Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,087
Institutional Type: Private
Curricular Flexibility: Somewhat Flexible
Academic Rating: 5
5. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. United Nations
1. San Francisco
2. New York City
3. Los Angeles
College Scorecard (Early Career): $94,000
EOP (Early Career): $84,800
PayScale (Mid-Career): $145,200
Fittingly situated in the heart of Silicon Valley sits one of the tech industry’s top feeder schools and premier research universities in the world. Among Stanford’s many quantifiable boasts and brags are the lowest acceptance rate in the country, the nation’s second-largest college endowment, the best all-around athletic department in the country, the second-highest total of affiliate-won Nobel Prizes, and the highest graduate starting salaries for any non-STEM exclusive institution.
Over 7,000 undergrads and another 8,000 graduate students occupy this expansive campus that is the sixth largest in the nation. For perspective on its size, 19,000 bicycle parking spots can be found on university grounds. There are three undergraduate schools at Stanford: The School of Humanities & Sciences that houses 61 percent of the student body, the School of Engineering, and the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. All undergraduates must complete three courses in writing and rhetoric, one year of foreign language study, and a freshman course entitled "Thinking Matters" in which students choose from a full menu of courses covering a host of intellectual topics from "Race in American Memory" to "How Does Your Brain Work? The Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing" requirement comprises eleven additional courses in ethical reasoning, applied quantitative reasoning, and aesthetic and interpretive inquiry. Further requirements are major specific. Some programs require a senior capstone, research component, practicum or, for foreign language, an oral proficiency review.
A virtually unmatched 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio sets the Cardinal students up for a personalized classroom experience and an incredible amount of face time with some of the leaders in their respective fields. Two-thirds of classes have fewer than twenty students, and 35 percent have a single-digit enrollment. Stanford puts unmatched resources behind undergraduate research; more than $5.6 million in grant funding is allocated each year to support roughly 1,000 student research projects. Close to 900 students study abroad annually through the Bing Overseas Studies Program in eleven international cities.
The School of Engineering is one of the best in the world; all of its sub disciplines sit atop any list of best engineering programs. Programs in computer science, physics, mathematics, international relations and economics are arguably the best anywhere. In terms of sheer volume, the greatest number of degrees are conferred each year in engineering(18 percent), computer science (18 percent), interdisciplinary studies (15 percent), and the social sciences (12percent).
Stanford is where you can receive a world-class education and experience the excitement of a typical college experience. The Cardinal has a rich sports tradition with its sixteen men’s and twenty women’s NCAA Division I teams. The excellence the university expects in the classroom is matched on the field; the Athletic Department has won the Directors’ Cup, given to the most successful college athletic program, for twenty-four consecutive years, and at least one team has won an NCAA national championship in each of the last forty-two years. With an additional forty club teams, over 900 undergraduates compete in intercollegiate athletics. Fraternities and sororities are thriving on campus with a 25 percent participation rate across twenty-nine Greek organizations. Over 600 student organizations are active including sixty student-led community service organizations, the widely circulated Stanford Daily, and a vast array of ethnic/cultural groups. Ninety-two percent of undergrads live on Stanford’s sprawling 8,180-acrecampus in the heart of the San Francisco Peninsula. The surrounding area of Palo Alto, America’s wealthiest town, is full of natural and manmade beauty and any cultural, culinary, or entertainment delight one could seek. The university itself puts its bottomless endowment to use with immaculately manicured grounds, well-maintained dorms, state-of- the-art recreational facilities, and restaurant-quality campus dining options. Simply put, the campus aesthetics at Stanford are every bit as breathtaking as the quality of its academics.
BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition, & Meaningful Work) is Stanford’s career services office. It employs twenty-five professional staff members who work in the Career Catalysts, Career Communities, and Career Ventures divisions. The282:1 student-to-advisor ratio is lower than the average school featured in this guide. The three a fore mentioned divisions speak to the unique and comprehensive career services approach at Stanford. There is a sincere effort to get students to align their career interests with their identities and passions, cultivate a personalized network of mentors/guides, and connect directly with employers. BEAM does a fantastic job with all three phases of that process.
Last year, the career services staff facilitated 19,344 “meaningful connections” between current students and alumni/industry professionals and initiated 37,818 “meaningful opportunities” for undergraduates to carve out a pathway toward their employment or graduate school destination. BEAM sponsors fourteen to sixteen career fairs per year, posts over 10,000 job and internship opportunities on Handshake, and runs the superb Stanford Alumni Mentoring program. Major companies recruit on campus on a constant basis because (a) of the incredible talent pool and (b) the school is located in Silicon Valley, home to most of the world’s largest tech companies. Stanford facilitates internships at over 700 unique sites, and close to half of all students complete two internships as part of their undergraduate education; two-thirds complete at least one. With a robust career services department and spectacular graduate outcomes, BEAM earns every ounce of its stellar reputation.
Stanford grads entering the working world flock to three major industries in equal distribution: business/finance/consulting/retail (19 percent); computer, IT (19 percent); and public policy and service, international affairs (19 percent). Among the companies employing the largest number of recent Stanford alums are Accenture, Apple, Bain, Cisco, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Microsoft, and SpaceX. Other companies that employ hundreds of Cardinal alums include LinkedIn, Uber, Lyft, Salesforce, and Airbnb. California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, DC, and Washington state were the top six destinations for recent grads. The mean salary for all Stanford graduates is a staggering $85,000; that figure is substantially higher than the national average and is usually approached only by high-end engineering schools.
Those who are graduate school bound often stay at Stanford with professors they already have a close working relationship with. The other dozen most popular universities attended by recent graduates include Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Columbia, the University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins. You would be hard-pressed to find a top-ranked law or medical school that did not have Stanford alums among its ranks. Last year, 241 Stanford graduates applied to medical school, and acceptance rates were nearly double the national average. In sum, if you get an undergraduate degree from Stanford, your opportunities for continuing your education will be limitless.
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