How to Get into Stanford University? Pro Tips and Tricks!

12 minute read
How to Get Into Stanford University

When we think of studying abroad, prestigious institutions like Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford come to mind. One such institution is Stanford University. One of the most reputed institutions in the world, Stanford is ranked #5th by QS World University Rankings 2024 in the list of top universities all over the world. Boasting 90+ graduate fields of study, the university is known for offering comprehensive academic as well as rigorous professional courses. Boasting 17 Nobel Laureates and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners as its alumni, it is a great place to take your education to the next level. Through this comprehensive blog, we will help you understand how to get into Stanford. 

Stanford University: Overview

Study at Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States

Founded in 1885, Stanford University holds a vital position in reshaping modern education. Located near the Silicon Valley in California, Stanford enjoys close links with top tech companies like Google, HP, Apple, etc. The university is one of the largest in the US with 18 institutes and 7 schools.

One of the leading universities in research all over the world, the university has $1.6 billion as the annual research budget. Moreover, the university provides a great atmosphere for learning and research as it has 20 massive libraries.

Keeping pace with online education, the university also has 2.5 million ebooks for the use of students. Having 2,180 faculty members, the university has a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio which makes the process of teaching very effective.

Here is the list of schools at Stanford that offer world-class quality education in the respective domains:

Must Read: Study UG, PG and Research Programs at Stanford University

Stanford University Acceptance Rate

Is it difficult to gain admission to Stanford University? Yes! Is it, however, impossible? Absolutely Not! Stanford, one of the greatest colleges in the world, is looking for students who have a strong academic record. However, Stanford welcomes students with strong extracurricular activities, who have experienced and conquered hardships, and who show potential for the future.

Stanford University’s admission requirements are the same as those of other Ivy League universities: very high. Stanford University requires prospective students to be engaged, creative, and imaginative outside of the regular classroom context, in addition to earning a good GPA.

Stanford University has a 3.68% acceptance rate, which means that just 4 out of every 100 candidates are accepted. To be accepted, one must put in their best efforts from the start. The Statement of Purpose is one of the things that distinguishes you. Make it exciting and educational, while also providing a good overview of your profile.

What is Stanford Looking for?

Stanford recruits individuals who have succeeded intellectually and challenged themselves by taking hard coursework such as AP, IB, and honours classes. The institution examines measures such as grades, test scores, and class rank for determining academic excellence.

Intellectual pique

Intellectual curiosity is highly appreciated at Stanford University because it is a crucial motivator of innovation and creativity. Intellectually curious students are more inclined to think outside the box, challenge existing ideas and customs, and find fresh and imaginative solutions to challenging situations. Intellectual curiosity is an essential component of personal development. Intellectually curious students are more likely to be open-minded, adaptive, and flexible, as well as to have a diverse set of interests and experiences.

Initiative and leadership

At Stanford University, leadership and initiative are highly appreciated since they are critical to attaining the university’s objective of fostering good social change and making a meaningful effect on society. Students who are self-starters and leaders are more likely to take on difficult initiatives, collaborate with others, and make a difference in their communities and the globe.

Diverse and unique opinions

Stanford University embraces diversity in all of its forms and strives to create a community of students from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions. Unique and diverse perspectives are highly prized at Stanford because they contribute new ideas, insights, and perspectives to the academic community.

Students with diverse origins and experiences are more likely to have diverse viewpoints and methods of problem-solving, which can result in more imaginative and effective solutions to complicated situations.

Achievements outside of the classroom

Experiences and accomplishments outside of the classroom are highly appreciated at Stanford University because they allow students to acquire critical abilities such as leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving. Students who have participated in extracurricular activities, internships, community service, or other experiences outside of the classroom are more likely to have developed these abilities and to be better equipped for real-world issues.

Personal Characteristics

Personal traits are highly prized at Stanford since they demonstrate a commitment to ethical and moral principles. Students who exhibit attributes like honesty, integrity, and ethical behaviour are more likely to contribute to a strong academic community and have a beneficial impact on the world.

Must Read: Can I Get Into Stanford without a GMAT? GMAT Requirement, 4-Year GMAT Score Trend, and Best Books

Eligibility Requirements

If you are planning to experience the learning atmosphere at one of the best universities in the world, there is a procedure that you need to follow. Stanford has a very low acceptance rate of 3.68% on average. In 2017, the university received 44,073 applications for the 2021 session out of which 2,050 got admissions.

Here is the stepwise breakdown of the requirements to get into Stanford. 

Test Score Requirements

For undergraduate programs, Stanford University requires standardized exam results such as the SAT or ACT, and for graduate programs, the GRE or GMAT. International students who do not speak English as their first language must also submit English proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE). The table below shows the minimum required test scores.


Application Process

Even if you meet the eligibility criteria for Stanford but you show negligence in the application process, your chances of getting into Stanford are reduced exponentially. Thus, it is important to go through the university website and take a look at the required information on courses, eligibility, deadlines and tests, before you proceed with your application online.

Ensure that you have all the documents requested by the university for a particular course to supplement your application. Moreover, applicants can visit the alumni page and establish contact with any of them if possible, to clear any doubts regarding the admission process. Alternatively, you can contact the university office for detailed information or take the help of good counsel.

If you’d like one of our counsellors to personally assess your candidacy to Stanford, apply admission counselling session at Leverage Edu now!

Strong Academics

Every application is processed closely and the board members take into consideration various aspects while analyzing applications. One such factor is the academic performance of the applicant. If you are yet to apply at the university, you can take division improvement tests to improve your grades as good grades are given preference at Stanford. Besides, make sure that you have completed your required qualification from a recognized institute. But you should not be disappointed if you have low scores in case you have a record of co-curricular activities and volunteering experience on your side.

Good SAT Score

Getting into Stanford is fundamental to having a good SAT score. There is no prescribed score set by the university but on average 25th percentile i.e., around 1390 is expected to help you in getting admission into the university. If you want more information on the SAT exam preparation, here is our comprehensive blog on how to prepare for the SAT.

Strong Portfolio

When it comes to studying at Stanford, the university has a record of producing industry-standard professionals and world-renowned academicians, so the admission committee ensures that they go beyond the academics of an applicant. The university is determined to take on board an extraordinary lot of the students which is why a student’s application is processed at various levels using different parameters. It is said that the university is ‘need-blind’ which allows board members to evaluate the applicants from a rich background and a homeless immigrant with equal objectivity. A strong portfolio is something you should be looking for to get into Stanford. 

Essay and SOP

To determine the seriousness of the applicant, essays and SOPs play a vital role. Stanford expects students to write engaging essays for their applications. While writing an essay, you need to be honest and realistic, making assumptions and boasting about things would only put you in the wrong situation. Being professional while writing an essay and maintaining a formal tone all over is imperative. To make your SOP and essay stand out you should not hurry, take time to write, revisit and edit them repeatedly until they are succinct and free from mistakes. 


The Letter of Recommendation or LOR allows the admission officer at Stanford University to get a comprehensive insight into your candidature for admission in a specific course. Any candidate who is planning to for overseas education requires at least 2 to 3 LORs irrespective of the course. 

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Step-by-Step Guide to Getting into Stanford

In the preceding part, we discussed the Stanford University entry standards that you must meet to be admitted to Stanford. Now, let us move on to the most important question: ‘How can I get into Stanford?’

To answer your query, we have outlined the actions you will need to take:

Complete the ACT/SATs

International applicants to Stanford University must submit their SAT/ACT scores to be evaluated for admission.

Clear the GRE/GMAT

Candidates from other countries who wish to attend Stanford University must submit their GRE/GMAT scores.

Pass the required English language exam

If you are a native of a nation that does not speak English, such as India, you must pass an English proficiency test to demonstrate to Stanford University that you are proficient in both written and spoken English. The university may accept the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE tests as tests.

Finish Essays

Any essays required by the university must be authored by the students.

Complete the application form

You can apply online at the university’s official website. Your high school diploma, English language test results, SAT/ACT/GRE/GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, essays, a statement of purpose, and any other required documents must all be submitted.

Submit your application when you have paid the application fee.

Wait for your acceptance letter to arrive after paying the application cost. Keep a look out for your acceptance letter.


If you are chosen, you will be interviewed by the university’s board of directors.

Begin your Term

After you’ve aced the interview and gotten accepted into your selected program, all you have to do is pay your tuition to begin.

Must Read: Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University (USA)

Stanford Supplemental Essay Prompts

Applicants must produce 8 essays to fulfil Stanford’s extra essay requirements. Their prompts are listed below:


What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 words)


How did you spend your last two summers? (50 words)


What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 words)


Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family. (50 words)


Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford. (50 words)


The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (250 words)


Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — get to know you better. (250 words)


Please describe what aspects of your life experiences, interests, and character would help you make a distinctive contribution as an undergraduate at Stanford University. (100-250 words)

Must Read: Top Hangout Spots Near Stanford University

Truths and Myths

Stanford, along with UC Berkeley and Cornell, is one of the hardest institutions to get into. However, all of these schools follow the same pattern of being highly ranked and having a minor engineering bias—and they all follow the same admissions pattern.

Because these three universities are so prominent, it’s vital to remember the following three truths:

  • You must have a strong academic foundation, with SAT scores above 600 (preferably 750 in each subject).
  • You must have a wide collection of extracurricular activities in which you are proficient (but not necessarily a pro).
  • You must have a “spike” for which you are (preferably) ranked among the top 100-1,000 pupils.

At the same time, be sure to dispel the following two Stanford admissions myths:

  • Stanford admissions is all about academics
  • Stanford wants you to be as evenly well-rounded as possible

Remember, Stanford has a slight STEM (engineering) concentration. So, if your focus is not STEM, you should do your best in that area and, if possible, try to tie that effort into some prospective interdisciplinary work with STEM.

If you’re already in STEM, you should strongly consider entering a prestigious math or science competition to demonstrate your superior abilities.

Pro Tips to Get Admitted to Stanford

Here are some of the pro tips to increase your chances of getting into Stanford University:

  1. Achieve at least a 3.95 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
  2. Aim for 1540 on the SAT or a 33 on the ACT
  3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars
  4. Write engaging essays
  5. Apply Early Action
  6. Recommendation Letters from high school teachers

Must Read: Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

Stanford Application Dates

Stanford’s application for 2024 will open in mid-September 2023. Having said that, Stanford application dates differ depending on the type of application, such as Restrictive Early Action or Standard Decision.

The table below provides a concise breakdown of Stanford’s application types and deadlines:

Type of ApplicationRestrictive Early Action DeadlineRegular Decision Deadline
Standard ApplicationNovember 1stJanuary 5th
Application with Arts PortfolioOctober 15thDecember 5th
Transfer Student Application
(with or without Arts Portfolio)
March 15thMarch 15th

Is Stanford Right for you?

Stanford is a fantastic university with an abundance of academic and professional facilities. However, it is not for everyone. Do not apply to Stanford because of its prestigious name or rankings. Stanford admissions officers can determine if you’re genuinely interested in the school or if you’re only interested in the name. Choose Stanford because it appeals to you in a way that no other school does and because it provides the courses and programs you need to thrive in your future job.

However, keep in mind that only a small number of candidates are admitted to Stanford. Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t accepted. Some of the world’s most intelligent and gifted students are not admitted to this prestigious institution. Consider an Ivy League school or one of the best universities in the University of California system.

Make a list of schools that are safe, target, and reachable based on your academic and career goals. If you decide to reapply to Stanford, work on fixing the weaker elements of your application so that it is stronger than the last time!

Must Read: Gandharv’s Study Abroad Journey to Stanford University

Last Thoughts

Your motives for attending Stanford are as distinct as the school itself. The admissions committee is eager to learn more about you through your application, so think about why you chose Stanford, what you intend to achieve from your time there, and how you’ll contribute to the campus community.

Stanford seeks students with different backgrounds, interests, and abilities. Stanford may be the place for you if you’re hardworking, open-minded, and passionate about your hobbies.


Q1. How can I get into Stanford for free?

Ans. Almost half of all undergraduates at Stanford receive need-based financial help. Tuition is waived for families earning less than $150,000 with assets typical of that income range. Tuition and room and board are not charged to families earning less than $100,000 with assets typical of that income range.

Q2. How can I get into Stanford for a master’s?

Ans. Documents Needed for Admission to Stanford University
Proof of high school educational credentials.
ACT/SAT scores.
GRE/GMAT scores.
Results of English proficiency tests like the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE.
Letters of Recommendations.
Statement of Purpose.

Q3. How can international students get into Stanford University?

Ans. For undergraduate programs, Stanford University requires standardized exam results such as the SAT or ACT, and for graduate programs, the GRE or GMAT. International students who do not speak English as their first language must also submit English proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE).

Related Reads:

Top Programs at Stanford University: Acceptance Rate, Fees, EligibilityWhat is a Good SAT Score for Stanford University?
Top 5 Reasons to Study at Ivy LeagueHow a PhD at Stanford University Helped Shape Parag Agrawal’s Career?
Stanford University Scholarships for International StudentsKnow All About Stanford MBA Acceptance Rate 2023

. If you have set your mind to studying at one of the best universities in the world, Leverage Edu offers personalised, expert service to guide you through every step in the admission process abroad. Almost forgot, January 2021 intake applications are now open! December is the deadline, book a 30-minute free career counselling session now!

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  1. Hello,
    I am looking for an aeronautical and aerospace engineering n I see this is d best university in providing me the best which I expect

  1. Hello,
    I am looking for an aeronautical and aerospace engineering n I see this is d best university in providing me the best which I expect