Hi, I'm William! I'm a full-time freshman, and this is my third year at Stanford OHS. I live in Haddonfield, New Jersey, a small historic town outside Philadelphia. I'm a competitive swimmer and rower, and I participate in drama at a local theater company. This year, I'm excited to swim for my local high school.
My favorite classes at Stanford OHS are the Core series, Astrobiology, and Chemistry. My favorite club is the Astrophysics Club with Instructor Tock.
When not involved in school activities, I enjoy hanging out with my local friends, playing video games (Zelda, Fortnite, and Dark Souls' games), reading, and watching sitcoms – my favorite is Community. I also love walking my two dogs, Bo and Rex, cooking with friends, and going to the gym.
Why I Chose Stanford OHS
Stanford OHS is an excellent fit for me because it allows me to challenge myself by advancing through subjects according to my ability, not grade level or traditional course pathway.
For instance, I attended Stanford OHS in seventh grade as a single-class student. I decided to attend the school full-time when my brick-and-mortar school would not allow me to take Algebra 2 in eighth grade. By taking Geometry over the summer, Stanford OHS approved Algebra 2 in eighth grade. This means I can take the full scope of math courses at Stanford OHS, including university-level classes.
And this year, by taking Chemistry Boot Camp over the summer, I was able to place into AP Chemistry as a freshman, something I would not be able to do at my local brick-and-mortar school. The ability to teach myself honors-level physics next summer in physics boot camp means I will be able to take AP Physics next year, which is really exciting.
I'm grateful for these nontraditional opportunities at Stanford OHS because it allows me to follow my passion for math and science at a pace I am comfortable with while accelerating my learning.
What I Love About Stanford OHS
It is so hard to encompass all I love about Stanford OHS, but if I had to limit it to three words, they would be rigor, opportunity, and community.
The rigor at Stanford OHS is second to none. Before Stanford OHS, I attended a US Department of Education designated National Blue Ribbon School and was used to a competitive and challenging school environment. But Stanford OHS is another tier entirely. The flipped classroom model requires students to come to class ready to engage and lead. Basic instruction is left to the students outside of class so the teacher can dive deeply into topics. All my professors have Ph.D.s this semester, which ensures rigorous debate and deep learning. We follow a two-semester academic year and meet two times per week, like most colleges. I enjoy independent learning, but meeting to discuss nuances in the subject matter is exhilarating and something I rarely had the opportunity to do outside the Stanford OHS classroom. In addition to the classroom rigor, the classes are developed to challenge at the highest levels (often college and beyond), and are accessible to students based on ability, not grade level.
The wide range of unique opportunities at Stanford OHS is phenomenal. Last year in my Astrobiology class, I had the opportunity to participate in the Genes in Space competition held by Boeing and Minipcr bio. Students developed their own proposal to address a challenge of space travel by designing a DNA experiment. I chose to study whether you can protect astronauts in space from radiation damage using different strengths of magnetic fields. The winner sends their experiment into space to be performed by astronauts on the ISS! While I didn't get to send my experiment into space, I did win the Junior Scientist Award! This is a contest I was unaware of before Stanford OHS, and these types of opportunities are available because the faculty cares enough to engage students in extracurricular pursuits in related fields.
The community and camaraderie at Stanford OHS is genuine. Students never ask how you did on a test or discuss grades, which I like. While we are competitive with ourselves, most students are willing and able to help others. We have a large group of student tutors and teaching assistants who volunteer their time to help other students. And for impromptu questions, students communicate and answer questions on PRONTO, the official Stanford OHS chat platform. If you need help, a Stanford OHS student is willing to help!