How to Get into Stanford

Stanford University is the most selective U.S. college, period. If you dream of getting admitted to Stanford, you will need to have the top grades, excellent ACT or SAT scores, extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership skills and a terrific personal statement and multiple other essays through which you can showcase your writing abilities and your degree of thoughtfulness. Stanford University is located next to Palo Alto, California, a private university that was founded in 1885, and is recognized as one of the world’s top research universities.

Stanford Facts

Motto: Die Luft der Freiheit weht (The wind of freedom blows)
Established: 1891
School Type: Private Research University
Location: Stanford, California
Athletics: Pac 12 (primary)
Nickname: Cardinal

What Grades Do You Need to Get into Stanford?

Stanford weights the grades that you obtain in high school heavily in making its admission decision, more so than less selective other schools. According to College Data, the average unweighted GPA of its enrolled freshmen is 3.94, underscoring the importance of securing excellent grades. It is very important that you graduate at the top or near to the top of your class. You should try to obtain almost all As throughout your high school years. In addition to making As, the classes that you take in high school are also important. Stanford wants to see that applicants have taken increasingly more difficult classes throughout high school and that they have done well in them. But don’t be fooled by the unweighted GPA statistics. If your school offers advanced placement or international baccalaureate courses, you should take them instead of their regular course options.

What SAT or ACT Scores Do I Need to Get into Stanford?


Like your GPA, you should also try to obtain the highest scores possible on your ACT or SAT. Stanford’s enrolled freshmen had ACT scores ranging from 31 at the 25th percentile to 35 at the 75th percentile. Stanford reports that its middle 50 percent scores on the SAT ranged from the 25th to the 75th percentiles as follows:

  • SAT Math: 700 to 780
  • SAT Evidenced-based reading and writing: 690 to 760

Stanford also requires you to submit official scores from all the tests you have taken, not just your highest scores. In order to have the best chances of gaining admission to Stanford, you should strive to obtain scores at the 75th percentile or higher.

What SAT Subject Tests Do I Need to Take to Get into Stanford?

While Stanford does not require students to take any SAT subject tests, the school does say that it prefers that applicants take at least two. Stanford states that applicants who plan to take a math test should take the SAT Math 2 subject test. Otherwise, you should take the subject tests that will best showcase your intellectual abilities or that are in your intended degree field.

What Extracurricular Activities Do I Need to Get into Stanford?

Some students think that they must pack their schedules with as many different types of extracurricular activities as possible in an effort to appear more well rounded. To get into Stanford, however, it is smarter for you to choose a limited number of activities about which you are passionate. Stanford likes to see evidence that an applicant has continued his or her involvement in an activity over the course of their high school years and that they have held leadership roles. On its website, Stanford says that it wants to see evidence of your “commitment, dedication and genuine interest in expanding your intellectual horizons.”

What Should I Write About in My Personal Statement to Get into Stanford?

There is no set formula for what to put into your personal statement. Stanford uses your personal statement to assess your writing ability as well as your depth of thought. The admissions office also wants to understand more about who you are, and your personal statement is a great way to showcase your personality and your individual characteristics. Your personal statement is not a place to simply list a bunch of accolades and activities. Instead, write about an event that shaped you or about a topic that you value. You will write three short essays in connection with your application to Stanford and either the Coalition essay or the Common Application essay. Make certain to take the time to write them well and to proofread them thoroughly. Stanford states that it wants your essays written in your individual voice and recommends that you get feedback from teachers and advisers about your essays.

Getting into Stanford is very difficult. For the class of 2021, Stanford admitted just 2,050 students out of an applicant pool of 44,073. This gave it an admission rate of just 4.65 percent, which was the lowest in the history of the school. While it is hard to get accepted to Stanford, it is not impossible, as several Going Ivy students have proven. if you work hard, are dedicated and have the right help, you might be able to fulfill your dreams of getting into Stanford.

A leading college admissions consulting firm, Going Ivy has helped students from across the U.S. with getting into Stanford and the colleges of the Ivy League. To learn more about the help that the Going Ivy team might offer to you, call to schedule your free consultation.




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