Our Selection Process
Through your application, we want to get to know you, discover who you are, and learn about the ideas and interests that motivate you. To accomplish this, we review applications holistically, focusing on academic excellence, intellectual vitality, extracurricular impact, and personal context.
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 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 in order to be admitted to Stanford.
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, as 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 and expand your perspective.
Learning about your extracurricular activities and nonacademic interests helps us to discover your potential contributions to the Stanford community. Students often assume our primary concern is the number of activities in which a student participates. In fact, an exceptional depth of experience in one or two activities may demonstrate your passion more than minimal participation in five or six clubs. You may also hold down a job or have family responsibilities. These are as important as any other extracurricular activity. In general, we want to understand the impact you have had at your job, in your family, in a club, in your school, or in the larger community, and we want to learn of the impact that experience has had on you.
In some cases, exceptional abilities in athletics may influence our decision if the applicant is otherwise well qualified, but such abilities never, by themselves, ensure admission to Stanford.
Just as no two Stanford students are the same, each applicant to Stanford is unique. This means that as we review each application, we 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 holistically. No portion of the application is considered without the rest of the application.
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 Non-discrimination Policy
Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or marital status 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, in the administration of the University's programs and activities, 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, marital status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law; Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence. This policy applies to Stanford programs and activities both on and off-campus, including overseas programs.
The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding this nondiscrimination policy: Stanford’s Director of the Diversity and Access Office, Rosa Gonzalez, Kingscote Gardens, 419 Lagunita Drive, Suite 130, Stanford, CA 94305-8550; (650) 723-0755 (voice), (650) 723-1791 (fax), email@example.com (email). Stanford’s Title IX Coordinator, Jill Thomas, has been designated to handle inquiries regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence: Kingscote Gardens (2nd floor), 419 Lagunita Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 497-4955 (voice), (650) 497-9257 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org (email). Individuals may also file complaints directly with the Office for Civil Rights, within the United States Department of Education, by following the information on this website: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.
Updated on November 5, 2018 3:07 PM