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Stanford University 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:

"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
“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 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 for the amazing application bootcamp experience! I was accepted to Dartmouth!!! I couldn't have done it without you. Go big green!"– S.T., Boot Camp Student
Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both. –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
I am emailing you to let you both know that I have been accepted to the University of Miami and will be attending there in the fall! It's been a dream of mine for a long time and I couldn't be happier about it. I wanted to thank you again so much for your help and guidance. I really don't think I could have done this without you guys and I will be forever grateful. Your program is truly amazing and I am lucky I attended. Thank you again. –P.T., Application Boot Camp student
University of Miami Class of 2023

We want to let you know that S was accepted into Brown. We are thrilled for him and grateful for all your help and support! He also got into UT Austin! – W.L., parent of Application Boot Camp student

Brown Class of 2023
"You ran an amazing, inspiring, productive and invaluable program. Thanks." - C.W., Application Boot Camp parent
"Boot Camp helped me become realistic on my options but still supplied me with confidence about my applications." --E.W., Boot Camp student
"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 amazing support from your entire staff allowed me to write essays that I was extremely proud of. The advice along the way on how best to showcase my strengths and match that to an overall strategy of where and how to apply was invaluable!” --E.A., Boot Camp student
"I just wanted to thank you for your help over Application Boot Camp. If it wasn't for your positive energy throughout the process, I don't know how much I would've been able to complete! Good luck with your other camps and once again, thanks." -T.R., Boot Camp student
"M. and M. really helped me develop my academic niche!" -T.Y., Boot Camp student
"Application Boot Camp surpassed my expectations!" -S.F., Boot Camp student
"My personalized student report [before Boot Camp] was very useful in motivating me to have an active summer (programs, classes, etc.) and to understand testing needs and ways to create an academic niche. It felt a bit harsh at times, but it was realistic. Boot Camp offered a great editing process."
"It’s a great relief to have a specific game plan for college applications. There’s so much involved these days, I can’t imagine trying to figure it out on our own. For her to finish her common app and college specific essays with the help of such qualified and professional staff is a huge relief. She has friends that are jealous that she’s done!"-A.W., Boot Camp Parent
"My senior counselor mentor had magical editing skills! He taught me how to be a more descriptive and creative writer. This was a fantastic essay writing camp!" - Application Boot Camp student
Boot Camp is just a CRUCIAL program for gaining an understanding of the college admissions process! Thank you!
"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
"Dear M., M. and your wonderful team, we are very happy to let you know that O. was accepted at Georgetown!!!! His “dream university." Thank you very much for all your help. We really appreciate it very much! You can imagine how proud we feel!." --P.Y., Application Boot Camp parent

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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