AcceptU has assembled the largest team of former admissions officers to support applicants in the admissions process.

In this blog series, we invite you to learn more about our team and insights gleaned from their previous admissions experience.

Our second counselor Q&A comes from Kristen, who was previously a Director of Admission at Stanford’s Graduate School of Engineering.

1. What can you share about the Stanford application process that most people will not know?

For international applicants, Stanford looks very closely at the TOEFL score. For certain departments, Stanford will only accept students with a TOEFL of 100 or more. Having publications in reputable sources also holds a lot of weight when applying to both the MS and PHD programs in the CS department at Stanford.

2. What is the first thing you read in an application?

When reviewing applications I first look at a student’s TOEFL, GRE and GPA to see if they have met the minimum requirements.  From there, I review letters of recommendation and the essay and see if there are correlations or gaps between the two. Lastly, I review the student’s résumé.

3. What are the key qualities that you wish to see in a personal statement?

I expect to see a correlation between research and job experience in the essay. If a student goes on and on about a great research project they did and there is no letter to back it up, it raises a red flag. You also want to see that the student has very specific goals and has thought about how the program will help them achieve those goals.

4. Can you give an example of a mistake that caused an application to be rejected?

Typos in the essay and/or résumé.

About the author
Cecilia Yan

Cecilia earned a BA from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and an MS from Boston University, where she focused her studies on public relations and marketing. Cecilia oversees graduate programs: business development, partnerships, marketing and counselors. She also works with China partnerships. Originally from China, Cecilia is a native Mandarin speaker.

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