Stanford or Middlebury: Which University is Right for You?

July 11, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Stanford or Middlebury: Which University is Right for You?

Choosing the right university is a difficult decision that requires significant research and consideration. If you are torn between Stanford University and Middlebury College, this article provides a comprehensive comparison of each institution. From academics to student life, to location, we cover everything you need to know about both colleges.

Location and Campus: The Key Differences between Stanford and Middlebury

When considering location, it is essential to think beyond the state or city where a university is located and analyze how that city impacts your university experience. Stanford University is located in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Known for its technological innovation and sunny weather, Palo Alto and its surrounding areas offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking trails, beaches, and parks. In contrast, Middlebury College is in Middlebury, Vermont, a small town in rural Vermont surrounded by the Green Mountains. While Middlebury does not offer the hustle and bustle of a big city, it provides a close-knit community that is heavily involved in the environment and sustainability.

Both universities have gorgeous and expansive campuses. Stanford University covers over 8,000 acres of land, with stunning buildings such as the Hoover Tower and the Cantor Arts Center. Similarly, Middlebury College’s campus stretches over 350 acres of rolling hills and is home to some of the oldest college buildings in America, such as Old Chapel and Twilight Hall.

Another key difference between Stanford and Middlebury is the student population. Stanford has a larger student body, with over 17,000 students enrolled, while Middlebury has a smaller student body of around 2,500 students.

Students walking in the school campus.

This difference in size can impact the overall campus culture and the types of activities and events available to students. Additionally, Stanford has a more diverse student population, with students from all 50 states and over 90 countries, while Middlebury has a predominantly white student body.

Academic Programs Offered at Stanford and Middlebury: A Comparative Analysis

When it comes to academic programs, there are significant differences between the two institutions. Stanford University is known for its expertise in technology, medicine, and engineering. The school houses schools of business, law, and earth sciences, among others. On the other hand, Middlebury College places substantial emphasis on the humanities, social sciences, and environmental sustainability.

Both universities have robust undergraduate programs, but Stanford offers various graduate and professional programs that Middlebury College does not provide. If you are considering a specific profession, it is essential to research which university offers a program that aligns with your career aspirations.

Stanford University has a reputation for being a research powerhouse, with a significant amount of funding dedicated to research projects. The university has a vast network of research centers and institutes, including the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, and the Stanford Center for International Development.

Middlebury College, on the other hand, has a smaller research budget and fewer research centers, but it still offers opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in research projects with faculty members.

Faculty and Research Opportunities at Stanford and Middlebury: A Comprehensive Study

Stanford University is particularly known for its world-renowned faculty, including 54 Nobel laureates and 26 MacArthur Fellows. With experts in subjects such as information technology, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology, Stanford offers unparalleled opportunities to learn and collaborate with leading scholars. Likewise, Middlebury College prides itself on its accomplished faculty who are devoted to undergraduate learning and focus on high-impact research in their fields.

students brainstorming for research

If you are interested in research opportunities, Stanford University provides many such opportunities for students to work with and learn from experts in their field of study. Whether you are interested in conducting independent research in the sciences, humanities, or social sciences, Stanford has resources to help you accomplish your academic goals. Similarly, Middlebury College offers an excellent research program to students, with research grants and project funding.

Stanford University is also home to several research centers and institutes, such as the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. These centers provide students with the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research and collaborate with experts in their respective fields. Additionally, Stanford has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research, encouraging students to explore connections between different fields of study.

Similarly, Middlebury College offers unique research opportunities through its study abroad programs. Students can participate in research projects in countries such as Brazil, China, and India, gaining valuable cross-cultural experience and expanding their research skills.

Middlebury also has a strong focus on sustainability and environmental research, with programs such as the Middlebury College Organic Farm and the Environmental Studies Program providing students with hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation.

Admission Process: How to Apply to Stanford and Middlebury?

The application process to both universities is heavily reliant on a student’s academic history and extracurricular activities. Stanford University and Middlebury College have a selective admissions process, and prospective students must meet their academic credentials, including GPA, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and essays.

Both universities also place significant weight on extracurricular activities, such as leadership positions, volunteer work, and athletics. It is vital to differentiate yourself from other applicants and highlight what distinguishes you from the rest.

Additionally, both universities offer various resources to help students navigate the application process. Stanford University has a dedicated admissions website that provides detailed information on the application requirements, deadlines, and tips for crafting a strong application.

Middlebury College also offers a similar resource, including virtual information sessions, campus tours, and interviews with admissions counselors. It is highly recommended that prospective students take advantage of these resources to ensure they submit a competitive application.

Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid Available at Stanford and Middlebury

Higher education is expensive, and students should consider the various scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages available before selecting a university. Stanford University provides a need-blind admission policy, meaning students are admitted based on academic merit rather than their ability to pay.

The university meets 100% of admitted students’ demonstrated financial need through scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Similarly, Middlebury College provides financial aid through comprehensive packages that include scholarships, loans, and campus jobs.

Make sure to research the scholarships and grants available to you before making a decision. Don’t let finances prevent you from attending the university of your choice. It is important to note that scholarships and grants are not only available for academic achievements, but also for extracurricular activities, community service, and other talents. Stanford and Middlebury offer a wide range of scholarships and grants for students with diverse backgrounds and interests.

For example, Stanford offers the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, which provides full funding for graduate studies to students from all over the world who demonstrate leadership potential and a commitment to addressing global challenges.

Middlebury offers the Davis United World College Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to graduates of United World Colleges, a network of international schools that promote peace and understanding through education.

Student Life at Stanford vs. Middlebury: A Comparative Overview

A vibrant student life is essential to a fulfilling college experience. At Stanford University, student life is diverse, ranging from social, academic, and cultural clubs and organizations. With over 600 clubs to choose from, there is something for everyone at Stanford, from Chess Club to the Stanford Solar Car Project.

Similarly, Middlebury College offers a rich and vibrant student life with over 150 student-run clubs and organizations. The college also hosts a plethora of annual events and traditions, such as February student-faculty theatre productions, Ride for a Cure, a 150-mile bike ride for cancer awareness, and Winter Carnival.

One notable aspect of student life at Stanford is the abundance of resources available to students. The university offers a wide range of support services, including academic advising, career counseling, and mental health services. Additionally, Stanford has a strong commitment to community service, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global service projects.

At Middlebury, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. The college is located in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, providing students with easy access to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the country. Middlebury also has a strong focus on sustainability, with many initiatives aimed at reducing the college’s environmental impact.

Alumni Network and Career Prospects after Graduation from Stanford or Middlebury

Building relationships and networking with alumni is an essential part of the university experience. Stanford University and Middlebury College both have robust alumni networks that offer opportunities to connect with successful alumni and find career prospects after graduation.

business students brainstorming

Stanford University is known for its alumni who founded some of the most successful companies in America, including Google, Hewlett-Packard, Netflix, and Instagram. In contrast, Middlebury College alumni are committed to social and environmental sustainability, and many have gone on to have successful careers in these fields.

Additionally, both universities offer resources to help alumni navigate their career paths. Stanford University has a Career Development Center that provides career counseling, job search assistance, and networking events. Middlebury College has a Career Services Office that offers similar resources, as well as internship and job postings.

Furthermore, alumni from both universities often give back to their alma maters by donating their time, expertise, and financial resources. This support helps to strengthen the alumni networks and create more opportunities for current students and recent graduates.

Campus Diversity: Comparing the Student Body at Stanford vs. Middlebury

Diversity is essential to cultivate a vibrant and inclusive campus environment. Stanford University is a truly diverse institution, with 65% of undergraduate students coming from outside of California and international students accounting for 12% of the student population. This includes students from all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries worldwide.

Similarly, Middlebury College celebrates diversity and has made it a priority to increase the representation of historically marginalized groups on campus. The college’s student body is diverse, with students from all 50 states and over 70 countries worldwide. Additionally, the college offers many resources to support underrepresented communities, including the Anderson Freeman Resource Center.

Both Stanford and Middlebury have taken steps to ensure that their campuses are inclusive and welcoming to all students. Stanford has a variety of student organizations and programs dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion, such as the Black Community Services Center and the Asian American Activities Center.

Middlebury also has a number of resources and initiatives, including the Queer Studies House and the Women’s and Gender Center, that support students from diverse backgrounds and identities. By prioritizing diversity and providing resources for underrepresented communities, both institutions are working to create a campus culture that values and celebrates differences.

Housing Options for Students: Comparing Dormitories, Apartments, and Off-Campus Housing

Stanford University creates a close-knit community through its residential campus experience, with over 98% of undergraduate students living on campus. The university offers a range of housing options, including traditional residence halls, apartments, and theme houses.

Two students keeping their dorm room clean.

Similarly, Middlebury College requires all first-year students to live on campus in dormitories, but students have the option to move on to off-campus housing in subsequent years. The college offers various residence halls, apartments, and townhouses. The college does prioritize students from outside Vermont, so it is essential to plan accordingly if you intend to live off-campus.

Off-campus housing can be a great option for students who want more independence and privacy. However, it is important to consider the additional costs and responsibilities that come with living off-campus, such as rent, utilities, and transportation.

It is also important to research the surrounding neighborhoods and ensure that the area is safe and convenient for commuting to campus. Many universities offer resources and support for students who are considering off-campus housing, such as rental listings and guidance on lease agreements.

Extracurricular Activities and Clubs Available at Stanford vs. Middlebury

Investing in extracurricular activities outside of academic obligations is an essential aspect of the college experience. Both Stanford University and Middlebury College offer an abundance of clubs, teams, and organizations that cater to various interests.

With over 600 clubs available at Stanford, students can join anything from a Capella group to the Stanford Japanese Student Association. At Middlebury College, students can participate in clubs ranging from the Debate Society to the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective.

Stanford University is known for its exceptional athletic programs, and students can participate in a variety of sports teams, including football, basketball, and swimming. The university also offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking.

Middlebury College, on the other hand, is renowned for its environmental programs and offers students the opportunity to participate in sustainability-focused clubs and organizations. Students can also take advantage of the college’s location in Vermont and participate in outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

Both Stanford and Middlebury offer unique opportunities for students to engage in community service and social justice initiatives. Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service provides students with resources and support to engage in meaningful service projects, while Middlebury’s Center for Community Engagement offers opportunities for students to work with local organizations and participate in service trips abroad. Additionally, both universities have active student-led organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus.

Study Abroad Programs Offered by Stanford vs. Middlebury: A Comparative Review

Studying abroad offers an enriching experience that broadens your cultural horizons. Stanford University offers one of the top study abroad programs in the country, with over 50 programs available in more than 30 countries worldwide. These programs offer diverse perspectives on world issues and allow students to develop cross-cultural competencies.

Group of students walking in the campus.

In contrast, Middlebury College specializes in immersive language programs with programs available in over 30 countries worldwide. These programs offer the opportunity to become proficient in foreign languages while experiencing new cultures firsthand.

Tuition Fees, Living Costs, and Other Expenses: Which University is More Affordable?

The cost of attending a university is an essential aspect to consider before making a decision. Stanford University’s tuition rates for the 2021-2022 academic year are $56,169 for tuition and fees alone. Living expenses, including room and board and other fees, are also significant. Similarly, Middlebury College has tuition and fees of $62,122, with additional living costs depending on the housing option selected.

Both universities’ tuition and living expenses are high, and it is essential to consider financial aid and scholarships before making a decision. In conclusion, the cost of attending either university is high, but both offer financial aid and scholarships to reduce the financial burden on students.


Choosing the right university requires a comprehensive evaluation; this article is a perfect starting point. Stanford University and Middlebury College are two excellent institutions that offer different experiences. Carefully consider your academic passions, financial resources, campus lifestyle, and future goals while making your decision between these two incredible schools.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.


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