What do Denver Quarterback John Elway, President Herbert Hoover and Astronaut Sally Ride have in common? They all graduated from Stanford University. Tiger Woods attended for two years. So did John Steinbeck, who authored “Of Mice and Men,” which is read by almost all high school students. If you are interested in attending Stanford, you will be competing with almost 39,000 applicants from around the world for approximately 2,210 spots.
According to Forbes, which measures and ranks top colleges in the United States, Stanford came in first. Forbes considered five factors in determining where to place colleges on its list: student satisfaction, postgraduate success, student debt after graduation, the percentage of students who graduate and the number and type of awards alumni receive.
The U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges Ratings ranked Stanford as the sixth best college in the United States. That organization uses a plethora of criteria in its ranking procedure. Whether first or sixth, the school maintains its integrity and position at or near the top of any list of the best colleges.
Located in Palo Alto, California, Stanford is about 30 miles south of San Francisco and about 30 miles north of San Jose. It sits on more than 8,000 acres with 700 buildings. It has its own museum, Rodin Sculpture Garden and the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden as well as a number of art galleries. Also on campus is a Registered Historical Landmark, the University’s Historic Red Barn. The building was used by Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University, to train his horses. The building dates back to the late 1800s.
One source says that Greek life makes up only about 10 percent of the entire student population. Another source notes that approximately 50 percent of undergraduate male students belong to one of the 16 fraternities. Only about 24 percent of female undergraduate students belong to one of the 12 sororities.
Freshmen are required to live in student housing. Each incoming freshman is assigned two academic advisors who are based in the specific residence assigned to the student. Freshmen are not allowed to have cars, but Stanford is known as being a bicycle friendly college with about 13,000 bikes found on campus every day. After the freshman year, nearly one-third of undergraduate students have cars on campus.
After the freshman year, when on-campus housing is encouraged but not required, a whopping 91 percent of students choose to live in some type of college owned or operated housing facilities. That leaves only 9 percent who choose to live off campus. There are on-campus apartments available for married couples.
Stanford students generally report real satisfaction with their Stanford college experience. They say they find a good balance between studying and learning with playing. They appreciate the passion of their professors which instills passion in the students. It is difficult to find a Stanford student who has a complaint about the school other than the high cost.
The school’s geographical location puts in a mild climate. Summers may experience an occasional mild heat wave, but the daytime temperature is generally in the high 70s and low 80s. Winters are also mild, with daytime temperatures in the 50s or 60s. All seasons may experience some rain, with the most rain coming in the fall to the early spring.
Stanford has three separate undergraduate schools as well as graduate schools in medicine, law, business, engineering and education. All graduate schools are ranked among the top five in the country. There are 75 different programs of study. Undergraduate students can pursue double majors and put together a program where they will earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years following high school graduation. Stanford functions on the quarter system.
The student/teacher overall ratio averages five students to one teacher. Seminars are conducted that are limited to only 16 students. It is difficult or impossible to find a class that has more than 19 students.
Classes are not easy at Stanford. It is known as a research school with emphasis on academics. It is extremely competitive with fewer than 10 percent of applicants being accepted. It is expensive, costing more than $40,000 a year. Students go to Stanford to study, not play around. Financial aid in the way of scholarships, grants and student loans are available.
In fact, more than half of all undergraduate students receive some type of financial aid. Students may be awarded a scholarship or grant for the full amount of the tuition. Fifty-six percent of students applied for financial aid based on need and 83.3 percent had that need completely met. All of the students who applied for financial aid received it.
Currently, the faculty includes 19 professors who have won a Nobel Prize in addition to five who have won a Pulitzer Prize. Three Medal of Freedom winners are also faculty members as are many other winners of other prestigious awards and prizes.
The campus has a library with almost one million volumes. It has a museum on campus as well as a biological preserve. There are at least 17 laboratories engaged in various research projects. Services are available for physically disabled students as well as those who are learning disabled.
Almost as many men as women attend Stanford with slightly over 52 percent being male and over 47 percent female. They come from 49 states and 56 countries. In 2012, the Huffington Post named Stanford second in its list of the 10 most LGBT friendly schools.
The emphasis at Stanford is on learning and research. The on-campus Haas Center for Public Service provides public service opportunities for students to prepare them to connect their academic lives with community service.
The school has an active sports program with scholarships available in everything from baseball and basketball to volleyball and wrestling. It also offers sports programs not commonly found on all college campuses including crewing, fencing, lacrosse and water polo. The sports teams are the Cardinals, and the college football team, the Stanford Cardinals, engages in an annual football competition with the nearby team from the University of California, Berkley. The winner is awarded the Stanford Axe.
Stanford has a number of student services. Non-remedial tutoring is available as well as day care. There is a women’s center as well as health insurance and health services. Also offered are remedial tutoring and counseling services. Students feel safe at Stanford with its 24-hour vehicle and foot patrols. There are lighted pathways with 24 hour emergency phones available.
One interesting note is that Olympic athletes from Stanford have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912. They have won a total of 129 gold medals for a total of 244. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Stanford athletes won more medals than any other U.S. university. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, students and alumni combined won a total of 16 medals: 12 gold, two silver and two bronze.