First off, let me set the record straight: yes, I will be attending Stanford this fall as a part of the class of 2021, and yes, I am extremely honored and grateful to receive the admissions decision that I did. Judging by the acceptance rate for this year, it wouldn't really make sense why I would do otherwise. According to the Stanford Daily, "With only 4.65 percent of applicants accepted, this year’s admission rate is the lowest in Stanford’s history, down slightly from last year’s rate of 4.69 percent."

Stanford was not the "dream college" I pictured myself attending every day over the past 18 years.

In fact, I didn't even have a Dream School when I applied to college in the fall of my senior year. This isn't to say that I was aimlessly applying to schools like Stanford for the hell of it because I wasn't (the college admissions process is too expensive for things like that anyway). Nor is it to say that I didn't like Stanford at all (personally, I researched every school I applied to and gauged whether it fit my personality and career goals, rather than basing everything on prestige, which I believe everyone should do. I loved Stanford -- the academics, athletics, chill-laid-back-yet-undeniably-ambitious vibe the student's display, and especially the yearlong temperature of 76 degrees.

There really isn't anything I didn't love about Stanford, yet I did not champion it as my "dream school" which is something my fellow classmates raved about like a prized personal possession when they talked about schools they applied to.

Whenever anyone asked what my #1 school was (which happened a lot), I told them I didn't have one - and that was 100 percent true.

Why? I gave everyone this response because I think that the whole concept of having a top choice school is a lot of nonsense.

The 'dream school' mentality

It seemed like whenever someone brought up college, the words "dream school", "top choice", and "#1" always came up during the conversation.

My problem with having a "number one" doesn't necessarily lie within the fact that this dream school will provide you the tools for having a great college experience; rather, it lies within the fact that it seems to suggest that only at X college or Y university can you have this perfect college experience. When you allow yourself to create this sense of tunnel vision toward that one college or university, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak.

I'm all for self-confidence, but in the context of college admissions, especially admission to top-tier universities like Stanford, you can't really expect anything in terms of getting in. I believe 100 percent that everything happens for a reason, but I also believe that there's some degree of randomness to college admissions regardless of what admissions officers say. Applying to colleges with this perspective of "*insert school*-or-bust" could create a negative outlook on the school you would be attending were you to unfortunately not gain admission into that one "dream" school. The truth is that once you submit a college application your chances of being admitted are 1-in-whatever-number.

Background and path

When I applied to Stanford, I knew the odds were not necessarily in my favor. It wasn't that I didn't think I had a chance because I wasn't a quadruplet, but because there are so many amazing applicants with much higher stats than mine that get rejected every year. However, I applied because I put forth my best effort in what I did, and I knew that my odds would significantly decrease if I didn't apply at all. I did things in high school I was passionate about and took courses that actually interested me (like taking a film production elective as a senior where 99% of the kids in my class were freshmen); I didn't take classes or participate in extracurricular activities for the sake of getting into college.

I didn't have the profile of those teens you see on the news for getting into every Ivy League school: I did things that mattered to me. I didn't get straight A's (although I mostly got A's). I was a varsity pole vaulter. I served as a youth ambassador to Indonesia for the State Department (for free!). I went out on the weekends (*gasp*). I also did many more things that I am not going to list because I am writing an article and not sending out my resume. I realized midway throughout my high school career that there was no point in trying to mold myself into this "ideal" candidate that would make colleges want to accept me; I was going to live my life the way I wanted, and if colleges didn't want to accept me because of that, I probably wouldn't have been a good fit at that campus anyway.

So, I applied to college with an open mind and knew that I'd have a great college experience wherever I ended up.

Here's the reality: You can have a great experience at whatever college you end up at; your mentality ultimately dictates your experience - and that goes for whatever you do in life.