The Ivy Coach Daily

April 25, 2024

How to Get Into Stanford University

A panoramic view of Stanford University’s well-manicured campus.
Stanford University’s admission rate for the Class of 2027 stood at 3.91% (photo credit: King of Hearts).

We wouldn’t blame you for being interested in Stanford University, which ranks #3 among national universities in the 2024 US News & World Report annual college ranking. In 2014, Slate dubbed Stanford “the Harvard of the 21st century,” and for good reason! This private research university boasts one of the largest endowments in higher education (which most recently weighed in at $36.5 billion), a formidable range of world-renowned graduate schools and research facilities, and an entrepreneurial culture that has produced some of the biggest names in the tech industry.

What Is Stanford University?

Stanford is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Stanford, California. According to the 2023-24 Common Data Set, Stanford’s undergraduate student body consists of 3,789 men and 4,052 women, for a total of 7,841 full-time undergraduates. 37% percent of these students come from within California, while 14% are international.

How to Get Into Stanford University

Stanford University Admissions Requirements

Getting into Stanford is not a matter of simply meeting certain grade point and testing requirements, as many students with perfect or near-perfect scores face rejection each year. Still, it’s helpful to understand the baseline requirements necessary to be considered a competitive applicant.

Stanford GPA Requirements

Stanford admissions counselors evaluate a student’s academic record in the “context” of their high school experience. No two high schools calculate a student’s GPA in the same way, so it would be disingenuous to claim that Stanford has a minimum GPA cutoff. However, students interested in Stanford should take the most rigorous coursework available to them.

Applications are reviewed through a holistic process. As Stanford Undergraduate Admissions puts it: “In a holistic review, we seek to understand how you, as a whole person, would grow, contribute and thrive at Stanford, and how Stanford would, in turn, be changed by you.”

Does Stanford Look at Class Rank?

75.2% of students enrolled in the Class of 2027 had a 4.0 GPA, and 15.5% had a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99. 96.2% of enrollees were in the top tenth of their high school graduating class, while 99.5% were in the top quarter. The average GPA for an enrollee in the Class of 2027 was 3.9.

Stanford SAT/ACT Score Requirements

Stanford is test-optional. However, after Dartmouth College, Yale University, Brown University, Harvard University, and Cornell University eliminated their test-optional policies, we at Ivy Coach have reason to believe Stanford will reinstate testing requirements soon.

Amongst members of the Stanford Class of 2027, 47% submitted SAT scores and 22% submitted ACT scores. 31% did not submit scores under Stanford’s test-optional policy.

Mid 50% Range1,500 — 1,56034 — 35

Does Stanford Superscore Students’ SAT or ACT scores?

superscore combines the highest section scores from each individual test sitting for admissions evaluation. Stanford only superscores the SAT, evaluating the highest scores reported for the Reading and Writing and Math sections. They do not superscore the ACT.

Submitting multiple test administrations shows Stanford that you had to work harder than many to achieve your scores when admissions officers much prefer students for whom great scores come naturally. Students should submit more than one SAT score report only for the purposes of superscoring.

What High School Courses Does Stanford Require?

Stanford Undergraduate Admission recommends the following high school curriculum:

Of course, it would be unwise to take only three years of science or history classes. Students interested in highly selective colleges across America, Stanford or otherwise, should excel in their core subjects for all four years of high school (and when it comes to foreign language, it is ideal to begin in eighth grade).

What Extracurriculars Does Stanford Look For in Applicants?

Stanford admissions officers prize students who demonstrate an “exceptional depth” of commitment to a singular pursuit, as opposed to students who are well-rounded. This depth could take many forms, from prize-winning illustration to extensive economics research, but we at Ivy Coach caution against portraying an applicant as a jack-of-all-trades. 

An incoming class at an elite university should be dynamic, diverse, and unpredictable. The last thing admissions officers are looking for is homogeneity. Sure, a competitive Stanford applicant has excelled in all areas academically, but they have kept busy pursuing a unique passion, which shines through on the application. The student who has dipped their toes in a variety of pursuits without specializing, and who is admitted on the basis of this well-roundedness, is a myth.

Stanford University Application Requirements

Stanford applicants must complete The Common Application, the Stanford supplement, a counselor recommendation, and two teacher recommendations.

Let’s focus on each individual component and discuss how students should complete them to give them the best shot of admission.

Who to Ask For Letters of Recommendation

Applicants to Stanford should ask two teachers — ideally two junior year teachers in core subjects — in addition to their school counselor for letters of recommendation.

Does Stanford Require an Alumni Interview?

No, any interviews conducted with Stanford alumni are optional. Students will only be given the option to interview with a Stanford alum if they live in a designated interview area. Whether a student accepts a proposed interview or not is not a reflection of the strength or weakness of a student’s application. Across all highly selective colleges, the interview component of any given application is one of the least important aspects.

What are Stanford’s Supplemental Essay Topics?

Essays, on the other hand, are one of the most important aspects of a competitive college application. In addition to The Common Application Personal Statement, Stanford applicants have to complete the Stanford supplemental essay questions, a.k.a. “The Stanford Questions.” 

The Stanford Questions are as follows:

Stanford University Short Answer Questions

There is a 50-word limit for each of the five short answers.

Stanford University Short Essay Questions

There is a 100-word minimum and a 250-word maximum for each of the three essays.

Stanford University Application Deadlines

Stanford’s two admissions rounds are Restrictive Early Action and Regular Decision.

Restrictive Early Action applications to Stanford are non-binding and due on November 1st of each year (unless a student applies with the Optional Arts Portfolio, which pushes the deadline up to October 15th). Regular Decision applications to Stanford are due on January 5th of each year (and on December 5th with the Optional Arts Portfolio).

Stanford University Acceptance Rate and Statistics

So how competitive is the admissions process to The Farm? 53,733 students applied for admission to the Class of 2027, and 3.91% were accepted.

How Much Does Stanford University Cost?

In the academic year 2023-24, the full cost of attendance for undergraduates at Stanford was $92,892, including their projected costs for personal expenses and allowances.

How Ivy Coach Helps Students Get Into Stanford

Over the past five years, 78% of Ivy Coach’s package clients have earned admission in Stanford’s Early Action round.

If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance with your child’s case for admission to Stanford, directly with Ivy Coach’s Jose Magaña, a former Stanford admissions officer, fill out our complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch.

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