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Stanford Admissions

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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:

"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
"Boot Camp helped me become realistic on my options but still supplied me with confidence about my applications." --E.W., Boot Camp student
ABC helped me streamline my list of schools and my essays. Excellent program.
Boot Camp 2014 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
"My daughter can't stop talking about all of the things she learned and how helpful the camp was. Thank you very much!" -O.P., Boot Camp parent
“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
Dear Mimi, Michele, Kristen, Hannah, and the rest of the ABC team, Thank you so much for an incredible four days at Boot Camp. Thank you for sitting and brainstorming with me, for helping me come up with a realistic application plan, for reading my essays over and over again until I thought they were perfect, and, most of all, for helping me come out with five essays that I am proud of and I know will help me in the application process. Your help was amazing, and I don't know what I would have done without it. - E.C.
"Boot Camp was an incredibly effective use of my time and dramatically cut my stress levels during the application process." -R.O., Boot Camp student
"J.'s in at his first choice school!  Thanks so much for all the help and support.  The admissions person said that his essay was among the first she read and it became the "bar" for all the others.  He is beyond thrilled!" - W.D., Application Boot Camp parent
"What a great start to my application process. I finished 5 essays and got a handle on the Common App and what colleges are looking for. Mimi and Michele's college interview speech is funny! They are great!" - Application Boot Camp student
"The environment in the Boot Camp meeting room was great and really encouraging. An intimidating process became much more user friendly and the senior mentors helped me overcome my writer's block." - Application Boot Camp 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
“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
“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
“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
"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
Boot Camp is just a CRUCIAL program for gaining an understanding of the college admissions process! Thank you!
ABC not only helped me get my stuff done early, but made sure I left with edited essays. While my friends will get their applicantions done late and have them edited by parents and high school English teachers, I left with essays proofread by PhDs, admissions officers and professional college counselors . . . which is awesome!
"The quick feedback on essays and writing style was key!" - Application Boot Camp student
"It is SO nice to be able to get basically everything done in a couple of days! It makes the process a lot less stressful and made me feel really confident about my applications." - 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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