Stanford University is one of the most selective universities in the USA, with only 4% of students who apply each year accepted. Among that small percentage is recent school leaver Kate Littlejohn.
Kate has been offered a four-year athletic scholarship at Stanford.
Her successful application was a result of both her academic strengths – she had to score in the 85th percentile or above in the SAT entrance exam and maintain a high level of NCEA grades – as well as her rowing talent. During her time at St Paul’s, Kate competed both nationally and internationally in rowing. She was part of the New Zealand coxless women’s four crew who competed in the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships.
As part of her application process, Kate was interviewed by a Stanford alumni and required to write several essays on a range of topics.
Stanford were also very focused on service and leadership and Kate’s experience with the St Paul’s ‘Over-the-Fence’ service programme, as well as her contributions to the community, were key in her application.
“Through the application process I found that the colleges are not necessarily looking for a total all-round person. They want someone who has a passion or excellence in an area and are then able to use those skills to benefit others. For me, that was rowing and being able to use my sporting background to give back to younger athletes,” says Kate.
“The service opportunities that are available at St Paul’s are a massive advantage when writing college applications. Being able to say that you were involved with a programme like 'Over the Fence' or the hospital chaplaincy visits, really show your values and who you are as a person.”
As part of her scholarship, Kate will be expected to train between 8-20 hours per week as a collegiate athlete and compete in rowing regattas across the States on a regular basis.
For Kate, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. “I still don't think it has hit me yet, but it feels incredible and quite surreal that I am was able to secure a scholarship like this. It’s definitely not something I thought possible at all,” she says.
“Stanford is such a diverse university in terms of the students that attend there, so I am excited to meet amazing people in a beautiful part of the world that are driven to achieve their goals.”
Located in Stanford, California, 35 miles south of San Francisco, Stanford University is in the heart of Northern California’s Silicon Valley, home to tech giants Yahoo, Google, YouTube and many other cutting-edge companies that were started by Stanford alumni and faculty. It is in the top three universities in the world.
While she has visited the States a couple of times, this wasn’t somewhere Kate thought she would end up going to study. “Following our 2017 Maadi Cup regatta, I was contacted by some colleges and that made me realise that maybe studying overseas was an option for me.”
“From there I started at looking for colleges that I would be interested in. I knew that I would only go to the States if it was to a university that had a strong rowing programme combined with a focus on academics and a good culture.”
Kate sets off for the USA in mid-September.
Photo Caption: Under-18 girls' pair, Grace Watson (front) and Kate Littlejohn (back), racing at the 2018 Maadi Cup.