Stanford offers to admit 7 percent of applicants

Percentage of students who accept is second only to Harvard University

Stanford University today sent e-mails to 1,673 high school students from "around the world," inviting them to join the undergraduate Class of 2015, the university announced.

Those students -- plus the 754 admitted last December under Stanford's non-binding "early action" program -- represent just 7 percent of the 34,348 who applied for a spot in this fall's freshman class.

Admitted students have until May 1 to accept or take a pass on Stanford's offer.

Of students admitted to Stanford, about 70 percent in recent years have decided to attend.

The university announced a 72 percent "yield rate" for the Class of 2014 and a 70 percent yield for the class of 2013, the Stanford Daily reported, adding that Stanford's rate in recent years is second only to that of Harvard University.

"Stanford has been exceedingly fortunate to attract a simply amazing group of applicants from all over the world," Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw said in a prepared statement.

"In our review, we were humbled by the exceptional accomplishments of those candidates who have been admitted, as well as the competitive strength of all of the applicants."

Last year, Stanford offered freshman admission to 2,300 -- or 7.2 percent -- of the 32,022 who applied.

By comparison, Stanford in 1996 reported a yield rate of 61.4 percent, up from 55.1 percent the previous year. In 1996, the university admitted 2,608 -- or 15.9 percent -- of its 16,359 applicants.

At that time, then Dean of Undergraduate Admission James Montoya reported that the previous record for undergraduate applications had been 17,652.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by Curious, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

I am curious how these numbers compare to previous years. Is 7% of applicants a normal acceptance rate? Did they receive more applications than usual? Over time, how have these numbers changed? It would be more useful to present these numbers in a context.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2011 at 11:25 am

Curious: check out the last line of the story. 7.2% last year. Not a LOT of context, but something...

Posted by local, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

May take a bunch off their waitlist. So many kids are putting out so many apps now and they can only attend one university, hence the waitlist situation nowadays.

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Not saying this happens at Stanford, or other highly selective universities, but in "some" less selective colleges, they have boosted their national rankings considerably in the last few years by simply not "accepting" as many qualified applicants and dropping them down to "waitlist" status. It changes the college's yield, making it appear more desirable and more competitive. In turn, it attracts a stronger applicant pool the next year, trending its scores upwards etc.--even if the highly qualified only applied to it as an additional back-up school, it worked to gain stronger applicants.

Though the more qualified applicant will still more than likely select the more prestigious institution if accepted, a few will arrive on their campus--maybe for financial aid purposes, honor student placement, etc. Regardless, the university has successfully elevated its rank and popularity by making this adjustment. Their waitlist, now deep and strong, is loaded with overly anxious applicants just waiting for a last-minute reprieve. Clever strategy--misleading, but clever.

This change, along with extraordinary large pool of students applying to college, has definitely narrowed the playing field on acceptances for our kids. Hopefully, we can de-emphasize the rankings and simply celebrate the victory of attending college at all.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Curious - do you know of anyone who has ever applied overseas to a university, like Oxford or University of London (for undergrad, not for grad or Rhodes Scholarship? Many foreign students apply here and I never hear of anyone pursuing undergrad studies overseas.

Posted by Rick, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:53 am

The acceptance rate is simply a matter of how many applications are received. Stanford enrolls about 1600-1700 each year. From previous years they know what percentage of admits will turn down their offer, so they estimate how many they need to admit to end up at 1600-1700. They usually waitlist over 1000. Few on the waitlist will end up being admitted. Most are waitlisted for diplomatic reasons - they are legacies, parents donated lots of money, older sibling is a current student, graduating from one of their feeder prep schools, etc. Let's them save face by telling their classmates they are still being considered until summer when no one cares any longer.

Posted by Emma, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

Sarah, I am pretty sure every university wants to uptick its academic ranking. So don't blame "some" universities which have successfully implement ways to achieve it. In fact, no one is prohibiting the same methods to be used by anyone. Only the real good universities stand out from the competition.

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