Once you make the “first cut”, they divide up the applications and a bunch of “application readers” get applications.
Each admissions person will choose an applicant and they will pitch to the room as to why that applicant should be let in to Stanford.
Step two: What things could I therefore be excellent at that are good/useful for the world?
Step three: What things could I be excellent at, that people demonstrate they want, based on how they spend their money/time?
What I didn’t realize:the essays where I did this (one admissions officer noted “IV everywhere — though ironically not present in IV essay”).
I shouldn’t have bothered trying to come up with a bunch of metaphors just because I thought that’s what they wanted.
Step four: Of the answers to step two and three, which things are other people not working on and are not going to start working on in the next 3–4–5 years?
Lastly — what is the intersection of all of those answers?
Stanford may want to admit you if they had perfect information — but they don’t. I suspect that every year there are hundreds or thousands of students that apply to Stanford where those students are as good or better as the students that Stanford admits, except for one thing.
Stanford admits the applicants that are able to communicate their greatness, and unfortunately, Stanford has to reject the applicants that cannot communicate their greatness.