Freshman Application Requirements
In response to COVID-19
Our standard optional interview information is below. In light of challenges related to COVID-19, all interviews worldwide will be conducted via video chat during the 2020-2021 academic year. Please see our visit our COVID-19 application updates for details.
The optional interview provides an opportunity for Regular Decision and Restrictive Early Action applicants to have a meaningful conversation with a Stanford alumnus/a. This two-way exchange allows you to learn more about Stanford, and the Admission Office to learn more about you.
Things to Know
- If your high school is in an interview area (listed below), you may be offered an interview with a local, trained Stanford alumnus/a volunteer. Applicants may not request an interview.
- Volunteers invite applicants to interview by email using the email noted in the application. Since volunteers also have the phone number you provided in your application, you may also receive a text message or phone call.
- Please do not worry if you are not contacted, as your application will be considered complete without an interview. It may be that we do not have enough volunteers in your area to interview each applicant.
- Applications are not pre-screened for interview eligibility.
- Applicants attending high schools not in an interview area are not eligible to interview.
- If you would like to accept an interview, please respond directly to the interviewer’s email to schedule a time. If you are unable to make one of the times proposed by the interviewer, please respond suggesting times that work for you.
- Declining an interview will not negatively impact your admission decision, and you may decline for any reason. Should you wish to decline an interview please communicate this to the interviewer rather than ignore the invitation. You do not need to share why you are declining an interview.
- If you or someone in your family knows the interviewer who contacts you, please clarify that with the interviewer so that we may attempt to match you with another volunteer.
- To maintain a fair and unbiased interview program, we ask that you do not network with those who may know your interviewer.
- During the 2020-21 application cycle, all interviews worldwide will be conducted via video chat. Applicants and volunteers will identify a mutually agreed upon platform for the interview. Commonly used platforms include Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Zoom.
- In a typical year, the majority of Stanford interviews are conducted in person; an interviewer will invite you to meet you in a public place, such as a coffee shop, food court or library. In-person interviews will not be permitted during the 2020-21 application cycle.
- No interviews are offered on the Stanford campus.
- Interviews for Restrictive Early Action applicants occur during the first few weeks of November.
- Interviews for Regular Decision applicants occur from mid-January to mid-February.
- During these times, please frequently check the email address you provided on your application.
- Since the interview is meant to be an informal conversation, no formal preparation is needed.
- There is no set list of questions that interviewers are required to ask, which allows for each interview to be a unique conversation.
- Prior to the interview, you may want to think about:
- Experiences and goals that you would like to share with your interviewer.
- Questions to ask your interviewer, as this is an opportunity to learn more about Stanford.
- You are welcome to dress in typical high school attire.
- Do not share resumes, transcripts, test scores, your application or other supplementary materials with your interviewer. The interview program does not provide a review of such material.
- Interviews may not be recorded by either the applicant or the interviewer.
- The interview is a one-on-one experience between you and your interviewer. Parents, siblings and friends should not be present during an interview. Parents who wish to meet the interviewer may do so immediately prior to the start of the interview.
- For video interviews, it can be helpful to use headphones to minimize potential audio feedback.
- Prepare to have an enjoyable experience talking about yourself and learning more about Stanford.
- Alumni volunteers learn about you through the interview and share information with the Office of Undergraduate Admission through a report that becomes part of your admission file.
- During the interview, alumni volunteers share stories about their Stanford experience.
- You may think of information after the interview that you wish you had shared. We are not able to accept additional information and we ask that you do not contact your interviewer to provide additional information.
- Please do not contact your interviewer to ask follow-up questions; direct follow-up questions to the Office of Undergraduate Admission as noted below.
The interview program is in the following areas and will expand further in California and internationally for future admission cycles.
United States and U.S. Territories
- All states (interviews are not offered in the following California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo)
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Washington D.C.