Stanford, CA
Stanford University


103 Ratings

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Danny
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Stanford is a world of its own. Often nicknamed "the bubble," it has everything within its campus that you'll ever need, minu...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Stanford is a world of its own. Often nicknamed "the bubble," it has everything within its campus that you'll ever need, minus a couple of things. Having just the right number of people, you'll never be short of meeting new people. The campus is so vast and gorgeous that you'll never run out of new adventures. The best part of Stanford is the people. Everyone is extremely friendly and spirited.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

I chose Stanford because I felt like I was at home when I first stepped on its campus. With its great academic departments and gorgeous weather, Stanford was undoubtedly the right choice. The people there are amazingly friendly and welcoming. I had no problem making friends with students, including upperclassmen.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Everyone at Stanford knows the marching band, LSJUMB. They are a high-spirited marching band that play at sporting events and it's something everyone looks forward too. Other popular student activities/groups include the a capella groups and dance groups. Their performances attract hundreds of students.

What are the academics like at your school?

The classes at Stanford are amazing! Professors really try to help you when they see that you're not doing well. The students are supportive of each other and work together, often late into the night or early into the morning, to complete an assignment. Classes are also smaller, fostering great ideas and discussions.

Describe the students at your school.

Students at Stanford are amazing. Everyone is so unique and different that you'll definitely find a lot of people with similar interests as you. Also, everyone is so friendly that you'll have no problem being yourself and fitting in. You can literally go to a random table at lunch and start up a conversation with anyone, and you'lll leave with a new friend.

Darien
Where is the best place to get work done on campus?

Most people I know go to either Green Library or Meyer Library. The outdoor Cafe's are also popular spots to study. For me, the best place to get work done is anywhere that isn't my room! Honestly, if you work better in a quiet place you'll find it. If you work better in a noisy place, there are those too.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

There is a small list of reasons that I wanted to go to this school. First of all this is one of the best schools in the Unites States. I would be darned if I regretted this opportunity. Secondly, Stanford is in California. I have grown up in Southern California for my entire live. There was no way that I would do to any place other than Cali for school. Lastly the financial aid at this school is one of the best I have encountered.

Describe the students at your school.

There is only one kind of student that would feel slightly out of place here. One of the kinds of students that would feel out of place would be the student that didn't do any extra activities in highschool, didn't get straight A's, and never did well on the AP tests. This is basically the very average of highschool students that somehow got into Stanford one way or another. I happen to face this personally. It is difficult to be among your friends while they talk about how easy a class is and how they don't do this or don't do that. The thing to remember is that you are in the same exact place as they are and that is a fact. Sure, they may have had much better grades in highschool than yourself, but there is something that you have that sets you apart from them. From my knowledge most students interact with most other students. The athletes with the CS majors, the men and women, the graduates and freshman. There are four tables in the dining hall. What do I see? Well, I am going to explain what I see pretty literally. The table I sit at is filled with people that live in my same dorm. I live in the Asian - American themed dorm, so most of them are some sort of Asian. This dorm of mine is in the center of the freshman dorm. That means that the rest of the tables are filled with, yes, freshman (I am a junior). At lest one of the tables will be talking about the coming presidential elections. Another table will be talking about how their Intro to Humanities classes all suck (these are mandatory for all freshman and they also suck). The last table is talking about anything ranging from dorm Snow Trips to a musical or random stuff on the internet, which is usually the case.

What are the academics like at your school?

I am sure the academics are pretty much what you usually hear from a school like this. In most classes if you make any effort to actually say hello to a professor and introduce yourself he will remember you. I have not yet had a professor who has forgotten about me. At this school if you need academic help, or any help for that matter, you usually need to only ask a person or two. If they can not assist you they will take their own time out of the day to help you as much as they can. Students here are very competitive. There isn't a week that goes by to where I hear someone is upset that they got a B grade in a class or on a test. Everyone here seems to be from a wonderful place where the only grade available was an A+. It is a given that everyone has work to do and everyone talks about how much work they have to do. In a way I see it as a showing of pride and the ability to see themselves through one of the hardest and best schools in the country.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

I would say that the stereotype of the students at this school is the West Coast Preppy Kid. It is very similar to the stereotype that the Ivy schools one the east coast are subject to. Rich families, well-to-do homes, smarts, work all day, work all night, and a guaranteed job at Google or Facebook. I would say that these stereotypes are not all accurate. Before coming here even I was subject to the Stanford Stereotypes. I found out that they are not all true. Stanford kinds know how to throw down. If you didn't know, that basically means that they are pretty legit in whatever they do. If it's grades or parties, community activities, or just doing whatever they do.

Yasmine
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love Stanford! More to come in a video (soon)

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I love Stanford! More to come in a video (soon)

Describe the students at your school.

Overall, very unpretentious. BUT there's always that one person in your introductory freshman class you'll want to strangle after they raise their hand for the fifth time to highlight just how very smart they are. Overall, very busy. Typically, the academics will make up 70 to 100% of our busyness. The rest usually involves student group involvement, extracurricular hobbies, and socializing. Overall, very liberal. Those who are aren't liberal tend to keep their views to themselves - in fact, I remember one professor beseeching conservative students to speak up in a lecture class. Either none were there or the few who were felt too outnumbered to speak up. Overall, awesome. It's very easy to find people you like. Assuming you're not a hardcore conservative.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

Honestly? The weather. Talk to other students on campus and you'll be surprised by how many chose Stanford because of architecture, sunny skies or a mixture of both. If we end up having a chatting session I'll explain why, if you're choosing between top schools, that's as good a deciding factor as any ;)

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Stanford has a wide array of student groups - some of the most popular are Green oriented (e.g. SSS - Students for a Sustainable Stanford) and range from advocacy oriented (e.g. MAAN: Men Against Abuse Now) to debate centric (e.g. AHA: Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics) to more artistic groups (e.g., acting, juggling, and dance groups). It's easy enough to start your own group and get funding - I know from personal experience as co-president of a food justice group on campus for two years. The difficulty lies in garnering enough help from members to make the group successful. It's a common complaint from student group presidents (me included) that unless Stanford students have an official high ranking title in the group, things won't get done. This goes for the more advocacy oriented groups than the artistic ones. Speaking of artistic groups - Stanford has an AWESOME tight-nit dance community. As a member of a salsa group on campus, and as someone who takes part in alot of the dance events at Stanford, I can say that if you love dance (or want to learn!) Stanford's a great place to be. In terms of the social scene - there's definitely a place for everybody, but Stanford isn't known to be that "happening" if you're into clubs and bar hopping (which I am, so that was a bit of a disappointment for me :)). When people refer to Stanford as a bubble it's in large part because students tend to stay on campus for their social needs. And most students are happy with what Stanford has to offer. Every week there's at least one or two campus wide parties in dorms or on "the row" (the upperclassman houses considered to be the best place to live) by co-ops, fraternities, and sororities. Those who are feeling motivated will head to the city (SF) about 40 minutes away by car, or downtown Palo Alto (10 minutes), though the latter has fewer options. For those who don't drink, you'll be happy to know that around 1/5th of Stanford students don't drink, and there's very little peer pressure to do so (I know from personal experience). If you want to have fun on the weekends without drinking and hard core partying it's very easy! As mentioned before there's a great dance community which throws socials on the weekends. Additionally, many Stanford students can enjoy relatively tame nights with their friends in their dorm rooms. All in all, Stanford's social scene is pretty good. I should repeat, though, that if you enjoy more exciting and eclectic nights out, Stanford isn't exactly the right place - largely due to the "bubble" phenomenon and its distance from SF.

What are the academics like at your school?

One of my biggest disappointments at Stanford was the huge lecture classes for freshman (IHUM requirements for all freshman = stiflingly crowded lectures). On the flip side, Stanford seems to understand most students want that close interaction with a professor, and provides so called "introductory seminars" for freshmen and sophomores. You can get into these intro sems provided your application is accepted (not too difficult). Most classes - excluding those that are part of a core for popular majors - are somewhere between 20 to 40 students and provide enough opportunity for students to talk to the professor, provided those students don't mind going to office hours held by the Professor. For the very high volume classes, you'll get to know your TA (teaching assistant) much more than your Professor. For those who want to be close with Professors, that's entirely possible, but students need to be pro-active. For me, the only time I was able to truly engage with Professors in a long-term relationship was when I consistently went to office hours, and, more recently, when I decided to write a thesis with the help of two advisers. Being intellectually stimulated outside the classroom also requires one to be a bit proactive. Stanford students are very smart - but the culture doesn't encourage intense conversations so much as it does in (so I hear) University of Chicago. Not only the culture, but also the relative uniformity among Stanford students, keeps conversations a bit tame (for example, the majority of Stanford students are liberal, and those who aren't don't advertise it). Joining a student group (debate groups, atheist club, philosophy circle) is your best bet to taking your intellectual energy outside the classroom.

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

A few stereotypes that I've heard about Stanford students are those imposed upon most Ivy Leaguers (note: Stanford is not technically an Ivy League school): namely, that we're all privileged white kids, with a substantial amount of us intent on being at the top of the pack (think: cut throat competition). Here's the run-down: there's almost always a kernel of truth to any stereotype, but luckily for Stanford (and me!), in this case it's only a small kernel. Being an international student myself who grew up in the Middle East, I can attest to the diversity of the Stanford population. The caveat - if you read the "official" calculation of Stanford's population - is that Stanford counts "Americanized" international students as "international" - i.e if grew up in the US with foreign parents you are considered international. I find that definition a bit of a stretch. However, regardless of your views of what constitutes international, there's a fair amount of people who grew up overseas at Stanford. Additionally, Stanford boasts itself on being one of the top colleges for students of color and those of latino/a origin (see this page for more info: http://admission.stanford.edu/student/diversity/index.html) In terms of relative wealth, there are many privileged kids at Stanford, but not that privileged. Case in point: most Stanford students don't have a car (though that's partly out of convenience as well). Students commonly complain about the expense of food in Palo Alto. Additionally, I would say around 20-30% of the student population has a part time job to support themselves. Last, let's talk about competition: My favorite part about Stanford is the lack of competition among students in most undergraduate departments. I say MOST rather than all, since my major is Sociology with a minor in philosophy (i.e I'm familiar with the humanities and social sciences). Based on what my friends in the more technical fields tell me, there isn't that much morale-killing competition in their departments either. I think part of that is West Coast culture, and part of that is purely Stanford culture. My brother went to Harvard and his characterization of their student population has led me to believe that Stanford is more collaborative than competitive compared to other top schools in the nation.

Helen
What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

The Stanford stereotype really varies. The ones I encounter the most are that students are known to be nerdy and wealthy. As ...

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

The Stanford stereotype really varies. The ones I encounter the most are that students are known to be nerdy and wealthy. As a top-tier school, many self-proclaimed nerds do attend Stanford, but there's more to the students than just that. Ask anyone on campus to learn that they have a passion or talent that drives them, not just a high standardized test scores and good grades. In terms of wealth, yes, many of my friends are from well off families. However, Stanford also offers a very generous financial aid packages and accepts applicants on a need-blind basis, which means Stanford doesn't consider your financial status when making application decisions. It's actually cheaper for me to attend Stanford than my own local public university back at home because of the financial aid I received! To me, Stanford is a nerd meets jock meets hippy kind of environment. Our campus is very intellectual, active, and chill. Well, at least on the outside. There's something on campus known as the Stanford Duck Syndrome. Ducks look calm on the surface, but they're paddling furiously to stay afloat. Most stereotypes you hear about Stanford are probably true to some extent, because it's such a diverse campus full of passionate and driven people with many interests.

Amy
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

With its bountiful academic, social, and financial resources Stanford University is able to establish a rich, cooperative mic...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

With its bountiful academic, social, and financial resources Stanford University is able to establish a rich, cooperative microcosm of the world that is the converging point for diverse thoughts and beliefs which unite to create new knowledge that yields opportunities and experiences that inspire individuals to strive for goals that previously seemed unattainable.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Amy, as you begin your college journey there is little I can say that will prepare you for what you are about to experience. All I can offer you is an insight that I hope you will recall and that will reassure you along the way. The greatest transition that you will struggle with at Stanford is the process of defining yourself. This quest to establish your identity will be influenced by your academics and activities, but most prominently by the people you encounter. Placed in an atmosphere of diverse people who are accustomed to incredible levels of success you will find yourself frequently questioning whether you deserve to be here, questioning the value of your opinion, and even questioning the very basis of your beliefs. In these circumstances, I encourage you to realize the power of your perspective and how it can positively influence others. Always remember that the fruits of conversations with those whom you may not readily (or ever) agree may be picked with frustration, but each one you have will hone your ability to respectfully debate as well as propel you down the path of defining who you are and what you believe.

What kind of person should attend this school?

With the incredible amount of ethnic, culture, religious, and socioeconomic diversity that Stanford achieves it is difficult to define the average Stanford student, or suggest what kind of student should go here. That being said, with the convergence of so many different backgrounds, students that flourish at this university are those that are open to offering their diverse thoughts while respecting the opinions and experiences that have shaped their peers. Additional typical qualities of Stanford students are those that are determined, innovative, social justice-oriented, committed, and unafraid to venture beyond their comfort zone.

Thomas
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I would tell myself to enjoy my time as a minor while I still could. High school should have been a fun, carefree time. Ins...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I would tell myself to enjoy my time as a minor while I still could. High school should have been a fun, carefree time. Instead of relaxing, I worked two jobs. In reflection, I know that work was a major player in my growth and development, but I did not fully partake in traditional high school experiences. I missed football games, dances and various other school related events because I had to work. I would also tell myself to network better. I realized too late that the professor I worked under and the people I met wanted to help me along in my journey. I guess it was foolish pride that led me to deny the help of others. I have changed my ways after listening to a particular speaker, but I still wish I would have known sooner. When an influential figure expresses interest in one's work or life, this notion of kindness should not be taken lightly.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

Potentially, the worst thing about Stanford is the cost of tuition. Luckily, the university has a large endowment so many people qualify for need based aid. Additionally, if a student has poor time management skills, Stanford can be impossibly difficult. To the students benefit, however, Stanford's application process is tough, and the admissions office ensures that all admitted students have demonstrated that they are qualified to handle the workload.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

The workload is sometiems frustrating, but again, most Stanford students would not be here if admissions doubted an admit's ability to thrive in such a competitive environment. On a similar note, the competition here is humbling. Many students were valedictorians of their respective high schools. Here, they are just one in a crowd of intelligent young people. It was quite a shock to realize that I was not even close to academic perfection.

Evelyn
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

As a high school senior, I was a self-righteous and lazy teenager. I would snub my university bound peers for submitting to a...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

As a high school senior, I was a self-righteous and lazy teenager. I would snub my university bound peers for submitting to a path demanded by their parents. I was eager for freedom from a system that I believed had imprisoned me, and thoroughly believed that I could live the rest of my life without actual responsibility. If I had the ability to speak with myself, as an adult to a child, I would seize her by the shoulders and tell her to stop being arrogant. The path to any success, I would say, will not be paved for you because you feel you are entitled to it. I would tell her that being an adult means confronting barriers that will force you to rethink your strategy. She would protest and exclaim that she can survive without structure, and that she would rather indulge in her immediate desires. With gentleness and empathy, I will have said that her perspective must change, and that her narrow worldview will only evolve if she pursues higher education. I would say: Be objective about this. Imagine what damage those years of wasted time will do to that mind? Why waste your potential?

Alicia
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I would advise myself to take full advantage of all the extracurricular and group activities. Going to College is a big chang...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

I would advise myself to take full advantage of all the extracurricular and group activities. Going to College is a big change and it’s easier to transition the more involved you feel in the college and on the campus. Also, becoming involved in things outside of class is a great way to make new friends and the more groups you’re involved in the more connections you have. While you should take full advantage of extracurricular activities do not lose focus on why you are there, and always put your grades and classwork first. It’s easy to get distracted in a new school with new friends and more freedom but remember that you’re paying money for an education that will determine your future. Don’t waste money or time and make the most of everything and every experience.

Gerald
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Stanford University is a place where you not only are exposed to great teachers, but to a great environment: specifically the...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Stanford University is a place where you not only are exposed to great teachers, but to a great environment: specifically the weather and the motivated and talented students.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

“Don’t worry, there is a place for everyone to fit in at college!” Throughout my high school year I was anxious about the academic and more importantly social aspect of college. Now completing my first year, I would definitely recommend to think less of fitting in at college and more of enjoying the time you have with high school friends and preparing yourself financially for college. Members of the college’s student body come from various backgrounds, so finding one’s niche is easier than most perceive. Nurturing those high school friendships is most important, so that they have a chance of surviving the “friend-weaning” process known as college freshman year. The second important piece of advice is the need to search for outside scholarships and grants. Being a strong academic, I mistakenly thought that colleges would throw money my way because of my elite test scores and outstanding G.P.A. High school seniors need to focus their spare time away from school and friends looking for outside sources of money. Schools’ budgets are constantly becoming thinner and to ensure that you do receive the aid that you deserve, you need to diligently search for your money.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

Sometimes people are too uptight because it is academic although the people I surround myself are not.

Tonya
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back in time and converse with myself as a high school student, I would definitely have a "package of possibili...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

If I could go back in time and converse with myself as a high school student, I would definitely have a "package of possibilities" on hand. Growing up there was no one around to motivate me and show me that there was more to life than what I had experienced. My siblings will be in high school soon and it will be as if I really am going back to my high school days. I try to give them all the advice I wish I could have received. I grew up blinded to the endless amount of opportunities and deaf to the sound of dreams. I could only visualize that which I experienced and knew. I grew up surrounded by death, poverty, and the notion that I was to be content with what I had. It took joining the military, seven years of "reconstruction," to open my mind to all things I will accomplish. It would be pretty awesome to have the ability to go back in time, taking an opportunity to open my mind to the world of possibilities, but I'm going to get this chance with my siblings and nothing can beat that.

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