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STANFORD UNIVERSITY

REQUIREMENTS AND CAMPUS GUIDE

School Name: Stanford University
School Location: Palo Alto, CA
School Type: Research University / Liberal Arts
Category: High Reach

Stanford University Admissions Rates Fall 2020

Applications: 45,227
Admitted: 5%

General Info

Historical SAT/ACT Score

(Test Optional)

Math: 720-800
ERW: 700-770
ACT: 31-35

Dates/Deadlines

Restrictive EA: November 1
Early Results: By December 15
Regular Deadline: January 5
Regular Results: By April 1

School Information

Schedule: Quarter System
Curriculum Type: General Education
Greek Life: Yes
Athletics: D1

Stanford Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide:

Where is Stanford?

Not many people know that Stanford, CA is actually its own city. It’s located directly adjacent to Palo Alto, so any time you step off campus you’re technically setting foot in a new city, though you’d never know it. Nestled between San Francisco and San Jose, Stanford is in the heart of Silicon Valley, an area known for its innovative spirit, beautiful landscapes, and mild weather. 

How diverse is the student body at Stanford?

Based on information published by Stanford about the Class of 2024, 9% of students identified as African-American, 26% identified as Asian, 24% as White, 18% as Hispanic or Latino, and 10% are international students. Stanford reports a 52%/48% split between women and men in their undergraduate population and notes that 35% are from California while the remaining 65% represents all other 49 states including D.C. and Puerto Rico, and 55 other countries.

How hard is it to get into Stanford?

Stanford accepted 5.19% of the 45,227 total applicants (regular decision and early action combined) who applied for admission to the class of 2024. Of those admitted, 1.607 matriculated. 

What is the Stanford known for?

Stanford is fondly referred to as “the Farm” by its many alumni because before the formation of the university, the campus was used as a family farm, housing the Stanfords horses. Fast forward to 2021 and you can still see remnants of this time gone by, horses are still stabled in the foothills of campus. The meaning of “the Farm” has taken on a new life (here’s a link to some other fun Stanford lingo). Stanford is also known as one of the top research universities in the world and is particularly notable for being a pioneer in the field of computer science. The university fuels the startup culture in Silicon Valley and has alumni working at the heart of nearly every tech giant you have heard of. Additionally, Stanford is known for its lively, creative, and whacky culture that is representative of the progressive San Francisco Bay Area as a whole. 

Can I afford Stanford?

Like other private universities, the cost of attending Stanford can seem quite exorbitant at first glance. Stanford expects the average student without any form of financial aid to spend $78,898 over the course of the 2021-2022 academic school year. Fortunately, Stanford provides some form of aid to 70% of its students. Athletic scholarships aside, 47% of students receive need-based aid and pay an average of $13,600 for an academic year, a far cry from the advertised sticker price. There is a helpful tool called the “Net Price Calculator” on Stanford’s financial aid website that will tell you exactly what you can expect to pay once you input some personal financial details. 

What are the academic requirements at Stanford?

Like other liberal arts schools, Stanford provides its students with a large degree of academic freedom by allowing them to explore their curiosities during their first two years. Students only have 4 general education requirements: Thinking Matters, Ways of Thinking/Doing, Writing and Rhetoric, and Language. According to Stanford’s Undergraduate Admissions page, students have the flexibility to choose courses that appeal to them from a wide variety of topics, “while building critical skillsets, exploring interests, forming relationships with faculty and peers, and forging connections between educational experiences in many spheres.” After sophomore year, once students have declared a major, many begin to specialize a bit more, but others continue to explore new subjects and departments up until their graduation. The choice is yours! 

How challenging are the academics at Stanford?

Stanford is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the world so it’s natural to think that the academics are soul-crushingly difficult and only the most intelligent and dedicated students will succeed. While it is true that Stanford encourages all of its students to take rigorous courses and challenge themselves, they also believe students should have autonomy over their education and can self-select their own path. Stanford didn’t publish student transcripts until 1996, meaning students were able to take any class they wanted without the fear of performing poorly or having a stain on their record. Although transcripts are now made available to students, the sentiment remains that you get out of your education what you put in. The harder you work, the more you will learn and vice versa–the degree in secondary. The goal is to learn as much as possible while you have the privilege of being on campus. Nearly every department on campus stresses collaboration so you will be able to work alongside peers as well as faculty to achieve your academic goals. Stanford is what you make it and no two curriculums are the same! You will be surrounded by amazing minds, resources, and facilities so you are encouraged to be a sponge and pursue your passions.

How is campus life at Stanford?

Stanford University has a large campus of 8,180 acres. The campus is a joy to walk around, with everything from lakes, to creaks, to hills that can be hiked all without leaving campus. Most students will spend the majority of their time in the central portion that is ever-expanding but contains the main quad and primary housing buildings as well as many athletic facilities. 97% of students live on campus all 4 years of school, which is a huge plus because of the incredibly high housing prices in the area. This results in a tight knit community at Stanford. There are plenty of opportunities to be part of different groups on campus, live in a culturally themed house like Casa Italiana or Haus Mitt, join a club sports team, or do research at a lab. If you think you’re going to miss those home-cooked meals, don’t worry, the food on campus is great! There are multiple restaurants on campus ranging from take-out to upscale and the dining halls provide consistently delicious and healthy options for students. Stanford students take their academics very seriously, but they also pride themselves on being able to let loose and enjoy themselves–it is California after all! 

Does Stanford have a good athletics department?

Stanford is a great place for both athletes and fans. Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup, an award given annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the colleges and universities with the most success in collegiate athletics, for 26 of the past 27 years! While the football team and women’s basketball may receive the most press, Stanford has a storied history as a powerhouse in many sports such as baseball, swimming, golf, and tennis. Stanford has won at least one national championship for the past 46 years, so the university trophy case is starting to look more like a trophy building. There’s always a game to attend on-campus with your classmates and you’ll usually be greeted by the famous Stanford Band in full force and maybe even the Stanford Tree!