra hour in a day, how would you utilize it? (50 words)
It is important to note that each of your response to the questions should adhere to the 50-word limit. The answers should be brief, succinct and straightforward. They should also be genuine answers that reflect utmost honesty. As you write each of the answers, ensure that you collect your thoughts well. Identify the different facets of your personality that the answer will reflect. You can also do well to vary your answers to avoid focusing one or two major themes.
Be wary of inappropriate responses as they will spell doom to your application. Write with your audience in mind. Ensure that your responses are best placed to bring out a positive reaction in them. While at it, refrain from overanalyzing matters. Most students fall into the trap of overthinking what the admission officers would want. This will make you hinder you from showing your personality. Your individuality is what matters. It’s your selling point and it is what sets you aside from others who are also doing the application essay.
Let’s consider the questions one by one:
What are some of the challenges that society faces in contemporary time? (50 words)
This question requires you to present the various challenges that are present in contemporary time. You can approach this question from various angles. You may consider giving a traditional answer. However, add a creative twist to it. While choosing an answer, ensure that you avoid uncertain or whimsical topics that may not even add up as challenges. Focus on objective topics that have public appeal. These could include global warming, waste management, gender inclusivity, training, and development, etc. These are popular topics, however, ensure that you present them in a unique way. If you present it in a simplistic manner, you may lose on the originality and freshness of the idea, thus, making it lose appeal to the reader.
In another sense, you could suggest ways of overcoming the challenge that you have presented. It is quite disinteresting to merely mention that the challenge exists. Show that you are proactive by highlighting ways in which the challenge could get the needed awareness. By doing so, your answer will surely captivate and catch the eyes of the readers, who in this case are the admission officers. You will stand out from the rest of the applicants and thus increasing your stakes at getting admission. For example, if you spoke in a general way as regards a challenge such as food sustainability, you would lose the reader in the process. However, if you focused on the specifics and the extras, and even went to the extent of making suggestions on how to bridge the gap of food production, demand, and sustainability, you would, in essence, be showing that you are a proactive thinker.
How did you spend your summer holidays? (50 words)
Answering this question should be a piece of cake. It should be pretty straightforward because you know what you were doing on your summer holiday. Anything you did is admissible. But, you can do well to show versatility and diversity. Show that you are a person with varied interests.
For example, you can write out the following list:
I attended and participated in the USA leadership conference, went on a vacation in Florida to catch up with family, did some volunteer work at the local food joint, went for a hiking expedition, upgraded my culinary skills and developed my STEM skills through a boot camp.
This variety of activities makes you admirable in the eyes of the admission officers. They would see that you are an all-round person who is up to develop their professional skills, education and still spares some time for leisure. Another approach to this would be to choose a few of the above activities and expound on how you carried them out. Here’s an example below:
I often thought that family vacations are quite short but appear too long. I spent some quality time with my family down at the beach in Malibu. After some great time, I returned home to make my debut as a volunteer in the local food stores, where I acquired valuable experience. Just after that, I had the privilege of attending the national leadership conference where I honed my skills as a leader. I must say I had an awesome holiday!
The above brings out the main points with a twist of a narrative structure. However, be conscious of the space. Use lead-in sentences in your write-up to increase the appeal. For example: For the previous summer holiday, “I mostly spent my time undertaking…” Remember that you only have 50 words at your disposal, therefore, use short lead-in sentences.
What significant event in history do you wish to have experienced and witnessed? (50 words)
This prompt requires you to think of a historical event that you’d wish you could have experienced and witnessed. If nothing comes to mind, you don’t need to worry. You can trace anything that you learned in your school years, especially in your history classes. Google is also your friend. You can run a quick search of the top historical marvels. However, note that you will not be the only one doing that. Many other applicants will also be trying the same. So strive to be as unique as possible. Search for the extraordinary things that not everyone would think of. For example, the Colossus of Rhodes, or perhaps witnessing the construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. If you are a car aficionado, you could write about witnessing the first vehicle been assembled. If you are a fan of politics, you could write about witnessing the American Revolution. If you are a religious person, then you can write about witnessing the life of Jesus while He was on earth or perhaps to experience the rule of King Solomon.
The event that you choose isn’t of much relevance. Even so, you shouldn’t settle for something that is obscure as it will dilute the historical touch. Also, some historical moments may need more than 50 words to write, thus, exceeding your word limit. Here’s an example that highlights a unique event:
I have always been intrigued by the Great Wall of China. My initial encounter with this marvel was through documentaries. I just wish that I could have been present at the time to witness the logistics and the actual construction of the wall. It must have taken great minds to come up with such a marvel, I would love to know the motivating factors that led to the construction of such a huge wall.
It isn’t necessary for you to have a direct connection to the event. However, you should examine why you picked the specific event so that you can plan your response effectively. By doing this, you can make your response more captivating to the reader.
What are the best five words that describe you? (50 words)
This might sound simplistic but the impact is far-reaching. You could use some creativity to try and convey a hidden meaning. For example, (Sturdy, Thoughtful, Resilient, Observant, Natty, Gracious.) The individual qualities all add up to make the word strong from their first letters. You could employ the use of alliteration. For example, (Strong, sturdy, soft-spoken, sweet, sophisticated). Whatever the case, try as much to apply some creativity. Avoid the use of simplistic words in your work. In case you get stuck, seek the input of your associates, peers, or even parents.
What do you read, listen, or watch, when it’s up to you to make the choice? (50 words)
This prompt is purely about the media. As compared to the previous prompts that have been given, this year’s had a slight change. The previous ones revolved around mentioning your favorite books, authors, artists, films, websites, magazines and newspapers. This year’s prompt is more open-ended. There was no specific material that was mentioned.
When answering the question, you are at liberty to use lists that add up to the 50 words. Alternatively, you can narrow down to specific materials and dwell on them. It is advisable to avoid educational material and highly advanced literature material. Unless they are your favorite, steer clear of them. Try to find the perfect balance between things that are pure fun and those that are in the confines of educational material.
An example of a list is as follows:
Read: Nichomachean Ethics, The Rings of Saturn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Watch: Citizen Kane, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Godfather.
Actuality: Pokémon and the likes.
Listen: Jim Brown, Chris Della, Lindsay Anderson
This is a sample format. You hold all prerogative to choose your own structure. Such a prompt can give invaluable information about a person. You don’t need to toil by explaining each and every point. The list is self-explanatory. Though if you so wish, you can use both techniques, that is, lists and explanations.
What experience are you looking forward to at Stanford? (50 words)
The premise of this prompt is to answer the question, “Why Stanford?” You have to meet your end of the bargain by digging as much information you can about Stanford. Here’s a free point, Stanford loves trees! Utilize everything at your disposal to come up with a well-researched response to the question. Use online resources, journals, and educational materials. You can also ask the school’s Alma Mata. You could also check out the traditions and notable events that Stanford does and hosts. This could be your selling point.
At every final’s week, Stanford students engage in the legendary primal scream. They shout as loud as they can in the middle of the night. This is done especially when they have been studying for long periods. The experience is somewhat strange, though the students claim it’s satisfying. You could use this event in your response and mention that you are looking forward to it with much zeal.
Stanford students have a habit of performing the Gaieties play. This play is performed purely for entertainment purposes. Most of the students engage in it to goof around. They make it as fun as possible by performing funny acts and plays. They probably do this to take a break from the demanding school life. If you were active in theater arts or were a choir singer, then you can try it out. You can add your personal involvement in these activities while you were in high school.
- Death at the Circle of Death (Hiking the Dish)
Every campus has the proverbial circle of death. It is the roundabout that bears the most traffic and is usually near the main quad. The main quad can be a great experience to write about. You could mention that you are looking forward to riding your bike through the circle of death even when you know the chances of being successful is thick.
Concerning hiking the dish, you could include it in your response. If you would like to experience the 15 minutes loop of hills that are near the campus, then mention it in your response. While at it, don’t mention obvious stuff like how the perfect weather will be a bliss (the admission officers already know that).
- The Freshman Introductory Seminar
This is the best academic leverage you can use in your response. Scan through the school catalog and try to see something that gives you inspiration. Identify something that will make you look forward to opportunities and also classes at Stanford. For example, Nanotechnology or the Kantian Ethics, etc.
- Attending Cardinal Nights and the Likes
Cardinal nights are every student’s delight. Going out with friends, to the carnival, to a musical, a play, a movie or even theme parks, is the highlight of any student’s leisure activity. If you are the kind of person who loves fun experiences over the weekend but are not a party animal, then the cardinal nights are for you. Indulge the readers on how you look forward to having the best time over the cardinal nights. Do your research and find out the popular cardinal nights that have happened in the past.
- The Stanford Improv Comedy Group (SIMPS)
If you feel like you are funny enough to crack an audience with laughter for long periods, then a comedy troupe can be a great place to be. If you also enjoy watching funny shows, this could be your reference point. Write about how you will be looking forward to the SIMPS for their electric and funny performances.
- Watching the Full Moon at the Quad
Stanford students have a practice of going out the main quad at least once a year to engage in their longest tradition, that is, giving a rose to someone followed by a kiss at midnight. It is usually done in the month of January. The event can get a little crazy than the normal traditional one but still provides a great break from the mainstream school activities. Mention that you would be looking forward to preserving the old tradition.
- Observing Secret Snowflake
This is a strange but awkwardly great tradition that Stanford students take part in. It is in the form of a play, where students mimic a secret Santa. This is not your normal Santa who comes with gifts. This one comes with dares of varying extremes. This gives it the thrilling twist. You could also write that you are looking forward to this experience to explore your creative side.
Music fans could have a field day writing about concerts, and other musical performances. You could write about how you are eagerly awaiting to see some free concert in Frost. This amphitheater has in the past boasted about hosting top musical figures such as Zedd. Talk about joining the club that makes the Frost experience an epic one. Make it seem that you are interested in participating in the student and college life activities.
The most popular activity in Stanford has to be the fountain hop. You can even search on various search engines and you would find that the results never fail to mention Stanford. This could add up as a fun activity that you would mention that you are looking forward to in Stanford. Ensure that you describe that general outdoor atmosphere and you are sure of leaving an imprint on the mind of the admission officers.
The above are indeed some great activities that can be mentioned as part of the activities that you are looking forward to in Stanford. Make an effort to write in a stylish way. But refrain from mentioning anything that is unlawful, immoral or illegal. Remember that your main aim is to tell the reader why you are looking forward to that specific event; not just giving an explanation of what it is or why it is bound to be great. Also, don’t include the experience of others, or why others would look forward to it. It is you who should look forward to it and thus, your sentiments are the most crucial in this regard.
Select an activity that you are well sure that you like and are looking forward to. Most students tend to focus too much on the general events such as the social life in the hostels, research opportunities, and interesting curriculum. They are okay but remember that you are out to make an impression and to stand out from all the other applicants. Thus, you should strive to traverse the basic stuff and make your essay an extraordinary one.
If you had an extra hour in a day, how would you utilize it? (50 words)
On this final question, scan through what you have already written. Identify the aspects that could complement the responses that you have already written without making it mainstream. Again, steer clear of basic activities such as sleeping. The prompt above gives the opportunity for various types of responses. You could write about a specific deficiency or flaw. You could even settle on something marvelous that you would like to do. For example, doing an artistic painting, bonding with family or friends.
To illustrate: If you wrote that you aspired to study literature and had a liking for children story books, you could write:
“My mornings are always fast-paced; from putting my homework together, packing some snacks for school and dashing out with possibly a forgotten item. If I had an extra hour, I would try to slow it down to avoid the rush and the chaos that follow (like putting on one earing, leaving behind my reading spectacles). I would even spare some time to meditate; at least that’s the thing that I always never have time for in my normal 24 hour days!”
You can use quotes if you wish to have a vivid description. However, remember that you are on a limited word count. The above example shows a flaw that many people have (of keeping time) and is relatable to at least something in the application.
Due to the fact that these prompts are short, you shouldn’t expect the admission officers to place a lot of scrutiny on them. They’ll probably scan through yours and get to the next one. Therefore, don’t break yourself while trying to craft the perfect response; though it’s a good show to demonstrate that you put in some effort in the work. If you settled on a particular theme, make sure that it reflects in your whole essay.
Brief Extracurricular Elaboration
Briefly describe an extracurricular activity that you engage in or any work experience you might have. (50-150 words)
Most Common Application Essays are limited in the sense that they don’t give enough word counts to express oneself. Thus, be decisive and use this short essay to give as much information as you can on the extracurricular activities you may have been involved in. You could pick one of the school activities that you may have had a hand in creating. Select also those that were unique to your school only.
A quick tip: aim to show passion. It makes a greater impact. Choose one of the least impressive clubs or societies and shed it in a glorious way and how you were passionately participating in its activities.
A good example could be of sharing an experience of a job that entailed working with kids. Such a job requires one to cultivate patience. Relate how you were able to be patient all through. Another example could be of writing about some religious society, taking music lessons, playing for a cricket team at some tournament, etc. Showing commitment is quite important as it gives you the requisite content.
A word of advice though, don’t try to write about multiple topics at once. The word limit will render it impossible. Such an exercise would be in futility. It will also be making your work redundant since you will be repeating what was previously mentioned.
My debut in working was at Lord Apparel in December 2013. I was drawn to the job since I wanted to save for college. I applied, got shortlisted and after getting done with the interview, I was impressed by a couple of things. First, they were kind to work around my academic schedules. Second, they gave me an off on Sunday for church and also to spend time with my family. Their type of business was mostly retail, thus, it gave me the opportunity to interact with many people, different organizations, and various environments. At the same time, learned how to manage stock, keeping the register, selling apparel, etc. Consequently, it has inculcated vital management and scheduling skills by…
You can continue to describe what you learned. Show your personality in every instance you can. For example, show that you are a family person and that you spare some time for them. Or you could show that you are a prudent person who knows how to plan by virtue of working to save for school.
Essay Question 1:
The Stanford fraternity is largely curious and motivated to learn both in the classroom and outside. Reflect on a thought or experience that motivates you to learn. (100-250 words)
This is one of the longer prompts of your essay. It literally takes you back to your classroom experiences, school experiences, or home study times. Try and do an honest soul searching to see which of the above gave you the best learning experience. Narrating this experience should give you a sense of fulfillment; just like any nerd. But it shouldn’t be a cause for worry because after all, you are going to the Home of Nerds! This prompt is your platform to showcase all your study experiences and intellect.
To illustrate: You could give an example of how you decided at one time to teach yourself some physics concept in preparation for some physics test. You can then add some analysis:
As far as enjoying learning is concerned, I discovered that I enjoy laser physics so much. It intrigued me just how much laser physics surrounds human life, from x-ray machines and magnetic resonance imaging. The impact that it has had on the medical field is immense. Laser physics has also been used by various security technologists to enhance access security of vital premises. Bank strong rooms are normally ridden with lasers which serve to protect. An intruder tries to get through and the lasers detect his movement and raise an alarm.
The wonderful aspect about all this is that I read it all by myself. I did some study by using printed material but later resorted to YouTube tutorials. Each time, I was able to understand a certain concept by myself, a sense of accomplishment engulfed me. I felt that I had reached the epitome of intellectual independence. I worked diligently through various practice questions. I, however, noticed that I was quick to self-correct. I began to realize my mistakes and why I was making them in the past. This in a way made me prepare well to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Generally, I can say that it improved my study habits. I also understood why it was important to master knowledge by oneself.
The response above shows a genuine passion for studying without focusing too much on the narrative.
Here’s another similar response that is laced with creativity:
“How are Pianos Made?
While I was in fourth grade, I got into a curiosity contest. I won and this victory opened the gates for me to co-host. I was invited to co-host one of the curiosity contest episodes at a refined piano factory in New Jersey. It was then that I discovered myself in a whole new way. I discovered what lies in the world apart from textbooks and their teachings. The piano factory, G-clef Piano factory, was full of life. It had so much heritage, and they openly displayed their wares which have been stunningly been top for decades. Admittedly, I felt a new awakening inside me that was geared to a music side of life. From nowhere, I got the determination to make pianos my form of art. I quickly acquired a piano and my every morning meditations were made in front of it. I can rightly say that this is the working of my curiosity. It yielded knowledge that I’m forever indebted. It also opened my mind to the limitless possibilities that the world presents. It was only a case of expanding my perceptions and letting the rest flow.
In all respects, knowledge theorists posit that the more we know the more we don’t. I fully support this notion as I have experienced it on a personal level. What arose as a harmless curiosity, gave rise to a journey of self-discovery that hopefully will end up in self-actualization. It even led to me pondering over social matters, like inequality and social stratification. Why are these two so prevalent today than they were a century back? Is there a way to totally reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere?
I hope that in the end, my curiosity will pay off by enlightening me and others, to make the world a better place.
The response above was presented by a Stanford student, class of 2020, Philosophy major. The student presented the essay so well. The admission officer that read the essay was probably impressed by the hunger for knowledge that was prevalent. The childhood application that the writer used was exceptional and was probably what engaged the reader in the first place.
As you embark on writing your own essay, avoid some basic phrases such as: “It made me happy because…” or “A point that made me exceptionally happy about studying was…” The writing style that you choose is crucial. It is the make or break point of your admission into the Stanford student fraternity. If you doubt this, then compare the two examples above. Notice how the essay becomes interesting and engaging when the writer uses an effective style; that of ‘showing rather than telling’.
Just like all college essays, the premise is on introducing yourself to the admission officers in a wholesome way, telling them your best qualities and experiences and why the experience chosen is of much significance to you. While at it, kindly desist from pompous language, excessive flattery, and don’t waste a lot of time giving the logistics to your school of thought, get straight to the point.
Essay Question 2:
Majority of Stanford students live on campus. Come up with a write-up to your future roommate that will assist him/her and us to know you better. (100-250 words)
This essay aims at bringing out the social side of you. It steers away from official and academic activities and brings in a relaxed atmosphere in which one can write about themselves. All it requires is for you to write about your personality. The approach is quite open compared to other application essays which are more specific. For example, an essay that has this topic, “Talk about a mentor figure in your life who was there in your low moments.” If you analyze this topic well, as much as there is an element of your personality that will come out, the focus is more on the mentor. Stanford envisioned a situation like this, hence the reason as to why they added a second essay that requires you to exclusively talk about yourself and express your personality.
The main objective of Stanford is for you to display the perfect image of your character that will be distinct from all the essays that will be submitted. If you are not sure of what to write, picture yourself in front of the panel of admission officers. You are given the chance to introduce yourself and present your pitch without using any of your accolades, awards, and certifications. What is the first thing that will come to mind? Or let’s picture another scenario. If this was a real letter to your roommate at Stanford, what important thing about you would you like to tell them if they are going to live with you? Another case could be as follows: Imagine you are being interviewed as Stanford alumni. What topics would you gladly present?
Reflect on this questions deeply. Gauge whether there is some meaning that you would want to share. You can have a look at the third prompt to ascertain what really matters and why it matters to you. This could be a great substitute for the roommate prompt. If your response is bound to be non-causal, then format your essay as a formal letter or a just an ordinary two paragraph essay.
In the case where there are no important topics to cover on the less casual side that you want to convey, you can use a little tact. You can create your miscellaneous essay to cover what you desire.
Arguably, this is one of the few prompts that are actually enjoyable to write. They have a twist of entertainment and seriousness too. On the side of the admission officers, it is a great prompt to read since it presents an array of different topics that border on weird and fun. Some guides encourage students to use this prompt to explore their peculiar sides. They advised them to write about their interests, hobbies and generally their weird personal sides. But they strongly discouraged them from covering controversial themes such as politics. You might not want to rub someone wrongly by joking about a certain political outfit or by openly showing favor or disfavor to a certain political ideology.
If you want to put the essay in the letter format, simply open with a brief and succinct greeting, like: “Hi! I’m glad to meet you!” Don’t be too casual or too stark. Find a balance in between. For you to come up with content, you can craft a list of fun facts about yourself. The essay is meant to be fun, so, ensure that you don’t fall short of fun things to say.
Sometimes, it can prove difficult to create good material that reflects your personality. It is even harder when you have to do it on a computer. But you can take your time throughout the day to think retrospectively about what you enjoy.
The following are sample notes that you can write at different times of the day. This might require you to use a reminder or to make a mental note:
I love The Ted Talks; they are quite inspiring. How can I stop chewing on my ballpoint cover? I hate doing the dishes. My birthday party rocked because of the lovely food, and my love for cooking! My favorite apparel store is Levi Strauss; I always get great discounts on quality jumpers. Before I retire to sleep, I love watching animated comedies, I guess it’s why I get funny dreams nowadays. I’m always attracted to handy tools, I always purchase them for no reason at all, and I probably got this trait from my dad. I love steak. When I sleep, I turn into a rock; meaning that you’d have to blow trumpets to wake me up, but the good thing is that I’d never be disturbed by noises in the night. I love Sylvester Stallone movies.
We hope you noticed how long you can write in this section. When it comes to writing about oneself, there is no limit to what you can say. One could literally write volumes about themselves because everyone is good at describing themselves.
Mention some of the activities that you might carry out together. You can also mention some critical things that you would want your roommate to know. This in a way lets you stay on course with your prompt. Avoid redundancy. Don’t put some random facts next to your explanations. You can just put some few traits and habits and elaborate on each. You can even go ahead and top it off with, “Can’t wait to meet future roomie!” This can bring out a great essay.
Here’s an illustration of an essay that brings out the personality of the author and also uses the list format:
*Breathes in*…Allow me to make a toast!
First and foremost, I’ excited to live with you roomie. I never had the experience of having a sibling, so I know this will be as close as it gets! I wanted you to know…
- I’m basically a free spirit with a heightened sense of integrity. I wish I was brilliant just like Obamas and the likes, I would really love to have shared some of their traits. All in all, I place more focus on personal values and aspirations and I’m passionate about achieving the best outcome for everyone in everything that I do. I find joy in helping others; sometimes I get obsessed with it, but I don’t count it as a flaw. I’m quite positive in my thoughts and outlook on the future – this is simply me in just a few words.
- I like to unplug from mainstream activities by writing. I have an exercise regime that I honestly don’t follow to the letter (who does anyway) but I’m quite conscious of the need to exercise. You would find me taking an early morning or late evening’s walks or jogs. I already even picked a spot for my walks, the campus fresh forestry. I would be honored if you join.
- I tend to have an addiction to coffee and late night chats. I also have a thing with pastry that makes me feel complete.
- I’m quite the fashionista. Fashion is my passion (see what I did there). I believe that one’s sense of style is a powerful message to everyone we meet. Thus, I make sure that people get my message loud and clear. I even have a fashion blog to write away my fashion ideas, designs and generally to have a conversation on fashion with the readers. I’d like to add some of the cultural aspects of the blog and that’s why I can’t wait to get to Stanford. And guess who will be my first respondent on this? (You guesses it right).
- I’m always honored to be surrounded by awesome people, with you being top of the list. I’m sure that my life at Stanford will be epic with you around. I’m really looking forward to joining Stanford, having even visited it at least 5 times before applying for admission. I even made an entry to my journal about the high prospects that I have with regard to joining the reputable institution.
I’m deeply happy to share my Stanford moments with you,
Name (official or nickname)
This is just an example of what you could write. It is not to be taken as the ultimate way of writing this essay. There are many ways in which you choose to write the essay. The example above is good to guide you through. You can rightly see how displaying your passions can have a great impact. It shows that you are versatile and diverse as a person. We are sure that you’ll look back at this time with your roomie laughing at how weird you sounded. We experienced it too!
Essay Question 3:
What matters and why does it matter to you? (100-250 words)
This prompt has one ulterior motive, which is for the applicant to directly mention what matters to them as persons. A typical admission officer would want to see the story behind the story. The passion, motivations, and drive that is characteristic of you besides from the normal academic sphere. This is the test that ultimately seals the deal. Passing this test directly translates to an admission as you will be regarded as a good fit for the institution. Therefore, you would want to put your best foot forward when writing this essay. Write intelligently with a touch of diversity of interest and skill.
A closer look at the prompt reveals an open avenue for giving captivating responses. It asks the million dollar question, ‘WHY’. This is arguably the most important part of the essay. The other part that dictates you to highlight what matters to you, anything can work. Any response can be sufficient. Even the most obvious ones.
As an example: you could write that you love helping others. This is mostly so cliché. In another light, you could convey the same message in an effective and tactful way. You could talk about some mentors that you interacted with in your nanotechnology club who made an effort to reach out to you. They even went to great miles to create more time and expend on extra training so that you can gain vital skills as a member. Try to bring this story in a light that shows how you ended up building your confidence and was inspired to help others in the same way. This will draw a parallel to the WHY question.
You could also write about how you fostered the creation of a suicide awareness and anti-bullying club. This was after you saw the plight of students in the school who were falling to both vices at an alarming rate. Don’t forget to answer the WHY question. Refrain from making it sound like a speech. You can read it aloud to ascertain that it has objectivity.
No doubt choosing a topic that is meaningful and which you have personally participated in brings is key so long as you don’t over-dramatize it. However, historical concepts and physics laws can apply. If you choose to go this direction, you should be wary of the implications. There is a high possibility that it could get cold and abstract. Even so, it presents an opportunity for you to shine and show your intellectual prowess. This can be a great place to showcase comedic and writing skills if you haven’t already highlighted them in the essay.
To illustrate: You may talk about the microwave. It is a symbol of efficiency in life and this represents your overall outlook on life. You endeavor to get tasks done swiftly. It is all up to you to come up with a creative twist by incorporating an object and any other interesting thing.
Here are some questions that we normally receive from many students:
Q: Is it mandatory that we write about what we want to major on in campus in this prompt?
A: You don’t need to and it is not mandatory. However, you can utilize the opportunity to write if your interests haven’t been indicated clearly
Q: Is it a must that it centers on one impactful activity?
A: The prompt doesn’t specify that you choose a meaningful activity though you have the option of touching on a few areas if you can form a connection between them.
Q: In what way can I talk about my internship/research in this essay?
A: It is definite that many students have either done an internship or undertaken a research at some particular time. It also follows that they would like to talk about it in the essay. If the first two essays were not properly detailed, then you can utilize this prompt to talk about it. However, as you do so, don’t dilute focus on yourself and the meaningful aspects.
Do you feel that you are still stuck? Well, you can settle on the sentiment that what you spend your time on is deemed as what you love. We know that this cannot be helpful if you spend most of your time on gaming, school activities or even sleeping. However, if you spend some substantial time in activities such as organizing your room, you can use it to your advantage. Reiterate that you are a person who loves order and organization. Let this be your selling point. Indulge your reader as to the sight of order in your room gives you the perfect balance in both mind and spirit. It also makes you partake activities in their rightful schedules.
You can easily turn around the essay to become one of life balance in family, school, extracurricular activities, friends, social circles, recreation, etc. Maintain that the key to a meaningful life is by having a perfect balance between all these aspects. Just like your room which stays orderly, your life should reflect the same.
The key to success with your Stanford application essay is creating an incentive for yourself to move you to work. Also, writing about topics that you genuinely love can give you the most content. Start writing the essay early to beat the time factor.
Stanford is known to be passive and laid back, but don’t reflect the same in your essays. The admission officers are mandated to see if you are a good fit, so use this to your advantage. Avoid any controversial topics, clichés and bring out your personality.
All in all, we hope that you will be successful in your application essay! Best wishes!