Each application to Stanford is considered both individually and within the context of a very large and talented applicant pool. We hope the information below will be helpful in understanding the Stanford admission process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. To accept your place on the waitlist, submit the online Stanford Waitlist Response Form. Only students who accept their place will be considered for future admission. We also welcome brief updates to your application using the Waitlist Response Form. Please note that the form may be submitted only once. To provide updates later, please use the Update Application Form in your portal.
We respectfully ask that you do not submit additional letters of recommendation or additional materials such as writing samples, creative/performing arts credentials, photos, research papers, and certificates. Please do not call to inquire about your chances of being admitted because we cannot speculate on those chances.
Approximately 1% of those who applied for admission were offered a place on our waitlist. Students must accept their waitlist offer; we expect more than half to do so.
We will not know how many, if any, students will be offered admission from the waitlist until we know how many admitted students have accepted a place in our class.
No, our waitlist is not ranked.
We will re-evaluate waitlist candidates if our enrolled student number is lower than initially predicted. We will provide all candidates holding a space on the waitlist with a final admission decision by July 1.
In our review of the presented materials, we get to know each applicant individually and develop an understanding of the applicant within the context of the resources and opportunities available to that student.
The two most important criteria for admission to Stanford are distinguished academic achievement and significant potential to achieve at a high level during the undergraduate years. Another criterion for admission is involvement outside the classroom, where we seek evidence of sustained commitment and leadership in school and community activities.
We look for students who will make a strong contribution to the Stanford community by demonstrating intellectual vitality and academic leadership, qualities not entirely captured by grade point averages and test scores. Because of the number of exceptional students who apply to Stanford, there are unfortunately many top students for whom we simply do not have room.
Sometimes a candidate is denied admission while someone they know, whose GPA or other quantitative measures are lower, is admitted. This occurs both because we value hard-to-quantify personal qualities and achievements and because schools, programs and individuals vary so widely. While you might know another applicant’s academic profile, only admission officers see the entire application, including the student's writing and academic evaluations. Each applicant presents a unique combination of achievement, potential and intellectual vitality, as well as their personal qualities and story. It is the composite of these factors that ultimately influences our decisions.
All admission decisions are made by a committee and not by any one admission officer. As a result, we cannot provide applicants with specific or detailed reasons for why they were not offered admission. It is our long-standing policy to not re-evaluate a file with a candidate. If applicants call to ask why they were not offered admission, we will not be able to provide this information.
Stanford admission decisions are final, and we do not conduct an appeal process.
An applicant's need for financial aid is never a factor in the admission decision, except in the case of international students (applicants requiring a student visa to study in the United States). Stanford adheres to a need-blind admission policy for all U.S. citizens, undocumented students and all non-U.S. citizens eligible for federal student aid.
Applicants are limited to a total of three applications for undergraduate admission, whether for first-year admission, transfer admission or a combination of both. If you have submitted fewer than three applications to Stanford, you may reapply.
Please visit our Transfer Applicants page for guidelines on submitting a first-year or transfer application in a subsequent year.