Freshman Requirements & Process
We want to hear your individual voice in your writing. Write essays that reflect who you are; use specific concrete details and write in a natural style. Begin work on these essays early, and feel free to ask your parents, teachers and friends to provide constructive feedback. Ask if the essay's tone sounds like your voice. If those closest to you do not believe your essay captures who you are, we will not be able to recognize what is distinctive about you. While asking for feedback is suggested, do not enlist hired assistance in the writing of your essays.
Common Application Essay
Candidates choose one topic and respond. (250-word minimum, 650-word maximum.)
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
Stanford Short Essays
Candidates respond to all three essay topics. (250 word limit for each essay.)
- Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.
- Virtually all of Stanford's undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate—and us—know you better.
- What matters to you, and why?