Bay Area high school grad rejected by 16 colleges reveals how he got Google job

Kristen Sze Image
Friday, October 13, 2023
High school grad rejected by 16 colleges reveals how he got Google job
Stanley Zhong, a standup high school grad rejected from 16 schools, explains to ABC7 News anchor Kristen Sze how he landed a job at Google.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When 18-year-old Stanley Zhong, a Palo Alto resident and Gunn High School graduate, shared his college admissions experience with ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze earlier this week, he never imagined his story would go viral around the world.

The standout student had a 4.42 weighted GPA, 1590 out of 1600 on the SATs, and his own e-document signing startup but was rejected by 16 out of 18 colleges he applied to.

VIDEO: Bay Area high school grad rejected by 16 colleges hired by Google

Stanley Zhong is a graduate of Gunn High School in Palo Alto who was hired by Google as a software engineer after 16 colleges rejected him.

His story was shared by Daily Mail in the UK, the India Times, the Asian American news site NextShark, Reddit, and X, where Elon Musk personally responded to someone who shared the story. Zhong was surprised, to say the least.

"This is way bigger of a response than I could ever have expected when I was sharing my story, so I just want to thank everyone for that. My friends have reacted positive to this. Obviously there's been some negative responses, this is the internet, after all. But overall, it's been really positive."

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In short, Zhong was rejected this spring by MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UC Davis, Cal Poly SLO, Cornell, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Caltech, University of Wisconsin and University of Washington. He was only admitted to the University of Texas and Maryland.

But stunningly, months later, he landed a Level 4, non-entry level software engineering job at Google, one of the most prestigious tech companies in Silicon Valley.

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How did he do it? Did his dad, also a Google engineer, get him the job? Did he have extracurricular activities? How did he become such an advanced coder? Does he still, after all this, want to go to college?

To answer that and other questions, Zhong had a follow-up appearance Friday on "Getting Answers" with ABC7 News anchor Kristen Sze.

You can watch the interview in the video player above.

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