What is the Average ACT Score at Stanford?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Aerial view of Stanford's surroundings

What is the Average ACT Score at Stanford?

If you are a high school student looking to apply to some of the most prestigious, competitive and overall impressive universities in the United States, chances are good that Stanford University is near – or at – the very top of your list.  However, with every dream of attending a school like Stanford comes the harsh reality of just how hard it is to actually get into a school of its quality.

So, if you are wondering, “What is the average ACT score at Stanford?” then you are already asking yourself the right questions. Students who have a strong interest in attending a school like Stanford, or a school on the other side of the United States in the Ivy League, need to make sure that they are wholly aware of what they will need to accomplish and what kinds of students they will be competing with for a spot at the school.

At AdmissionSight, we make it our number one priority to help the students that we work with achieve their admissions goals and beat the odds to get into some of the best schools in the world.

That’s why we’re so proud of the fact that we have the track record of getting 75 percent of our students into Ivy League schools or other top-10 schools elsewhere in the country, other schools like Stanford University.

So, if you are interested in learning about the Stanford average ACT score, Stanford requirements and the Stanford University acceptance rate, then you have absolutely come to the right place!

Let’s get into breaking all that down and more together!

What is the average ACT score at Stanford?

As is the case with all top schools, the standardized tests known as the ACT and SAT have been incredibly important to the entire admissions process at Stanford for many years. IN fact, there was once a time in which many people believed that standardized testing was seen as the most important single factor to any student’s application profile.

The reason for that was because – while schools and curricula varied in terms of rigor and difficulty – the ACT and SAT were … well … standardized. That means that every student across the United States is taking the same test.

View of the academic building of Stanford

At schools like Stanford, students are expected to earn a score that is incredibly close to the perfect score of 36 to stand a chance of getting in. In fact, the Stanford average ACT score for students that get in sits at 34, with the 25th percentile score sitting at 32 and the 75th percentile score sitting at 35.

Now, remember that this 34 out of the perfect 36 is just the average. It is not the score that is going to grant any student an immediate and automatic acceptance. In fact, there is no score – not even a perfect score – on the ACT that will grant a student that.

Truthfully, when it comes to a student’s ACT score, SAT score or even GPA, the benchmarks that they are looking to achieve should not be seen as keys to getting into any school as competitive as Stanford. Instead, they should be seen as nothing but prerequisites that are expected of them.

It is typically the other factors of a student’s application that really ends up setting them apart from the other students that they are competing with for a spot in the school.

Updates to the standardized test requirement

As everyone reading this knows, the entire world is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are obvious positive signs – such as the creation and spreading of the various vaccines – there is still a lot that we do not know in terms of what the future holds or when we will all be able to return to what we used to consider everyday life.

Just as all colleges and universities across the world have had to do – Stanford has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a very pragmatic way. In fact, in order to make the application process safer and more achievable, Stanford – and countless other schools in the United States – have adopted a standardized test optional policy.

Here is what Stanford had to say about the decision on its own official website:

“We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created limited access to admission testing worldwide,” the school announced. “We are extending 2020–21’s test optional policy to a second year. For 2021–22 first year and transfer applicants, Stanford will review applications with or without ACT or SAT test scores, leaving the decision in the hands of the applicant.

  • “If you are not able to take the ACT or SAT, your application will not be at a disadvantage.
  • “If you have already taken the ACT or SAT, and you feel that your scores are a positive reflection of your academic preparedness, then you are welcome to self-report them. Your application will not be at a disadvantage if you choose not to report your scores.
  • “In your application, you will have the opportunity to let us know whether you have submitted or will be submitting ACT or SAT scores.
  • “If you submitted your application and indicated you would not be submitting ACT or SAT test scores, and you would now like to change your response and submit scores, please log in to your portal for instructions on how to make this change.
  • “If you submitted your application and indicated you would be submitting ACT or SAT test scores, and it turns out you are not submitting scores, or you no longer want previously submitted scores to be considered, please log in to your portal for instructions on how to make this change.

“We are hearing that some students may still feel they need to take the ACT or the SAT despite our updated policy. Please know that in our 2020–21 admission cycle, we admitted students who submitted ACT or SAT scores, and we admitted students who did not. We want to emphasize that applications without ACT or SAT test scores were not at a disadvantage.

“We urge students not to jeopardize their health or well-being to take future sittings of these non-required tests. Any situation that is in any way dangerous to your safety is contrary to Stanford’s number one priority of keeping all students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. ACT or SAT test scores are not required for full consideration at Stanford for first year and transfer students applying in 2021–22.”

So as you now know, the ACT and SAT are fully optional, at least for now. However, many experts have still advising students to sign up for and take the test if two different circumstances apply to them:

  1. If the student is confident that they can safely take the ACT or SAT without endangering themselves or exposing themselves to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  2. If the student believes that their ACT or SAT score will help them in their goals of getting accepted to a school.

You see, the application process is as competitive as ever. As a matter of fact, the 2021 application cycle was the most competitive in the history of many top schools. So, if you are a student who tests well and believes that you can score at least a 34 on the ACT, or perhaps even higher, then it would be wise to give yourself that boost in your application profile!

What is the Stanford University acceptance rate?

Well, now that you have a good idea of the Stanford average ACT score and have an answer to the question, “What is the average ACT score at Stanford?” you are probably wondering what your chances are of actually getting into the school!

The truth is that even if you have a great ACT score, a fantastic GPA, impressive extracurriculars, strong letters of recommendation and powerful personal essays, your chances of getting into Stanford University are still quite slim! The reason for that is because – simply – the school is just incredibly hard to get into.

The class of 2021 – or graduating class of 2025 – faced one of the most challenging year to be admitted to Stanford University in the history of the school. For the class of 2021, 44,073 total students applied to the school and only 2,050 students were ultimately accepted.

That yields an overall Stanford acceptance rate of just 4.7 percent. Beyond that, there is no escaping the hard truth that the task of getting into Stanford University is only getting harder..

To get a good feel for the Stanford acceptance rate trends over the last several years, take a look at the plot below:

Bar graph with information about Stanford University.By looking at this graph, you may see one glimmer of hope that any student who is really interested in attending Stanford should seriously consider. And that is the fact that the acceptance rate for students who apply Early Admit to Stanford had a 9.2 percent chance of getting into the school!

In fact, as you can see in the graph, students who applied for Early Admit enjoying an almost double acceptance rate compared to regularly admit students.

Tip to improve your chances of getting into Stanford

Applying Early Admit is just one of the ways that any student can dramatically improve their chances of getting into the school. If you are serious about placing Stanford at the top of your list of preferred destinations, here are some other things that you can do to turn the odds in your favor.

Excel in extracurricular activities

One of the most important things that high school students can do during their four years in high school is get involved in a number of extracurricular activities. In recent years, it has become abundantly clear that top schools love to see that students are taking advantage of their time out of the classroom in high school. One of the best ways to show that you are doing just that is by earning and assuming roles of impact and leadership within your chosen extracurriculars.

There are very few sentence texts that indicate that certain extracurriculars are regarded more favorably than others, so students are encouraged to simply follow their passions and interests. Whether you are getting involved in sports teams, performance art, academic competitions, or anything in between, the most important thing is that you give yourself the time to get involved fully and at a deep level.

Participate in a Stanford summer program

Another great way to both show that you are a committed and passionate student, and that you are highly interested in one day attending Stanford University, is by participating in one of the school’s many prestigious summer programs.

Group of students in a study group

Stanford offers a wide variety of different summer programs meant for high school students with many different specific interests. Finding the right summer program for you will not only give you the chance to further pursue your academic interests, but will also give you a chance to explore Stanford’s beautiful campus and even begin to form relationships with current students and members of the school’s faculty.

Take advantage of the optional interview

During your application process to Stanford University, you will have the option with an alumnus to take part in an interview with the university. Though this part of the application process is completely optional, we at AdmissionSight highly recommend that any student take advantage of the opportunity.

Not only will students get the chance to ask any specific questions that they have about attending the school, but your interest and desire to take part in the interview process will reflect positively on your application overall.

After all, admissions officers at the school will take note of which students attend an interview and which students do not because it clearly signals a desire to learn more about the university. Moreover, if a student is truly impressive in their interview, chances are good that the involved alumnus will pass the message along.

Earn fantastic letters of recommendation

Another key aspect of any student’s application to Stanford University are the letters of recommendation that they will send as part of their application.

In fact, students who apply to Stanford are required to send in at least two letters of recommendation – one from two different members of their high school faculty -and can even send in an optional 3rd letter of recommendation from a person how’s the student well and can offer valuable insight.

A woman holds a pen while looking sideways

When it comes to the letters of recommendation from the faculty members of your school, you need to be sure that you are setting yourself up for success in more ways than one. First off, you should make a point to speak with both teachers well before you begin the application process in order to give them ample time to write their letter for you.

It is typically recommended that students bring up the topic of letters of recommendation either at the end of their junior year of high school or at the beginning of their senior year of high school. On top of that, it is wise for students to try to meet with their teachers in order to discuss the letter itself.

While we at AdmissionSight in no way recommend that a student tells a teacher what to write, it is smart to give them an idea of how you plan on crafting your overall application so that they can write a letter that works to your strengths and in your favor.

Craft powerful personal essays

One aspect of the college application that seems to only be gaining ground in terms of importance is the personal essay section. Students applying to Stanford are required to complete a series essay prompts along with their standard application.

The whole point of this section of the application is to give students an opportunity to reveal more about themselves beyond what the rest of the application offers. In other words, students should take this portion of the application and an opportunity to show admissions officers who they are beyond the grades, test scores, extracurriculars and more.

A man with a laptop is writing on a paper.

No matter what kind of writer you are, these essay prompts can prove to be quite difficult. For that reason, it is advised that students get to work on these essays as soon as possible.

Moreover, students should not simply go with the first topic that enters their mind, but instead spend but healthy amount of time crafting and impactful and meaningful topic that they believe will offer important information about who they are, what their worldview is, what their passions are, and what they plan to do with their future.

In fact, it is highly recommended that students work with trained college admissions specialists who can help them craft the perfect essay.

We can help you the beat the Stanford University average ACT score

At AdmissionSIght, we offer tutoring for the ACT, SAT, AP exams and so much more. We do that as part of our goal to help all of the students that we work with achieve their college admissions dreams. So, if you want to get into Stanford and are interested in figuring out how you can make that dream a reality, contact us today for a free consultation.


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