Name: Kevin Chow
Age: 17
Activities: Interact Community Service Club, Student Government, Orchestra, Tennis, Student Congress, Debate Team
Applied to: Stanford (early decision), Washington University in St. Louis, Dartmouth College, and Vanderbilt University
Accepted at: Stanford (early decision), Washington Univeristy, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt

In his words: My college search began and ended at age eleven, when I first stepped foot onto the campus of Stanford University. Since then, I have struggled to envision myself going anywhere else. The brilliant, yet down-to-earth students, the gorgeous California weather, and the relaxed campus atmosphere left a lasting impression on my sixth grade mind.

Yet, when I told my father, a Stanford alum, about my future college plan, I received a cruel dose of reality: Stanford's downright brutal 13.2% acceptance rate (This number is from 2002. For 2009, the regular decision acceptance rate is expected to nearly halve). In order to even have a chance at being accepted, I would have to earn a 4.0 GPA, receive at least a 2300 on the SATs, participate in extracurricular activities, and somehow exhibit the ineffable "intellectual vitality" that apparently draws Stanford admissions officers.

So, at age 11, my parents enrolled me in my first SAT preparatory class.

In hindsight, I realize how absurd it was for me to start thinking about college acceptance at such an early age. Yet, the pressure to be accepted at such a prestigious institution, partly brought on by overbearing Asian parents and partly self-imposed, was too great. I had made up my mind early on, and I would not change my decision in my senior year of high school. When the time for applications rolled around, I appplied to Stanford under the Early Action program.

When I learned that I was accepted in December, I was absolutely ecstatic. But, by then, I had also applied to Washington University in St. Louis, Dartmouth College, and Vanderbilt University, just in case Stanford did not work out as I had hoped. I have since turned down offers of admission from these three schools and enrolled in the Stanford Class of 2013!


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