Stanford receives over 40,000 applications from high school students each year. Only 5% of them receive a Stanford acceptance letter. For the Class of 2019, for example, Stanford accepted 2,144 applicants from a record 42,487 applications in 2015. That equates to a meager 5.0 percent admission rate. Regrettably, the vast majority of applicants are rejected. “I’m sorry to inform you…”
I was one of the fortunate few who applied to Stanford and received an acceptance letter in the mail when I was in high school. It was validated years of hard work, and I was proud that a school like Stanford wanted me to be part of their community.
Here is a scan of the original admissions letter I received from Stanford University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.
Even though I decided to attend Harvard, turning down Stanford was a difficult decision. It has a lively, open atmosphere and a great location in the Bay Area. In retrospect, given my current interest in entrepreneurship, attending Stanford might have been a good idea.
After that, I’ll give you some pointers on how to get an acceptance letter like this for yourself.
Congratulations! I am delighted to offer you admission to the Stanford University Class of 2009.
We were convinced by your thoughtful application and remarkable accomplishments that you have the intellectual energy, imagination, and talent to thrive at Stanford. Your distinguished record of academic brilliance and personal achievement stood out among the over 20,000 applications we reviewed. We are ecstatic to invite you to the Stanford community and look forward to the distinctive and extraordinary contributions you will make to our campus’s intellectual and extracurricular life.
The thrilling next step is now yours to take. Given that Stanford is likely to be only one of several options you will consider in the coming weeks, I hope you will take the time to learn more about us. We invite you to attend Admit Weekend 2005, a three-day program that will introduce you to Stanford’s intellectual vibrancy and dynamic campus life. There is information about that event enclosed. Whatever choice you make, we ask that you fill out the enclosed enrolment response card and return it to us by the May 2, 2005 postmark deadline. If you decide to enroll at Stanford, which we sincerely hope you will, we will send you enrolment information in late May.
Despite the fact that we have every reason to believe you will finish the school year successfully, keep in mind that your admission is contingent on your continued strong academic performance in the program you described in your application.
I’d like to express my congratulations on your admission to Stanford once more, and to welcome you to the Stanford family.
Anna Marie Porras
Director of Admission
(Bring your lightsaber to Stanford!)
The lightsaber remark refers to my Stanford supplemental essay.
So, what’s next?
You’re probably looking at this acceptance letter for a reason. Let me try to assist you. I apologize if you have recently received a rejection letter from Stanford. When admissions officers say it’s difficult to choose between students, they’re telling the truth.
The good news is that you have control over your destiny. There are Stanford graduates who are lost in life, and there are graduates from hundreds of other colleges (and even people who never went to college) who achieve incredible things. You are in charge of your destiny. So, if you’ve been rejected by Stanford, I hope you’ll pick yourself up and excel from here on out.
Here’s a guide to getting good grades in college and preparing for the future. If you’re thinking about applying to Stanford for college, I hope this acceptance letter has piqued your interest in writing your own.
Make no mistake: it took a great deal of hard work for me to feel like I had a good chance of meeting Stanford’s stringent admissions requirements. Throughout high school, I had to carefully plan and manage my time in order to balance excellent grades, AP coursework, high test scores, and extensive extracurricular activities.
To assist you, I’ve written everything I know about high school and college admissions success. These are must-read guides if you want your own Stanford acceptance letter:
1) How to Get into Harvard, Stanford, and Other Ivy League Universities
This is the most basic guide to understanding what top colleges, such as the Ivy Leagues, are looking for. You’ll find out more here:
- What types of students are most appealing to Stanford, and why?
- Why is being well-rounded a recipe for failure in selective college admissions?
- What a Spike is and why a good Spike will get you into every college
- How to Create Your Own Captivating Spike
I’m not saying it’s simple, because it’s far from it. However, in my experience working with thousands of students across the country, far too many have a misunderstanding of what colleges actually want.
During this process, most students waste far too much time on things that aren’t important and do nothing to improve their chances of admission. Worse, they spend the entire day unhappy and stressed. That’s why I put together this guide. Read it before it’s too late; it could completely alter your high school strategy.
2) My Completed and Successful Application, including the Common App and Supplement
To supplement my “How to Get into Stanford” guide, I share my entire college application, word for word, page by page. You’ll see the exact application that the Stanford admissions committee saw, including the Common App, my personal essays, letters of recommendation, and transcript.
I also provide feedback on every aspect of my application. You’ll see what was REALLY important in getting me into Stanford, and what wasn’t. You’ll even notice flaws in my application.
I’ve never seen anyone else go into such depths of analysis and detail, so I’m confident you’ll benefit from it.
3) How to Achieve a 4.0 GPA and Higher Grades
Your coursework is an important part of your college application. Not only do you need good grades, but you also need good grades in what Stanford describes as “one of the most difficult courses available at your school.”
As a result, it’s no surprise that many high school students are stressed and anxious. Do you think you’re taking too many AP classes and struggling to keep up?
The most common issues I see in the students I work with are issues with mindset, habits, and strategy. I’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to excel in high school coursework to assist students. I walk you through three levels of detail, beginning with the most detailed and progressing to the least detailed:
- Psychology and Mindset: Do you have the belief that you can even get better? Are you willing to put in the effort?
- Habits and overall planning: Do you make the most of each and every hour? Do you know what teachers value and how to give them what they want? Do you know how to stay away from procrastination?
- Individual Class Strategies: How do you perform well in English classes? What distinguishes this from math and science classes?
Throughout high school and college, I had to learn a lot of these lessons the hard way. This is the guide I wish I’d had when I first started high school. If you take the time to read it, you may improve your grades while saving hundreds of hours of study time.
4) How to Get the Best SAT/ACT Scores
As you are aware, your SAT/ACT score is the other major number on your application, in addition to your GPA. This score is critical because it compares you to high school students from across the country on an equal playing field.
Top schools, such as Stanford, expect you to be in the top 1% of your class. If you aren’t, you will seriously jeopardize your academic ability and ability to be successful at Stanford University.
I discuss the major strategies in my perfect SAT and perfect ACT guides you’ll need to raise your SAT and ACT scores above 2100 and 32, respectively.
Also, view my series on getting perfect SAT/ACT scores in each section: SAT 800 Series: Reading | Math | Writing – Learn important strategies to excel in each section of the SAT.
ACT 36 Series: English | Math | Reading | Science – Learn how to get a perfect 36 on each section of the ACT.