Stanford, CA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 999 total reviews with an average rating of 4.0

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4 College Sophomore

Scholarships: When applying to college, Stanford actually offered me the largest financial aid package of all the colleges I applied to, and it was all need-based. A world-class education isn't cheap, but Stanford is very generous in ensuring that you can attend without too much financial hardship.

5 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Access Is Difficult – Not a lot of people have cars on campus because it is more bike and walking oriented. Also, Northern California doesn't seem to have a lot of fast food anyway so there are a lot of relatively expensive restaurants. I only really go off campus to eat for "big" occasions or a couple of times per quarter.

1 person found this useful Report
College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Doesn't Really Happen – I guess this isn't the case at other schools, but people really don't live off-campus. You have the option to, but the majority of undergraduate students choose to live on campus all four years. It mind sound weird depending on who you have talked to at other schools, but living on campus is a great experience and give you the opportunity to make a lot of connections.

3 College Junior

Campus Dining: It Really Depends on Where You Live – There are a lot of dining halls and kitchens on campus, so there's a pretty wide variety of experiences you can have. In my experience, the dining halls can get pretty repetitive, but the food is always good. The houses have chefs, so those are always really good, but you don't have a lot of options since the chef usually just cooks one meal. Tressidder is always nice too if you have money because you can get subway, panda express, and a couple of other really good things like Treehouse or CoHo.

4 College Junior

Drug Safety: It's Not Too Big of a Deal – A good amount of people smoke, but it definitely won't affect your ability to make friends if you choose not to do it. People also drink pretty frequently, but I doubt it is any more than other colleges. I think everyone is free to do what the want to do without too much peer pressure.

4 College Junior

Campus Dining: Nice Meals With Healthy Options – The meal plans vary based on how many meals you wish to consume daily or weekly. I'm a big eater so I have a complete meal plan. I'm also a healthy eater and appreciate the assortment of vegetable, chicken and fish dishes offered.

4 College Junior

Drug Safety: The majority of the students at Stanford are not there to party and do drugs. Though that scene does exist, you're hard pressed to find it on any major scale. Any drug scene would have to be discovered off campus at someone's home or in an unsavory neighborhood. The culture of Stanford is highly academic. A drug scene cannot flourish in this environment. That's why I give Stanford an "A". The scene does not exist.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Majors: Very Happy! I'm majoring in economics and I am absolutely thrilled with the choice. The curriculum is very robust and I am able to take classes in the business school. I feel I'm being prepared for the real world.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Majors: Not Difficult at All – You can declare any major you wish at Stanford. As long as you do the required work and complete the curriculum the degree is yours. The only challenge is the "competition". Most classes are graded on a curve which means you're competing with the other students for top grades. To earn top scores you have to be better than the majority of the class. This often times weeds out the weaker players.

4 College Junior

Majors: The instructors are very good at using current events to illustrate the utility of the subject matter.

5 College Sophomore

Computers: THE COMPUTER RESOURCES ARE THE BEST – Stanford has great computer services. All the dorm have computer lounges that come with MACs updated with the most current software, the provide support with a computer consultant in each dorm and the libraries are top of the line. Our tech center has the capabilities for any multimedia experience including a language lab and usually there is always an open seat to use the computers or reserve a classroom. The staff are super knowledgeable and really helpful.

4 College Sophomore

Greek Life: The Greek organization don't amount for a great percentage of the students, but if you join an organization you will have lots or friends and resources that you can't get in other places. They host a lot of the parties, are well-know for forming strong bonds and have a strong alumni backing. Only about three sororities and a couple fraternities have houses, but that doesn't stop them from meeting together and running tons of event. I you want to join the Greek world definitely join one, but they aren't super exclusive so for the more casual events the public is usually invited.

5 College Senior

Academics: Biology Majors Take Heart – There is an immense workload at Stanford-no matter the major-but each has amazing classes taught by professors in to the top of their field. All classes are professor-taught, not administered by TA's. In addition, all students abide by the Fundamental Standard (Honor Code), which gives us immense academic freedom.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Academics: Self-Direction Is Key – There are a wealth of amazing classes and programs at Stanford, but no one will shepherd you to them. The majority of the great classes and learning opportunities require a great deal of self-direction and motivation to find and pursue.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Health & Safety: Safe, but Student Health Services Can Be Annoying – Vaden Health center oversees all non-emergency medical needs on campus, and can be very helpful, especially given the wealth of peer-counseling/ sexual-health groups. However, appointments are hard to schedule, and dealing with insurance and payments can be a trail.

4 College Junior

Diversity: Beautifully Diverse – One of the things I love most about Stanford is its diversity. There is economic diversity, racial diversity, religious diversity, etc. That is part of why I consider it such a privilege to be at Stanford. One thing I've found is that everyone acknowledges that by nature of your being at the school, you are a talented, intelligent individual who has not come to conclusions or interpreted experiences passively. Therefore, if you hold a belief, there must be sensible reasoning behind it, whether or not the individuals agree.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Nightlife: What You Make It – Stanford is its own community, meaning what people do on the weekend largely centers around what is going on on campus. That said, there's usually plenty! From sporting events to frat parties, there's usually something going on. And if there's not, you can make it happen. People throw parties in their dorm rooms while the neighbors have a movie night while the kids down the hall set up capture the flag in the dark. Because it's in Palo Alto, though, there's not much in terms of bars/clubs. If you want that you have to drive about an hour into San Francisco where you can find plenty of it.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Overall Experience: I almost missed coming to Stanford, and that thought terrifies me! My first time to California was visiting during admit weekend my senior year of high school. I came knowing no one. Now, I'm home over summer break, but I'm ready to go back to the new home I've made with my community at Stanford. I have met the most incredible people here! I love my friends, but I also love the people in my classroom. You know you are surrounded by people with great minds but for whom that is just one of many incredible gifts.

4 College Junior

Computers: We have computers in all of libraries as well as in our dorms. I have never not had a computer available. For the most part, the internet runs great and is accessible everywhere. The only downside I can think of is that you don't get free printing and you have to prepay for the printing.

4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: palo alto itself is not the best, but the bay area is dope. san francisco, san jose, oakland, and berkeley all offer all kinds of cultural scenes to dive into that are not that far away. as you get older, you explore out of campus more.

3 College Senior

Guys & Girls: Above Average Looks – Most people at Stanford are very good looking, at least in terms of those who go out and party.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Transportation: Free Shuttles All Around Campus. The shuttles are free and they run on time. They also have a online tracking device to you can see where they are.

4 College Senior

Weather: Perfect until winter quarter rolls around. Then it is a little rainy.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: Hey there! Several members of the Stanford Class of '16 have started a blog and are sharing their experiences with admission, acceptance, and the transition from high school to Stanford! Get the inside scoop...go visit http://confessionsfromstanford.blogspot.com/ !!!!!

4 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Drug Safety: Drinking Is Most Common – There is not a lot of drug abuse on campus, and when there is abuse, the university has a lot of resources to help students. Drinking is the most common abuse, with smoking being the second. The drug scene is not all that prevalent, but if you want to find it, you will. Basically, it depends on who you associate with.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Alexandria Butler
St. Louis, MO
Communications, Spanish
View all previous student authors

The verdict is in: most students are overwhelmingly happy with their Stanford experience. The combination of challenging academics, undergrad-oriented faculty, diversity, beautiful weather, and a fairly social campus environment all combine to make for a great four years of college. Students, particularly those in engineering or sciences, might find the workload to be especially heavy at times, but most students are capable and want to work hard in the first place. Perhaps the biggest challenge students face at Stanford is just dealing with the other students, who range from hippies to hyper-competitive pre-meds. It makes for an interesting environment, but also a stressful one. However, if you immerse yourself in it long enough, it will eventually start to feel reasonably normal.

Despite the problems that Stanford students find with the University, they overwhelmingly agree that Stanford is “their place,” and they can’t imagine being anywhere else. It seems all the hype and the hefty price tag are well justified by the experiences that students can, and will, have here. If you’re looking for a university with a big name, vibrant population, and a good balance of work and fun, Stanford University will not disappoint.

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Applicant Status At Stanford University

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