Lowest GPA Accepted To Stanford

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi


Have you ever wondered how it’s possible that someone with a 3.5 GPA can get into Stanford University while also wondering what the lowest GPA accepted is to Stanford University? If so, read on to find out what I discovered on my research of Lowest GPA Accepted To Stanford.

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Lowest GPA Accepted To Stanford

Situated in beautiful Palo Alto, California, and within minutes of the innovation hub in Silicon Valley and the cultural epicentre of San Francisco, Stanford has become one of the most highly regarded universities in the world. Today, thousands of eager high school students apply, seeking the profound social and academic enrichment of its extensive resources, close connections to the nearby tech world, and the engaged, ambitious student body.

Stanford Acceptance Rate SAT/ACT,GPA in 2020 World Scholarship Forum

Is your SAT or ACT score high enough to get into Stanford? What about your high school GPA? The admissions process at Ivy League schools seems hard to understand. How do schools like Stanford choose who to accept? What can you do to improve your chances? Raise your test scores? Do more extracurriculars? Apply early action?

Below, we’ve condensed everything we know about the Stanford University admissions process. Read on to find out if you’re a competitive applicant and tips to lift your chances of going from applicant to admitted student.

What GPA do you need to get into Stanford University?

Stanford University’s average GPA is 3.95. Stanford University does require GPA. This average GPA means Stanford University is brutally selective – the most competitive applicants in the world are already applying to the school, in hopes of taking up residence in Stanford, and, somehow, you need to be better. Generally speaking, if your GPA is not at least equal to 3.95 then Stanford University may be a reach. However, Stanford University considers the ENTIRE application – we can make up for a weak GPA with more factors that we’ll discuss below. If your GPA is equal to or greater than 3.95, you’re sitting right in the sweetspot.

*BEFORE CONTINUING PLEASE NOTE: GPA and “prestige” DO NOT mean a college is right for you. Stanford University may seem amazing on paper, but you may hate it… That’s why 700,000 students transfer colleges every year – they end up going to the wrong school. It’s crucial to watch the videos on CampusReel and make sure you can envision yourself on Stanford University’s campus. These Stanford University admission statistics do not sufficiently tell you what a college or university is like.

stanford university acceptance rate

You’re right about one thing: Stanford is a highly selective school. In 2018, the overall admissions rate at Stanford was only 4.3%, meaning admissions officers rejected nearly 96 out of every 100 students who applied. Moreover, as we’ve written elsewhere, that overall rate includes Stanford’s early action acceptance rate, which is higher than Stanford’s regular decision rate. That means that in reality, the regular admission rate at Stanford is closer to 3%!

In addition, the college admissions process gets more competitive every year, as more domestic and international students alike apply. That means you need to really stand out. These admissions statistics are a little scary but don’t fear. Once you know what Stanford is looking for, you can better tailor your college application to meet their expectations.

Last year Stanford University’s acceptance rate was 5.04. However, check out how the acceptance rate has changed over time.

Acceptance Rate5.0 %5.0 %5.04 %

As you can see, Stanford University is a little easier to get into than last year.

Acceptance rate alone does not indicate your likelihood of getting into Stanford University – it’s a very high-level understanding of the true competition. Use the acceptance rate as a general guide for curating a list of 10-15 schools that fall into different ranges of competitiveness. Then, use the below data to get a deeper understanding of how your application will compare to the rest of the pool.

This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Stanford University or any other U.S. college

Please note all chances are estimates based on test scores and GPA averages. Calculate Your College Options

*or select a school above for a specific calculation

Need chances at another college?Select a School

Does Stanford University Require Test Scores?

Stanford University requires that you either take the SAT or ACT. See the table below for how Stanford University’s accepted students have performed on both tests. You may be wondering how many test scores should you submit. Generally, don’t freak out about taking the test too often. Industry consensus is that you can submit up to 6 tests as a reasonable limit.

stanford university sAT requirements

Stanford University’s average SAT score is 1480 – this is the sum of the math and reading portions of the SAT (the 1600 scale). Check out the below table for a deeper look into how students performed – it’s also very interesting to look at the average test score over time. The trend over time helps give insight into whether Stanford University is getting more or less competitive.

25th Percentile75th PercentileAverage
2019 Total138015801480
2018 Total
2017 Total

Stanford University’s average SAT score is 1480. To be a competitive applicant for Stanford University your SAT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to 1380, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider Stanford University a “target” school (one that you are likely to get into) you should aim for a score of 1580.

Stanford University ACT Requirements

Stanford University’s average ACT score is 99. To be a competitive applicant for Stanford University your ACT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 93, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider Stanford University a “target” school (one that you have a good chance of getting into) you should aim for a score of 105.

25th Percentile75th PercentileAverage
2019 Total9310599
2018 Total
2017 Total
How hard is it to get into Stanford University?

As you can see from the data above, Stanford University is exceptionally difficult to get into. Not only should you be aiming for a 3.95 but also SAT scores around 1480. Getting into Stanford University is no easy feat and you will need to set yourself apart with more than just numbers and data. Read on to learn how.EXPLORE 15,000 STUDENT VIDEOS ON CAMPUSREEL

Stanford University Requirements

Now you know where you need to be for getting into Stanford University from a grade and test score perspective. Let’s quickly outline what else you’ll need to provide for your application to get reviewed, and then we’ll move onto the most important section: differentiating your app.

School RankNeither required nor recommended
School RecordRequired

How to get into Stanford

Follow these steps to maximize your chances of getting into Stanford University. Everything you read above will help prepare you for what you need to achieve to have a shot at Stanford University, but these steps will take you even further in applying that knowledge and differentiating your application.

Main Academic Excellence that is in line with Stanford University admission standards.

  1. Score at least a 1480 on the SAT or 99 on the ACT.
  2. Maintain a GPA of at least a 3.95.

Join Extracurriculars that Align with Stanford University’s Values.

  1. Join your school band, a sports team or another group activity. If Stanford University values music heavily, for example, then try to participate in an organization related to that topic.
  2. Volunteer in your hometown. Stanford has tons of ways to be involved beyond just the college. Stanford University wants applicants that are also good ambassadors for the school – they want students who will give back to the local community and broader Stanford area in general.
  3. Spend your summer doing something that speaks to your values, personal growth, leadership qualities and other less quantifiable characteristics. Stanford University needs to see past your test scores and grades – they need to know that you will be a valuable and contributing member of their community. You are more than grades and test scores – your experiences should demonstrate that.
Prepare Your Application
  1. Write a stellar essay that shows Stanford University something they can’t figure out from the other parts of your application. For a detailed guide on writing the best college essay, check this out.
  2. Get teacher recs that speak to your character. If you know what you’re majoring in and include that in your Stanford University app, try to have at least 1 recommendation from a teacher in that department.
    1. Apply Before the Deadline. Too many students wait until the last minute to submit their application, and too much can go wrong during this precious time window. Since many students are applying on the last day, it’s possible that Stanford University’s own system crashes. Don’t risk the added stress this can cause – submit your app a few days early.

WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY?Your SAT ScoreCheck this box if you are not submitting an SAT scoreYour ACT ScoreSelect a scoreCheck this box if you are not submitting an ACT scoreYour GPA*on a 4.0 scale

This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at Stanford University or any other U.S. college

Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.Calculate Your College Options

*or select a school above for a specific calculation

Will you get in to Stanford University?



Stanford GPA Requirements

Let’s start with your grade point average (GPA). Stanford admissions officers will calculate based on your high school transcript, which you’ll submit with your overall application.

Last year, the reported average GPA of an admitted high school student at Stanford was a 3.95 out of 4.0 unweighted GPA. That means that high school students need nearly straight As in every class to gain admission to Stanford.

Poets&Quants | You Don't Need A High GPA To Get Into A Top MBA
SAT and ACT Requirements

Stanford, like its Ivy League brethren and most other colleges, requires either the SAT or ACT for admission. They have no preference between them, so choose the test that’s a better fit for you, thoroughly prepare for it, and plan to take it multiple times.

The average SAT score totals and ACT composite scores for students admitted to Stanford varies (see table below). However, keep in mind that unless you fall into certain privileged categories (athletes, legacies, donors, etc.), your SAT/ACT score should be closer to the 75th percentile than the 25th percentile to ensure you’re maximizing your chances of admission.

Stanford Average ACT and SAT Scores
 Test/Section 25th Percentile 50th Percentile (Mean) 75th Percentile
 SAT Total 1460 1510 1580
 SAT Reading 700 730 770
 SAT Math 720 750 800
ACT Composite323335

Note that Stanford University “superscores” both the SAT and the ACT. That means they will mix and match section scores from different days for both tests and come up with the highest total or composite score.

SAT Subject Tests

Finally, Stanford recommends that applicants submit two SAT II, or subject test, scores. While these tests are not explicitly required by Stanford, you should submit your scores on your SAT subject tests if they’re in the 90th percentile or higher.

Use percentiles, not scores, to make this decision because the scores are scaled based on who takes the test that year. For instance, a 750 on the English Language and Literature test is seen as a much higher score than a 750 on the Math 2 SAT Subject Test.

Other Stanford Application Requirements

Those are the overall academic requirements for Stanford. But what about everything else? In addition to evaluating your academics, the admissions officers at Stanford want to hear about all the other parts of your life. In addition to reporting your grades and SAT scores, there are a few more key aspects of the Stanford admissions process:

• SAT and two SAT Subject Test Scores, or ACT scores
• Two teacher recommendations and one counsellor letter
• A high school transcript
• A mid-year report
• A $90 application fee or a fee waiver
• A completed Common Application
• Stanford-specific essays

Letters of Recommendation

First, to understand who you are as a student beyond your transcripts and test scores, Stanford will ask for letters of recommendation from two of your teachers as well as your school counselor. When considering who to ask, don’t focus only on the teachers who gave you the best grades, but the people who know you well and will write great, personal letters.

Stanford SAT Scores: Admission Requirements, GPA, Acceptance Rate and  Average Score
Counselor Recommendation & School Documents

Second, in addition to your transcript and his/her letter, your school counselor will submit a few additional documents:
• A school report, which your school’s demographics and its most salient features (like if there’s a limit on how many AP classes you can take)
• A mid-year report, which will update Stanford on your senior year grades that might not be officially posted when you apply.

These will also help Stanford contextualize your application.

The Common Application & Essay

Then, you’ll need to submit the Common Application (or Coalition Application). When you apply to college, you’ll get to know this online interface well; it’ll be where you go to apply not only to Stanford, but to Yale, Brown, and Harvard, too! Much of the Common Application is standard demographic and educational information. You’ll also fill out an “activities” section, where you’ll detail all your extracurricular involvement.

How to Get Into Stanford Medical School: Requirements and Strategies —  Shemmassian Academic Consulting

On top of that information, the Common Application asks for a single personal essay that will be submitted to all your schools. This essay, of 650 words or less, is your chance to tell Stanford and the rest of your schools about an important moment or theme in your life. A strong Common App essay is key to a competitive application, so plan to revise it several times!

Supplemental Essays

Lastly, in addition to the main essay, Stanford and many other schools require additional, school-specific essays. These can change from year to year, but generally they ask about your interest in the school and/or more details about what you’ve already done. Last year, Stanford University asked eleven short-answer essay questions, which ranged in length from a few sentences to multiple pages. Some of the topics were:
• What is the most significant challenge that society faces today?
• How did you spend your last two summers?
• What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed?

Having a strong application strategy to get these essays drafted, revised, and done, as well as a coherent narrative to present in them, is essential for admission to selective schools like Stanford and similar, Ivy League institutions.

Application Fee

Finally, you’ll need to pay a $90 application fee to submit your application through these online interfaces. These fees can be waived by showing financial hardship.

Application Deadlines

As you put together all these materials, keep in mind the eventual deadlines! Everything for Stanford must be submitted by:
• November 1 for Single-Choice Early Action
• January 1 for Regular Decision

Early Action decisions are released in mid-December, and Regular Decision applicants will hear online by April. Admitted students must decide by May 1 if they will attend.

Stanford Demographics

Last year’s entering freshman class at Stanford University (the Class of 2023) hailed from a wide variety of schools, states, countries, and demographic backgrounds:

Within the most recent incoming class:
• 63 home countries and 50 US states are represented
• 11.4% are international citizens representing 60 countries
• 17.5% are first-generation college students

Similarly, Stanford draws on a diverse applicant pool in its admissions decisions. The gender and ethnic breakdown of the most recent freshman class were:

• Women: 49%
• Men: 51%
• Asian American: 20%
• Hispanic/Latino: 17%
• African American: 6%
• Multiracial (non-Hispanic): 9%
• American Indian: 2%

Final Thoughts about Applying to Stanford

The final thing to keep in mind is that Stanford University is so selective, that even if you’re a competitive applicant there, it makes sense to apply to similar schools as well, like Yale University, Harvard University, and Princeton University.

Good luck! And remember, if you need advice on any of this—how-to understand your GPA when to take the SAT or ACT, what extracurricular activities to do, how to spend your summers, or what on earth to write all those essays about—you know where to find us!

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