Palo Alto, CA: I visited Stanford University less than enthusiastically. I’d already been to California, and I was sold on the state’s beautiful weather, laid-back people, and the amazing Google work campus. Stanford, however, was not on my must-see list. But, at the urging of my mother, I stepped on campus with her, my aunt, and 3-year-old cousin: a family pack. And I couldn’t help it: I fell in love.
The architecture is all orange-red Spanish sandstone, but the uniformity is forgiven by its effect. The campus is open, inviting, and warm (quite literally). The tour guide was forgivably nerdy, and the tour was impressive. It’s unnecessary for me to preach about Stanford’s academic valor: anyone reading this must already know that. Instead, I’ll talk about what fixed me on Stanford as my top school choice, which incidentally took place off campus.
I had the opportunity to meet a Stanford graduate, whom I befriended while visiting Google. We spoke for a few hours about the university and my doubts, fears, and impressions. She talked to me about how she did not necessarily see herself at a big-name school when she applied. She described herself as idealistic, original, quirky, and opinionated. That sounded more like Berkeley’s protest-minded student body to me. But she found similar people at Stanford.
The wonderful thing about Stanford, it seems, is that you will find people who are passionate about things you are passionate about. And if you don’t, you will find people willing to learn your passions. So this mixed-up, complicated kind of uber Venn diagram of the Stanford population is held together by its talents.
The admissions office assured me that I may very well have a 4.0 GPA and a 2400 on my SAT and still be rejected. Stanford looks for more: real passion and individuality, which bring color to the campus.
My impression was that if you are passionate and opinionated and
want to be surrounded by people equally passionate about whatever it is – Sudoku, goldfish, or microbiology – Stanford is your school.
See stanford.edu for lots of information.