Stanford University is one of the world’s most prestigious universities and serves over 7,000 undergraduate students and over 11,500 graduate students. This private research university, founded in 1885 was tuition free until the 1930s; recent years have shown the university going back to its roots and offering open access to select Stanford courses for online learners around the world.
Academically, Stanford University in no way takes an ivory tower approach to education; the list of contributions to the world by those associated with this research university is long and impressive. Stanford claims 22 Nobel laureates, 5 Pulitzer Prize winners, 27 MacArthur Fellows, and over 700 other distinguished academic awards in its community of scholars. Seventeen astronauts and 30 billionaires are also affiliated with Stanford.
Faculty, students and alumni have long been a creative force in shaping the future. Some of the most notable cutting edge projects and high profile companies in the world have come out of Stanford. Silicon Valley has its roots in Stanford where one of the precursors to the Internet was developed. Yahoo!, Google, Nike, Coursera, and other companies have been founded by Stanford faculty and/or alumni.
Students applying for an elite Stanford education will experience the lowest acceptance rates in the country. Stanford offers 40 academic programs in three undergraduate schools – Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering, as well as robust graduate offerings. More than 18 independent laboratories, institutes, and centers are managed by Stanford. Student opportunities for significant research are unsurpassed, with over 5,000 externally sponsored research opportunities.
The school operates on a quarter system from September to June, where undergraduate students have an option of earning a bachelor’s degree, or a coterminal degree. Coterm degrees are where graduate school becomes an extension of a student’s undergraduate education leading to a master’s degree.
Student housing is guaranteed for all four years of undergraduate studies at Stanford, and one year of graduate study. Ninety-seven percent of undergrads live in campus housing. There is a thriving Greek life on campus with 16 fraternities and 14 sororities; ten of those offer student housing. According to Greek Rank, the most popular sororities are Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Delta Delta, and Chi Omega. Favorite fraternities are Phi Kappa Psi, Kappa Alpha Order, and Alpha Epsilon Pi.
Stanford offers 630 recognized student organizations, 44 religious organizations, six cultural centers, and the Haas Center for Public Service, which supports student community service. Aggregated student satisfaction data at Students Review gives Stanford a 90% positive rating. The Stanford campus is actually its own town and filled with every activity imaginable. Some highlights are Café Nights; parties, parties, parties; Flicks campus movie theater; lounging at Arrillaga Alumni Center Fountain; hitting balls at the Stanford driving range; hiking the Dish at sunset; or stargazing at the courtyard near the clock tower. Don’t forget you’re 30 minutes from San Francisco for the ultimate urban scene, or three hours from Yosemite National Park for prime outdoor adventure.
Excellence is a theme at Stanford. The Stanford Cardinals have 36 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s varsity teams competing in the PAC-12 Conference. Cardinal teams have amassed 105 NCAA national titles, and student athletes have captured 0ver 45 individual national championships. Stanford athletes competing in the Olympics have won over 240 Olympic medals since 1912, of which more than 125 of them were gold. Approximately 300 athletic scholarships are awarded each year. For the less competitive who still love sports, Stanford offers 19 club sports and 37 intramural sports.
Stanford’s main football rival is Berkeley. Every year the “Big Game” is the culmination of a week’s worth of preparations. The 2013 Rose Bowl Champions get fired up for the game against the “hippies across the bay.” For all Cardinal games you’ll be expected to know the proper Stanford cheers down to the jangling of keys and pointing in the right sequence and direction depending on what’s happening on the field. When basketball season rolls around, you’ll have to learn a whole new set of cheer skills.
Stanford University is rich with tradition – some serious, some more frivolous. For a complete breakdown, check out the Stanford University Unofficial Guide online. A few favorites include the freshman tradition of Assassins, class and Greek formals, Midnight Breakfast and Primal Scream during Dead Week, fountain hopping the 25 Stanford fountains on campus, an annual ski trip, and Stanford’s version of the Amazing Race.
If you’re brilliant and competitive, a compulsively curious overachiever with a bona fide penchant for shenanigans, Stanford may be just the school for you.
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By Colleen Hill