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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:

"It was truly an amazing experience that clarified most, if not all, of my doubts on college application." -S. G., Boot Camp student
"Thank you for the study skills. I finished my essays with time to spare." - Application Boot Camp student
Boot Camp 2014 student
"M. and M. really helped me develop my academic niche!" -T.Y., Boot Camp student
"Boot Camp was very stimulating. It was very personalized and I grew as a human being!" - Application Boot Camp student
"The senior counselors were so talented and Mimi and Michele were so accessible!" -ABC Student
"Michele is the BEST editor! Thanks for a great week! It is so great to have editing help and get most of my essay done." - 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
"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
"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
“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
“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
"Good news, I was just admitted to Yale too! That makes it 3 for 3 ---Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. I don't even know what to say anymore! This is honestly crazy in the most awesome way possible!" -I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"Application Boot Camp stands in a category of its own." -S. G., Boot Camp student
"Thank you Michele and Mimi for the support. We are very, very happy! Many thanks to you and your team for helping T. reach her goal!" --Parents of Application Boot Camp student
"P. definitely felt challenged at Boot Camp, but consistently remarked at day's end that he knew you all were driving him to another level.  He felt that he came away with excellent essays that are authentically his. All that is my way of saying a heartfelt thank you!"- I.W., Boot Camp parent
"Boot Camp was rewarding because my essays are done and I have confidence in my college applications." -Y.P., Boot Camp student
"My student report was helpful as I came up with a solid idea and a focus for my essays. It helped me determine other colleges I am applying to. I was really able to write so much faster than I would have at home." - 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
"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
“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

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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