Stanford University


Life at Stanford is about unlimited possibilities. Their students roam the art-filled halls in Paris’s famed Musée d’Orsay, form part of the White House’s work force, and command the attention of fifteen Nobel Laureates on the faculty. As an undergraduate, you can make the Galapagos Islands your classroom, or stay on campus and enjoy the more than eight million volumes in our libraries, not to mention the technical facilities that advance our nation’s scientific knowledge daily. Stanford channels the world’s resources into its students, transforming them into tomorrow’s innovators. The university’s alumni are responsible for such household names as Yahoo!, Google, the laser, GPS Technology, Grapes of Wrath, and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The boundless resources at Stanford create a vibrancy on campus, infecting students with a sense of purpose and intellectual ambition. Students have wildly differing interests: a single group of friends may include a computer scientist, a budding novelist, or a dedicated public servant, all of whom would be well served by Stanford’s curriculum and extracurricular possibilities.

Balancing the unparalleled academic possibilities are Stanford’s extracurricular activities. Stanford has received fourteen consecutive Directors’ Cups, an award recognizing the top all-around Division I athletic program in the NCAA Division I. The university’s stellar sports program not only injects its undergraduate body with some of the most dedicated and talented athletes in the country, but it also creates a powerful feeling of pride and unity among its students. Aside from its sports program, students have created more than six hundred student-led organizations, ranging from the SIMPS (Stanford Improvisers) to the yo-yo club, to hip-hop dance groups. Each quarter ninety-nine percent of the 6,700 undergraduates either reside on campus or are participating in one of ten off-campus studies programs sponsored by the university; residence life is an integral and vital aspect of the Stanford experience. Grouping so many young adults together leads to a rich variety of activities, clubs, and social events, guaranteeing that undergraduate life is anything but dull.

Best of all, students never have to put their activities (academic or extracurricular) on hold. Thanks to its gloriously mild weather, students literally enjoy the school every day of the year. Stanford’s perennial sun also serves to highlight its beautiful campus of more than 8,000 acres located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and less than an hour from San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. Students also relish being near attractions such as Lake Tahoe, Monterey Bay, Big Sur, and Yosemite National Park.

Stanford is committed to offering its undergraduates an education that is unrivaled among research universities. Recognized as one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions, the school has one of the most renowned faculties in the nation. Stanford’s extraordinary students—men and women of all races, ethnicities, ages, and experiences—are distinguished by their love of learning and desire to contribute in a significant way to the greater community. From their first day on campus, students explore virtually limitless opportunities that fuel their intellectual passions and help them fulfill their academic and personal promise. They are encouraged to share their interests with members of all campus communities, resulting in a vigorous intellectual life outside the classroom as well as inside.

Let us not be afraid to outgrow old thoughts and ways and dare to think on new lines as to the future work under our care. —Jane Stanford

The entrepreneurial spirit that inspired Leland and Jane Stanford to establish the institution and that later helped shape the discoveries and innovations of Silicon Valley, located right at Stanford’s doorstep, cultivates an environment of intense creativity. Students learn from policy makers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and scholars involved in the most pressing issues facing the world and in turn they become involved themselves in discovering new knowledge that will impact the future.

Simply put, the ways you will think and live tomorrow are being shaped at Stanford today.


Information Summary

Ranks 8th in California and 102nd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 95.1
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $71,587
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 35 / 1570
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 11 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 99% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 17,381


Stanford prides itself on its quality of education at the undergraduate level. More than seventy percent of undergraduate classes have twenty or fewer students, so the undergraduate experience is extremely personalized. Exclusive to freshmen and sophomores are more than 200 small-group seminars where students can enjoy close interactions with professors. With a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio, it’s easy for both students and faculty to get to know each other. There are more than sixty majors from which to choose, including several interdisciplinary majors, and you can create your own major with the help of a faculty member. In addition, you are free to take any class at Stanford, including the Medical, Law, and Business schools. This freedom to explore beyond undergraduate classes allows students to get a glimpse into what graduate school might be like, thus letting them make informed decisions about their academic futures.

Overseas Programs

Stanford students can choose from among nine campuses around the world. Beijing, Berlin, Brisbane, Florence, Kyoto, Moscow, Oxford, Paris, and Santiago all host a campus complete with Stanford faculty. Students earn full credit while studying at these centers. Each center provides unique research and/or internship opportunities: While Florence and Paris are prime centers for art history research, Kyoto offers engineering students great hands-on skills. Archaeology students benefit greatly from the Santiago program.

Aside from these overseas centers, the school also offers a myriad of seminars that have taken students to the Galapagos Islands, China, Korea, Russia, and Jerusalem.

A Research Institution for Undergraduates

Stanford is a premier research institution, responsible for MRI technology, gene splicing, global positioning systems, DNA micoarray technology, and a host of other inventions contributing significantly to the world. As an undergraduate at Stanford, you will be invited to participate in this innovative research. Student research grants sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Programs provide undergraduates with over $4 million each year to pursue their intellectual passions. As with any researcher, students must submit a research proposal in order to receive these grants. Faculty members assist students in the organization and development of the project, but students have full ownership of their project. With more than 130 research centers, Stanford provides students with the opportunities and resources to research just about any topic, anywhere. Some of the most renowned centers include:

  • Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Hoover boasts one of the largest collections of twentieth-century political materials.
  • Hopkins Marine Station. Located ninety miles south of the campus, students can supplement their marine biology courses with research in this marine laboratory.
  • Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Twelve hundred acres within a short walk of campus, where protected flora and fauna can be appreciated or studied.
  • Stanford Humanities Laboratory. Interdisciplinary humanities laboratory on campus.
  • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Operated for the U.S. Department of Energy, researching particle physics.
  • Stanford University Medical Center. Includes dozens of specialized clinics. Located on campus, undergraduates are free to attend classes at the medical school, and frequently become research assistants.
  • Woods Institute for the Environment. An interdisciplinary center that serves as the hub for all environmental research and education on campus.

The following are among the scholars who will enrich your undergraduate research education:

  • Nobel laureates- 15
  • Pulitzer Prize winners- 4
  • MacArthur fellows- 23
  • National Medal of Science recipients- 21
  • National Medal of Technology recipients- 3
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences members- 223
  • Wolf Foundation Prize for Mathematics winners- 7
  • Koret Foundation Prize winners- 7
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom winners- 4

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Every year Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission assembles a freshman class of 1,600 students out of about 25,000 applicants. Needless to say, getting admitted is a complicated and layered process. The selection process weighs everything from extracurricular activities to personal qualities, but academic excellence is far and away the single most important criterion for admission.

Each application is reviewed by a committee of admission officers. The goal of the admission staff is to create a freshman class with a myriad of strengths; every student should contribute a valued talent or life experience to the undergraduate body, as well as proven academic excellence.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission seeks to admit those students whose distinctions, whatever they may be, prove they would flourish at a place like Stanford. The university values both well-rounded and specialized students; it is important to remember that there is no cookie-cutter recipe for admission. The admission process is truly a personalized one. The application relies heavily on short essays, which allow students to present themselves fully: their motivations, passions, and ideals should resonate throughout the application. Admission officers thus have the privilege of getting to know applicants’ personal strengths as well as their academic achievements and intellectual passions.


All applicants, including transfer students and international students, must present official scores from either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT with the Optional Writing Test. The admissions office also strongly recommends that students submit SAT Subject Test scores. There are no minimum thresholds for grade point average (GPA), test scores, or rank in class. Although there will be plenty of students with perfect test scores and GPAs in its applicant pool, Stanford is looking beyond numerical figures: The school seeks to admit intriguing and passionate individuals who will contribute to campus life and take full advantage of the opportunities available to them, and who demonstrate an intellectual vitality that clearly states they derive pleasure from learning for learning’s sake.

The university also values exceptional ability in both the arts and athletics. If you are interested in having these talents evaluated in the admission process, consider submitting samples of artwork or auditioning in music, drama, or dance, or communicating with a coach to see if your abilities are competitive within the Stanford Division I program. For information on pursuing these options, visit Please keep in mind that these talents will enhance your application only if you are otherwise well qualified; they will not earn you admission in and of themselves.

Restrictive Early Action

The school offers a Restrictive Early Action option for those students who know clearly that Stanford is their first-choice school and have completed a thorough and thoughtful college search. This option will best serve students who are ready to be evaluated in terms of their high school career by the beginning of November of the senior year. Early candidates should feel confident in their sophomore and junior year programs, and should complete their standardized testing by the October of the senior year. Those offered admission have until May 1 to consider if they will enroll.

Admission Statistics

The previous chart gives some statistics on Stanford’s entering freshman class for a recent fall. Keep in mind that these statistics do not quantify many of the criteria Stanford values in the admission process, including personal qualities, intellectual curiosity, and many other areas of excellence as described above.

The institution admits students of either sex and any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the university. It does not discriminate against students on the basis of race, color, handicap, religion, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other university-administered programs.

Financial Aid

Tuition, room and board at Stanford costs slightly over $50,000 annually. Stanford is need-blind in its admission process, meaning that applying for financial aid does not affect the admission decision. This policy applies to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. International students should refer to the following section.

Stanford is committed to providing a financial aid package that will meet the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted U.S. student or permanent resident of the United States. In the spring of 2008, the school announced significant enhancements to its financial aid policies. Parents whose total annual income is less than $60,000 a year will not be expected to contribute toward educational costs. Parents with income between $60,000 and $100,000 will receive enough scholarship to cover the cost of tuition at a minimum.

Stanford also allows students to earn the work-study portion of a financial aid package through community service. This alleviates incoming students’ concern that they will be placed in unfulfilling jobs. Instead, the school’s service organization, the Haas Center for Public Service, helps students find rewarding part-time jobs. The popularity of these community service jobs accounts for the more than 3,000 students who participate in Haas-sponsored activities. In fact, the university has ranked first among top universities in dispensing federal work-study money for community service. The Haas Center also works with faculty to combine community service with classroom teaching. These school-based service programs complementing a student’s curriculum include the School of Engineering Pre-college program, the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, and the School of Education’s Stanford/Schools Collaborative.

Financial Aid for International Students

Stanford does not practice need-blind admission for international students, which means the need for financial aid is a consideration in admission. Some international students may be offered admission on the condition that they finance their Stanford education. Financial aid is available to international students on a limited basis. For more information on Stanford’s financial aid program, visit http://financialaid.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 1777th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


Residential Life at Stanford

More than ninety-nine percent of Stanford students live in student housing or at a Stanford-sponsored off-campus study program each quarter. That translates into a community of 6,600 people under the age of twenty-six all living within a relatively small radius. Because of this, the campus is vibrant and full of every imaginable student-led organization, from Greek life to political groups, to recreational clubs, to ethnic-cultural organizations and many more.

Stanford guarantees housing for the four years of a student’s undergraduate career. The small-house system includes seventy-eight residences all located within ten minutes walking distance from the center of campus. The houses vary in size and theme, and include: all freshmen houses, sophomore houses, four-class houses, upper-class houses, apartments, cross-cultural theme houses, and a handful of Greek houses. Approximately fifteen percent of students participate in the Greek system, making it a fun option for those who are interested, but not letting it command the undergraduate social scene.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Stanford Athletics—Go Cardinals!

Athletics flourish at Stanford. The glorious California weather, the 8,000 acres of open fields, and the Olympic caliber facilities all contribute to widespread popularity of athletics at Stanford. Not only has Stanford’s athletic department captured the Directors’ Cup for twelve years in a row, but also eight out of ten Stanford students participate in the athletic programs, whether it be at the varsity, intercollegiate, intramural, or club sport levels. Stanford’s expansive campus and idyllic location also provide the perfect setting for hikers, campers, runners, or rock climbers.

A quick list of Stanford’s major athletic facilities includes: Stanford Stadium, Arrillaga Family Sports Center, Artificial Turf field, Avery Aquatic Center, Cobb Track and Angell Field, Maples Pavilion, Stanford Golf Course, Taube Family Tennis Stadium, twenty-six tennis courts, a driving range, riding stables, and plenty of outdoor basketball and volleyball courts scattered throughout campus.

Stanford home games also provide a welcome release for students who relish the idea of showing Cardinal pride, often screaming themselves hoarse to the band music of the most irreverent and colorful band in college sports.

Cardinal Championships

  • Total National Championships: 101
  • Total Individual NCAA Championships: 393 (most in the nation)
  • Total NCAA Championships (NCAA rank): 90 (No. 2)
  • Total Men’s NCAA Championships (NCAA rank): 57 (No. 3)
  • Total Women’s NCAA Championships (NCAA rank): 33 (No. 1)
  • NCAA Team Championships Since 1980: 93 (most in the nation)
  • NCAA Team Championships Since 1990: 50 (most in the nation)

Prominent Cardinal Athletes

  • Football Players: John Elway, former Denver Broncos quarterback; John Lynch, Denver Broncos wide receiver; and Jim Plunkett, Heismen Trophy-winner and former Oakland Raiders quarterback.
  • Olympic Medalists: Janet Evans, Eric Heiden, Misty Hyman, Bob Mathias, Pablo Morales, Summer Sanders, Debra Thomas, and Jenny Thompson
  • Basketball Players: Jennifer Azzik, Jason and Jarron Collins, Kristen Folkl, Brevin Knight, Mark Madsen, Kate Starbird, and Jamila Wideman
  • Baseball Players: Mike Mussina, and Cy Young-winners Jack McDowell and Jim Lonborg
  • Golfers: Notah Begay, Casey Martin, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods


Stanford traditions are priceless in their sheer wackiness. Incoming freshmen are accepted into the Stanford fold in the freshman right of passage, Full Moon on the Quad. During the first full moon of the quarter, departing seniors welcome incoming freshmen to Stanford with a kiss. The sight of more than 3,000 people kissing under a full moon is unforgettable. Serenaded by the crazy Leland Stanford Junior University Band, Full Moon on the Quad is one raucous night.

Stanford traditions are rooted in irreverence. —Libusha Kelly, class of 1997

Every Sunday night, Stanford students put down their books to go enjoy a movie at Flicks, a student-run movie house. You can expect a rowdy paper fight during the movie’s beginning credits as well as dorm chants and sporadic hissing from the crowd. Every student looks forward to the last flick of their undergraduate career, a free showing of Dustin Hoffman’s The Graduate.

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band traditionally dons wild, colorful costumes and sports uniquely decorated instruments. Known for their irreverent halftime shows, the Band is one tradition that keeps Stanford jumping. Backed by Stanford’s ever-energetic mascot, the Tree, the Band is the wackiest of the school’s wacky traditions.


Students go on to accomplish whatever they set their minds to. The school’s broad liberal arts education imbues its students with an education applicable to any number of disciplines. Among Stanford’s alumni are world leaders, technological innovators, and people of great influence.

Career Development Center

While a tremendous number of young alumni go on to pursue graduate studies, some set off into the real world with the help of the Career Development Center (CDC). The CDC provides individual counseling at all stages of a student’s career planning and hosts a strong recruiting program, where industries and employers come to campus each quarter to recruit new graduates. Stanford alumni are also a fantastic resource for young alumni and recent graduates.

Stanford Alumni Association

The personal and academic connections students enjoy at Stanford continue to flourish after graduation. For those alumni who wish to continue their academic growth after graduation, the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) offers an education series entitled “Stanford Reads.” Designed to connect alumni throughout the world, “Stanford Reads” includes an on-line book salon hosted by a Stanford professor. For those alumni who wish to reconnect with their peers in recreational ways, there is a yearly Reunion Homecoming weekend full of Cardinal activities, as well as opportunities to vacation with fellow alumni in various locations around the world. These vacations have included such destinations as the Arenal Volcano of Costa Rica, the Amazonian rain forests, and the mountains of Tibet.

Prominent Grads

While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are a few Stanford alumni who have made amazing contributions to the world:

  • Doris Fisher, Cofounder of Gap, Inc.
  • William Hewlett and David Packard, Founders of Hewlett-Packard Co.
  • Philip Knight, Chairman and CEO of Nike, Inc.
  • Ted Koppel, Television Journalist
  • Sandra Lerner and Leonard Bosack, Founders of Cisco Systems
  • Charles Schwab, Chairman and CEO of Charles Schwab Corp.
  • Chih-Yuan “Jerry” Yang and David Filo, Founders of Yahoo!
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justices: Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor (former), and the late William Rehnquist
  • U.S. Senators: Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Kent Conrad, Dianne Feinstein, and Ron Wyden
  • Ehud Barak, Former Israeli Prime Minister
  • Warren Christopher, Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Fred Savage, Actor
  • Jennifer Connelly, Actress
  • Herbert Hoover, Former U.S. President
  • Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, Google Founders
  • William Perry, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
  • Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru

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