Stanford, CA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1011 total reviews with an average rating of 3.9

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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.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: Bikes Are Most Convenient – There is public transportation by Marguerite shuttle which takes you places both on and off campus. This service is pretty convenient, but if you need to get to class quickly, it's best to have a bike. Also, there are more bike parking spots than there are car parking spots - overall, a bike will get you everywhere you need to go on campus, while buses and zipcars can be used to go to the cities.

5 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: Warnings Before Harmings – Stanford police are really chill. If you treat them with respect, they treat you with respect. They're not too friendly, however the campus is pretty lenient on underage drinking. They take steps to prevent it, but it's not strict at all.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Scholarships: Easy and Available – Stanford asks for only two things, FAFSA and CSS Profile. I was given enough aid to make it the most affordable college for me!

4 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Athletics: Athletes, the Unavoidable – Almost everyone on campus is physically fit, mostly by being involved in some sort of sport. It's almost like any other college, however there is not a big divide between the athletes and the non-athletes. While the divide doesn't exist, you still wonder why you run into someone at you dorm only once a month. They're busy, but they're not rude or exclusive.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Junior

Guys & Girls: Stanford guys in general, are much better looking than Stanford girls. This is because a high proportion of males are student athletes, of which 50% are hot. But only about 25% of the athlete girls are. This skews the rest of the population. You will see couples on campus that make absolutely no sense. Average and below-average girls dating model-looking guys. Serious. It's almost ridiculous how bad things are for guys here. If you are a high-school girl, add 3 points out of 10 to the quality you'll be able to get here. Opposite for dudes. One more thing...almost everyone here comes from money...you'll almost never find a white guy/girl whose parents aren't millionaires...usually 8 figures, sometimes billionaires. This comes with it's own problems.

8 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: Drinking Is More Popular Than Other Drugs – Drinking is more popular than other drugs. But be smart and safe about it, especially if your not of legal age, and especially if you're inexperienced with alcohol, which most college freshman are, whether they admit it or not (I know that depends on your definition of "inexperienced" :) ) WHEN YOU ARE OUTDOORS, DO NOT DRINK OR CARRY ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE AN ALCOHOL CONTAINER if you are under aged, especially at night. It doesn't matter if it is empty or you were holding it for someone else or you hadn't actually drunk from it yet, they can still slap you with an MIP (Minor In Possession) charge. I've had friends who are unlucky enough to be stopped by the ONE campus security or Palo Alto police officer who is actually looking to cite or arrest people. It doesn't always happen, but it happens enough that you should take sensible precautions and pay attention to your surroundings. Even if you decide not to drink, still take time to learn what it entails and how to do it responsibly, to help your friends or to keep from making a mess of yourself if you eventually decide to drink.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: REALLY Diverse, Get Out of Your Comfort Zone! Stanford is REALLY diverse as far as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, income, extra-curricular interests, career interests, religion, ideology, educational background, national/regional origin, etc. But it's easier to really make friends with a diverse range of people (as opposed to just seeing them in classes and dorms) is you stretch and challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone. Take a class in something fun that you've never done before, even if you don't think it's really related to you major. Go to events you hear about in emails or flyers..

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Transportation: Free Buses for All – Stanford has an extensive free bus service open to everyone in the area. There are many different lines running all over campus, which I very convenient because Stanford is huge! Some buses go off campus to shopping centers or transit stations so you can take other forms of public transit elsewhere. They could come more frequently, but all in all, I'm satisfied.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: Enforcement Is Lax – In general school officials tend not to get involved in students' personal lives. There's just one minor annoyance: campus police frequently give tickets to bikers who run stop signs or ride at night without a light.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Transportation: Bring a Bike – Stanford is such a large campus that a bike is all but mandatory. It takes about 5 minutes to get from dorm to class on a bike. Plus, once you have a bike you can get to anywhere in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, or anywhere within a 10-mile radius easily. There is a San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View which can be reached by the Marguerite shuttle or by biking.

The public transportation in the Bay Area is quite nice. The Caltrain runs from San Francisco through San Jose down to Gilroy and costs $4.75 from Stanford to SJC. To get to SFO you can take the BART. VTA public buses cost $2 and have hundreds of routes throughout Santa Clara County.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Many Excellent Options – For dorm food, Stanford is very good. The best dining halls to eat at are Ricker and FloMo, but others, like Arrillaga, are also good. The one to avoid is Stern; it's the only dining hall at Stanford that can truly be called bad. You can choose between a 19-, 14-, and 10-meal plan, and if you choose the 14- or 10-meal plan, you also get Meal Plan Dollars which you can use to purchase a la carte items.

4 College Senior

Drug Safety: Very Safe – Students are too worried about getting good grades to get into hard drugs.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Greek Life: The perfect combination of a club/family without being overly exclusive


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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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