Stanford, CA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 967 total reviews with an average rating of 4.0

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5 College Freshman

Diversity: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT – everyone is diverse in every way imaginable...seems like a kind of artificial mini universe but its cool to see so many different perspectives

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Pretty Good! a lotta people complain, but im happy. the ice cream is to die for

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Safe and Prosperous Area, but Not Exciting – Palo Alto seems like a nice, rich, clean, safe community. Our community right of campus seems to have a lot of money, and I'd wish somewhere more like San Francisco or Berkeley was right there for us. It takes forever to get there

5 College Sophomore

Overall Experience: Best School Ever – I love, love, love, LOVE Stanford. Words honestly cannot express. People work hard and play hard. Everyone is generally pretty friendly, genuine, and obviously very intelligent. We have amazing sports, great facilities, brilliant professors, and awesome peers. What more could you ask for?

3 College Sophomore

Parking: Stanford was built as a biking campus, which is evident in the extreme lack of parking. There are some large parking garages, but it generally can be hard to find a good spot. The perk is that you really DON'T need a car on campus. Most students don't have one. We just bike, which eliminates the parking problem and is better for the Earth.

5 College Sophomore

Computers: Stanford has one of the best CS departments in the world, so it stands to reason that computers on campus are great. Every computer in the computer clusters (each dorm has a room with multiple computers/scanners/printers)comes with things like MATLAB and all the Adobe products (Indesign, etc.) on them. Wireless speed is amazing. It makes me impatient about my home internet.

College Senior

Greek Life: Not a big deal here (but sometimes those in the frats didn't seem to get that memo)

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Nightlife: Lax Drinking Policy – Stanford's drinking policy lets you have fun without having to sneak around, which means you can get help from your RA without fear in case anything goes wrong even as a freshman.

5 College Senior

Diversity: Incredibly Diverse – Stanford was the most diverse school I visited, and indeed that diversity is one of the reasons why I decided to enroll here rather than the other schools I was considering. Rather than other schools that are diverse in numbers but have very limited interaction across different communities, students at Stanford actually interact with each other in a way that allows for intercultural dialogue and education.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: So Many Options, How Couldn't It Be Great? So many options between living in a Greek house if you are a member, a coop(fun!), themed houses, just regular houses, and your average to not-so-average dorms! You can enjoy the housing experience anywhere. Freshman year, the all-frosh dorms are a great community to start off your Stanford experience with.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Overpriced and Overrated – It's palo alto. If you wanna pay $25 for sushi, then this is the place for you.

2 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Nice but Expensive – Palo Alto is a pretty nice hangout area but isn't financially realistic for most college students. Plus, University Ave. traffic can be realistic. Everything we need at Stanford is pretty much at Stanford.

3 College Junior

Parking: Bike Your Way – There aren't a lot of parking spots on campus besides in residential lots. You don't need a car on campus if you have a bike. The shuttle is also free. The recent restrictions on day parking makes biking even more convenient.

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Expensive in General – There is fast food on El Camino Real and a few restaurants, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on off-campus options. In downtown Palo Alto, the shops and restaurants are too expensive for the college student.

4 College Junior

Health & Safety: Comfort on Campus – The security at Stanford University regularly handles its job. Although there are many bike thefts and the like, if one acts with reasonable security measures, like locking their door, you feel very comfortable on campus. It is relatively safe.

5 College Senior

Facilities: Finding Balance – One of the things qualities in students at Stanford that stands out in my mind is the ability to balance many different commitments. Everyone has such a wide range of interests, both academically or extracurricularly. Each student who was admitted had a really special quality about them (and more often than not, has done something really cool!), but they won't go around talking about it unless you truly get to know them.

4 College Senior

Academics: Life as a Student-Athlete at a Prestigious Academic Institution – One of my many qualms about attending Stanford was foreseeing difficulties I might have keeping up with the academic commitments on top of an already-demanding athletic schedule complete with weight-room training, team training, and travel for competitions. Stanford professors, advisors, and staff did a wonderful job of helping me to achieve my academic goals and work with me on my athletic schedule to be successful in both realms. Athletes and non-athletes alike were supportive of their peers and willing to lend their neighbor notes, writing utensils, or a second opinion when asked. Overall, the working environment at Stanford was above and beyond what I expected it to be, and I would attend this university a thousand times over if I could do it again.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Campus Dining: Awesome variety. You can check out menus at a bunch of different dining halls and then decide where to go. You can also eat at Row Houses once you get to know some upperclassmen which offers the opportunity for some great food.

4 College Senior

Academics: All amazing. Some don't know how to teach very well, but if you go to office hours they tend to be much more helpful and always willing to give class/life advice.

3 College Senior

Drug Safety: Not Much of an Issue – A lot of people can't have fun without drinking though

5 Recent Alumnus

Weather: Absolutely Perfect – Maybe University of Hawaii has better weather than Stanford, but it would be close. It rains about 40% of the time between January and March, but warm sunshine is guaranteed for the rest of the year.

3 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: Buses Are Good, Zipcar Is Better – The Marguerite runs regularly during the week, but isn't convenient enough on the weekends to make use of it. Stanford has plenty of Zipcars on campus, which makes it easy for students without a car to get off campus.

3 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: Not Very Prominent – Only about half of the campus is involved in Greek life, but each residence hall has a decently active social calendar so that Greek doesn't have to carry the burden.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Off-Campus Housing: Expensive, Inconvenient – I've never tried to live off-campus but I've heard the cost is very expensive. Plus, it's very inconvenient to live off-campus, even if you have a car -- it saps a lot of time out of your day having to get to campus

4 College Senior

Athletics: Sports Are Excellent for Varsity and Non-Varsity – With a football team ranked 4th nationally, and 16 Directors Cups in our trophy case, athletics at Stanford is incredible. We expect the best from our colleagues in, and out, of the classroom... and on the field/court/etc is no exception. Students attend all home athletic events for free (including football and basketball!) and can often arrange for free tickets and transportation to away events... like Big Game vs. Cal. Fan support for football was significant this year, as we had such a stellar team, and there is always support for dorm-mates on the gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, swimming, and all of the 35 Varsity sports teams. V. athletes are treated very well with trainers, state of the art facilities, education centers etc. Club teams and IMs are also very popular, and frequently win national and local titles. For students, the facilities will be even better by next year. Currently (2011), Stanford offers one large gym (Arrillaga) for all students, staff, faculty etc, and it tends to be overcrowded... however, they are currently breaking ground on a state of the art new gym on the other side of campus. Students can also use the golf course, driving range, swimming pools, climbing wall, basketball courts and dozens of fields around campus, the varsity track and tennis facilities, and the running paths throughout campus. PE classes also let you use varsity-level facilities.


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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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