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Pretend you’re starting a conversation with someone who will be sharing a very small box with you for nine months. What do you want to share about yourself that can break the ice? At the same time, don’t go overboard—you’re still writing part of your application, so you want to maintain a filter.Late-night ragers might be on your real agenda, but probably shouldn’t be in this letter to your “roommate.” Be fun, be smart, be yourself.Don’t only describe yourself with words like “ambitious” or “intelligent” just because you think that is what Stanford wants to read.
When we talk about moments that were important in your intellectual development, we’re talking about moments when you went beyond the textbook, took your learning to the next level, and really pushed to understand something that was fascinating to you.Did that historical moment/event inspire you to do something, as demonstrated in your extracurriculars?If you had been there at that moment, would you have done anything to change it? Everyone is multifaceted, and the five words should describe distinct parts of you.Stanford’s short essays will require a little more thought and reflection than what you might’ve put into the short responses, and that’s to be expected; a 250 word limit gives much more space to engage an idea.These essays are all about demonstrating what you’ll bring to the Stanford community as a roommate, as a thinker, and as a member at large.Do some reflection on your best attributes and assets as you work your way through your brainstorming, and be willing to open yourself up in your writing.You can take risks here, but they should be measured risks that present a more complete picture of your personality.Prior to joining College Coach, Abigail worked as a senior admissions officer at Reed College and Emma Willard School.The Insider: College Admissions Advice from the Experts is where College Coach experts weigh in on the latest college admissions topics.When you’ve finished putting everything together, read all of your essays and responses as one. Take a look at the whole picture and make sure the finer points of your personality are clearly and thoughtfully conveyed. Abigail Anderson is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts.I think about this as a “family” of Stanford essays, each contributing to a bigger understanding of you who you are. Abigail received her bachelor’s in sociology from Colby College.