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Stanford Admissions

stanford admissions

Get into Stanford

Stanford University was ranked #5 in the 2017 US News and World Report rankings of National Universities and #2 Best Undergraduate Engineering Program. Stanford has a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,034 students who study on a beautiful 8,000 acre campus about 37 miles Southeast of San Francisco.

Students at Stanford can earn undergraduate degrees in three schools: The School of Humanities and Sciences, The School of Engineering, or The School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. About 80% of undergraduates earn degrees from the School of Humanities and Sciences.

The Stanford admissions office recently reported they employ a staff of 52—dean, assistant deans, admissions officers and part-time readers – that averages to slightly more than 746 applications per reader who spends, on average, 7-15 minutes reading each application. Here are the first lines from a few applications Stanford admissions officers reviewed and accepted a few years ago:

When I was 8 years old, I shocked my family and a local archaeologist by discovering artifacts dating back almost 3,500 years.

I stand on the riverbank surveying this rippled range like some riparian cowboy—instead of chaps, I wear vinyl, thigh-high waders and a lasso of measuring tape and twine is slung over my arm.

I’ll never forget the day when my childhood nightmares about fighting gigantic trolls in the Lord of the Rings series became a reality. Sword in hand and clad in medieval samurai armor, I dragged myself into the battleground as I faced my opponent, a warmongering giant.

Some fathers might disapprove of their children handling noxious chemicals in the garage.

Stanford offers a restrictive early action option for admissions. This is non-binding, but the policy states that an applicant cannot apply to any other early plan (early action or early decision) except those schools that have an early non-binding plan with an early deadline for a scholarship or special academic program. Students may also apply to a school with a non-binding rolling plan or to any foreign school and any public school with a non-binding early policy. So, a student could apply restrictive early action to Stanford and rolling to Penn State, St. Andrews (Scotland) and University of Wisconsin, among other schools.

Stanford is transparent with their admissions data and shares their information from the Common Data Set.

For the Class of 2021, 95% of accepted students were in the top 10% of their class, and 99% were in the top quarter of their high school graduating class. 93.19% of admitted students had a GPA of 3.75 or higher. Out of 44,073 candidates, the largest application pool in Stanford’s history, only 1,329 received letters of acceptance to Stanford’s Class of 2021, in addition to the 721 early action students accepted in December. This year’s admits come from 50 states and 82 countries, and over 18 percent of the accepted students are the first in their families to attend a four-year college. Very few students get off the wait list – that’s because so many students accept Stanford when they are accepted.

As is the case with most schools, teacher recommendations are best from grades 11 and 12. Stanford requires two letters of recommendation from teachers, though they add that you may submit a maximum of one optional letter of recommendation if there is another person—not a teacher or counselor—who knows you well and will provide new insights about you. We counsel our students carefully on this as colleges really don’t want random recommendations from a friend of a friend or a professor who taught you for 2 weeks in a summer class.

Stanford offers optional alumni interviews once a student has applied. This will depend on your zip code and if they have anyone in your area. If you are eligible to take part in the alumni interview program, an alumnus or alumna will contact you after you have submitted your application.

Admissions Wrap Up for the Class of 2020:

At below 5%, this year’s undergraduate admissions rate is the lowest in Stanford’s history and the lowest of the “elite” universities. Out of 43,997 applicants — the largest pool in University history — 1,373 students were accepted to Stanford’s Class of 2020, in addition to the 745 early action students accepted in December. The acceptance rate of 9.52 percent for early was slightly lower than the Class of 2019’s early admission rate of 10.2 percent.

Top Tier Admissions Can Help:

“We would like to personally thank you for your help in preparing P. and S. in the college admissions process. Boot Camp provided invaluable guidance. Those four days were a very productive and extremely worthwhile time. We are thrilled they are starting senior year stress-free in terms of the college application process. Finally, thank you a ton for helping them both from the very beginning and we feel extremely fortunate to have worked with you.” –A.R., Parents of two Application Boot Camp Students
“I am amazed at how much S. got done this week AND he was even smiling when we left!” –P.N., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“What a duo you are! Thanks again for your support, patience, and understanding this past week. C. is confident and rejuvenated but realistic. He will consider all that you have said when reaching his strategic decisions.” –T.A., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“My wife just texted me that R’s essays are fantastic! Thank you for all the great advice.” –A.F., parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“I just wanted to say thank you for all of your help before and during Bootcamp. The experience was amazing and I learned so much, while also getting so much done.” –A.I., Application Boot Camp Student
“Thank you so much for all the team’s help at Application Bootcamp! With your help, I was able to produce an application strategy and multiple essays that I am very confident about." –C.Z., Application Boot Camp Student
"M. and M., your insight and advice about the application process is invaluable. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with you! K., thank you so much for helping me construct an application strategy and work through the common app. I greatly appreciate your straightforward advice." –E.K., Application Boot Camp Student
"Ultimately, Bootcamp, although grueling at times, was an incredible experience, and it was only made possible by all your efforts. Thank you for everything, and I will be sure to update you in the coming months!” –F.J., Application Boot Camp Student
“Thank you SO much for all you and your staff did to support P. this week. She is thrilled with the work she has accomplished!” –L.J., parent of Application Boot Camp student
“Thank you!! We are thrilled that C. got into his dream school!! He is super excited! We feel that his thoughtful application and essays put him above other competitive applicants. I can't thank you all enough. Kudos to all of you! Senior counselors, especially, were amazing. C. really enjoyed working with his mentor.” –S.P., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"M., you changed my life in ways I had no idea when we met all those years ago when I was a scared sophomore at my big public high school.  You got me to expand my vision and think outside the box with my interests and, honestly, now that I'm wrapping up my PhD at Harvard, I have to say I still use some of what you taught me about presenting myself and standing out.  Tell your students I'm living proof that getting into Harvard for undergrad and graduate school IS possible." --P.L., Application Boot Camp student
“I just want to thank you guys so much for your help and guidance! I really couldn't have done it without you!” –Y.T., Application Boot Camp student
“You and your entire team are awesome! You were invaluable in helping P get on the right path! Great news today! P was accepted at Yale, Penn, Villanova, Wesleyan, Williams, Tulane, and the University of Virginia. Thank you for all you do to help these kids achieve their dreams! She is over the moon and will choose in short order! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!” --L.D., Application Boot Camp parent
“Thank you for everything! This hectic college application process was almost easy with your help. I really appreciate it. I feel like your suggestions and editing pushed me above other similar applicants. Cumulatively, I currently have the highest ranked college acceptances out of my whole school.” --A.G., Application Boot Camp student
"P. continues to thrive at Brown. She loves her classes, professors, and friends as well as her internship, teaching assistant and research opportunities. She feels very fortunate to be there and strives to take advantage of all that Brown has to offer. We are fortunate to have found you!" --E.V., Application Boot Camp parent
"I truly believe ABC made a dramatic difference in T's application/outcomes (and will continue to do so as the season unfolds). We were all shocked to learn on Saturday that not only had Tulane accepted him, but were offering almost full tuition, unsolicited, in merit aid with a four year guarantee. Just wanted to say "thanks" and holy cow. You guys really enabled him to put his best foot forward. Thanks again for all you guys did to help him through a confusing, challenging process for teens!" --W.P., Application Boot Camp parent
“Thank you so much for your advice and help over the past couple of months. I am grateful that I could finish everything in such a short amount of time. My application would not be so polished without your editing and notes! I really appreciate all of your counsel.” --P.N., Application Boot Camp student
"I am writing to thank everyone at ABC for all the help with my essays and the Common Application. I really benefited from these past 4 days in Boston and I would be happy to recommend ABC to anyone that asks." --R.L. Application Boot Camp student
“At the start of this week I was petrified at the thought of college essays and differentiating myself from high school seniors across the nation. Thank you so much for streamlining this process and fine tuning my essays to perfection. I would not be able to keep on track without you! Thanks again!!” --R.Q., Application Boot Camp student
"I saw your Ad in the Penn Gazette and thought about you with great fondness. It's been almost eight years since our daughter, K.G, worked with you. We came to your Boot Camp sessions in New York with hopes for direction and guidance and we certainly did get it.  K.G. graduated from U Penn and went on to do a Master's in Economics at London School of Economics. She now has an amazing job and is pursuing another Master's at Johns Hopkins University. Because of what we learned from you, we were able to  help, our younger son also got into U Penn and he is now working in Washington DC. "--B.C., Application Boot Camp parent

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