Sunday, June 17, 2012

Behind the Numbers

Personally, I love numbers.  I love how clearly and consisely they can transmit information.  Especially when it comes to college admissions, numbers can be very important.
But as I'm going to say several times in this post, numbers aren't everything.

Additionally, colleges love to throw information and numbers to prospective applicants, hoping to entice them and convince them to apply.  Yes, a good deal of this information is helpful.  But some of it definitely needs another (ahem, firsthand) perspective. is my take on some of the statisics and information taken from the admissions website, college ranking sites, and other Stanford publications, and what it actually means to an applicant.

Stanford's admission rate for the Class of 2016 was 6.6%  36,631 students applied, and ultimately 2,427 were admitted.  Stanford was the second most selective college in the country, following Harvard (which had a 5.4% admission rate....Yale and Princeton followed close behind Stanford).  The last few years, Stanford has had an admission rates of 7.1%, 7.3%, 7.9%, and 9.5%.  Admissions rates dropped about .5% to 1% at nearly all of the top is harder than ever to get in to Stanford.

Stanford's yield rate for the Class of 2016 was 73%.  I recently read this statistic somewhere, which means that 73% of the students admitted to the class of 2016 accepted the offer of admission...according to the article, this is likely the largest yield rate in the country.  The article also stated that Stanford didn't expect this high of a yield rate and is bracing itself for an unexpectedly large incoming class.  This is more evidence that Stanford will lower its acceptance rate more next fall.

Here,, you can find an overview of the test scores and GPAs of the students who entered in the fall of last year.  As you can see, the vast majority of the students have extremely high test scores and GPAs.  You probably already knew that.  It is important to note that not all of the admitted students had a perfect 2400 on their SAT and not all were valedictorians.  36,631 students applied...and after talking with admissions officers from various top colleges, the majority of those applicants are "academically qualified".  That being said, if Stanford wanted to only admit students with perfect test scores and absolutely perfect grades, they could.  Stanford takes a "holistic" approach to admissions.  They look at grades, test scores, extracirriculars, letters of recommendation, and application essays.  In short, they want to find students that challenge themselves within the context of their environment and succeed.  They want students who clearly demonstrate not only an academic competency, but an intellectual vitality.

Stanford is located on 8,180 acres in the heart of the Silicon Valley.  8,180 acres is a lot of space.  In fact Stanford is the largest continuous in the United States.  Don't let that scare you away though!  The campus is very accessible, and nothing seems very far from the centralized locations on campus (the quad, the student center, etc.).  Additionally, it is very bike friendly, and having a bike seems to be a must to get around campus quickly and efficiently.
Also, being in the center of Silicon Valley has a profound impact on Stanford.  I should say, that the nature of Stanford has had an effect on its surroundings--Silicon Valley sprouted because of many companies that started at Stanford.  Because of this relationship, Stanford has a different culture from its East-Coast counterparts.  Stanford is better known for its science and engineering than for its humanities, while some of the ivy league schools are more balanced, or may be better known for their business and law programs.  It's not enough to make a noticible difference on the quality of the education--Stanford is truly great at everything it does.  Additionally, there is a very tangible spirit of entrepreneurship at Stanford that simply cannot be found outside of the Silicon Valley.  Stanford Students all seem to be instilled with the drive to go make their own success.

Stanford is a diverse place.  Stanford has people of all races, geographic origins, socioeconomic origins, faiths, sexual orientations, and walks of life.  People really come from all backgrounds....except for the fact that there are tons of Californians (to give an example, my admissions officer managed 8 or 10 states....there were 6 admissions officers for Los Angeles alone).

Stanford has a 98% retention rate.  98% of Stanford freshmen return for their sophomore year.  Stanford students are happy with where they are.  Enough said.

More to come soon!

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