When you think of the top universities in the United States, Harvard and Stanford come to mind. While Harvard is known for its top-notch law and medical programs, Stanford produces the best in the tech industry as well as top authors, astronauts, court judges, and even a president. It’s no surprise that Stanford’s acceptance requirements are high. However, many still wonder how to get into Stanford.
Stanford boasts a world-class education, unattainable athletic excellence and connections that will open incredible doors for successful candidates. Although the Stanford acceptance rate is low, thousands of applicants list this college as their dream school and want to know how to get admitted to Stanford. Below you will find everything you need to know to increase your chances of being accepted.
All About Stanford Admission
Stanford admits more than 1,700 freshmen and 30 transfer students each year. The admission officers review each application and base their admission decisions on academic excellence, intellectual vitality, and personal context. Like MIT and Harvard, Stanford University values candidates with technical experience and leadership skills in a variety of fields.
The school attaches great importance to STEM subjects. In addition to test scores and letters of recommendation, the application materials include essays to showcase students’ personalities and character. Stanford meets the financial needs of every admitted student eligible for aid.
Stanford Acceptance Rate
The school does not publish a specific acceptance rate, but saw 55,471 applications for the class of 2025 and only 2,190 students were admitted. Stanford University is the second most difficult university to enter after Columbia. This is a decrease from the usual average admission rate of five percent and is in line with the school’s increasing demand.
Some selective schools specify a minimum GPA requirement for their college applications, but Stanford uses holistic admissions. It takes into account more than just your GPA. That said, the minimum GPA would be just that, an absolute minimum, meaning you should aim to exceed it. To achieve a high GPA, you need to get straight As during your high school years and take the most difficult classes at every level.
Stanford total enrollment
According to 2021 data, Stanford University has a total enrollment of 15,157 students, divided between 54 percent males (8,070 students) and 45 percent females (7,087 students). 6,366 of those accepted students are undergraduates and 9,587 are graduate students. The student-faculty ratio is five to one, which allows for specialized attention for each student.
- Academic excellence† Stanford University is primarily a center of academic excellence, so it makes sense that excellent grades should be the primary consideration. The school is looking for students who are smarter than average and who challenge themselves to excel. High grades greatly increase your chances of being admitted.
- Intellectual vitality† Stanford is looking for students who are unique and show the ability to broaden their horizons. The school is looking for the next Isaac Newton, Elon Musk or Nelson Mandela. If you pursue things beyond the ordinary, excel and strive to make a difference, the Admissions Board is looking for you.
- Extracurricular activities† Admission teams also want to see what you do outside of class. While high school students who excel in sports have an edge, Stanford likes to see music, drama, debates and other extracurricular activities. The secret is to pick something that you excel in and that complements your college career.
- Character and personality† Admissions officers want to see your personality, and one of the most important requirements for Stanford applications is the personal essays you must write. Make sure they show your uniqueness. Application readers appreciate essays that are insightful, sincere, and honest.
- Recommendations† You need two letters of recommendation from your teachers and one from a study advisor. If you attend Stanford’s optional interviews, you can also get an internal recommendation if you impress the interviewer. Places where you have volunteered or worked during the summer holidays can also put in a good word for you.
Is it hard to get to Stanford University?
With such a low acceptance rate, you’re betting your lowest dollar it’s an incredibly difficult university to get into. Stanford is one of the best schools and is now the second most difficult university to enter, after Colombia, even though it is not an Ivy League university. The school is looking for special people who meet the admission requirements and who stand out.
The school not only seeks the pinnacle of science, but also wants students who excel in other fields. You need to be a balanced person to maximize your chances of being admitted.
How to Prepare for a Stanford Interview?
The best way to prepare for a Stanford interview is to do your research early and give yourself plenty of time to practice answering common interview questions. This will help with nervousness during the actual interview. Go through the Stanford website to learn about the programs you are interested in to help you prepare for your interview.
Stanford Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are you curious about?
- What motivates you?
- If you had a day off, what would you do with it?
- What’s the most rewarding project you’ve worked on?
- What do you want to delve into?
10 tips for going to Stanford
Now that you know the Stanford application requirements and how to pass the interview, let’s move on to acceptance. Some will tell you that getting into Stanford has a lot to do with luck. However, knowing exactly what to do in advance will give you an advantage and help you impress the admissions staff with your application.
1. Work on your numbers
The first thing the admissions officers will look at is your grades. Unlike most students who get serious in their senior year of high school, Stanford applicants have to start working on their grades from sophomore year. Work hard to get your GPA high and take lots of SAT and ACT mock tests to increase your standardized test scores.
2. Take the challenging lessons
It is important to get high grades in the advanced classes. What sets Stanford students apart from the rest is that they are smarter, more determined, and ready to take on the challenge. Taking the toughest subjects in Advanced (AP), Honors and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes shows you can handle the increased workload and tougher challenges.
3. Participate in academic competitions
Again, Stanford University wants talented leaders, risk takers and world changers. What better way to showcase your talent than beating a state or national league? While the Science Olympiad and the American Mathematics Olympiad are the most prestigious events, you can also participate in other physics, biology, chemistry, and history events.
4. Excel in extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities include sports, drama, writing, speech, and debate, just to name a few. If you’re going to high school, try as many as you can until you’re interested. Once you’ve done that, immerse yourself completely in deepening your skills in that activity.
5. Find your passions
There is a thought that top colleges look for well-rounded people who excel at many things. That may not be the case when you sign up with Stanford. What this school wants is someone who has found what they are passionate about and pursues it down to the last detail. Specialization is key here. If basketball is your passion then try to be the best basketball player in your sports team.
6. Think VOICE in your application
Although Stanford University is not a STEM university, it has a strong preference for STEM subjects. If you’re not interested in STEM programs, you still need to pass maths and maths subjects. In general, a range of 720 (25th percentile) to 800 (75th percentile) on the SAT or 33-36 on the ACT math section will set you apart from the rest.
7. Make an effort for your college essay
Stanford University has a series of application essays that you must complete when you apply. Although the questions look generic and generic, essays are one of the most important aspects of your application and you should think about them carefully. Practice answering open-ended questions and ask someone you trust for feedback. Most importantly, they show your personality, character, uniqueness, and background.
8. Choose Your Recommendations Wisely
You won’t see what your teachers and academic counselors write in your letter of recommendation, so you can’t correct or delete it. The only way to ensure you get a glowing recommendation is to choose people you trust to portray you in the best light. This may mean discussing beforehand what they will say.
9. Do something unique
As you can imagine, tons of students have volunteered to participate in sports and put all these exciting things on their applications. If you want to stand out in this application process, you need to do something out of the ordinary and then write about it. Don’t be like everyone else.
10. Stay hopeful
More than 50,000 A students apply to Stanford each year, and yet very few will get in. Prepare early, perfect your material and remember to stay hopeful. While it can be nerve-wracking waiting for admission decisions after you’ve submitted your admission application, trust that you’ve done everything you can and wait for that letter of acceptance to arrive.
What does it take to get to Stanford University?
In addition to excellent grades, excellence in extracurricular activities, and passing those essays, you must demonstrate that you are a leader and a game changer in your field to enter Stanford.
How to access Stanford FAQ
No, if you’re applying to Stanford, you’re applying for the university as a whole. You can indicate your interest, but it is not mandatory.
With the crazy competitiveness of Stanford and its counterparts, it is advisable to apply at other undergraduate institutions as well. Identify a few top colleges with the programs you want to pursue and research their application criteria. If you do it right, you will definitely be admitted to one or more of them.
Yes, Stanford allows you to reapply after a gap year. However, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted the second time around, so you should weigh your options and consider other colleges. If you decide to wait to reapply, consider taking additional online courses to boost your application.
It is highly unlikely that a student with an intermediate rank will be accepted. Stanford only accepts exceptional students who excel in various areas of their lives, including academics.
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