Senior Skylar Todd Goes to Stanford: What It Takes to Stan(for)d Out

The Sky(lar)'s the Limit

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Senior Skylar Todd Goes to Stanford: What It Takes to Stan(for)d Out

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Senior Skylar Todd was granted a full ride academic scholarship to attend Stanford University in Northern California this fall.

The application process, which started in August was a positive experience for Todd. Although the Stanford application is longer than the typical college application  due to extra writing supplements, and despite the stress caused by the early restrictive action date, Todd enjoyed the process. Todd“I liked the quirkiness of the application and the opportunities it offered in its writing section to display the many layers of an individual.” The prompts allowed her to display the many layers of herself by writing about her fear of microwaves, love for Buzzfeed videos and the Dust Bowl.

In any college application, college committee boards weigh heavily on one’s extracurricular activities and community service. Todd has been apart of school volleyball and club volleyball for several years, as well as Track and Field for one year. She has also been a part of National Honors Society and California Scholarship Foundation. In her junior year, she also founded Nerve to Serve club, providing a voice for children in need and advocating against foster care abuse.

In addition to these extracurricular activities, Todd has been involved in community service, like feeding the homeless at Father Joe’s and volunteering with the special needs group at her church. During her eighth grade year, she showed initiative by starting a recycling project and donating the money to buy wheelchairs and food for orphaned special needs children in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

Stanford was her first choice because of the “collaborative and happy environment” and “genuine atmosphere.” Todd did not detect these unique qualities at other renowned institutions. “The entrepreneurial spirit at Stanford is another factor that really attracted me and its variety of premedical programs,” she said.

Besides Stanford, she applied to UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Barnard College, Brown University, University of Chicago, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Boston College. “I applied to the UC schools because of how affordable they were for my family, and because I had a feeling that I wanted to remain in California,” Todd said. “I applied to several private institutions because of the amazing research opportunities and programs that would be available to me and the financial aid that was offered at those schools.”

According to Todd, college visits are very important in choosing what school is right for you. “I totally recommend college visits!” Todd said. “It is one of the most thrilling steps in choosing what school is right for you. I think it is important because it ensures that you will be confident at the schools you apply to.”

Her mom was very supportive in the college process and she contributes much of her success to her mom’s encouragement. “She has always been my number one supporter and has pushed me to discover what I am passionate about; I couldn’t have gone through this process without her.”

In searching for the right college, she targeted schools with medium-sized classes so she could build relationships with classmates and professors. Other factors she used to narrow down possibilities were a flexible study abroad program and successful four-year graduation rates.

Although she hasn’t fully decided, she is interested in majoring in chemistry or human biology to enter the pre-medicine track.“I have several friends whose siblings have special needs, so seeing the adversities their families have gone through, both emotionally and financially, helped me grow as a person and has influenced my idea to become a medical geneticist,” Todd said. She hopes to prevent other people from having to go through as many struggles.

Todd looks forward to exploring the Bay Area and meeting new people. Entering an academically rigorous and socially intimidating environment, Todd is preparing herself not to “devalue my work and my accomplishments, because I know a lot of people at Stanford have done so much to get in.” Keeping a positive outlook and believing in herself is at the forefront of her mind. “I know I can do it,” she said. “I mean, I got here.”

Looking back at her high school experience, Todd has some words of wisdom for upcoming graduating classes: “I would advise them to challenge themselves, but to not stress themselves out too much by worrying about what college admission officers want to see on an application. Act on the small things that excite you so that you can discover what you are truly passionate about. Stay true to yourself, because that will lead you to your purpose!”

 

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