A Northern California high school student was shocked when he received rejections from 16 of the 18 colleges he applied to. He has since been offered a job at Google.
Stanley Zhong, 18, of Palo Alto had a 3.97 grade point average and a weighted GPA of 4.42, along with a 1590 on the SATs heading into college application time.
Despite his above-average test scores and GPA, the teen didn’t get into 88 percent of his desired colleges, including MIT, Stanford and several public schools.
“Oh yeah, some of that was definitely expected. You know, Stanford, MIT, you know, it is, it is what it is, right?…Some state schools really made me think, you know, I had a good chance and it turns out to be a slim chance that I had “I didn’t get in,” he told ABC 7.
His two acceptances came from the University of Texas and the University of Maryland.
Stanley Zhong, 18, was offered a job at Google as a software engineer after being rejected from 16 of the 18 colleges he applied to
Two of the more prestigious schools that rejected Stanley were Stanford (left) and MIT (right)
Zhong is a 2023 graduate of Gunn High School in Palo Alto.
Speaking to ABC, he said he was excited to apply to university after being busy in high school and launching an e-signing start-up in his second year.
It was his test scores, GPA and dedication to his chosen field – software engineering – that he thought would give him an edge in the application process.
However, despite these factors, his overall application failed to impress most of the schools he applied to.
In total, Stanley was rejected by: MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UC Davis, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cornell University, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Caltech, University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin.
Several schools from which the teen was rejected have lower average GPA and test scores than Stanley’s own statistics, including California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, which has an average 50 percent GPA of 4.13-4.25 for admitted engineering students.
He admitted that he knew many of the colleges he applied to were difficult to get into. He assumed he had a good shot at a big chunk of it and was shocked when the rejections started pouring in.
Ultimately, the teen decided to enroll at the University of Texas – one of only two schools that accepted him immediately.
Shortly after accepting acceptance, however, Stanley received the shock of his life: a full-time job offer from software and technology giant Google.
Ultimately, he decided to suspend his enrollment at the Texas school and try his hand at Google’s campus instead of a college campus.
“Oh yeah, some of that was definitely expected. You know, Stanford, MIT, you know, it is, it is what it is, right?…Some state schools really made me think, you know, I had a good chance and it turns out to be a slim chance that I had “I didn’t get in,” Stanley told ABC 7
ACCEPTED! Stanley attended the University of Texas (left) and the University of Maryland (right)
The University of California Los Angeles (left) and the University of California at Berkeley both rejected Stanley
While Stanley chooses to focus on his new job, his father told ABC 7 they decided to talk to local media to bring transparency to the college admissions process.
The story has since gone viral, sparking outrage among parents and everyday Americans who can’t understand how this could happen to an extraordinary candidate.
Thousands have responded to social media posts sharing Stanley’s story, congratulating him on overcoming rejection and slamming the schools.
“I feel like this will be the opportunity. There are indeed a lot of smart young people. How will we distinguish ourselves in the future? Time will tell!’
‘Dang! What does a child have to do to be accepted?! Well, it looks like he’ll have a bright future anyway!’
“How did they turn him down, glad Google picked him up, good luck to him.”
“That’s crazy, when I was his age he could choose any school he wanted. How times have changed.’
‘Good for him!! These colleges nowadays charge an arm and a limb to apply!!”
‘Eff these colleges!!! Nothing but money robbery plans!!! So happy for this young man. Congratulations to him and his family.”
‘Not every profession requires a university degree. If you have the brains, you will be hired and paid. Congratulations to him.’
Stanley is pictured wearing his graduation cap and gown in a photo shared with ABC 7
In a continued storyan admissions expert told ABC 7 they see several reasons why Stanley was rejected despite his qualifications.
Allen Koh is CEO of Cardinal Education. Families pay his educational consultants to help students compete with other highly qualified college applicants.
Koh is not surprised that the colleges rejected Zhong’s application.
He said it’s possible that Stanley’s intense commitment to computer science was “too one-sided for most universities.”
Moreover, he said that the sciences are one of the most difficult fields to get into.
‘All sciences are much more difficult to understand. Engineering in particular is much harder to get into than the other majors,” Koh said.
;For an Asian man, a computer scientist, the odds are Darwinian – far worse than for any other demographic group,” Koh said.
According to Zippia, 18.8 percent of computer scientists are Asian, while the majority (64.2 percent) are considered white.
Moreover, race could not have played a role in many of the decisions for Zhong as California has adopted a race-blind policy for admission to university.
Schools like UC Berkeley have spent millions cultivating diverse campuses despite the ban on affirmative action that Golden State voters passed in 1996.
Some programs include schools that target low-income students and guarantee admission to more students.
However, these programs have not been able to significantly increase racial diversity, but have helped increase geographic diversity and increase enrollment.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court banned colleges from using race as a factor in admitting students in a landmark ruling on affirmative action.
The justices decided by a 6-3 vote that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) race-based affirmative action admissions policy was unconstitutional.
They also ruled 6-2 that Harvard’s admissions policy should be scrapped as well.
The ruling ended decades of “affirmative action” policies intended to increase the number of black and Hispanic students at colleges.
Now universities will have to look for new ways to better integrate minority groups and ensure representation among student organizations.
“Because Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions programs lack focused and measurable objectives that justify the use of race, inevitably use race in negative ways, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful endpoints, these admissions programs cannot be aligned with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause,” said the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts.