A letter from 斯坦福招生官

今天上新君要和大家分享一篇斯坦福招生官Richard H. Shaw写给被拒学生以及学生家长的邮件。可能很多人都早已度过了申请大学的人生阶段,但这封充满正能量的邮件仍然值得你们读一读:每个人都难免遇到挫折,请不要放弃努力和期待。



Even though I have been in the admission field for over 30 years, I still feel quite a bit of pain at the end of this week (as I do each year) about the many exceptional youths who were not offered a space in the class. I also expect that in the following weeks I will hear from parents who are understandably distraught that their sons and daughters with top high school class rankings, very high SAT scores and some truly impressive extracurricular accomplishments were denied entry.




Clearly, I believe that a Stanford education is wonderful, but my experience suggests it’s often parents who are more upset about our admission decisions than the kids. I can relate to their concerns: I found myself getting jittery as my own daughter waited for her college application decisions. But given that today’s teens already have enough pressure in their lives, I wish to impart three credos to these parents.




First, it's all relative. While the number admitted into the undergraduate class has remained unchanged for years, Stanford, like many of its peer schools, has had a record number of total applicants – more than 42,000. Regardless of arguments over whether too much preference is given to one category over another, thousands of students are going to be turned away, and there is no doubt that the vast majority of them could have met the demands of a Stanford education. We could, for instance, have filled incoming classes four or five times over with applicants who achieved grade point averages of 4.0 or greater.


首先,一切都是相对的。虽然每年录取的本科生人数已经保持不变数年之久,斯坦福像其它同级别的学校一样,每年会收到超过42,000份申请。暂且不管学校对某一学科的侧重和倾向问题,每年都会有数千学生被无情拒绝。毫无疑问的是,这些被拒掉的学生中,绝大多数是符合斯坦福的申请要求的。实际上,有着GPA 4.0或以上的申请者数量是我们实际录取人数的四到五倍。


I wish there were a formula to explain who is accepted and who isn’t, but the decision-making is as much art as it is science. Each class is a symphony with its own distinct composition and sound; the final roster is an effort to create harmony, and that means that some extraordinary bass players don’t get a chair. What’s more, even among my staff there are legitimate differences about applicants. The bottom line: The world is not going to judge anyone negatively because they didn’t get into Stanford or one of our peer institutions.




Second, celebrate the bigger picture. Despite the constant media buzz about the turbulent state of youth today, most of the applications I reviewed – as well as those reviewed by my colleagues at Stanford and elsewhere – are truly remarkable. And in most cases, those denied admission to some schools are admitted to others. The transition from high school to college is a monumental turning point, and it’s more important to focus on how a young adult is moving on to a new stage than where that stage happens to be. This is the moment when parents should mark the success of their children and rejoice in the excitement that the next four years will bring.




And that leads to my final point: Education is what a student makes of it. Of course, certain schools have resources that others don’t, but they all offer opportunities to learn and to grow.




I am reminded of a teenager graduating high school in Sunnyvale, Calif., in 1975, who applied to only Stanford and one other school. He was understandably disappointed when denied admission here, but he later excelled as an undergraduate at the distinguished university across San Francisco Bay, UC Berkeley.




He went on to earn a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and to become a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins. In 2003, he joined the Stanford University School of Medicine and was the cowinner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2006.


他后来在MIT完成了博士学位,随后成了华盛顿卡内基学院的研究员和约翰霍普金斯大学的教授。2003年,他加入了斯坦福的医学院,并在2006 年获得了诺贝尔奖。


An undergraduate degree from Stanford, or an Ivy League college, may well end up being only one line at the bottom of a resume. What parents and college applicants across the country need to remember is that the news they receive, whether good or bad, is but a single step on a much longer journey.




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