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Class of 2017 admit rate marks record low at 5.7 percent

Stanford offered admission to 2,210 students via electronic notification on Friday, producing – at 5.69 percent – the lowest admit rate in University history.

Courtesy of Stanford Photo

Montag Hall, headquarters of the Office of Undergraduate Admission (Courtesy of Stanford Photo)

The University received a total of 38,828 applications this year, a record total and a 6 percent increase over last year’s figure of 36,631. Stanford accepted 725 students in December through the Office of Undergraduate Admission’s restrictive early action program and extended offers to 1,485 more applicants on Friday. A further 813 students have been placed on the waitlist.

“The most exciting part of our review is the opportunity to consider the world’s most exceptional students,” wrote Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw in a press release. “The most daunting challenge is to select a relatively small number from among a most competitive and exceptional group of candidates. We are honored by the vast abilities and potential of those we admitted and those who, in the end, we could not accommodate.”

The record low admit rate reflects a continued trend of increasing selectivity for Stanford. The University admitted 6.6 percent of applicants in 2012, 7.1 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent in 2010.

At the same time, the size of the matriculating freshman class has grown over the past three years, from 1,675 for the Class of 2014 to 1,768 for the Class of 2016. The increased yield rate has prompted academic and residential adjustments for incoming classes, as well as – for the Class of 2016 – the release of all waitlisted students.

On Thursday, several peer institutions also reported historically low admit rates. Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton admitted 5.8, 6.72, 6.89 and 7.29 percent of applicants respectively.

Accepted students have until May 1 to accept the University’s offer.

About Marshall Watkins

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.
  • Student

    So, we’re officially the most selective school in the country. The only surprising thing about this is that we weren’t already.

  • Zeus7777

    Funny, Stanford graduates have the poorest track record of winning Nobel Prizes of any of the “top” schools. Why can’t all the Einsteins at Stanford win a Nobel prize? Stanford is #11 is Nobel alums per capita. Maybe the admissions office isn’t very bright in selecting students and maybe the curriculum isn’t very good. Perhaps, as the Daily pointed out, Stanford should concentrate less on attracting wealthy donors’ kids and more on attracting smart students.

  • urbanizicao

    out of curiosity, where is that rank from?

  • anon

    Or maybe nobel alums per capita is a bad measure of comparison since this school is only 120 years old and other institutions have had 4 centuries to build intellectual capital.

  • Haha, you must be stupid

    Lol, somebody is mad about their rejection.

  • RoyUverse342

    A bunch of legacy kids who don’t belong there. This coming from a student there.

  • james

    Zeus7777, sorry you got rejected by Stanford. That sour grapes attitude is not becoming to you.

  • james

    I believe there are 535 more students admitted this year than three years ago. I assume the yield will remain fairly constant. Is construction of dorm rooms keeping up with the additional students?

    A few years ago Stanford “unpacked” several dorms to give more living space to students. I hope the university maintains that same attitude about this class and future classes.

  • james

    The source I am looking at is for universities throughout the world. It has Stanford at #5 and Harvard at #9.

  • Asian girl

    Waitlisted for class of 2017…after seeing this article I can only be in shock of how I wasn’t rejected outright.

  • Asian girl

    Uhh actually Curtis is more selective, something like 1~2% admitted.

  • Class of ’78

    Incorrect. Stanford always accepts more than 2200 to yield the approximately 1700 freshmen. In fact, the 2210 is less than Stanford took 5 and 10 years ago

  • #beatHarvard

    Not to be a tool, but the first line has an error- admissions only offered 1485 students admission today. The 2210 number includes the early people.

    Im soooo lucky to have gotten in last year for 2016. Admissions just keeps getting harder and harder :P

  • Columbia 13

    It is about time someone beat those Harvard morons :)

  • MN

    If you included the “Nobel” equivalents in other fields (e.g. in computer science), Stanford would leave all the others in the dust except perhaps Harvard and Berkeley. The Nobel is boring and narrow.

  • MN

    True, apparently Stanford took 2,700 students in 1999. And somehow, the student body has just gotten bigger and bigger…

  • Columbia troll

    Have you considered Columbia University, we got the most nobels of all. But you won’t get in with that attitude. #6.89%BITCH

  • no worries

    A message to applicants who were rejected and who want to do a PhD someday: Where you do your undergrad degree doesn’t matter when it comes time to apply to PhD programs. Here’s how to get into the PhD program of your choice regardless of your undergrad institution. (1) Do well in all your major coursework and exceptionally well in some subset of the courses that most interest you. (2) Do research. Ideally, start the spring of your sophomore year and certainly by junior year. Be nice to everyone in the research group, and they’ll be really nice to you. Be enthusiastic about doing gruntwork as well as the exciting stuff. (3) Senior year, apply to PhD fellowships as well as to PhD programs. (4) Late sophomore year or early junior year, think about what GRE subject exam you want to take, and start studying for it. A lot of PhD programs make it optional, but a good GRE subject exam score certainly won’t hurt you, and it will help with fellowship applications.

  • Oski

    Welcome to No Fun University, suckers!!

  • Oneeb

    Is 813 the number of people they offered a waitlist to, or the number that accepted their position in the waitlist?

  • rick131

    Getting tens of thousands of unqualified applicants and having a fictitious low admit rate, does not make a school any better or more competitive. Most of the students who apply to the top schools are no where near qualified and are wasting an application. If you do not meet certain cut offs, they should not even accept your application.

  • anon

    Columbia has the most Nobel Prize winners of any University in the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Straka/1057377843 Steve Straka

    Rick, Wondering where you got that information. Actually, according to the the Dean of Admissions, over 80% of the applicants at Stanford are at or near the top of their high school classes with SATs in the 25th-75th percentile of accepted students. In reality, nearly all the applicants are quite qualified.

  • Columbia ’15

    Agreed, Columbia University is a beast. We are trying to make New York the second silicon valley. There is a large start up culture forming.

  • Harvardian

    I wonder how many of those admitted will accept Stanford’s offer. After all, who wants to live in a farm with Spanish architecture and a bunch of ducks? Eww…… Sounds like some people got rejected and have no other choice….

  • michael

    Some of you Harvard guys are really tweaked about this. Who cares which school has the lowest admit rate? I am pretty happy with the palm trees and warm weather.

  • Harvardian

    Kids find whatever way they can to validate their school choices. The smarter ones do not get bewildered about it.

  • nathan

    Well Initially I went to Harvard because I didn’t get into Stanford. I still got a job in Silicon Valley but where I work is still dominated by Stanford grads.

  • umm

    …why are you here?

  • waitlistee

    Any guesses on how many will be admitted from the waitlist this year? – coming from an international

  • MN

    Ivy kids like to read Stanford’s newspaper… gotta keep up with the Joneses, even if they’re not your neighbor.

  • Asian Advantage

    Stanford or Berkeley is not a plan!

  • Anal girl

    Most selective university then

  • Amy

    It is unfortunate that Stanford feels good about having an acceptance rate under 6% which only really means that you had even more applicants than last year. The entering class size has only increased by 100 students or so from my class 30 years ago and yet the applicant pool has more than tripled. In a year when Stanford raised over $1billion, couldn’t they find a way to give more of these exceptional candidates the opportunity to study at Stanford? Couldn’t the class be increased to 2,000 without damaging the elite academic experience?

  • Susan

    I’m an undergrad alumni and embarrassed by the admits from our city: 3 recruited athletes, drama, 2 foreign. Having watched these kids grow up, they are absolutely not the brightest, most innovative kids in the community. Aside from the stellar athletes, all surprise admits. I’m disappointed to see the most intellectually energetic kids heading to the ivies/MIT. I’m not versed in the admission process but these are not the kids SU should be admitting.

  • Ann

    Biased reporting. Stanford is the best, by far, school on the west coast so everyone who wants to study on the west coast, has one option. The east coast provides many options so the statistics are flawed. A research institution should know this and not propagate PR.

  • CleanAndSimple

    Susan, you hit the nail on the head. Stanford made some sort of odd push to recruit “liberal arts” majors to escape the moniker of an engineering dominated school. Maybe they should look more closely at where their bread is buttered. I am certain that Harvard or Yale would love to have Stanford’s “problem”.

  • CleanAndSimple

    I never used to believe this. However, as an alumnus who has watched the admission process from a different angle, I saw 2 kids from my son’s high school get admitted without stellar grades, no particular athletic prowess/resume, and mediocre to no extracurricular notables. The only common variable were very large (millions) donations from alumni parents. While I am disappointed for my son who was at the top of his class, I am also embarrassed for my alma mater. I always thought we were better in this regard. I understand that n=2 is not a pattern, but in light of other data, it’s hard to ignore.

  • Chris D.

    I am a Stanford grad and I strongly believe that now that we are at the top of this fictitious and ridiculous ranking, we should be the first school to STOP publishing this data point. Just analyze the admissions data. Over half of these 38,000 applicants did not have the GPA or SAT scores to get admitted – unless they were star athletes (preferably future Olympians), or major donors kids ($1 Million and up, but preferably $5M to stand out). The only tangible outcome is 17,000 pissed of smart kids who are qualified enough (academically) to get admitted, and 19,000 pissed of above-average kids who were not sufficiently qualified, but whose parents probably lied to them and said they were brilliant (think American Idol!). And the kicker is, for every Stanford grad in the workplace there are 18 that did not get admitted who will now willingly backstab the Stanford grad at every opportunity because they have a chip on their shoulder forever! I’ve experienced this and have had to sleep with one eye open! :)

  • CleanAndSimple

    That’s an interesting perspective Chris D. What I have experienced is less sour grapes and more snide remarks about how “Stanford grads aren’t that great” — but mostly from MIT and Ivy kids. Berkeley grads are usually very gracious. Generally, the East Coast snobs cease and desist once I demo my worth. The other outcome is that they mutter and grumble under their breath once I’m asked to take over the task at which they failed. What you are saying about the average applicant is totally true. Does any intelligent person on this board actually think that the pool of intelligent and accomplished kids (relative to their peers) has suddenly doubled over the last 20 years? That’s patent nonsense. What I see is the introduction of more randomness. My class was the first class in Stanford’s history where more students with joint admissions to Stanford and Harvard accepted Stanford over Harvard. I do not think that has happened since. Hopefully it wasn’t because USNWR put Stanford at #1 that year … that would be unconscionably lame.

  • SantaClaraCounty Stanford Grad

    I too am a Stanford grad – grad school only- and I’d like to point out that this is a money making process for Stanford. At $90 an application, with 38,828 applicants, Stanford collected about $3.5 million this year from the parents of applicants. I doubt it cost that much in admissions department salaries and paperwork. Students who have no hope of being admitted are invited to turn in applications to drive that acceptance rate down lower and lower, as if that is a measure of the university’s prestige. Students are also wooed to apply with promises of how much financial aid the university gives.

    A few years ago when my oldest was applying to college, after attending a college prep high school in which 100% of the students go on to 4-year universities and graduation was a sea of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation insignia, I watched as four of the athletes from my child’s school were accepted to Stanford, while the valedictorian who was a National Merit Scholar, who had taken 12 AP courses (across all disciplines with I’m sure the highest passing rates), was captain of the robotics team and an accomplished musician, was not accepted. My oldest thought that his/her classmate (the valedictorian) had an incredibly brilliant mind and stood out as absolutely brilliant among the talented and intelligent cohort which tracked together through AP classes graduated that year. Berkeley was the beneficiary of Stanford’s error in not accepting that valedictorian.

    In fact, the UC system got a slew of incredibly intelligent, hard working, excellent students from my child’s cohort that year, particularly the students slated for science/engineering fields. The guidance counselors were shocked at the results – and called Stanford’s acceptances a ‘crapshoot.’ Stanford and the Ivys seemed to preferentially accept the athletes, and students whose parents could pay full tuition or were willing to take out enormous loans.

    In addition, I agree with a previous commentator – if you’re going to go to graduate school, it’s where your terminal degree comes from that matters the most. That’s what I’ve said to my children. Going to far less expensive state universities prior to Stanford didn’t hurt me professionally in the least – and it made it possible for me to get through all of my college degrees with minimal debt.

  • SantaClaraCounty Stanford Grad

    Susan – What I saw with my child’s cohort a few years ago is the top ‘intellectually energetic’ math/science students slated for science/engineering fields went to the UCs – Berkley, UCLA, and UC San Diego because they weren’t accepted or were waitlisted at Stanford and the Ivies. Only the athletes or ones who weren’t asking for financial aid went to Ivies/Stanford. At the graduate school level, I think that faculty are involved with the admission process so that they can select grad students for their specific programs. I’d like to see actual faculty involved with the undergrad admissions process. Every thing I’ve seen about Stanford undergrad admissions indicates that faculty aren’t involved. Please correct me if I’m wrong about that. It seems like undergrad admissions is an island unto itself.

  • CleanAndSimple

    As a former walk on Stanford football player, I am not going to slam the
    athletes at Stanford. People like Corey Booker and Andrew Luck are a
    credit to the school. Competitive sports teach skills that translate to success in life/career. Having said that, the scenario you describe is identical to what happened to my son: best grades, requisite AP insanity, best scores, regarded as the smartest kid at his high school, critical to his award winning robotics team and acknowledged as such, NM scholarship recipient, amazing essays per his guidance counselor (I didn’t read them), amazing summer internships, and very well liked by all at school (home coming court). See my previous post about who was accepted from his school. It was not just athletes who were beneficiaries of odd decisions. As an alum, this is what disappointed me more than anything. I’m embarrassed to have given to Stanford undergraduate education in the past. I will only give to my PhD program. I get the feeling he was typecast as a “geek” because he proudly displayed his engineering credentials and aspirations while downplaying his musical talents and “artsy” side. We’ve mostly moved on from the disappointment, but I cannot view my association with Stanford in the same light anymore. From personal knowledge, the list of people accepted to Stanford and rejected at Berkeley and UCLA this year is very large. I think that’s very strange.

  • SantaClaraCounty Stanford Grad

    I’ve seen this too. And it has changed the way I think about Stanford. I will only donate to my former graduate school program.

    I hope your son does extremely well wherever he landed for college.
    He sounds very similar to my oldest child.
    As I said earlier, the UCs really reaped a bumper crop of extremely intelligent, high achieving students from my oldest child’s cohort – including my child. The students were all scratching their heads wondering why Stanford chose the students they did – students know who in their cohort are at the top of their class.

  • SantaClaraCounty Stanford grad

    I agree completely! And if you’re going on to grad school, it’s where your final degree comes from that really matters ultimately to employers, and your Ph.D. research topic. And if you’re going to go on to grad school, it’s wise to minimize the amount of debt you take on during undergrad (and that your parents take on.)
    I’d add that if appropriate, volunteer work in your field is important, and so are internships and employment opportunities which show your interest and capabilities in your chosen field.

  • Asian girl

    it’s the number they offered a waitlist to

  • PS Miller

    Would it be safer sleeping with only other Stanford grads? ;-)