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:

"That first morning, I thought that there was no way I would get all 25 of my essays done. Application Boot Camp proved me wrong!" -A. D, Boot Camp student
"Thanks so much for your help with the whole application process! ABC was amazing (and actually a lot of fun as well!)."--W.S., Boot Camp student accepted to Oxford, Amherst, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Princeton, & Penn
"ABC aids and quickens the application process. Mimi and Michele's advice on my application strategy was great --they kept my goals realistic." - Application Boot Camp student
"I can't believe the quality of instruction and work I produced at Boot Camp. My brother will be there in 2 years due to my positive experiences." - 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
"We are so pleased with the work our son completed at Boot Camp! He was encouraged every step of the way. I can't believe ABC has gotten even better since you worked with our older children!" -I.O., Boot Camp parent
"I will be attending The Johns Hopkins University this fall!! . . . It was one of my top choices, and I cannot explain how ecstatic I am to join JHU!! Once again, thank you so much for your help. I do not think I could've done it without your guidance. I feel like I have found the perfect school for me." --U.R., Application Boot Camp student
"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
"The number of quality essays I finished in four days shocked me! And the Admissions Report framed how I should spend my summer and senior year. I would not have taken extra AP classes without your recommendation." -S. M., Boot Camp student
The ABC senior counselors are helpful critics. They helped me ensure my essays were fine tuned AND creative. While it's an intensive time, it's nice to get the bulk of this work finished before fall. - D.J., Boot Camp student
Boot Camp 2014 student
"Thank you! Without your help I wouldn't have such a flawless supplement essay. I can’t wait to let you know how it all goes." -H. K., Boot Camp Student
"I could not have created essays of this caliber without you!" - 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
"M. and M., I just found out that I have an unconditional offer from Oxford!" - T.Y., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you Top Tier Admissions for supporting me. My high school advisor also thanks you."-- C.J., Boot Camp Student
“I believe the essay that you helped me craft was a major deciding factor in my admissions process and I am infinitely grateful. I believe Boot Camp also helped me to grow as a writer.” --S.W., Boot Camp student
“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
"Just got in! I am extremely excited and grateful for all of the help that you've given me. Thank you so much!!" - S.N., - Application Boot Camp student
"The ABC report and follow up call with Mimi and Michele gave me a more concrete idea of what I should be writing about. Thank you! It was so much stress off me before senior year starts." - Application Boot Camp student
“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

Ready to Apply? Try one these Top Tier options!

Private college admissions consulting starting as early as 8th grade for those students who want ongoing, personalized, unlimited-time access.

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Want to work one-on-one with the best? Try our flexible Personal Boot Camp.

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The original Application Boot Camp®! Helping students prepare the best possible applications for the last 12 years.

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