How to Get Into Stanford With A Low GPA

Considered as one of the best research and teaching universities in the world, Stanford University is prestigious in its own right. In the fall of 2013, its acceptance rate was at 5.7%. That’s only 2,209 admits from 38,828 applicants, making Stanford the toughest school to get into today.


Do you know that Stanford has no minimum GPA, standardized test scores or class rank requirements? The University advocates the holistic approach to student admission. That means they will consider accepting students with lower GPA, test scores and class ranking, if they have the right qualities.


how to get into stanford


Stanford’s Admission Process

 A lot of applicants are actually surprised – overachievers in their own right – that they got rejected by Stanford. This is because Stanford’s admission process is best described as random. They are not simply looking for students with tremendous test scores and highest possible GPA’s; they are looking for students that are going to do something with their education, create paths and be visionaries.


Getting into Stanford might be intimidating. Although the chances are slim, it is not impossible altogether, so do not be disheartened. We’ll give you tips on how to get into Stanford even with a low GPA.  


While in high school


  • Get those AP’s and Honors courses. Although you might not have the A’s you’d want from these classes, the important thing is you’re willing to push yourself more by taking them. This sends a message to Admissions that you do not shy away from challenges.


  • Do something besides school. What activities outside of school are you interested in? What are you most passionate about? Become an expert at it. This will become one of the highlights in your application at Stanford.


  • Work on that talent or skill. Are you athletic? Do you sing well? Take the time to cultivate your talent or skill. Join clubs, compete, and participate. Dabbling in the arts or sports shows that you have a well-rounded personality.


Things you need to know before applying


  • What Stanford wants are people who would actually make use of their education to create an impact wherever they choose to excel. Thus, they take interest in students who will bring more than good grades. They want students with the drive and passion, who genuinely love to learn, who are independent thinkers and are highly motivated. They value risk-takers and innovators.


  • When filling out your application, make sure that you highlight the traits, skills and talents that you have and tailor it to the kind of student that Stanford is looking for. Be honest and genuine. They prize that above everything else.


  • In writing your essay, know this: No magic formula ever works. You can write about how important ice cream or lasagna is in your life and you’d still get accepted. What’s necessary is that the essay is honest, compelling and innovative. Do not write about what you think they might want to hear. It will not impress them.


  • Your essay should highlight your commitment, passion and willingness to take risks. Be genuine and think outside of the box. Don’t just describe what you’d like to do. State what you have actually done to get closer to that goal or passion.


  • Do not even think about gimmickry. Past applicants have done some outrageous things to get into Stanford. One campaigned for his admission like it was elections, another did an oil painting of an admission staff from pictures in the brochures, and one applicant even rode his bike from Los Angeles to Stanford and wrote about the trip for his essay. They were all rejected. Gimmicks can come across as obnoxious, so avoid them.


Application Info


So how do you get into Stanford? Start with the application, of course!


  • The Stanford Admission Website is very helpful. You’ll get all the information you need about the application process. You can download the Freshman Application Instructions to get a general view. Please take note that the application process is all online, even the sending of the documents. This is the preferred and safest way.


  • You will need to submit required components such as ACT/SAT official scores, school report, official transcript, two teacher evaluations, first year common application and Stanford writing supplement. There is also a non-refundable $90 fee, although you can get it waived. Don’t forget to take note of the deadlines and apply early.


In conclusion


  • Interview friends, relatives, or acquaintances on how to get into Stanford University, preferably those who actually got accepted there. There are so many stories about the school’s admission process that somebody is bound to know somebody who actually went there. Every admission is unique, so asking around for insight might actually help.


  • Be realistic. Rejection is a huge possibility. The sooner you deal with this, the better. It does not make you less of an individual if you don’t get into Stanford. It’s just not where you’re meant to be.


  • You should always have safety schools in case applying to Stanford doesn’t pan out. After all, it’s the toughest school to get into. Take the shot, but look at other colleges as well.

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