How Will Stanford’s Yield Rate Impact Your Admission Chances?

September 16, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How Will Stanford’s Yield Rate Impact Your Admission Chances?

Even more selective than MIT, Caltech, and Yale, Stanford University has an admittance rate of 3.95%, making it comparable to Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton. This means that considering the admissions process for Stanford requires surviving a harsh one that will see innumerable valedictorians, geniuses, and extraordinarily gifted young people cast aside. Learn more about Stanford’s yield rate.

What’s Stanford’s yield rate?

For the Class of 2025, Stanford’s yield rate, or the proportion of accepted students who choose to enroll, was 80%, making it the third-highest institution in the nation behind Yale University (83%) and Harvard University (85%) in terms of yield rate. Both Dartmouth and Penn have yield rates that range from 70% to 77%. Elite institutions like Duke, Notre Dame, and Cornell have yields that are higher than 60%.

Changes to Admission Yield (Enrollment Rate)

The current academic year’s Stanford yield rate is 79.99%, compared to the average admission Stanford yield rate of 78.37% during the previous 11 years. The yield commonly referred to as the enrollment rate is the proportion of accepted students who went on to enroll. The Stanford yield rate changes at the university from 2012 to 2022 are depicted in the following table:

Year Total Men Women
2012-13 72.84% 71.29% 74.66%
2013-14 75.95% 78.81% 72.86%
2014-15 78.23% 79.13% 77.31%
2015-16 80.37% 80.80% 79.94%
2016-17 82.11% 82.83% 81.42%
2017-18 81.53% 81.06% 81.99%
2018-19 81.94% 82.63% 81.23%
2019-20 82.35% 83.49% 81.30%
2020-21 68.37% 69.03% 67.76%
2021-22 79.99% 81.02% 79.93%
Average 78.37% 79.01% 77.84%

What is Stanford’s acceptance rate?

The Class of 2026 admissions statistics will unfortunately not be made public at this time by Stanford. It will be months before the total number of candidates is known. Even so, AdmissionSight believes that Stanford’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2026 will be between 3.5% and 4.5%.

Just 2,190 of the 55,471 applications that Stanford received for a place in the Class of 2025 were approved. The university had never had an acceptance rate as low as 3.95%. To put things in historical perspective, the school’s admission rate last reached double digits with the Class of 2011, which graduated in 1978 with a 31% acceptance rate.

Changes in Acceptance Rate

At Stanford University, the current academic year’s admission rate is 4.00%, which is lower than the institution’s 10-year average of 4.99 %. It is extremely difficult for applicants to be accepted into Stanford University due to the institution’s extremely low admission rate. The following table shows the changes in the acceptance rate at Stanford University over the previous ten years (2012-2022).

Year Total Men Women
2012-13 6.61% 6.80% 6.40%
2013-14 5.69% 5.60% 5.78%
2014-15 5.09% 4.81% 5.41%
2015-16 5.04% 4.70% 5.43%
2016-17 4.81% 4.48% 5.18%
2017-18 4.73% 4.38% 5.12%
2018-19 4.36% 4.24% 4.49%
2019-20 4.34% 3.96% 4.76%
2020-21 5.19% 4.74% 5.70%
2021-22 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%
Average 4.99% 4.77% 5.23%

Changes in the Number of Applicants, Admitted, and Enrolled

Over the past ten years, the average number of applicants has been 44,384, the average number of admissions has been 2,182, and the average number of students enrolled has been 1,706. In comparison to the prior year, there were 10,244 more applicants to Stanford University, an increase of 22.65%. The following table displays the changes in the number of applicants, admitted, and enrolled at Stanford University between 2012 and 2022.

Year Applicants Admitted Enrolled
2012-13 36,632 2,423 1,765
2013-14 38,828 2,208 1,677
2014-15 42,167 2,145 1,678
2015-16 42,497 2,140 1,720
2016-17 43,997 2,118 1,739
2017-18 44,073 2,085 1,700
2018-19 47,452 2,071 1,697
2019-20 47,498 2,062 1,698
2020-21 45,227 2,349 1,606
2021-22 55,471 2,219 1,775
Average 44,384 2,182 1,706

Information on Admission

At Stanford University, the application price is $125 for graduate school and $90 for undergraduate applications.

Statistics for Admission

The Stanford yield rate is 79.99%, and the acceptance rate is 4.00% for the school year 2021–2022. At Stanford, 28,332 men and 27,139 women submitted applications; 1,133 men and 1,086 women were accepted. Among them, the school has 918 men and 868 women enrolled (Fall 2021). The table below provides information on statistics for admission, such as the number of applicants, acceptance rate, and Stanford yield rate (also known as enrollment rate).

Total Men Women
Applicants 55,471 28,332 27,139
Admitted 2,219 1,133 1,086
Enrolled 1,775 918 868
Acceptance Rate 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%
Yield 79.99% 81.02% 79.93%

Distribution of SAT and ACT Scores

In order to apply for degrees, 271 students (or 13% of the total enrolled) and 186 students (or 9%) have submitted their SAT and ACT results for the academic year 2021–2022. The SAT 75th percentile score for evidence-based reading/writing is 770, while the 25th percentile is 720 for those who submitted their scores.

Students taking an exam in a classroom.

The 75th percentile SAT Math score is 800 (75th) and 750 (25th). The ACT composite score provided is 35 (75th percentile) and 34. (25th percentile). When compared to other universities, Stanford University’s admitted students’ SAT and ACT scores are strong and competitive colleges (SAT: 1,469, ACT: 98 – private (not-for-profit) Research University (very high research activity).

25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 720 770
SAT Math 750 800
ACT Composite 34 35
ACT Math 31 33
ACT English 35 36

Getting admitted to Stanford

Let’s examine the demographics of Stanford’s present undergraduate population:

Cardinal student body come from the following places, geographically speaking:

  • California: 35%
  • Other U.S.: 52%
  • International: 13%

Like other elite institutions, Stanford tries to claim that its class includes students from almost every state by achieving a certain level of geographic diversity. Only the Class of 2025 has members from 77 different nations and 49 different states. As a result, whether you’re from the Deep South or a sparsely populated state like Montana or Idaho, your place of residence is more likely to improve your chances of getting accepted than if you’re from California or New York.

The following breakdown may be seen when looking at the ethnic composition of the entire undergraduate student body:

  • White: 29%
  • Asian American: 25%
  • Hispanic: 17%
  • African American: 7%
  • American Indian: 1%
  • International: 11 %
  • Two or more races: 10%

The following can be seen by looking at the high schools that the members of the Class of 2025 attended:

  • Public: 60%
  • Private: 27%
  • International: 13%
  • Homeschool: 1%

Following is a breakdown of undergraduate students by gender:

  • Men: 49%
  • Women: 51%

AdmissionSight listed the test scores as follows:

SAT Middle 50% Test Scores

  • SAT Math Section: 750-800
  • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 720-770

ACT Middle 50% Test Scores

  • ACT Composite: 32-35

Trends and Notes in Admissions (Class of 2025)

  • First-generation students make up 18% of the Class of 2025, down from 20% the year before.
  • After being admitted to the Class of 2024, 369 students of the Class of 2025 took a gap year.
  • With 2,126 students, the Class of 2025 was the biggest ever (including gap year students).
  • The number of overseas students increased from 9.9%% (Class of 2024) to 12%.
  • Between the admissions cycles for 2019–2020 and 2020–2021, the acceptance rate decreased from 5.19% to 3.95%.

How does Stanford select its candidates?

The following nine factors, according to Stanford, are “very important” to the admissions process: the application essay, recommendations, extracurricular activities, the difficulty of the applicant’s secondary school record, class rank, GPA, test scores, talent/ability, and character/personal qualities. Zero criteria are deemed “essential,” while seven are “considered.” They are the following: interview, first-generation status, legacy status, location, racial or ethnic status, volunteer activity, and previous paid employment.

It is crucial to have some sort of “hook” in your extracurricular activities while applying to Stanford. With 36 varsity sports teams, Stanford, for instance, boasts the best athletic program in the nation. More than 350 of the 900 students involved in intercollegiate athletics get athletic scholarships.

Your chances of admittance significantly increase if you are a star athlete being actively courted by a Stanford coach, especially if your academic performance is “in range.” If you lack physical prowess, perhaps you are a natural orator and will join the Stanford Debate Society, or you have skills as an ethnographer, writer, cellist, poet, scientist, robotics engineer, app designer, or community activist.

Application Guidelines for Stanford

What are the requirements for admission to Stanford, aside from stellar test scores and grades, or an Olympic medal collection? The Olympic medals are a helpful indicator that you need to have a truly unique collection of accomplishments in one or more fields to set your application apart from the competition.

Female student writing in her desk.

Academic achievement, intellectual vigor, extraordinary depth of expertise in your chosen extracurricular activities, and each applicant’s history, circumstances, and set of educational pathways are given top priority by the Stanford admissions committee.

It is important for all 55,000+ Stanford applicants to be informed of the following:

  • Although an optional alumni interview is available to all applicants, it is not a requirement for the admissions process. Interviews can be conducted in person or online via video chat, with volunteers emailing invites to candidates.
  • Stanford does not take “demonstrated interest” into account because of their aforementioned extraordinarily high return rate. Therefore, you don’t need to get in touch with the university specifically for this reason. They just don’t have to worry about this element because of the high Stanford yield rate, which can be more important at many other institutions.
  • Put out every effort to “bring your application to life.” Finding recommenders who can speak to your enthusiasm and make your distinctive personality and qualities stand out on the page entails doing this. Essays will be important, too.
  • Because Stanford requires 8 additional essays and short answers, be sure to allot enough time and attention to them. Yes, 8 you read that right. They were as follows during the cycle 2021–2022:

Questions with Brief Answers (50 words each)

  • What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
  • How did you spend your last two summers?
  • What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?
  • Briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities, a job you hold, or responsibilities you have for your family.
  • Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.

Essay-based Issues (250 words each)

1.) The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.

2.) Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate — and us — know you better.

3.) Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why.

Providing some general guidance for all eleven essays (plus the Common App), the admissions committee encourages “you to spend time reflecting on who you are and what is meaningful to you. In your essays, be true to yourself and allow your genuine voice to come through.” Getting to answer so many questions that invite personal, deep, and honest responses is a wonderful way to ingratiate yourself to the admissions officer reading your application.

Don’t try to be “well-rounded”; be great at one thing

In many fields, Stanford is on the lookout for the future greats. The next generation of Supreme Court Justices (Breyer, Kennedy, O’Conner, Rehnquist), business leaders (Sergey Brin, Reed Hastings, Phil Knight), writers, politicians, athletes, actors/actresses, and Nobel Prize-winning scientists are among Stanford’s top priorities, as can be seen by a quick glance at the university’s list of notable alumni.

Even if all 10 of your extracurricular activities are excellent, being spread thin over ten of them won’t completely satisfy the Stanford admissions committee. It’s important to excel in one or two areas.

Requirements for Applications

For applicants, it asks for their high school GPA and high school rank. The faculty advises that students submit their high school GPA, high school rank, and high school record (or Transcript). AdmissionSight lists the prerequisites for applying to Stanford University.

Stanford’s Entry Requirements

High School GPA Recommended
High School Rank Neither required nor recommended
High School Record (or Transcript) Required
Completion of College Preparatory Program Recommended
Recommendations Required
Formal Demonstration of Competencies Neither required nor recommended
Admission Test Scores Considered but not Required
TOEFL Recommended
Other Test (Wonderlic, WISC-III, etc.) Neither required nor recommended

Are you below 3.75 in your unweighted GPA? Avoid applying if that is the case. In reality, according to the same research, the overall average high school GPA for applicants was 3.96.

For the Class of 2025, Stanford decided against testing applicants. Look at the rise in the mid-fifty percentile over the previous two classes:

Class of 2025: 1470 – 1570

Class of 2024: 1420 – 1550

Is it now simpler to get into Stanford with lower test scores by hiding them? According to our estimation, the majority of students admitted without test scores most likely came from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds. Your test results must be excellent if that is not the case.

Given that the majority of Stanford students attend public high schools and that the number of students taking AP exams nationwide is increasing (38% of all U.S. public high school graduates in 2020 took at least one AP exam), it makes sense that most applicants to Stanford will have a long list of AP exams to report.

By digging deeper into the national AP data, we can see that nearly 39,000 students who graduated from high school in 2020 earned the now-discontinued National AP Scholar designation, which requires scores of 4 or 5 on at least eight tests. Putting two and two together, AdmissionSight would say that the Stanford pool is full of these high achievers and that a sizable percentage of unhooked students admitted to Stanford would have eight or more major AP scores.

Intellectual Capacity

Top GPAs and test scores help your application survive the culling that occurs after the initial read, but they most likely won’t be sufficient to get you all the way to admission. Do you recall “intellectual vitality”? Grades and test results indicate success, but you must also show that you enjoy learning and are inquisitive about the world around you because you go above and beyond what is expected of you in class. The academic niche you have chosen will be what admissions officers are looking for.

University students working on their laptops in a table.

This niche should be supported by courses, independent study, projects, or other endeavors that you’ve delved into out of curiosity. See where your curiosity leads you by experimenting, fiddling, creating, exploring, and building. Given Stanford’s intense competition, distinguishing accolades and awards—such as winning the Regeneron Science Talent Search, USABO, Coolidge Scholarship, etc., or enrolling in prominent summer science programs like RSI, SSP, or Telluride—can help you stand out from the crowd.

Last but not least, the admissions review will assess compliance with Stanford’s institutional vision:

Fueled by optimism, ingenuity, and a sense of responsibility, we see to accelerate our purposeful impact in the world.

Nothing inspires admissions officers more than students who have had a deliberate, positive influence on their communities, especially when that effect is related to their academic specialty. Choose a small number of things that you are truly passionate about and invest your time in them rather than spreading yourself too thin.

One student was motivated to work on the issue of water scarcity, so she researched solar aquaponics’ performance in various climates and created a small solar aquaponics kit and related educational materials for her neighborhood schools. Stanford wants to build a community where people encourage one another to pursue their dreams and work hard.

Should you pursue Stanford?

It is definitely worthwhile to include Stanford on your college list if you graduated at the top of your high school class and have outstanding test scores. If you have some sort of “hook,” whether it is in the fields of athletics, music, theater, or STEM, it can undoubtedly help to offer you a real chance at admission. However, this university is a “reach” school for every single student, regardless of how intelligent and successful you are. You should balance “target” and “safety” schools on your college list even if you are a “perfect” applicant.

At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. It’s not the yield rate or acceptance rate that will get in your way to be admitted to your desired college, but your will to be there. Grab every opportunity you have. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

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