Stanford University is a private research university in California, USA. The University originated as the Leland Stanford Junior University in 1885. It is one of the most prestigious institutes in the world, with a ranking of #3 in the QS world university rankings in 2023. The institution is selective with its enrolments, with a low acceptance rate of 5%, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Stanford University’s acceptance rate for undergraduate courses for the class of 2025 was 3.95%, a decrease from the previous year’s 5.19%. The MS programs at Stanford University witnessed better results, with an acceptance rate of 8% in 2022. The low acceptance rate raises questions on how to get admission to Stanford University and the eligibility criteria.
The University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses on its California campus, attracting students worldwide. Stanford University’s admission criteria vary according to the level of the course.
The requirements to secure admission in undergraduate courses are:
- The candidate must have a good ACT or SAT score (optional for the year 2022-2023).
- The student should have chosen at least five courses each semester during high school.
- The student should have subjects like English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and a Foreign Language (recommended) in high school.
Stanford University’s admission criteria for graduate courses are:
- The candidate must have a US bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a university outside the US.
- Students must have English as their first language or appear for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before the deadline.
Stanford University’s admission requirements include essential documents for candidates seeking admission. These documents differ based on the level of study.
The mandatory documents required for undergraduate courses include:
- Application form
- Counselor’s letter of recommendation
- School report form
- Academic results or official transcripts from the previous institute
- Letters of recommendation from a minimum of two teachers
- Midyear transcript (until February 15)
- Test score records (ACT or SAT)
Candidates must submit the following documents for postgraduate and doctoral courses:
- Online application form on the official website
- A statement of purpose, comprising of one to two pages with a 12-point font and one-inch margins
- Resume or CV
- Three letters of recommendation from professors or employers
- University transcripts
- GRE scores (optional for 2023-24)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score
Most documents for postgraduate and doctoral courses must be submitted with the online application, barring the need for any physical copy.
Tests Required and Average Scores
Stanford University considers applicants with relevant GRE, TOEFL, ACT, or SAT scores, depending on whether the candidate has chosen undergraduate or graduate courses. Undergraduate courses require an ACT or SAT score for candidates residing within the United States, while international candidates need an additional English proficiency test.
However, Stanford University has dismissed standardized tests for the undergraduate class of 2027. If the candidate wants to appear for the test, it is up to their discretion. But their test scores will not improve their chances of gaining admission.
Stanford University’s admission requirements state that the candidate must appear for one or more of the below-listed standardized tests for admission to graduate courses at Stanford University:
- GRE General Test & Subject Tests: Depending on the requirements of their chosen graduate program, candidates must appear for GRE. It is advisable to appear for the GRE, and the scores will be sent to Stanford if required.
- TOEFL Internet-Based Test: Candidates must appear for TOEFL if their first language is not English.
Depending on the course, the candidate must score a minimum score in TOEFL to be eligible. Some courses and their cut-off TOEFL scores are:
- Doctoral Programs – 100
- School of Engineering Master’s Programme – 100
- All other Master’s Programmes – 89
Stanford University is located in the heart of California and comprises 16,937 students studying 69 undergraduate and 200 graduate courses. Some of the popular undergraduate courses at the institute include:
- Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Science
- Energy Resources Engineering
- Film and Media Studies
- Geological Sciences
Stanford University is known worldwide for its distinguished postgraduate courses. Some of them include:
- Biomedical Informatics
- Applied Physics
- Learning, Design, and Technology
- Chemical Engineering
- Computational and Mathematical Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
How Stanford University Evaluates Applicants
How to get admission to Stanford University? The institute uses the principle of holistic admission to evaluate students and check their eligibility to study among some of the top minds in the world. The evaluation considers the following factors:
- Academic excellence: The University assesses a candidate’s high school transcript, focusing on their potential to succeed and ability to challenge themselves throughout their education.
- Intellectual vitality: Stanford University focuses on a student’s desire to grow through their statement of purpose and letters of recommendation, understanding the impact of the candidate on the people around them.
- Extracurricular activity: The institute uses this factor to understand what the student can bring to Stanford. It focuses on a student’s initiative to holster a well-rounded development by devoting time to activities outside academics.
- Context: Since every candidate promises a different set of skills and experience, the University relies on using context to judge achievements. It checks for your resources and how well you have utilized them.
Each of these criteria is equally important for the admission committee. These factors aren’t considered individually; instead, the committee focuses on a holistic review of applications.
Tips for Applying to Stanford University
With a reputation as one of the top universities in the world, Stanford University’s acceptance rate is low. Preparing a unique application that answers essential questions about the candidate is crucial, allowing the selection committee to gauge the student’s personality through the application.
Some tips to make applications stand out are:
- Use your personal statement to narrate a story, including important periods in your life when you were first introduced to the subject. Include the reason you gained an interest in it.
- Do not spam the application questions with long, unnecessary content. Keep your answers crisp and to the point.
- Proofread thoroughly. Make a friend or family member re-read your application to spot any potential errors.
- Highlight significant achievements, extracurricular activities, and milestones in your life that altered your perspectives or impacted your growth.
- Use letters of recommendation to your advantage and allow your professors or employers to showcase your excellence to the admissions committee.
- Emphasize answers that showcase your interest in learning and gaining knowledge.
Stanford University invites applications for its undergraduate and graduate courses every year. The undergraduate programs offer two decision plans for prospective first-year students looking to enroll in the University. These are:
- Regular Decision: A majority of students apply through this route. It consists of the standard admission procedure recommended for students aiming to improve academic performance. It also allows them to retake standardized tests before applying.
- Restricted Decision: It is also known as a non-binding early application. It is applicable to applicants whose first choice is Stanford University. It is also suitable for candidates confident about their overall profile.
The deadline for applications varies according to the decision. Here is a table to better illustrate the standard deadlines every year.
Restrictive Early Action Decision
Application with Arts Portfolio
Materials with Arts Portfolio
Standard Application Last Date
Missing Documents Notification
Decision Release Date
Last Date for Student to Reply
The candidate can send a maximum of three applications during every admission cycle. If you have only submitted two, you can send a third before the deadline.
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