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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。

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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.

 

即使我已负责招生工作30年之久,在这个周末,我依然为那些没能如愿拿到offer的年轻人而感到遗憾。同时,我也能预见到很多家长会因为自己的孩子有着十分优异的教育背景、很高的SAT成绩但最终被斯坦福拒绝而感到心烦意乱。

 

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.

 

我一直相信斯坦福的教育水平是无与伦比的。但我的经验告诉我,当这些孩子被斯坦福拒绝的时候,他们的家长往往更感到沮丧。我能体会到这些家长的感受。当我的女儿在等待大学的录取决定时,我也曾经紧张和不安。鉴于孩子们已经承受了太多的压力,在这里,我想与你们分享三条理念。

 

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.

 

我也希望有这么一个公式来解释谁能够被录取,谁会被拒掉,但决定是否录取一名学生是一门艺术,而并非科学。每一个课堂就像一个交响乐团,需要其独特的组合和声音;我们的目的是营造一个和谐而多元的环境,这就意味着额外的贝斯手是没必要的。另外,即便是在我的同事内部,也对申请者持有不同的看法和意见。但我想告诉你们的是:世界不会因为你被斯坦福拒绝了而否定你自己的价值和努力。

 

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.

 

其次,看得长远一些。即使现在的媒体称年轻人是垮掉的一代,就我所审核的这些申请斯坦福的年轻人来看,他们无与伦比的出色。通常来说,这些被我们拒绝的学生最终会被其他同一级别的大学录取。从高中升入大学,是人生的一个重要的里程碑。对于年轻人来说,如何完成这个转变而从此走上人生新的阶段要比在哪里完成重要得多。在这个时候,家长们需要注重自己孩子取得的成就以及享受大学四年中带来的惊喜。

 

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.

 

这就要提到我要说的最后一点上了:教育成就人。不可否认,不同的大学之间教育资源的差距是存在的,但他们都能给予学生学习和成长的资源和空间。

 

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.

 

这让我想起了1975年加州Sunnyvale一名高中毕业生。他申请了斯坦福和另外一所学校。当他得知被斯坦福拒绝之后十分沮丧,但后来他却被另一所名校加州大学伯克利录取了。

 

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.

 

一个斯坦福的本科学位,亦或是任何一所常青藤盟校的本科学位,在漫长的岁月中只会成为你简历中最不起眼的一行字而已。所有正在申请大学的学生和家长应该懂得的是:不论你是被录取了还是拒绝了,进入大学,相对于漫漫人生路来说,只是一个简单的纪念碑。

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