So I volunteered to be an interviewer for Stanford applicants in the UK. As you may or may not know, Stanford’s current dean of admissions came over from Yale, and one of his prerequisites for accepting the position was that Stanford move toward undergraduate applicant interviews. They’re starting to roll that out, starting with overseas applicants, to get a sense of how that will work. I found out about it through the Stanford UK alumni group, so I volunteered, because I thought it would be fun. It was. Incidentally, they’re hosting a reception for interviewers with President Hennessy, who’s in town next week. I’m interested to hear what’s on his mind.
Anyway, I say all the time how if I were to apply to Stanford today I would not get in. But now that I’ve seen what the applicants are like nowadays, I know it’s true. It’s crazy how qualified the kids I interviewed were. Not just in terms of achievement and activities, but in actual knowledge and maturity. It’s almost frightening how poised and mature they were. I don’t think I reached that level of personal maturity until I was 28.
Through the years, I’ve learned that, at least in my field of work (software engineering), where you go to college says little about how capable you are and how successful you’ll be in your career. So it’s not that big a deal. However, I want my kids to go to Stanford simply because I was happy there and I think they could be too. The likelihood is against them though, if their personalities are anything like mine.