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Guide on how to apply to Stanford university

how to apply in Stanford university

Guide on how to apply to Stanford university, one of the world’s renowned research universities, is located in Palo Alto, California, roughly 45 minutes southeast of San Francisco, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley carries over to Stanford’s campus, as computer science is the most popular undergraduate major.

During the 2019-2020 applications cycle, Stanford’s acceptance rate was slightly higher than it has been in recent years, but still just 5.2% of applicants were accepted. If you’re hoping to snag a spot at this prestigious school, here’s everything you need to know about applying.

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Average Stats of Accepted Stanford University Students

While Stanford does not report an average GPA or class rank for its accepted applicants, it does list middle 50% scores for the SAT and ACT. For the SAT, Stanford breaks its score report into the math and reading and writing sections: the middle 50% of accepted Stanford applicants scored between 720-800 on the math section, and 700-770 on the reading and writing section, for a composite score of between 1420-1570. For the ACT, the middle 50% of Stanford students scored between 31-35.

Unfortunately, at a school as competitive as Stanford, even perfect test scores do not guarantee you will be accepted. But if your scores fall in the above ranges, your application should at least get through the initial review, which means your essays and activities list will be read.

If your scores are lower than those listed above, there is a good chance you will be automatically disqualified unless you are a legacy student, a recruited athlete, or an underrepresented minority. While this may seem unfair, Stanford receives over 40,000 applications per year, so like many selective schools, they use the Academic Index to filter out applicants that are not academically comparable to the average Stanford student.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Stanford, like many schools, has adopted a temporary test-optional policy. If you are wondering whether you should still try to take the SAT or ACT and would like more advice, you can read our article on test-optional policies. While a strong test score can only help your application, your and your family’s health is most important.

Stanford University Application Process

Stanford accepts both the Common and Coalition Application, and students can apply either Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision. REA is an unusual policy adopted by some of the most selective schools in the country, under which you cannot apply to any other private college or university during the early cycle. You can apply to public universities, however, and unlike Early Decision, if you are accepted REA to Stanford you are not required to attend.

The REA and RD deadlines are as follows:

Application deadlineNovember 1January 2
Decision byDecember 15April 1
Confirm attendance byMay 1May 1

The fee to submit your application, regardless of which cycle you apply in and which platform you use, is $90. If you are worried that this cost may prevent you from submitting your application, you can request a fee waiver in either the Common or Coalition Application.

Stanford Application Components

  •     The Common Application or Coalition Application
  •     $90 application fee, or approval of your fee waiver request
  •     School report and counselor recommendation
  •     Official transcript
  •     Two teacher letters of recommendation
  •     Midyear transcript
  •     Stanford supplemental essays
  •     Stanford supplemental essay prompts
  •     Optional alumni interview

School Report

Your school report, which will likely be submitted by your school counselor along with their recommendation, contains factual information about your high school such as the academic programs offered, average GPAs, and so on. This report gives Stanford context as they evaluate your academic performance in high school.

Midyear Transcript

Even if you are accepted REA to Stanford, you must still submit this to update Stanford on your senior year academic performance.

Stanford University Financial Aid

Financial Aid Generosity

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the annual cost of attending Stanford is $78,218. Almost half of all Stanford undergraduates receive financial aid, however, with an average package of $58,494. Stanford commits to meeting 100% of a family’s demonstrated need, as well as providing loan-free aid. For applicants who are US citizens or undocumented but residing in the US, Stanford has a need-blind admissions policy, but this policy does not apply to international students.

Below is a table which shows the average amount of financial aid received by families in certain income brackets, and the percent of applicants in those brackets who qualify for aid.

Annual Family IncomeAverage Aid PackagePercentage of Applicants who Qualify for Aid
Under $65,000$78,30999%
Over $245,000$23,03648%

Stanford does note that most families in the two highest income brackets who qualify for aid have two or more children in college.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

The below table shows which documents must be submitted, and the important financial aid deadlines to be aware of, for different types of applicants.

Type of ApplicantNecessary DocumentsDeadline to Apply for AidNotification of Aid Package
REA US citizen or undocumented residentCSS Profile, FAFSA, IDOC (Institutional Documentation Service)November 15thDecember 15th
REA international studentCSS Profile, International Student Supplement, IDOC (Canadian applicants only)November 15thDecember 15th
RD US citizen or undocumented residentCSS Profile, FAFSA, IDOC (Institutional Documentation Service)February 15thApril 1st
RD international studentCSS Profile, International Student Supplement, IDOC (Canadian applicants only)February 15thApril 1st

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