What GPA and SAT Scores Do You Need to Get Into Stanford?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Stanford University's Hoover Tower and campus building with lush green lawn in front.

What GPA and SAT Scores Do You Need to Get Into Stanford?

If you are a top student at your high school, then you are probably already well on your way to crafting your list of colleges and universities that you are planning on applying to. For students that are looking to attend one of the most prestigious and highly regarded schools in the world, then Stanford University is certainly a top consideration. For students who dream of attending Stanford, there is one question that seems to come up and again and again throughout high school. That question is, “What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Stanford?”

Without a doubt, the only way to get into Stanford is not just to ace the SAT and get a straight-A grade point average throughout high school, but it definitely helps! In fact, there’s much more to that.

After all, the vast majority of students that end up attending Stanford can proudly claim that they were at – or at least near – the very top of their class throughout high school.

Aerial view of the Stanford University with the tower at the center and campus buildings on each side.

At AdmissionSIght, we have worked with top high school students for years to help them achieve their goals and get into schools like Stanford, Harvard, Yale and other comparatively fantastic schools all over the United States.

While our admissions consultants would never tell a student that all it takes to get into a school like Stanford is great grades and a strong SAT score, there is no doubt that the journey begins there in many ways. Together, we will break down that and more in the following pages.

So, if you are curious about the Stanford average GPA, the typical range of Stanford SAT scores, the Stanford admissions requirements, the overall Stanford acceptance rate, and more, then you have come to the right place!

Let’s get into some of the most important factors regarding admissions at this historical and highly prestigious school so that you can start getting the answer to the question, “What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Stanford?”

Let’s get started!

Stanford GPA requirements

When it comes to grade point average requirements for high schoolers who want to get into Stanford, there is no official threshold that a given student must meet.

Afterall, the admissions process at Stanford is entirely holistic and there is no one cookie-cutter application profile that the admissions officers expect students to fit into. That is also quite there are no Stanford requirements from a curriculum standpoint for students.

With that being said, it is important for students to do some research when it comes to the lowest GPA to get into Stanford as well as the average GPA to get into Stanford so that they can know where they stand in comparison to the typical students that do end up getting in.

Ticking off checklists using a black pen.

Instead of focusing on the lowest GPA to get into Stanford, we think that the smartest number that students should look at is the average GPA for students that end up getting accepted. Before we go further, it is important to remember that the number we are providing is the average in every sense.

That means that there are many students that are applying with higher GPAs and many that are applying with lower GPAs. Just something to keep in mind because this number is not something to aim for. Ideally, you can aim quite a bit higher!

With all that out of the way, the average GPA at Stanford is a highly impressive 3.96! That means that the students that are getting into Stanford are essentially earning straight As throughout high school and are almost certainly at the very top of their classes.

Another very important thing for students that are interested in attending Stanford need to keep in mind is that just a high GPA alone will not get the job done when you are interested in attending a school as competitive and selective as Stanford. One thing that every student with this goal should try to prioritize early on in their high school years is taking as many advanced courses as possible.

This means enrolling in honors courses, AP courses, or IB courses, depending on what your high school offers. The reason why signing up for – and excelling in – courses like these in high school is that they succeed in providing evidence that you are a student that is able to deal with the pressures and difficulty of these kinds of courses.

In fact, it is quite common for students with aspirations of attending one of the top schools in the country to seek out opportunities to challenge themselves further in the classroom by trying to enroll in courses at local community colleges or universities. Of course, students have to coordinate this kind of decision with not only the college, but their high school as well.

If successful, it can prove to be quite impressive on a university resume.

What is the GPA cut off for Stanford?

Now that you know about the average GPA that high school students who end up getting accepted to Stanford earn, you may be curious if there is a GPA cut off that students need to meet to even be considered.

The simple truth is that an official GPA cutoff for any college or university is incredibly rare these days. It is also true that some students with lower GPAs will end up getting into schools that students with higher GPAs get rejected from.

Admissions officers at schools like Stanford – and all schools for that matter – take their jobs very seriously and they consider every bit of information that they can when they are weighing whether they will accept a student.

When it comes to the lowest GPA to get into Stanford, there is no official information on that kind of number. Because the average GPA that students earn is 3.96, we can assume that the low end of the spectrum likely sits somewhere between a 3.5 or a 3.7. Still very high! There are also even lower GPAs that end up doing the trick depending on unique circumstances related to a specific student.

Though those circumstances are surely few and far between. So, if you are really committed to getting into Stanford, aiming for a 3.96 GPA or higher is the way that you can improve your chances.

Stanford SAT scores

Now that you know the average GPA that high school students that get into Stanford earn, you should also know the average SAT score that students that get into the school score.

The SAT is – of course – one of the two standardized tests that have become the norm for high school students in the United States to take.

The two tests challenge students in slightly different ways, but the goal of both are effectively the same. While standardized tests were once considered to be basically on par with a student’s GPA in terms of their role in the college application process, their importance has waned a bit in recent years. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.

The range for Stanford SAT scores is a 25th percentile score of 1440 and a 75th percentile score of 1505. The average SAT score at Stanford is 1505.

One final important note to make about the SAT these days is that many top schools – including Stanford – have decided to make both the SAT and the ACT optional for students to send in in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is what Stanford had to say about its current stance on the SAT and ACT in a recent announcement:

“For the upcoming 2021–22 admission cycle, Stanford will not require ACT or SAT scores for first-year or transfer applicants,” the school announced. “We recognize the ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited access to admission testing worldwide, and are extending this year’s test-optional policy to a second year.”

While the school has not yet made a similar announcement regarding the 2022-23 application cycle, it seems quite likely that they will extend the test-optional policy for at least one more year.

Students who are unable to take the SAT or ACT safely due to the COVID-19 pandemic should absolutely take advantage of the school’s test-optional policy in order to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

However, if a student can safely take one of the standardized tests offered to high school students, it would be wise to do so.

The reason why is because students are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from the pack when it comes to getting into schools as competitive as Stanford. Taking the SAT and earning a fantastic score on it could go a long way in convincing the admissions officers at the school that you have what it takes to be a student there.

Stanford University acceptance rate

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What GPA and SAT scores do you need to get into Stanford,” you are probably curious about quite a few more things regarding your chances of getting accepted to the school.

In the end, the number that may matter most when it comes to your chances of getting in is the acceptance rate. Considering it is truly one of the most competitive schools in the entire world, it may not surprise you that the Stanford University acceptance rate is incredibly low.

In fact, the most recent application cycle at Stanford marked the hardest year on record to get into the school. The acceptance rate at Stanford in 2021 was a prohibitively low 4.7 percent.

In fact, it was the hardest undergraduate program to get into in the United States, and only the Curtis Institute of Music – a highly selective music conservatory in Philadelphia – had a lower acceptance rate.

One thing that is important to note is that Stanford posed a bit less of a challenge statistically for students who applied to the school via early admissions. The acceptance rate for students who applied through early admissions enjoyed an acceptance rate of 9.2 percent.

Look at the graph below to get a better idea of the recent trend of acceptance rates at the school.

Bar graph with information about Stanford University.As you can see, the last half-decade of admissions statistics regarding Stanford makes it clear that the school is only getting harder and harder to get into. Though it is hard to predict year-to-year what the exact acceptance rate will be, it is also not all that hard to predict.

How to improve your chances of getting into Stanford University

Now that you know the crucial information about the Stanford average GPA, Stanford SAT scores, the school’s acceptance rate, and more, there is a pretty good chance that you are questioning what you can do to improve your chances of being one of the lucky few students that end up getting an acceptance letter rather than a rejection letter.

While it is only natural to feel a fair bit of pressure based on the information that you have just learned, you should not at all feel overwhelmed. After all, the mere fact that you have found this breakdown on the AdmissionSight website is proof enough that you are already ahead of the curve.

People walking in the walkway in front of the Stanford University's building.

Knowledge is absolutely an incredible tool that students can and should take advantage of when they are preparing to apply to colleges and universities.

So, to close out this informational breakdown about Stanford, we thought we would cover some of the best ways that students can improve their chances of beating the odds and getting into the school.

Invest your time wisely outside of the classroom

While grades and your standardized test scores are going to play a really large role in whether you end up getting into a school like Stanford, they are very far from the only two things that the admissions officers are going to be looking into.

One thing that students can certainly do throughout high school to improve their chances of getting in is to invest their time outside of the classroom wisely by getting deeply involved in a few extracurricular activities. Now, schools are not going to look for specific activities that they want students to get involved in.

This should not be looked at in the same way that admissions officers want to see advanced courses on your curriculum.

Instead, the best way to make the most out of the activities is to get really involved and earn roles of leadership. This means choosing 3-5 activities that you want to invest lots of your time in as opposed to choosing 6-10 activities that you just show up for here and there.

Whether you are an athlete, an artist, someone who wants to get involved in Model UN or the Science Olympiad, there is no way to go wrong. Just make sure that you are using your time out of class to further pursue your passions, earn recognition, and grow as a young person! This kind of investment and commitment will surely impress admissions officers at even the top schools.

Get great letters of recommendation

For students that want to get into Stanford, they must submit two letters of recommendation written by two different members of their high school’s faculty.

These letters often serve as the ways in which admissions officers really get a sense for who you are inside the classroom. As you obviously want to look as good as you possibly can in these letters, make sure to prioritize asking the two teachers that you have formed strong bonds with.

Ideally, you will ask teachers that have taught you in multiple classes. On top of that, you’ll want to be sure that you performed well in those classes! Finally, make sure to ask them early enough – either at the end of your junior year or start of your senior year – to make sure that the teacher has ample time to craft the best letter possible.

Smash your supplemental essays

The final – and arguably most important tip – when it comes to improving your chances at getting into Stanford is that you should make it a top priority to craft truly fantastic supplemental essays as part of your application. In fact, one of the top things that

AdmissionSight helps high school students with is the essay portion of the college application. Make sure that your essays are unique and personal so that your outlook on the world shines through. Make sure to rope in your passions, your interests, and your goals. And finally, make it clear why you believe that Stanford is the right place for you to continue pursuing those passions and goals.

Male student in the library sitting on the floor while writing on his notebook.

Finally, be sure that you are starting your application early enough to make sure that you have the time necessary to write, review, edit and improve your essays before sending them in with the rest of your application.

Will you get into Stanford University?

Truthfully, there is no way to answer this question with 100-percent certainty no matter how great your test scores and GPA are. Every student is different, and every application cycle is different. Still, there are a lot of ways in which every student can give themselves a better chance at getting into a school like Stanford.

If you are interested in learning how AdmissionSight can help you improve your own chances and beat the odds of the Stanford acceptance rate, contact us today to set up a free consultation.



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