Stanford University's very low acceptance rate makes it an impossible reach for many students.

WHAT I WISH I KNEW IN 9TH GRADE: Chances are you’re not going to Stanford

Over the next two weeks, seniors will be writing columns for the freshmen, hoping the freshmen won’t make the same mistakes and undergo the same struggles they did. 

Welcome to high school! Prepare for the best time of your life. Prepare for four tear-filled years of studying, testing and even more studying. It’ll be a blast!

Okay, honestly, it’s not that bad. While you might have your share of awful, exhausting nights (or even weeks), high school is pretty okay.

But lucky for you, I’m here to help make it just a little bit better (you’re welcome). And just maybe you might have a bit of fun.

First lesson: You’re (probably) not going to Stanford.

So, here’s the thing. Back in eighth grade and even in freshman year, I had high hopes for college.

I remember looking at colleges like Northwestern, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. And at the time, I really did think I had a good chance of getting into those schools.

But around the end of freshman year, I did some “digging” on the Internet.

There I discovered a crushing statistic. Out of the 36,632 students that applied to Stanford that year (2012), only 2,427 got in. That’s a 6.6 percent acceptance rate. Nowadays, the acceptance rate is even lower at 5.1 percent. So, yeah, I was (and am still) sad.

Now, it is possible that you aren’t as naive. Maybe you understand that college admissions are very, very competitive.

Also, it’s quite possible that many of you are capable of getting into these extremely selective schools.

I’m not trying to discourage students. By all means, please, shoot for the stars. All I’m saying is, make sure you’re being realistic.

If I’ve just crushed your dreams, I’m sorry, and I promise lesson two is more lighthearted.

Second Lesson: As Wiz Khalifa so eloquently puts it, work hard and play hard.

This lesson may be slightly controversial, but you shouldn’t work too hard in high school.

No, this doesn’t mean skipping class. No, this doesn’t mean not doing your homework. And, no, this doesn’t mean that you should take only the easy classes.

What it does mean is that high school is about more than just getting into college.

Students shouldn’t spend every waking moment doing homework and studying for the SAT. It’s just not healthy.

Instead, it’s all about balance. It’s all about the middle path as Buddha would say.

Studying is very good and it’s super important. But at the same time, sleeping and having fun are too.

As cliched as it sounds, life is short, and high school is even shorter. In the time it takes for you to say SAT, it’ll be senior year already.

So, enjoy yourself. You’re never going to be able to experience it again.

Final Lesson: Have a good attitude. Learning is fun.

Every once in a while, I’ll start hating a class. Sometimes it gets so bad that I’ll fantasize about staying home “sick” to avoid it (I’ve never actually done this, I promise!).

But the thing is, no matter how boring a class is, you will learn something from it.

Now, I know there are those classes that just seem pointless and plain idiotic. But if you take a class seriously, most of the time teachers do have something interesting to say. And they didn’t pay me to say that.

Overall, just keep an open mind, or else you might miss some really interesting facts.

So, that’s it. You’re basically set for high school. One thing that I can guarantee is that it’ll be loads better than middle school. Have fun, kids.


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