Gaining admission to Stanford University is notably challenging, largely due to its low acceptance rate that is sitting at 3.68% for the class of 2026. [1]

In this blog, we will explore the Stanford acceptance rate in recent years, factors that affect it, and how Dukes Plus can help your application succeed.

The recent history of Stanford acceptance rates

Stanford University’s acceptance rates in recent history highlights the university’s status as one of the most selective institutions in the world

Over the years, there has been a noticeable downward trend in the acceptance rates, reflecting its growing selectivity and the competitive nature of its admissions process.The data from Stanford admissions office, shows the acceptance rates for Stanford’s Class of 2018 to 2026[2]:

Stanford acceptance rates: Class of 2016 to 2027

Class ofApplicantsAdmissionsAcceptance Rate

The latest Stanford admission cycle

The Stanford acceptance rate for the Class of 2026 reached a historic low of 3.68% from an applicant pool of 56,378. A 0.22% decrease from the already low, 3.90% acceptance rate for the Class of 2025. [3]

This low acceptance rate can be attributed to various factors, including Stanford’s rising global reputation and the increasing quality and quantity of applicants each year.

Comparing various Stanford University acceptance rates

When comparing various acceptance rates within Stanford, it’s crucial to consider the distinct sections of the applicant pool, such as those applying through Early Action (EA) and Regular Decision (RD) pathways.

These distinctions provide insight into the nuances of Stanford’s admissions process and the varying levels of competitiveness among different groups.

Stanford acceptance rate: Early action (EA)

The acceptance rate for early action (EA) applicants tends to be slightly higher than the overall acceptance rate. For example, the Stanford EA acceptance rate for the class of 2024 is approximately 10.4%, compared to the 5.19% admission rate for all applicants. [4] [5]

Despite the higher acceptance rate, the competition remains exceptionally high, and the majority of EA applicants are deferred to the regular decision (RD) pool. 

Aspiring students considering the EA option should be aware of the intense competition and ensure that their application showcases their highest achievements and potential contributions to the Stanford community.

Stanford acceptance rate: Regular decision (RD)

The regular decision (RD) application process for Stanford is more competitive, with a lower acceptance rate compared to early action (EA) applicants. For example, the Stanford RD acceptance rate for the class of 2027 is 5.19%, compared to the 10.4% admit rate for EA applicants. [6] [7]

The RD pool of applicants is larger and more diverse, including students who may have also applied through EA to Stanford and other schools.

Students considering the RD option should ensure their application is comprehensive, highlighting their academic prowess, extracurricular engagement, and personal qualities that align with Stanford’s values.

Factors that affect the Stanford acceptance rate

The Stanford acceptance rate is influenced by a combination of factors including the applicant pool and the university’s internal admissions process.

Understanding these factors can provide insight into the dynamics of low acceptance rates and the competitive environment of the admissions process. Here’s a breakdown of the primary factors:

Limited Capacity & High Demand

Stanford, like many top-tier institutions, has limited capacity in terms of faculty, resources, and facilities. 

Stanford, over the years, has seen a significant rise in the number of applications. For example, the total number of applicants for the class of 2025 rose by over 10,244 (81%) when compared to the class of 2024. [8]

With a finite number of spots available, the university carefully selects candidates who not only meet the academic criteria but also bring diverse perspectives, talents, and experiences to the campus community.

Holistic admissions process

Stanford employs a holistic admissions process, considering various factors beyond academic achievements. [9]

This approach is designed to comprehensively assess an applicant’s abilities, interests, and character traits. Fundamental aspects of this process include the review of academic achievements, participation in extracurricular activities, analysis of personal statements, and consideration of letters of referral.

These elements help the Stanford admission committee to gain an insight into an applicant’s character, values, and potential contributions to the Stanford community

How does the Stanford acceptance rate compare with other American schools?

Gaining admission to Stanford University is notably challenging, reflecting its prestige among top U.S. colleges.According to College Tuition Compare, here’s how Stanford’s acceptance rate and admissions policies compare to other U.S. colleges for the class of 2023[10]:

American schools Class of 2023 Acceptance Rates

School NameApplicantsAdmittedAcceptance Rate
Brown University Providence, RI50,6492,5625.06%
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA16,6264482.69%
Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY60,8792,4043.95%
Cornell University Ithaca, NY69,1955,1687.47%
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH28,3361,8086.38%
Duke University Durham, NC50,0163,1746.35%
Harvard University Cambridge, MA61,2211,9843.24%
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD37,8442,7457.25%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA33,7671,3373.96%
Northwestern University Evanston, IL51,2613,6957.21%
Princeton University Princeton, NJ38,0192,1675.70%
Rice University Houston, TX31,4432,7308.68%
Stanford University Stanford, CA56,3782,0753.68%
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA149,80112,8458.57%
University of Chicago Chicago, IL37,5222,0395.43%
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN26,5093,42112.91%
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA54,5883,5496.50%
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN46,3773,0936.67%
Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO32,0143,76411.76%
Yale University New Haven, CT50,0602,2894.57%

Why is the Stanford acceptance rate so low?

Stanford University’s exceptionally low acceptance rate is a reflection of its standing as one of the world’s premier institutions for higher education, attracting a vast number of applications from highly qualified students each year. [11] 

Ultimately, the path to Stanford involves exploring an individual’s dreams, skills, and the difference they aim to make in the world—a path characterised by education, perseverance, and a steadfast quest for excellence.

How can Dukes Plus help your Stanford application succeed?

At Dukes, we provide support for applications to various universities across the world, including Stanford. Our programs offer personalised guidance, and strategic advice to strengthen your Stanford application. 

We can support you to identify and showcase your unique strengths, align your application with Stanford University’s values, and effectively communicate your accomplishments and potential contributions to the admissions committee. For more information on how Dukes can assist with your Stanford application, please visit our private US admissions consulting page. Alternatively, you can contact us here, and we can help you submit a winning application.


[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11]