Stanford’s What Matters To You and Why

Stanford Essay, Stanford Admissions Essay, Application for Stanford

There’s a really nice editorial in “The Stanford Daily” in which a student reflects back on what matters to them and why. Does that language sound a bit familiar? It should!

There’s a really sweet piece in “The Stanford Daily” that we wanted to bring to the attention of our readers. It’s written by Stanford undergraduate Hannah Broderick and it’s entitled “What matters to you and why?” If the title of the piece sounds a bit familiar, yes, it’s a hallmark Stanford University admissions essay. Along with the “Write a note to your future roommate” essay, answering this question is a right of passage for all Stanford undergraduates — from Katie Ledecky to Simone Manuel and every Stanford undergraduate in between (no, not all Stanford students are Olympic champion swimmers!), they all must tell the university what matters to them and why. It’s kind of sweet if you think about it.

What matters to you and why? It’s a question Stanford University asks of its applicants.

Anyhow, Hannah wanted to reflect on the last nine weeks and she realized what better way to do so than to reread the answer she gave to the Stanford University undergraduate admissions office back in December of 2014. As Hannah writes, “At first, this reflection took the shape of a list of memorable experiences and a collection of unreturned plastic cups from the Theta kitchen. But then I decided it would be valuable to push back even further. And so I landed on a piece of writing that, at the time it was written, felt like a terrifyingly succinct version of myself. Created as part of my application to Stanford, rereading and then writing a second version of this work brought me a strange degree of self-clarity and reminded me of writing’s immense potential for internal understanding.”

Hannah then includes her answer that she included in her Stanford application as well as an updated answer on what matters to her now. It’s really nice and it got us thinking…maybe each and every one of us should write this essay annually and see how it changes? It would be a cool exercise. Kudos to Hannah Broderick for thinking of it and do check out how her perspective has changed in the two years since she applied to The Farm. It’s a fun read.


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