Stanford Common Dataset 2024: How to get into Stanford?

Published on
April 19, 2024
University Statistics

What do you need to study at Stanford?

In this blog, we will discuss admission metrics from the official Stanford Common Data Set, and look into the detailed profiles of Stanford admits. Finally we will share sample extracurriculars and essays of recently admitted students.

Let's first crunch the numbers. Remember, admit decisions are driven by data, not magic, i.e, there is an archetype behind a Stanford Admit.

Insight #1: You need a GPA of 3.8+  AND be in the top 10 percentile of your class for a realistic chance of an admit.

Each student recruited at Stanford belonged to the Top 50% in their class, with about 96.2% students being in the Top 10%.

Students without exceptional grades, have exceptional achievements in other walks of life (athletics, social impact, arts etc.).

Distribution of % of students admitted and high school GPA

Average GPA of admitted student = 3.9

Lowest Grade Allowable for Transfer Credit = C-

Insight #2: Around half the students submitted  their SAT score without the exam being required.

‍Should you submit standardised scores?

Yes, for Stanford you should ideally be submitting standardised scores.

Even though SAT/ACT are not required. Scores are considered in the decision to roll out an admit.

Stanford Common Data Set reveals that:‍

47% of admitted students submitted a SAT score, and 22% students submitted an ACT score.
Test 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Composite 1500 1540 1560
SAT EBRW 740 760 780
SAT Math 770 790 800
ACT Composite 34 35 35
ACT Math 32 35 35
ACT English 35 35 36
ACT Reading 34 35 36
ACT Science 33 35 36
ACT Writing 30 31 33


Note: Stanford considers your best scores from all your SAT and ACT tests.

The season 2024-2025, the standardised test scores would continue to be optional.

Here's a quote from the official  Stanford common dataset 2024:

"For the 2023–24 admission cycle, Stanford did not require ACT or SAT scores for first-year or transfer applicants. For the 2024–25 admission cycle, which has an entry term of Fall 2025, Stanford will continue to be test optional and will not require ACT or SAT scores for first-year or transfer applicants. Stanford is committed to a holistic review of all applicants. We consider the vast array of information provided in and with each student’s application, whether that includes test scores or not."

Insight #3: Your high school subject choices  trump high standardised scores

What factors did Stanford report as the main key things they look at in the admissions?

The most important factors for admission stated in the Stanford Common Dataset
Factors which are considered for admission but NOT critical
Factors which are NOT considered for admission

Insight #4: Aim for atleast 20+ academic  units if you're eyeing Stanford

Subject vs Minimum recommended units recommended in the Stanford Common Dataset

Insight #5: Engaging in diverse extracurriculars and deeply committing to a few can impress Stanford admissions.

This observation is based on analysing the profiles of admitted Stanford students. An open resource repository of admits allows you to explore admitted student profiles and potentially build your own application strategy around these insights.

Let's look at the student below who was admitted to the Stanford CS program:

Discover student profiles on GradGPT admits-like-me

The student was involved in over 10 extracurricular activities, such as app development, participation in non-profit organisations, organising summer camps, and DJ-ing, among others. Additionally, they wrote their Common App essay about their passion for photography. With an SAT score of 1570 and a GPA of 3.96, this student presents a strong profile.

By analyzing the Stanford common data set, we can glean insights into standardised test scores, GPAs, and the characteristics of admitted students. This knowledge, coupled with a close examination of real admitted profiles, helps us understand the ideal applicant profile for Stanford University.


Essays that worked for an admit at Stanford:

Here's a sample essay:


In truth, one of the only things I never tire of is the complexity of humanity. As someone who is relatively sensitive to such matters, I try to constantly improve myself and my understanding of them.

People, in all of their seeming imperfection and terror, are ultimately beautiful… I love doing whatever I can to comprehend them. My mind runs a constant stream of consciousness that reflects on everything from the nuances of a simple conversation to the behaviour of society overall.

Being attentive to the minute details of human personality and the atmosphere of a room has been highly effective in improving my relationships with others. From my own experience, I know that simply expressing concern for the seemingly negligible aspects of another’s life can have quite an extensive impact—whatever difference I can make is endlessly important to me.

Further, I adore understanding the psychology of social behaviour; being able to connect the real actions of people to textbook terms I’ve pored over—from fundamental attribution error to self-fulfilling prophecy—is not only enthralling, but also allows for a greater depth of human understanding.

Ultimately, such an unusual pastime is highly rewarding because of the sense of perspective it has already granted me; by acknowledging how someone’s underlying psychology and personality may affect their actions, I can maintain a more positive and open-minded outlook.


Stanford's admissions process may seem daunting, but by understanding the data and following the advice in this post, you'll be well on your way to crafting a strong application. Now you have the tools you need to take the first step towards your Stanford dream.