Big Data, Big Deal
Sometimes articles come out about the differences in admissions between schools that try to make mountains out of molehills. This article is one of them. Apparently, using big data, a website has identified the specific words that Harvard and Stanford like to see in application essays. For example, using "mom" and "dad" is better for Stanford, and "mother" and "father" are better for Harvard.
First of all, I doubt there is a very significant difference between the acceptance rates based on these words. I don't know what it is, but I can't imagine there is such a stark difference, where words are exclusively favored by one school over the other. Secondly, I just don't think this micro-level of trying to game the system is worth anyone's time! Instead of focusing on the slight advantage one word can give you over the other, focus on the content of the essay at large. I know big data is trendy these days. But in this case, the quality of an essay is still much more important than the quantity of keywords you use.
Don't waste your time on sensational drivel. Read good books, be a good person, and do what's important to you - that's what will make you stand apart.