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Stanford admits 2,210 for Class of 2017

Original post made on Mar 29, 2013

Stanford University has offered admission to 2,210 students from a record-breaking pool of 38,828 applicants for its undergraduate class of 2017 -- an admission rate of 5.69 percent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 29, 2013, 3:56 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by PALY alum
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I remember writing an application for the $90 rejection letter. Don't know why it is so expensive and why I did it, since I am very happy in the college where I am studying, which has a better curriculum and opportunities than Stanford, even though it has lower ranking.

Posted by Golden Rule
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm

He who has the gold makes the rules. Amended to he who has the gold gets the worm.

It is so expensive because so many rich foreigners can afford it, which is why so many Stanford students are foreign and rich, or just plain very wealthy.

We learned long ago not to hire Stanford grads: they are not a good deal for what you have to pay them. many are arrogant and a little lazy, most have never had a job before graduating Stanford. Many were athletes, so they only went to school in the mornings only. Stanford athletes only get half an education, and Stanford finally admitted this last year.

Posted by james
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I expect sour grapes from those who were not able to get admitted to Stanford although it is hard to understand the inaccurate information. Stanford has one of the most diverse student bodies in the world. The majority of students are from middle-class households. Long gone are the days when wealthy students were a substantial portion of the student population.

The athletes I know are highly motivated students. Stanford athletes overall actually have a higher average GPA than the student body at large.

Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm

For undergraduate, Stanford is too expensive, not worth the money, unless you really like a particular program. UC/CSU is good enough for undergraduate study. If you are good, then go to Stanford for graduate study. Of course, for rich family, this strategy is a nonsense.

38,828 X $90 application fee = $3,494,520 ---you poor applicants just help Stanford to raise lots of money!!! a good annual fund raising :-), and hope Stanford give those money to poor good students.

Posted by yeah but
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2013 at 7:21 am

@ resident I wonder what the overhead is for that admissions department - probably at least $1M just for essay readers and researchers to figure out whose parents are so important that they must admit the student.

Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

Given that they just raised $1 billion for FY 2011-2012, the $3.5 million isn't exactly a lot of money.

Web Link

Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

It seems that $3.5 million isn't lot of money for Stanford. Then Stanford should decrease the application fee, like $35 for each. Think about it, if a student applies for 10 colleges (a typical case), and each charge $90, it is $900 for a family, that is lots of money for a regular family. Well, rich people don't need to comment here. So, in this case, I think Stanford does care about collecting money from college application.

Just a thought here, as I have no more kids that need to apply for college anymore, but I remember that I had to take out extra money from saving account to cover their "expensive" application fee before.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm

A lot of uninformed comments here --- only a very small percent of SU students actually pay full freight. Sour grapes?

Stanford has more economic,racial, and cultural diversity than UC and CSU systems and has had it for many many years (20+).

Students should apply the school they want to attend if they have the grades and ability for entry. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford -- along with Duke, Penn, Northwestern and all the best schools -- support qualified students.

Posted by Small Business
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

As an employer, we do not like to hire Stanford grads, unless they got an undergrad degree else where first. Historically, we have found they do not make good employees because so often they have never worked before, and thus, do not know how to keep a job.

We have also found that while the Stanford athletes have good grades, they usually do not have a complete education or have enough knowledge to perform the job we hired them for.

We have come to find that Santa Clara U, , Berkeley, Duke, and Wharton grads do much better in the real Silicon Valley. MIT grads often do not do well, itis about a 50-50 chance, as so many of them are rather antisocial. Why, none of us knows. But they often seen unprepared for the realities of Silicon Valley.

Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Wow! Really interesting thread of comments about an article about a private University's admissions results.

In terms of Stanford graduates and the work place, we've hired an incredible number of Stanford grads at two companies I've worked at, we love Stanford students. You may have heard of these two minor Silicon Valley companies, Google and Apple :^)

Opinions are like <...>, everyone's got one.

Posted by quarter system
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm

fyi, Stanford, along with certain other universities, is on the horrendous quarter system and it is tough and fast-paced. I am not intimately familiar with Stanford but know another similar university on this system and have witnessed the super go-go environment.
From one who has seen it: students who have survive the quarter system have managed through a challenge that students experiencing the standard semester system don't have to face - and it IS a material difference.
I can tell you it is tough to work when attending a quarter-system university (at least one of the top-ranked ones).
Still, people are individuals and should be hired or considered for their individual merit, not lumped into some category as "Stanford grads" and whether one likes to hire them or not. But, realize they have my sympathy having witnessed the brutal quarter system...

Posted by resident/business
a resident of University South
on Mar 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

As a small business professional in Palo Alto for approx. 25 years I have met many amazing Stanford students and staff. I've been especially impressed by the undergrads, including many athletes. Stanford gets a very diverse group of students and I am proud to live and work in a city associated with this University. The students are consistently friendly, kind and humble (in addition to their intelligence/athletic ability). Best wishes for the admitted students. If you choose Stanford, you made a great choice. From a UCB grad.

Posted by rocky
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 31, 2013 at 12:09 am

Some public schools might just be superior to some private schools. UC is a system, a weakened system, but an effective system that serves the entire state. Stanford looks to me like a cult, a private school that can discriminate in admissions and employment in the same fashion that the Augusta Golf Club and boy scouts operate. And, there are about as many token blacks in Augusta as there are in every single building on campus....(let's not count Condi Rice twice) Students and staff are mainly caddies for white professors....and raw meat for the athletic machine that is seemingly what all the fuss is about. I was so happy to see the women's basketball team lose to Georgia. The elite team of all elite institutions loses to the school the Princeton Review labels the 5th best value among public universities.

Posted by Whoa!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm

JAMES: those days of college being only for the wealthy are sneaking back. Unless you are dirt poor and gifted, it is very, very hard to get financial aid. You have to have income below the FEDERAL poverty level, not the state one. Otherwise, you need pretty near filthy rich.

Posted by james
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Wow, some really bad information by some clueless people. WHOAL, Stanford provides a full ride scholarship for any student coming from a family with an income below $65,000/year. I should know because I paid nothing for four years as a Stanford undergrad except for books and incidental expenses. Also anyone from a family making less than $100,000/year gets tuition paid for by Stanford.

As a grad student I make enough as a TA to cover all my expenses. I will graduate with a Master's Degree with no debt and no financial help from my parents . I believe I am pretty typical for students in the same financial situation at Stanford.

Whoal, please check you facts before posting again.

Posted by james
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm

To Small Business. All I can do is speak for myself and my friends at Stanford. Almost everyone at Stanford does a summer internship during their undergraduate degree. I don't understand your comment about undergrads not working. Of course, undergrads who came directly out of high school will not have worked at a career job.

Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook are fierce competitors for Stanford grads with some programming experience. All I can say is my experience and that of my Stanford friends is the polar opposite of what you posted. Silicon Valley companies fight over Stanford grads in the fields of computer science and engineering.

Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

@Rocky - There are more african americans students (as a percentage) at Stanford than Cal, UCLA, or UCSD.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I think there's a ton of resentment/envy about Stanford. It is hard to know that your own kid, even if s/he is an excellent student will probably not get in.

But, anyway, an unwealthy relative mine found it cheaper for his kids to go to the Ivies than the UCs. The kids just got better financial aid/scholarship offers.

I've known many, many successful people from Stanford--c'mon, let's not kid ourselves. That said, I do think Stanford has begun to suffer from what I think of as Harvard-itis. It's gotten so hard to get into that it's admitting fewer kids who take chances. It's a duller place than it was 20 years ago, when excellence was required, but not impossible. I call it Harvard-itis because back in my day, I always thought of Harvard students as kids who worked really hard, but didn't think outside the box. They weren't that interesting as a group and, yes, in the workplace, the fear of failure limited what they would do.

This wasn't an issue with grads from Stanford, Princeton, Yale, etc. But now, given how impossible to get into all of these schools are, I think it is more of one.

Personally, I wish US News and Reports idiotic rankings would go out-of-print and off-the-web, that AP programs would be dramatically reduced--it should be real college-level work--and that the common app was dumped. Kids having to fill in (and pay for) 20 college applications is absurd.

I also think the state needs to fund the UCs in some sort of proportion to California residents being served. It's ridiculous that the most competitive UC schools--Berkeley and UCLA--have the highest percentage of out-of-state and overseas students. It may be a short-term budgetary fix, but long-term, the UC system is failing its basic mission. The UCs and state colleges need to accessible to good students in the state.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Interesting turn to the discussion.

I think it is no coincidence that Silicon Valley grew up in the shadow of Stanford. Would it have happened here otherwise? Who knows really, but so many of the Fairchild/National Semi/Sun/Fairchildren companies got their chance to succeed because of their proximity to Stanford.

As to whether Stanford will be the glue that keeps state of the art/new technologies wanting to maintain a Silicon Valley presence, that is another good question.

Employers are looking further afield than Stanford for some very good reasons. The good graduates are looking to be employed by the Googles/Facebooks because of their company benefits of gyms, social scene, childcare, etc.

Palo Alto may be the home of Stanford, but Stanfordites have no loyalty to Palo Alto once they have left the Farm. Palo Alto high school graduates (Gunn or Paly) may not be able to realistically consider a Stanford education, but Palo Alto high school graduates may be the ones that eventually keeps Silicon Valley geographically where it is.

Posted by lol
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

Wow, I agree with the sentiment of such uninformed opinions. For the uninformed, top universities like Stanford, MIT, and Harvard provide exceptional financial aid. There is no such thing as not being able to afford Stanford. If your family really has no money and you can get into Stanford, they will pretty much give you a full ride.

And as an employer, I've found that Stanford and MIT grads are almost always worth hiring. In particular, it's the undergrad degree from Stanford or MIT that counts most because it is harder to get in as an undergrad than it is to get in as a grad student.

Posted by Southern Roots
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

@OhlonePar: Hear! Hear!

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Lol- what a mistake?! Many qualified local kids CAN NOT afford Stanford. $200k family income in PA with great public schools will buy you a tiny house with over the nose bills and taxes. Your child will not be qualified for any financial aid. Agree with many other comments - attend PA schools and send your child somewhere else to college. Stanford is for very rich or poor, plus legacy kids.
But, I also agree that Stanford kids are, in general, polite and pleasant, bright and hardworking.
Let's not take from their victory -

Posted by Anthony Woodville
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm

My observation of Stanford students I have met is that they are overconfident and believe they can do no wrong, because all their lives they have been treated as if they could do no wrong. I don't think Stanford does this to them, but the life experiences they have had previous to coming here. However, I have found the upper classmen and grad students to be rather arrogant and defensive on general, and I am not sure why this is, but it is.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2013 at 11:54 pm

"Afford" means different things to different people. Plenty of people who make nowhere near $200K own homes in Palo Alto--it's simply a question of when you bought. If you bought, say, when your kid was in kindegarten, you should have manageable payments and a nice chunk of equity by the time she or he is ready for college.

Will paying for a private school be a stretch? Quite possibly, but it's doable in a way that it isn't for someone whose home is, say, underwater and has an income under $50K. Is it worth doing? That really depends--it's not necessarily a wise decision. It's also all the more reason that our public university and college systems should be more readily accessible to residents. It's a little crazy that so few local kids have a shot at Berkeley. It stops being a school for middle-class and working-class kids. It stops being an *opportunity*.

As for Stanford--it is a private school, so different mission. That said, while I have friends who spent decades paying off Stanford student loans, Stanford has a history of making financial aid work and not simply restricting it to really poor kids.

As for the Harvarditis of Stanford--I spend a fair amount of time there and have acquaintances who work and study there--so it's kind of a personal observation about how the campus vibe has changed over the years.

The increase in the number of college applications far outstrips the growth of the population. If anything, it should be slightly easier to get into the college of one's choice than it was a few years ago, but it's not--and that's because of the out-of-control application process and the recruitment of overseas students. I don't think we, as a society, benefit from the current state of affairs. We're burning out and stressing out our own kids kind of needlessly and we may not be doing a good job of creating enough high-skilled workers who plan to work in the United States.

Then you mix in the whole lack-of-affordability issue and, in the case of the UCs, the wildly different levels of preparation the incoming students have. It's just kind of *yikes*!

Posted by Stanford and its always alright now
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Wow, every year when Stanford's acceptance information is released, the local commentary is always rather negative. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my years at Stanford have been the very best years of my life. And, many, many of my classmates feel the same way. So much, that this past fundraising year, many alums gave lots of money as a thank you to the university for the great education; and more importantly, the life long friendships; the truly amazing experiences during our Stanford years; and the doors it opened, and continues to open in our lifetime. I am certain that people who have attended other universities, and colleges feel the same way about their respective experiences at those schools.

Welcome Stanford class of 2017 to all the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of a Stanford Education. Enjoy your time there, as it goes by much too quickly.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm


Will you feel the same way when your own child will have almost no chance of going there? *That's* at the crux of a lot of the resentment, I think. Our elite schools have become less and less accessible--and the college-admissions game has become more than a bit rigged. As I make clear, I actually have more of an issue with the UCs becoming so inaccessible, but for a lot of people, it's Stanford.

Did it ever occur to you that a chunk of those donations are from people who want to get their kid into the school? I understand that you have to donate at least $500K for an applicant to have that big-donor edge.

Many of us went to college at a time when excellent grades and test scores really did get you into the Ivies and Stanford. Now you can have a perfect GPA and perfect SATs and not even get waitlisted.

It's dispiriting, too, for the kids of Stanford alums who see that they can work hard and still not get into Stanford because they don't have a hook.

I'm glad you enjoyed your time there, but if you don't get why the lower and lower rate of admissions are a source of resentment, you're not paying attention.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I don't recall seeing this kind of nasty community reaction to the annual admissions announcement at Princeton when I was there a couple of years ago.

And, I doubt that there's such local bitterness in the communities around Harvard, Duke, etc.

Some folks in Palo Alto certainly seem to feel so entitled and bitter.

Posted by Stanford, and its always alright now
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 3, 2013 at 11:22 am

To OhlonePar,

Thanks for your message. Actually, my oldest twin boys were accepted to Harvard three years ago; my middle son went on to Princeton, and my daughter, entered Stanford last year. My oldest twin boys turned down both Stanford, and Yale, to attend Harvard. Basically, yes it is true that admissions to these private schools are more competitive, and rigorous these days. What really is happening in essence is that the same pool of students are applying to the same group of schools each year, resulting in the similar number of "total" applicants, and the similar number of accepted students. In general, most students are simply hedging their "bet" so to speak by applying to all the same schools, with marginal variances in the individual applicants. The admissions staff of each university know this, and they also know that for every student they deny, that student will get into one of the other similar schools.

As Ben Affleck said about his lack of the Oscar nomination for Best Director for Argo, we are not entitled to anything in this world. I would add, with exception of the right to breathe the breath we were given at birth.

There are so many great schools in this country, that to get bent out of shape for lack of acceptance into one school or another is simply ridiculous. Americans have so much access to Education on many levels, that education is truly possible, and attainable for everyone.

Stanford is still a truly remarkable educational environment, as it was 30 years ago.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm


I think it's because Palo Alto has gone through a lot of rapid changes in a way that places back East have not. It creates a high-pressure situation.


I agree that a lot of the issue is with the multiple apps, but it's also just plain harder to get into the schools than it used to be. I don't know that the students are actually better qualified, but it's much more of a dog-and-pony show. It's become much more about knowing how to play the game. Take a look (if you haven't already) at the College Confidential Stanford acceptance thread. In some cases, it's obvious why someone was rejected--in other cases, not so much. Often it seems to come down to having the right quirk in the narrative to make an applicant standout (i.e. the Vietnamese transgender lesbian from Texas with an interest in photography.) But a lot of kids are just kids who've worked hard.

There's nothing ridiculous about "Americans" having access to education. As a nation, we chose to create a vast,fluid and accessible educational system. There was an early idea that you need an educated population for self-governance. Personally, it's the lack of education in some segments of the country (i.e. I'm looking at you, Bible Belt.) that concerns me.

You and your kids have clearly had access to the best of the best, so I think you haven't walked in the shoes of those who've seen a dream crushed. Nor have you been one of those parents who were blindsided by how much requirements for getting into a given school have changed in the last 15 years. It's easy to say things are great if you're on top of the acceptance pile.

That said, people who post on the PA forum here are a relatively grouchy, conservative lot compared to the city in general. Not always, but often enough.

Posted by Stanford, and its always alright now
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm


I do like your very diverse Vietnamese applicant example. If I were on the admissions staff, and that individual also had the grades, scores, and civic or societal engagement, I would vote to accept them as well. Basically, as in all things in life, individual university admissions boils down to luck, pluck, and virtue. I am certain that all those who were denied admissions into Stanford, were accepted into at least one other great university. Sometimes, we simply can get what we want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. You know how the song goes. And, non-acceptance into Stanford, or any other school is not the end of the world for anybody. It is this type of thinking that helps to foster the over competitiveness of university admissions, and so called success in general in life. As Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg exemplify, the evidence of education is what you do with it to improve the world, not the school from which you graduate.

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm


Yeah, I got why that applicant got accepted too. I also agree that it's not the end of the world to not get accepted to Stanford, etc. I do feel differently about the public university and college systems--it's been a huge boon to our state to have academically strong and affodable public universities. I think being an excellent student (not an outstanding one) should be enough for Berkeley for local kids. Not all families can afford to send their kids away for college. A lot of them are in that unsweet spot between need-based scholarships and being able to swing tuition and living expenses for multiple kids.

The common app, the pressure to have umpteen AP classes of dubious merit and catchy ECs creates a lot of pressure for kids and, frankly, seems business-driven and creates an even more uneven playing field. Parents "in-the-know" and with the money to swing certain kinds of extracurriculars have a big advantage. But, to me, the big irony of all this prepping and planning is that I'm not convinced we're creating better students. Certainly going to high school has become a lot less fun--too much strategizing, not enough exploring and just being.

For all the talk of the values of risk-taking and creativity, I think the getting-into-college situation these days discourages those traits--at least intellectually. I'm sure kids still take plenty of stupid risks socially and physically (sigh.)

Posted by Daniel
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Well, if not Stanford, there always are claremont Colleges like Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna college, Pitzer College in So. Cal with better weather and better undergrad teaching cirriculums than Stanford, in my opinion.

Posted by Perfect Score
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm

[Post removed due to referencing a previously deleted post.]

Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2013 at 2:29 am

I grew up in Palo Alto, and went to UCSD. Why anyone would want to go to Stanford over a great UC school minutes from awesome waves and sublime underwater attractions is beyond me.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

"Stanford's "yield rate" (73%) -- the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll -- second only to that of Harvard University."

Just wanted to point out that this is not an accurate statement because it leaves out the top school for yield rate - Brigham Young University - at 80% in both Fall 2011 and Fall 2012.

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