Accepted to Stanford: Now What?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Aerial view of Stanford university.

Accepted to Stanford: Now What?

For students who are interested in attending one of the top undergraduate programs in the United States, but have little interest in the Ivy League, one of the very top choices is, of course, Stanford University.

Unlike the incredibly historic and – sometimes quite stuffy – Ivy League, Stanford is considered a very forward-looking school. Of course, the fact that Stanford is located in Palo Alto and very close to headquarters of some of the biggest and most influential technology companies in the world certainly doesn’t hurt!

Though there are many differences between Stanford and the eight Ivy League schools, the level of competitiveness and prestige are basically on par. In fact, there have been several years where Stanford has been harder to get into than all but one or two of the Ivies.

Clock tower of Stanford university.

All that to say is that if you have been accepted to Stanford, a round of applause is definitely in order!  However, getting accepted to Stanford is just the beginning of the journey and there is a lot more that students need to know – and do – after they are accepted to this school or any school for that matter!

So, if you have recently been accepted into Stanford, or just want to learn more about how Stanford admissions works or what to do after getting accepted to Stanford, then you have come to the right place!

At AdmissionSight, we make it our number one priority to prepare the many students that we work with every school year and application cycle for the many different stages of the application journey. After all, knowing what to expect and what it takes to get into these schools can give students a major advantage compared to those students who decide to go it alone.

While there is obviously no way in which a student – no matter how accomplished they are – can truly guarantee that they will get into a school like Stanford, there are absolutely ways in which a student can boost their chances compared to the incredibly low acceptance rates at such schools.

One of the best ways for students to improve their own chances is to learn as much as they can about the actual admissions process at a given school. After all, knowing about a school’s unique admissions process will allow you to better craft your application to prove that you will not only survive but thrive within a school like Stanford tradition of academic excellence as well as their highly engaged and enthusiastic campus and alumni communities.

That is where AdmissionSight can come in and really help! Our experience within the admissions ecosystem as well as the tools that we offer our students have proven benefits. In fact, 75 percent of the students that we work with in a given year end up getting into top 10 schools in the country like Stanford, MIT, Harvard or Yale!

So, if you are interested in learning more about how Stanford admissions work or simply want to plan ahead for the day that you finally get a letter from Stanford saying that you have indeed been accepted, then you have come to the right place. Let’s get started on breaking it down together.

How Stanford admissions work

When students start to develop the list of schools that they plan on applying to, especially when they are identifying the schools that are at the very top of their list, learning about the unique admissions processes at each school is quite important and useful. Afterall, while the typical admissions process at schools in the United States are quite similar and holistic, schools do have specific ways in which they value and evaluate applicants.

Buildings and students walking around the campus.

Here is some information that we have from the school itself when it comes to how Stanford admissions work.

The Stanford admissions process is holistic

Before we go into the specifics of what Stanford looks like, we first want to establish that the admissions process is holistic. The holistic approach to admissions is something that has become completely dominant throughout the United States. A holistic admissions strategy is one that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside more traditional measures such as academic achievement like grades and standardized test scores.

It is meant to identify students who will not only behave well within the classroom but also one that will take advantage of all the university has to offer outside of the classroom as well. With that being said, Stanford does look at four specific aspects of a student’s application more seriously.

Those four are:

  1. Academic Excellence: The number one thing that the admissions officers look for in a student’s application is the proof that they excelled within the classroom throughout their high school education. Stanford expects students to “challenge themselves throughout high school and to do very well. The most important credential for evaluating your academic record is your high school transcript. Please know that our evaluation goes beyond any numerical formula.” While knowing that, it is important to keep in mind that there are no minimum grade point averages or test scores that students need to achieve in high school in order to apply, and that everything is put into context. But we’ll get into that in a little bit!
  2. Intellectual Vitality: The next component of a student’s application that students look for is intellectual vitality. The school wants to see “your commitment, dedication and genuine interest in expanding your intellectual horizons, both in what you write about yourself and in what others write on your behalf. We want to see the kind of curiosity and enthusiasm that will allow you to spark a lively discussion in a freshman seminar and continue the conversation at a dinner table.” Basically, the school wants to find students that will be able to take advantage of the top-level resources and faculty that the school has to offer.
  3. Extracurricular Activities: The third characteristic that the admissions committee at Stanford University factor into their admissions process is an applicant’s extracurricular activities. Essentially, these activities refer to anything that a student decides to spend their time doing outside of the classroom. This can refer to anything from being on a sports team to being in a school’s student government group. From what we know about the way that schools evaluate these kinds of activities, it is less important what they are and more important how students approach them. Schools are looking for students who are highly passionate about their interests and put a lot of time and energy into them. Typically, it is said that students should focus heavily on two to four extracurricular activities rather than find a way to split their time between five to seven. When it comes to how Stanford uses this information, they “want to understand the impact you have had at your job, in your family, in a club, in your school or in the larger community, and we want to learn of the impact that experience has had on you.” The school also does make it clear that in some cases, exceptional athletics can help a student gain an advantage if they are looking to continue their athletic endeavors into university.
  4. Context: When it comes to the typical expectations that the Stanford admissions officers have to students, it is important to know that the context of a student’s life is also incredibly important. This can be applied to all of the previously mentioned factors that are brought into account. The school pays “careful attention to unique circumstances. We take into account your background, educational pathway, and work and family responsibilities. By focusing on your achievements in context, we evaluate how you have excelled in your school environment and how you have taken advantage of what is available to you in your school and community.” This means that students who come from highly privileged backgrounds will be looked at differently compared to students who may be the first person in their family to even attend undergraduate school. No two students are the same, and Stanford works hard to identify students who wholly deserve a Stanford education despite not enjoying the same opportunities or support as other applicants. 

Things to do after getting into Stanford

So, you’ve been accepted to Stanford! Heck yeah! If you want to have an idea of just how rare that is, consider these admissions statistics for the graduating class of 2025. During the 2020-21 application cycle, a total of 55,471 students applied and just 2,190 were admitted, good for an incredibly low acceptance rate of just 3.95 percent.

Entrance to Stanford University during day time.

As of now, the admissions statistics for the 2021-22 application cycle have not been published by the school but based on estimates we can assume that the application rate for the class of 2026 is either just below or just above 4.0 percent. This makes Stanford one of the hardest schools to get into not just in the United States, but also in the whole world.

Still, just because it is an incredibly prestigious and selective school does not mean that it is necessarily the best fit for you! To determine the best option from all the schools that you have gotten into, consider these steps:

Wait to hear back from all the schools you applied to

Whether Stanford is your first option or not, you are going to want to wait to hear back from all of the schools that you hear from before you make your final decision! After all, high school students have been known to change their opinion of schools as they learn more and gain more experience with certain schools throughout the application process. Even if you applied to Stanford via Early Action, you can still change your mind! Stanford has a non-restrictive Early Action, which means you can still apply, get in, and end up attending a different school.

Still, considering the fact that Stanford is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and attractive undergrad programs, chances are good you will elect to accept your spot at this wonderful school.

Visit the campus if possible

If Stanford was among your top choices throughout your application process, chances are pretty good that you have already visited the school’s beautiful campus. However, once you actually get into Stanford, you would be advised to do everything that you can to schedule another trip to the school.

Students walking in the hallway.

Once you get your visit on the books, make sure to contact the admissions office and let them know that you have been accepted and that you are visiting again. You may be able to meet with current students or members of the faculty to help you audit a class, take a more specific tour around campus, and more!

This visit should go a long way in helping you to make a final decision when it comes to whether or not this school really is the best option for you.

Take it out with the people you trust

Another great way to make sure that you are making the right decision is to consult with the people in your life who you trust and who have helped you get to this point. Speak with your family, friends, counselors, teachers, and (if you have one) your admissions consultant to really help you make that final decision.

Talk about what you want to study, your goals, what activities you want to take part in outside of the classroom and what kind of environment and community you want to live in for years. Knowing the answers to these questions should allow you to make a clear and informed final decision in terms of whether or not Stanford is the right kind of school for you.

Take the final steps to accept your spot at Stanford

After doing these useful steps, you can then feel really good about whatever final decision that you make when it comes to which undergraduate program you want to continue your education at.

If you’ve been accepted and have determined that Stanford is indeed where you want to continue your education, here is what to do next.

  • Accept your offer of admission.
  • Bookmark this site. We’ll share regular updates here.
  • Follow Stanford on Twitter and Instagram. (Optional)
  • Create a SUNet ID. This ID allows you to log in to axess.stanford.edu to view financial aid updates, if applicable.
    • For security reasons, there is a 24-hour delay after requesting your SUNet ID before you can log into Stanford University websites.
    • If you had a SUNet ID before you were admitted, submit a Help Ticket to let Stanford IT know you are now an admitted undergraduate student.
  • After you have created your SUNet ID and if you have enrolled, you will be able to log in to your Stanford email.
    • It may take up to 72 hours after paying your deposit or receiving a deposit waiver before you can log in to your Stanford email.
    • After May 3, all Approaching Stanford and official university communications will be sent to your Stanford email address.
  • Submit your final year grades. If you self-reported ACT and/or SAT scores on your application, you will also need to send your official scores. See below for due dates.
  • All enrolling students who are neither U.S. citizens nor legal permanent residents must initiate the visa document process through Stanford. View your Stanford portal for further instructions.

Congrats on your Stanford admission

Getting into Stanford University is no easy feat! Without a doubt, hundreds of thousands of students have applied over the last several years and a very small and elite number of students have ended up managing to get in. If you are among that incredibly elite group, then you have probably already started celebrating! And you deserve it! Attending a school like Stanford can truly set up any student for four incredible years of undergraduate education and many years of great success after that.

Students walking in the campus while talking.

But getting in is truly just the beginning of the journey. Not only do students need to ultimately make the decision of where they will end up getting their education, but they also have to work hard to stay on task and committed during their education itself. Stanford, and any of the other two schools in the United States, can offer students the best of the best when it comes to resources, faculty, and opportunities. However, none of it will be spoofed to you, and you need to make sure to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Stanford, how to improve your chances of getting into the school, and what to do once you have received an acceptance letter, then contact us today to schedule a free consultation with AdmissionSight today!



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.