This is the first of a two-part series for prospective students (holla at the Class of 2020) on how to make one of the biggest choices of their lives thus far: where to go for college.
This year, Stanford’s Admit Weekend is April 28-30. The campus is preparing for the onslaught of thousands of high-achieving high school seniors by ignoring the California drought and partying in advance of the dry weekend. The clubs are holding emergency meetings to come up with crème brûlée samples or solar car demonstrations in an eager bid to recruit potential future members.
I’m far removed from the Admit Weekend preparations; as a sophomore, I’m not asked to house any ProFros. However, through my experiences of once being a ProFro myself and of housing and advising ProFros last year, I’ve decided to share my wisdom on how to make the most of your weekend visit.
- Don’t feel obligated to go to every single event on your schedule.
At Admit Weekend, you’ll be given a program brochure of activities, lectures, open houses, and tours that you can attend, scheduled every day from morning to night. When I got my brochure, I was determined to attend as many events as I could because I didn’t want to miss out on “the experience.”
I would not recommend this. I ended up being extremely tired and stressed from running around campus all weekend, and I didn’t get to meet as many people as I had hoped to because I was constantly jetting from event to event by myself. Take some time to sit in the Oval and relax. Or grab a few friends and head into Palo Alto. Explore!
- Admit Weekend at Stanford is, well, just like Admit Weekend everywhere else.
Activities Fair? Check. Sleeping on the floor of a stranger’s dorm room? Check. Waffles imprinted with the school insignia? Check.
If you’ve already been to another admitted students weekend, you know what to expect at Stanford’s. However, this works in your favor! Eliminating all the commonalities can help you identify what the key differences are — and figure out where you liked visiting the most.
- Don’t worry if you don’t make 50 best friends.
Admit Weekend is a weird experience: A bunch of high school students are thrown together, and in this context of anxiety and eagerness, people form friendships quickly. I knew people who had literal cliques at the end of the weekend. Me? I made a couple of friends who I hung out with for part of the weekend, but I didn’t find a BFF. I worried that meant I would have difficulty making friends when I actually started attending Stanford.
Not true! Most of the time, the friendships you make during Admit Weekend aren’t sustained. For me, a couple of the girls I met at Admit Weekend actually did end up becoming my good friends during freshman year, but I essentially had to meet and get to know them all over again. Three days is not enough time to make lifelong friendships.
- Bring a sense of humor.
There will be lots of awkward “getting to know you” improv games. If you leave your self-consciousness at home, your experience will be wholly improved — trust me. Also remember that no one is going to remember any of this in the fall.
- Remember that Admit Weekend Stanford is not the same as regular Stanford.
The fact that they turned on the fountains for the first time in a year, right before Admit Weekend, is a great example of how this weekend is so unlike normal, school year Stanford. The food is better, the grass is trimmed, banners are flying. Stanford tries very hard to sell their image. This is understandable, but it’s also important to know that on the daily, the Band does not welcome me out of lecture.
For introverts like me, Admit Weekend can be overwhelming. Know that the campus isn’t always this superficially happy. Most of the time, being a Stanford student is just doing p-sets and going to Late Night. If you want a good sense of what the day-to-day of being a Stanford student is like, talk to the upperclassmen or drop in on an actual lecture.
- Have fun!
Seriously. Even as a Stanford student, I rarely get a full weekend without homework to explore campus, pop in on guest lectures with award-winning professors, and just enjoy Stanford.
Contact Samantha Wong at slwong ‘at’ stanford.edu.