Our Selection Process


As we review applications, several ideas guide our holistic evaluation including the central hallmarks of academic excellence, intellectual vitality and personal context.

Academic Excellence

The primary criterion for admission to Stanford is academic excellence. We look for your preparation and potential to succeed. We expect you to challenge yourself throughout high school and to do very well. The most important credential that enables us to evaluate your academic record is the high school transcript. Remember, however, that our evaluation of your application goes beyond any numerical formula. There is no minimum GPA or test score; nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript that will secure your admission to Stanford.

Intellectual Vitality

We want to see your commitment, dedication and genuine interest in expanding your intellectual horizons; both in what you write about yourself and in what others write on your behalf. We want to see the kind of curiosity and enthusiasm that will allow you to spark a lively discussion in a freshman seminar and continue the conversation at a dinner table. We want to see the energy and depth of commitment you will bring to your endeavors, whether that means in a research lab, while being part of a community organization, during a performance or on an athletic field. We want to see the initiative with which you seek out opportunities that expand your perspective and that will allow you to participate in creating new knowledge.

Personal Context

Just as no two Stanford students are the same, no two Stanford applicants are identical. This means that as we review each application, we must pay careful attention to unique circumstances. We take into account family background, educational differences, employment and life experiences. By focusing on your achievements within context, we evaluate how you have excelled within your unique school environment and how you have taken advantage of what was available to you in your school and community.

It is important to know these variables are not listed in order of importance in our evaluation and selection process.  We review applications in an integrated format where no one portion can be considered without the other.

Stanford University Honor Code and Fundamental Standard

Stanford’s Honor Code has been integral in fostering an atmosphere of trust and respect among students and faculty since it was written in 1921. It articulates University expectations of students and faculty in establishing and maintaining the highest standards in academic work. In part, the Stanford Honor Code states that students will not give or receive aid in examinations; students will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading; and students will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves will uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.

The Fundamental Standard of Stanford University addresses personal conduct, and together with the Stanford Honor Code, describes the common community standards to which all Stanford students are held. It states that students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens.

Stanford University Nondiscrimination Policy

Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. Consistent with its obligations under the law, Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University's programs and activities; Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding this nondiscrimination policy: Director of the Diversity and Access Office, Mariposa House, 585 Capistrano Way, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-8230; (650) 723-0755 (voice), (650) 723-1216 (TTY), (650) 723-1791 (fax), equal.opportunity@stanford.edu (email). Stanford’s Title IX Coordinator, Catherine Criswell, has been designated to handle inquiries regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence: 450 Serra Mall, Building 160, Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 497-4955 (voice), (650) 497-9257, titleix@stanford.edu.


Updated on November 21, 2014 10:39 AM