International Applicants

In response to COVID-19

In a typical year, Stanford requires just one exam—either the ACT or the SAT. The Writing/Essay section is not required. In light of challenges related to COVID-19, Stanford is test optional for the 2022–23 application cycle. Please see our COVID-19 application updates for details.

In our admission process, we consider any student who is neither a U.S. citizen nor U.S. permanent resident to be an international student.

International students have been an integral part of the university from its inception. Stanford is committed to enrolling a student body that includes students from around the world. The interactions among students with different backgrounds and experiences create a dynamic environment in which to learn and live.

Members of our admission staff specialize in evaluating educational systems from countries around the world and will consider your application within the context of the resources available to you. We recognize the educational procedures within your school and country as well as cultural and regional differences. Regardless of citizenship, applicants are reviewed in the context and country where they attend high school.

Stanford welcomes applicants from all around the world. International students are an integral part of our student body and contribute to a dynamic environment in which to learn and live. 

Please find frequently asked questions about applying as an international student below.

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and undocumented/DACA students are considered domestic applicants in our application process. If you are a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident living and attending school abroad, you are considered a domestic applicant for financial aid purposes, while your application will be read in the context of your secondary school.

For international citizens, your request for need-based financial aid will be a factor in our admission evaluation. Financial aid at Stanford is based on the family’s demonstrated financial need and we will meet the full need of all admitted students regardless of citizenship.

Other than financial aid, the application process is the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship or country of residence. Review and follow our First-Year Applicant Instructions or our Transfer Applicant Instructions.

All applicants must submit the Common Application online.

Stanford is committed to meeting demonstrated financial need for all admitted students (regardless of citizenship) who have requested financial aid during the application process.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident or an undocumented student, your request for financial aid will be a factor in our admission evaluation. While financial aid resources are limited for international citizens, Stanford does offer admission to a number of these applicants each year. International citizens who indicate on their applications that they will not be applying for financial aid and subsequently are admitted are not eligible to apply for financial aid at any time during their four years at Stanford. However, if your citizenship status changes during the time you are enrolled as an undergraduate, and you become eligible for federal student aid, you may also be considered for need-based financial aid starting in the quarter during which your citizenship status changes.

Stanford is need-blind for all U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and undocumented students regardless of where they attend high school. This means a request for financial aid will not be a factor in our admission evaluation. Visit our financial aid website for more information and to find the required application forms.

Members of our admission staff specialize in reading applications from countries around the world. We are familiar with the nuances of different education systems and consider your application within the context of the resources available to you. We will consider the educational procedures within your school and country, as well as cultural and regional differences.

While there are no courses or minimum scores required to secure admission to Stanford, we recommend completing the necessary coursework to apply to a university program for a bachelor's degree in your home country. You must also be in possession of a secondary school diploma (or your country’s equivalent) by the time you enroll in the fall.

To learn more about our selection process and the recommended high school curriculum, please see our suggestions for Academic Preparation.

You should consult the application instructions for information about which transcripts and school reports are required as part of your application. There is no need to have your marks converted into an American Grade Point Average (GPA).

Official documents that note your grades, marks, or any predictions are required and must be sent directly from your school as part of your application. If you have trouble accessing your application portal, your school may also email official documents to credentials@stanford.edu.

Stanford University does not accept applications for winter or spring enrollment. All of our admitted students enroll in the fall quarter. You must be in possession of a secondary school diploma (or your country’s equivalent) by the time you enroll.

If you are applying to Stanford University as a first-year applicant, you cannot attend another University or College where you receive credit after graduating high school. If you attend another University or College between your high school graduation and first year at Stanford, you must withdraw from that University/College before you receive any credit.

Official copies of your original transcripts and teacher evaluations are required. These must also be translated into English and copies of the translated documents must be provided with your application. Translations may not be completed by the applicant. However, we encourage applicants to utilize other resources available to them—such as English teachers or school administrators—to provide such translations.

If you do not have a guidance counselor, you may have another school official (i.e. principal, homeroom teacher, etc.) submit the counselor letter of recommendation for you.

We understand the difficulty students may have in preparing for and accessing admission testing worldwide. As a result, for students applying for admission to Stanford’s Class of 2027, which will enter the university in Fall 2023, Stanford will review applications with or without standardized test scores, leaving the decision in the hands of the applicant. This update includes students who are submitting a transfer application for entry to Stanford in Fall 2023.

If you are not able to take the ACT or SAT, your application will not be at a disadvantage. If you have already taken the ACT or SAT, and you feel that your scores are a positive reflection of your academic preparedness, then you are welcome to self-report them. Your application will not be at a disadvantage if you choose not to report your scores.

We are continuing to monitor the way COVID-19 is impacting students’ ability to meet application requirements. Please see our COVID-19 application updates for details.

Refer to Testing for general guidelines.

Note: Stanford reviews applications using either official or self-reported test scores for all applicants. Please self-report your highest scores in the Testing section of either the Common Application. All official scores will be required if you are offered admission and choose to enroll.

Fluency in English is a prerequisite for undergraduate admission at Stanford. However, we do not require that you take any standardized tests to demonstrate your English skills. While these exams are useful in helping us determine our applicants’ English proficiency, you may feel your fluency will be clear in other aspects of your application. We have no preferred proficiency exam. Generally, we receive English proficiency exam results from applicants whose native language is not English and/or the primary language of instruction at their secondary school is not English.

If you wish to take an English proficiency exam but feel that the cost is a financial burden for you, we offer fee waivers for the Duolingo English Test. We are only able to offer fee waivers to students who have demonstrated financial need through a complete submitted application. You must indicate on your application that you plan to apply for financial aid. Once you have submitted your application, please email us to request a fee waiver. Your email should include your full name, school, and birthdate. In order to ensure your test results reach us in time, please request a fee waiver no later than a week after the application deadline (November 8th for REA and January 12th for RD).

Applicants who are international citizens will receive information detailing the student visa application process if offered admission to Stanford. To learn more about the visa and immigration process, please visit the Bechtel International Center: Immigration website .

Stanford's international community adds vibrancy to our campus, and they find themselves at home in the dorms and classrooms. International students hail from around the world, speak a variety of languages and offer unique cultural perspectives. To see a sampling of some of the international student groups on campus and the many networks of support available to this community, please visit the Bechtel International Center website .

We do not have any exchange programs for undergraduates. If you would like to study at Stanford, you will need to apply as a transfer student, or consider graduate programs, the Stanford Continuing Studies program, or Stanford Summer Session. Please note that admission to the summer program is separate from Stanford’s undergraduate admission and does not provide an advantage in the undergraduate admission process.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission does not partner or work with paid agents or credentialing services. It is expected that all students complete their application materials without the use of such services.

Updated on November 10, 2022 11:58 AM