There was recently an outstanding editorial on Stanford’s prospective student weekend on the pages of “The Stanford Daily” by a Stanford undergraduate Lily Zheng that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our readers. Her piece, entitled “The Stanford that profros don’t see” discusses how the image of Stanford that is presented to prospective students who’ve earned admission to the university isn’t the most accurate portrayal of student life on The Farm. And if you’re wondering what ‘profros’ is, it’s slang for prospective students. At other schools, they call them ‘prospies.’ Kids these days. On flic. We don’t know why we threw that in there. We guess we just wanted to show how hip we are. We’re so hip.
Anyhow, Zheng describes how during Stanford’s “Admit Weekend,” the university rolls out the red carpet. The grass is especially manicured. The food in the dining halls is particularly delicious. As she describes, “Stanford puts on its Sunday best to wow and woo over what could be its Class of 2021. At no other time is Stanford ever as manicured, sleek and picture-perfect as when it creates a utopia once a year for prospective students, just as I am sure all universities do.” That’s true — all highly selective colleges put on their best Sunday suits for admitted students. After all, these schools want these students to matriculate!
But as Zheng writes, this isn’t necessarily the most accurate portrayal of Stanford University’s undergraduate experience. There is good and bad that is disguised, even hidden, for prospective students. As she writes, “There are other sides to this university that go unadvertised during Admit Weekend, perhaps because many realities about this campus are unsavory. On the academic level, only 22 percent of tenured faculty at Stanford are women, and a meager 7 percent are Black, Latinx and/or Native. Inequities in the classroom and lab, maintained by cultural insensitivity, prejudice, political apathy and discrimination, further restrict the academic experience for marginalized students.” But there’s so much good that is hidden as well, according to Zheng: “The Admit Weekend brochure doesn’t show the 4 a.m. conversations with RAs that change the way we think about the world, or the feeling of triumph as that take-home final is finished at sunrise. It doesn’t show the tireless work of staff behind the scenes to empower and enable students to survive and thrive, or the efforts of TAs, lecturers and professors who go above and beyond to maintain or rekindle students’ love of learning.”
Keep in mind that Zheng’s thoughts on Stanford — and how the university markets itself to prospective students — are not unique to Stanford. There is good and bad that many schools choose not to promote or, maybe, they just don’t know how best to promote it. What seems most obvious from Zheng’s piece is that she loves Stanford. She sees its flaws. She sees it wonders. And there’s no other school that’s as right for her because no school, no school, is perfect. Not even Stanford.
And while college admit weekends have passed for this year, for next year’s batch of students, remember not to get in any trouble over these weekends because you can absolutely jeopardize your offer of admission (and, yes, it absolutely does happen every year!). So, as the kids these days say, don’t get lit. Because you’re underage. And that’s illegal.