From high school dream to college reality

Senior accepted to most selective university: his dream school

Eden Amberber, Reporter

As a freshman, he walked into school with a plethora of worries. He thought of his chances of getting into his dream schools. Due to this, he worked hard throughout high school. Now a senior, he has achieved his dream.

 After applying for early admission, senior Miguel Aguilar was accepted to Stanford University in California. According to “Business Insider,” Stanford’s acceptance rate is approximately 5 percent, making it the most competitive college in the United States.

“I was actually on my way to work [when I received the news],” Aguilar said. “I had stopped by the gas station, and I checked my phone. I was ecstatic; the first thing I did was call my mom. I screamed at her; I was so happy.”

Aguilar chose Stanford because of their engineering program. Stanford’s School of Engineering has nine academic departments. Three are number one in their department, and all are ranked in the top five of the United States.

“That’s what made it the right fit for me,” Aguilar said. “I plan on majoring in Engineering Physics with a specialty in Aerospace Physics.”

At Stanford, families with incomes less than $125,000 are expected to pay nothing toward tuition. Because of this financial aid policy, most of Aguilar’s tuition will be paid for.

“I will get roughly $240,000, but I have to pay approximately $5,000 out of pocket,” Aguilar said. “There is an option to work study, so that should [pay] the rest.”

Stanford has a holistic application process, and admissions officers consider the applicant as a whole (essays, interests, passions and personality), as opposed to just considering numerical data like GPA or SAT scores.

“I’d say that I have always had top grades,” Aguilar said. “I’ve taken a lot of [Advanced Placement] classes, and my test scores were good, so that helped. But I’m also involved in many clubs.”

Aguilar was not only involved in many extracurriculars, but held authority positions in many of them. He was 2nd Vice President of HOSA and is currently president of Mu Alpha Theta. He is a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society and Student Council. He has been successful in many of his competitions.

“In HOSA, I competed in Epidemiology and got second in online testing sophomore year, first junior year and second this year,” Aguilar said. “At State last year, I got first and placed 10th at Nationals. I did Math UIL last year, and Science UIL this year. I was also in orchestra for a couple years. When I competed, I got fourth chair in All-Region as a freshman, and third chair in All-Region [as a] sophomore.”

Aguilar is also a math instructor at Mathnasium and has contributed to a tutoring service project for Mu Alpha Theta.

“Last year, we tutored Algebra 1 students,” Aguilar said. “This year, we extended it to Physics 1 students too.”

One thing Aguilar believes made him stick out to admission officers was his inclusion of Harry Potter and Texas Instruments (TI) Graphing Calculators in his essay.

“In one of my short answers, I was asked, ‘If there was one moment in history that you wish you could have witnessed, what would it be?’” Aguilar said. “I wrote about the creation of the TI-Graphing Calculator.”

After his undergraduate degree, Aguilar plans to get a Master’s degree in physics. He also plans to take advantage of Stanford’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“There’s a NASA research center nearby, so I hope to get a summer internship there during my undergrad, and hopefully turn that into an actual position,” Aguilar said. “I’ve had an interest in space since I was a child.”

Aguilar said getting into Stanford has made him feel that all his hard work in school has paid off.

“All through high school, you kinda go through the motions,” Aguilar said. “I mean you look at these schools, you look at their acceptance rates, and you kind of think, ‘Do I really have a shot?’ It makes me happy to say it was worth it.”

When initially receiving the news of his acceptance, Aguilar tried to keep the news to himself. But eventually, word got around.

“I personally don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” Aguilar said. “It’s just something for me, really. I only told one friend. But she then told a teacher, and [the teacher] announced it to the entire class.”

Going to Stanford will take Aguilar about 2,000 miles away from his loved ones. Aguilar said leaving Texas will be bittersweet.

“I don’t want to be that far away from my family, but it’ll all work out in the end,” Aguilar said. “It’s pretty surreal. It still hasn’t completely sunk in.”
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Stanford’s admission officers personally handwrite acceptance letters to admitted students. Aguilar’s said:

Miguel, you show tremendous independence and focus in all you do. From coursework, to teaching math, to HOSA. I admire the way you continually seek out academic challenges and serve to fully understand the world around you. You’ll find plenty of like-minded people here to discuss physics, Harry Potter and even TI- Graphing calculators. Welcome.