How to get into Stanford University is an often-asked question and being accepted at this prestigious school is certainly a great achievement. Founded in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford in honour of their son, Leland Jr., Stanford University is a world-renowned research university comprised of seven separate institutions, including several undergraduate programs. For undergrads, it’s a prime choice for the best undergrad business schools as it’s a step towards the coveted and highly competitive Stanford MBA degree, for those seeking a career in business. In this blog, we’ll learn what programs are offered to undergrads at Stanford, application components and deadlines, eligibility requirements, tuition and funding opportunities, and more.

Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa. 

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Article Contents
9 min read

Mission statement Academic overview Application type Application timeline Admission statistics Eligibility Tuition Funding opportunities Undergrad interview Acceptance, waitlist and deferral Contact information FAQs

Mission statement

Stanford University’s mission statement is: “To extend the frontiers of knowledge, stimulate creativity and solve real-world problems, prepare students to think broadly, deeply and critically, and to contribute to the world and deploy Stanford’s strengths to benefit our region, country and world.”

Academic overview

Stanford University, founded in 1885, is comprised of seven separate schools comprised of a variety of academic programs. The seven schools of Stanford are: Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences; Stanford Graduate School of Business; Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences; Stanford School of Engineering; Stanford School of Medicine; Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Stanford Law School.

Stanford University offers 69 undergraduate academic programs and courses in various fields of study, with an emphasis on a liberal arts educational experience. There are three undergraduate degrees available at Stanford: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Sciences and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences. Stanford’s undergraduate students also have unique study abroad opportunities supported by the school and an opportunity to delve into undergraduate research during their time at Stanford. As expected from the school’s motto, Stanford aims to mold future leaders and trailblazers in a variety of industries and fields as one of the top non-Ivy League schools in the US and one of the top universities in the world.

Stanford has over 7,600 undergraduate students currently studying on its campus in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stanford University is also dedicated to advancements in scientific and medical research, with over 7,900 projects currently funded at the school’s various faculties.

Unclear on how exactly the whole college application typically works? This video will walk you through everything:

Application type

Stanford accepts both the Common App and Coalition App. Both are treated the exact same way by the school’s admissions committee and there is no stated preference for one over the other. Stanford does not list any supplemental essay questions or particular essay prompts, although these may change from year to year.

The components of your application to Stanford University as an undergrad will also include:

All components are required to apply, except for the optional art portfolio, which is used to highlight exceptional talents in the arts. Your arts portfolio will need to be submitted before the regular application deadline. Arts portfolios are not a requirement of your Stanford application, but they can help demonstrate any additional talents or personal accomplishments you want to share with the admissions committee. This can be a great opportunity to differentiate your application and show off unique skills in art, music, dance, theatre and more.

The common app, if you choose to apply this way, may also include the common app essay, common app activities section and any supplemental college application essays you decide to write. Aside from your high school academic transcripts and any ACT or SAT scores you submit, a school report will be submitted by your high school, which will include a letter from your school’s guidance counselor. Your mid-year report will also be prepared and submitted by your high school in most circumstances. You’ll need to take it upon yourself to ask two of your high school teachers to write letters of recommendation for you, too. It’s a good idea to choose the teachers closest to your chosen field of study for this purpose. For example, if you are pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, consider asking your social studies, history, English and arts-related subject teachers to write you a letter of recommendation.

Your application is comprised of more than just your academic performance, test scores and teacher recommendations. It will require a significant amount of work on your part in crafting your college essay. For help with this endeavour, your can rely on the aid of college essay advisors or by reading examples of college essays to help inspire you. Above all, it’s important to write honestly and passionately about yourself, on whatever topic is chosen for your application essay. This is your opportunity to share your true voice with Stanford and show the admissions committee why they should pick you.

Need tips for your common app essay? Check out this infographic:

Application timeline

Stanford University allows undergraduate students to apply through two decision plans: Restrictive Early Action Decision and Regular Decision. If you’re applying through Early Action, the deadline for your application is November 1. If you’re applying through regular decision, your deadline is January 5. All applications or supplementary materials need to be submitted by the deadline date by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Below we’ve highlighted some key deadlines and dates for your application to Stanford’s undergraduate programs.

Admission statistics

Stanford practices what it calls “holistic admissions” decisions, aiming to admit students based on their overall unique life experiences, perspectives and interests. The school remains extremely selective, however, with an acceptance rate of just under 5%. Of tens of thousands of applicants each year, only a handful are admitted.

Right now, 12% of those accepted students are international students, or non-US citizens. 60% of the enrolled students at Stanford also come from a public school background.


Although Stanford isn’t a member of the prestigious Ivy League, it’s undoubtedly a competitive school to get into. The average GPA score of its accepted students is 3.9, and the average SAT and ACT scores of admitted applicants are between 750-800 and 32-35, respectively.

Stanford emphasizes academic excellence as its primary criterion when selecting applicants for admission. However, this does not mean presenting the highest scores or a flawless GPA is a guarantee for admission. Students are expected to show their intelligence, creativity and unique perspectives in the written portions of their applications as well. Stanford also takes a good look at an applicant’s extracurriculars, work experience and personal life to determine who will be the best fit. The key is to present a well-rounded and thoughtful application—be sure to aim high in the academics department, but also feel free to branch out to many interests in academics, arts, sports and recreation. In your college essay and other written portions, present a strong and unique voice for the admissions board to learn quickly who you are.

If your standardized test scores or GPA are below the averages, think about ways to improve your GPA or consider retaking your SAT or ACT to submit a higher score. Although the numbers aren’t the final and only consideration on your application, they can certainly help tip the scales more in your favour.

There are no specific requirements Stanford has for extracurriculars, athletics or student interests outside of school, but keep in mind that only three of the seven Stanford schools offer undergraduate programs, specifically in the arts and sciences. If your interests are more specific, or the programs offered at Stanford don’t include a closer dive into the field of study you’re interested in, you may want to explore your other options.


Tuition at Stanford University is listed at $57, 693 for an undergraduate degree. The total to attend Stanford, including other student expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and supplies and other personal expenses, comes to a total of $82,162 for undergrads.

The university’s financial aid office also helps students to calculate their student budget and costs, including one-time freshman costs such as orientation fees, health insurance costs and any travel expenses. Students are required to have health insurance, and the school offers a separate program for any students who need it. Students are encouraged to reach out to the financial aid office to help determine the costs of their attendance at Stanford and to see if they are eligible for any financial aid.

Is your common app activities section complete? If not, take a look at this infographic for some helpful tips:

Funding opportunities

Like many prestigious schools, Stanford has a commitment to providing financial aid to its undergraduate students wherever possible. In recent years, around 87% of students were able to graduate without student debt. Stanford’s need-based financial aid program provides help with tuition, room and board and athletic scholarships to students every year. Around 70% of students at Stanford receive financial aid.

Aside from scholarships awarded by Stanford, students can pursue federal and state grants to help fund their education. Students can also find funding through outside scholarships and grants, outside employment or student loans. It is highly encouraged that students look to their parents for financial aid, or apply for scholarships first and foremost, before pursuing student loans.

Students who are applying through Early Action need to submit their application for financial aid by November 15 and will be notified by December 15 at the latest. Students applying through Regular Decision must submit their applications by February 15 and will be notified in April. Students can find and fill out the financial aid application form on the Stanford website, and submit their eligibility online. In general, students whose parents make under $150,000 a year are eligible for some type of financial aid from the university.

Undergrad interview

Like many other schools, Stanford has special application interview process for undergraduate students. Interviews are conducted with as many applicants as possible, though they may not be available to all students. If you receive an invitation to interview, it does not reflect on your admission status, but it can be a great opportunity to further your application and learn more about Stanford.

Interviews are conducted usually by a Stanford alumni and are designed for applicants to be able to meet face to face and ask questions about the school, campus life, their chosen program and any other questions they may have. It also allows the alumni, who conduct interviews on a volunteer basis, to learn more about the applicant, their motivations for applying, and help inform the admissions board whether they are a good choice for admission.

If you’re offered an interview, it’s recommended to accept. Whether it’s a virtual or in-person interview, it can demystify any of your questions about attending college, and it can significantly improve your chances of acceptance, so preparing for your college interview is a must. Although interviews with former Stanford students will typically be less formal interviews, they may still ask you questions designed to get to know you better, like “tell me about yourself” and “what will you contribute to the college community?” so brush up on your answers to these key questions.

Acceptance, waitlist and deferral

Acceptance decisions are typically sent out in December for Early Action applicants and during the spring for Regular Decision applicants. Students have until May 2 of the application cycle to confirm their acceptance.

For students who are waitlisted, it can feel like a rejection, but Stanford actually accepts a surprising number of students off its waitlist each year. In recent years, Stanford accepted 260 students from its waitlist. As the school is notoriously competitive and has thousands of applicants each year, it’s inevitable that a chunk of them will be waitlisted. Being waitlisted does not necessarily mean you won’t be accepted.

A small number of Early Action applicants may be deferred to the Regular Decision cycle each application year. This does not reflect on a student’s application status but may simply indicate the admissions board is strongly considering you for admission.

Students can also choose to defer their acceptance for a number of reasons, such as international travel, military or religious service or pursuit of a research project. Any student wishing to defer their enrollment at Stanford should notify the school as soon as possible before the May 2 deadline. Being granted a deferral of enrollment is not guaranteed, but once the deadline has arrived all accepted applicants will need to provide their final answer.

Contact information

The Stanford University Office of Undergraduate Admission can be reached at (650) 723-2091 or at

The financial aid office can be reached at [email protected].


1. What is Stanford’s mission?

Stanford’s mission centers on the expansion of student knowledge, encouraging its students to think critically and creatively about real-world problems, and molding future leaders who are of service to the world.

2. What GPA do you need to get into Stanford?

The average accepted GPA for Stanford students is 3.9. While its not a requirement for acceptance, its recommended to get at least the average score to increase your chances of being admitted to the highly competitive school.

3. Is it difficult to get into Stanford?

Stanford is a notoriously competitive school to get into. The university’s undergraduate acceptance rate is around 4.8%.

4. Is Stanford an Ivy League school?

Although Stanford is a prestigious and world-renowned school, it is not one of the eight members of the Ivy League.

5. What does Stanford look for?

In general, Stanford looks for applicants who demonstrate academic excellence. This means more than just high scores or a lofty GPA, though. Applicants should be able to demonstrate intelligence, passion and curiosity in all aspects of their application.

6. Does Stanford require college interviews?

Yes. Like many other universities, Stanford offers applicants a chance to interview with a Stanford alumni to ask questions about college life.

7. Does Stanford have a waitlist?

Yes; Stanford’s undergrad programs all have a waitlist, though many students are accepted off of it each application cycle.

8. Do I need to submit SAT/ACT scores to Stanford?

It is recommended to submit your SAT or ACT scores to the school as part of your application, to help improve your chances of admission. However, with COVID-19 restrictions the school has released a statement that it is no longer a requirement for applicants.

Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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