Posts Tagged Stanford

The most intense 3 hours of my life.

khadijah-85Hurry bus! Please hurry!!

March 31st was the craziest time for me. I elected to get my admissions decisions from Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Williams, and Harvard by email, because truthfully, I didn’t want to wait for mail. Although I got into a lot of schools previously, including Dartmouth and several other amazing liberal arts colleges, these were the schools that would guarantee me full aid all four years, so I was excited and anxious, because they were the most competitive and selective in the country. Because I was in west coast time, I had to wait until 2pm (5pm Eastern time) for admissions decisions for all except Stanford. And for some dumb reason, that day was an early day at school. I didn’t want to wait at school for three hours, so I took the long bus home. I couldn’t stay still. “I find out where I get into today!”  I say to some people I see on the bus often. I try to read, but I can’t. Finally, an hour later, I get near a computer. 12:32 pm. Seriously?! I pace. I pace some more. I worry. I check for Stanford. No. I deflate. I cry. So impersonal! I get a yes from Williams! I feel a bit better. I have to call for Princeton and Yale, because I forgot my online password, and it was very upsetting talking to the Princeton staff. “You know, I can give you your password, but how about I tell you now, so you don’t have to wait.” Ok. “I’m sorry….” Thanks! Bye! And I quickly hang up. By now I’m so nervous. I’m anxious. I’m shaking. This is so important to me. Not just going to college, but saving my life, and soon my family’s. Securing my future. No from Stanford, Princeton, Yale. Yes from Columbia and Williams, but how can I get into three top schools in a row- let alone the most prestigious? Harvard’s up there. I got two interviews. I know they don’t know about whether I’m worth the risk. I’m homeless. I missed a lot of school. Can I handle the change? The work load? The people? I hope I convinced them. I hope my not traditionally-stellar scores will be considered under the lens of where I came from. I hope my optimism is enough to convince them I’ll be ok, I can and will handle the challenges. I hope all the help and recommendations from South Central Scholars, my school, and mentors, are enough.  By now, I’m feeling VERY insecure. I can’t take this.

At exactly 2:01 (5:01pm eastern time), I refresh Gmail. In very generic type- Harvard College: Your Admissions Decision.

“I can’t open this!” I yell to Trisha London, co-founder of South Central Scholars, and Randy Winston, the director of SCS. I was in Trisha’s office, where she and her husband, founder James London, work, and Randy Winston was comforting me. “Open it.” They say. I click. It loads. Sloooooooowly.

“…We are delighted-”

I stop there!! I can’t read anymore! I scream! I shout! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! WHO CARES ABOUT STANFORD, PRINCETON, OR YALE? I GOT INTO HARVARD! I play the melodic classical music video given to admits. It seems so Harvard-y.

Then, I call my mom. I tell her the news. She was staying at a shelter in downtown at the time.

The relief, the happiness in her voice. Yes mom, you didn’t mess up. Our trials, our tribulations, the pain, it’s ok now. Because mom, your daughter, your daughter, got into Harvard.


duylam-85This is post is going to be a McFlurry of things – just a heads up.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine at Babson, Alex, and he told me he wanted to transfer to Stanford or USC [both in his home state]. But he said “Man, but I may just give up on Stanford, my GPA isn’t high enough for it.” He has a 3.67 or a 3.7 – pretty good for a first year. Anyway.

Now I’m back home in good ol’ Virginia and I was talking to my good friend, David, who actually goes to Stanford. We talked about this, that, and the third – we had a lot of college stuff to catch up on. I finally asked him though about the whole GPA, test scores, etc thing and what it meant to Admissions @ Stanford [and I believe this is the same for all top tier schools]. He said that all of the good stats are super fantastic and it does help a lot, but he said that especially for Stanford, it is all about the passion. The passion you have for whatever it is that you do and it is about showing that passion through your essays. Now don’t quote me for every school, but I think it’s safe to say that it is the same for all schools. Maybe my fellow scholars can enlighten on it.

So convey passion. Make your essays exude the sweat, blood, and tears you’ve shed over the years. Easier said than done I know, but a key, as you probably already have heard, to conveying it is through an example of your life. It’s too easy to just say “I want to be the best”, instead show them it!

Anna Ivey even agrees upon this principle of conveying passion as a key to admission to law schools. But regardless of which school, undergrad or grad, passion is the key.

Here are some law school essay examples of how NOT to write. I figure if I give an example of what SHOULDN’T be done then there will be more space for your own style instead of following what is a good essay.

Bad Law School Essays

I would now leave off with a quote from Atlas Shrugged, but stupid me I forgot to mark the page with the quote – it was from Hank Rearden – but it went something like: “What he feared most was not those that oppose him, but losing the ability of motion, of not wanting to take action.”

Merry Christmas,