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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:

"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
"My number one choice was UVA and I was accepted regular admission!" --R.E., 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
"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
"M., your advice and guidance throughout this entire process has been essential, for which my family and I are very grateful." --D.C., 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
"ABC made writing college essays far less terrible than it otherwise would have been. The senior counselors really kept me on topic." - Application Boot Camp student
Boot Camp 2014 student
I finally know how to write a college essay. The one on one time with my senior counselor mentor made a big difference. - I.K., Boot Camp student
Boot Camp 2014 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
"M.--Y. was accepted to Wharton! Thanks to you and everyone at Top Tier!!!!! Many, many thanks. I really believe that you gave Y. very good guidance. And now we have two more kids to focus on!"--T.R., Boot Camp parent
“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
"Boot Camp gave my essays life! Thank you for your advice!" - Application Boot Camp student
"I am reassured in my application decisions and my in-range schools. I won't be freaking out for the next few months. Thanks Mimi and Michele!" - 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
"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
"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."
Boot Camp is just a CRUCIAL program for gaining an understanding of the college admissions process! Thank you!
"Boot Camp was rewarding because my essays are done and I have confidence in my college applications." -Y.P., Boot Camp student
"Boot Camp has been so helpful. It's allowed me to finish my applications before classes start and has saved me frustration AND heartbreak!" - 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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