Stanford University Application Guide – Early Action

As one of the world’s leading universities, Stanford University is renowned for its academic excellence, innovations, and vibrant campus life. This guide details the university’s application process, covering aspects like application deadlines, eligibility criteria, and financial aid options.

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Application Deadlines

Stanford University offers two application deadlines:

  1. Early Action Deadline: This option allows students to submit their application by November 1 and receive a decision by December 15. This is a non-binding agreement, meaning, if accepted, you’re not obligated to attend Stanford.
  2. Regular Decision Deadline: The regular decision deadline requires students to submit their application by January 2, with decisions announced by April 1.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply to Stanford University:

  • Applicants must finish their high school education (or equivalent) before enrolling in the university.
  • International applicants are required to submit their TOEFL scores if English is not their first language.
  • There’s no minimum GPA or test score requirement. However, successful applicants have competitive academic and extracurricular profiles.

Required Materials

Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • The Coalition Application or Common Application along with the Stanford-specific questions and the application fee (or fee waiver).
  • Official high school transcripts or school reports.
  • Counselor letter of recommendation.
  • Two teacher evaluations.
  • Official SAT or ACT scores (optional for 2021-2022 applicants due to COVID-19).
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable).
  • A Midyear Report (when your mid-year grades are available).

Early Action vs. Regular Decision

Stanford’s early action deadline allows you to apply and receive your decision sooner. If accepted, you’re not required to attend, and you can still apply to other institutions’ regular decision deadlines. However, you cannot apply for an early decision at another private, domestic university.

Regular decision applicants submit their applications by January 2; results are typically announced by April 1. Accepted students must make their decision by May 1.

Application Tips and Strategies

Personal Statement

Your statement is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and experiences. Write about events or situations that have shaped your character or influenced your goals. Be genuine and focused, ensuring that your essay clearly demonstrates your passion and commitment to your preferred field of study.

Letters of Recommendation

Select recommenders who know you well and can provide specific academic and personal growth examples. Please provide them with ample time to write strong and individualized letters.

Extracurricular Activities

Highlight your involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, internships, and other activities that demonstrate your leadership and initiative. Focus on the depth and impact of your participation rather than the number of activities.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Stanford offers various need-based financial aid opportunities to students who require assistance. The university meets 100% of the demonstrated need for all admitted students. In addition, scholarships and grants are available based on factors such as academic achievement, talent, or community service.

Scholarships and Grants

  • Stanford University Scholarships: Stanford provides need-based scholarships to eligible students, which do not require repayment.
  • Federal Pell Grants: These need-based grants are awarded to undergraduate students with significant financial needs.
  • Outside Scholarships: Many outside organizations offer scholarships to students who demonstrate achievement in various fields or meet specific eligibility criteria.

To apply for financial aid, submit the CSS Profile and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the respective deadlines.


In conclusion, applying to Stanford University requires careful planning and preparation. Make sure to meet all application requirements and take advantage of available resources to increase your chances of admission. 

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