Housing at Stanford

Does the university guarantee housing all 4 years? The Bay Area being as pricey as it is- worried about this factor.

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Yes. Edited to add—almost all students live on campus all four years, as well as many grad students because, as you said, housing prices in the area are outrageous. If you take longer than 4 years to graduate, I don’t believe it is guaranteed.

Thank you! Do you know if freshman housing is competitive? Like in Florida you need to apply for housing at UF the instant you can. I don’t want My son to miss out!

In normal non-COVID times, all freshman are required to live on campus. Even the boy in my daughter’s hall in her Frosh dorm whose parents lived a mile away in Palo Alto had to live on campus! Housing is not competitive. You just have to apply by the last day and send in your survey by the last day. You don’t get to pick where you live or who you live with. You walk into your dorm room on move-in day and find out who your roommate is. Stanford has them fill out a very comprehensive survey about themselves, likes and dislikes, and has an algorithm that helps match, and then they have a group of people that spend all summer matching the kids to a dorm and roommate. I have to say, they rarely miss badly. My daughter and her first year roommate were friends by the time they went to sleep the first night, and are rooming together again this year. The dorms have tremendous pride—my kid will be “Otero” forever!!

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I assume your child just got accepted REA today? If so, big congrats. Stanford is amazing!!! My daughter is a sophomore. I am happy to answer any questions—I know you will have a lot!

I probably should have explained—you will know before you arrive which dorm your child is assigned to, just not which room or which roommate. In the survey they can rank preference for an all-Frosh dorm (which my child LOVED), a four class dorm, a dorm with only Frosh and Sophomore, a dorm that has a particular theme (like the Native American row house) etc. There are pros and cons to all, but I think few are ever really unhappy with their assignments.

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Thank you so much! He did get accepted via REA and now I feel so unprepared lol. We have spent 4 years pouring over the how to get in part and now we gotta get up to speed on the after!


@Outlander thank you so much for helping with those questions. My son is also accepted REA, class of 2025. So, you recommend the Frosh dorm, correct? Any advice about selecting classes early and building curriculum pre-requisites? He plans to major in Computer Science. Or, are they all assigned a liberal art-type of GE classes in the first year? Thanks in advance

An all-Frosh dorm was my daughter’s first choice, and she loved the experience. You can look through an online catalogue of classes before you arrive as a freshman in the Autumn quarter to get some idea of what you might like, but you don’t select classes until you have participated in freshman orientation, which starts the evening you move in to the dorm. During orientation you will meet with you Academic Advising Director—once the AAD has signed off, you can enroll in classes. Since your son is interested in computer science (which is in the engineering school), I wanted to mention a summer engineering program my daughter participated in (Stanford Summer Engineering Program)—it is for first gen or low income or women or underrepresented minority students and it is for the month of August prior to school starting in September—if you qualify, I highly recommend applying. Re: core type classes—Stanford does it like no other university I have ever seen. They have requirements like Power, Ways of thinking, and Ways of doing—-many classes will check off those requirements, you just choose the ones that interest you from those categories. They have to take a writing seminar but there are several options on how to do that and he will be assigned a quarter to do that in. One thing I will recommend that I think Stanford does well is that they offer a lot of one unit classes that can be taken just to check out things outside their major interest. For example, my daughter took a one unit geology class that met a couple of times then went on a weekend camping trip on the pacific coast to learn about all of the different rock formations—that was really unique! She also took a one unit class in the medical school. Hope that helps @Mumfromca!

Very helpful, thank you @Outlander! He does not qualify for the summer program - a white male in CS, well overrepresented. He will have to take ownership of his university experience after we firm the offer but every bit of information helps.

Congrats on your son’s admission! He might have already heard but Stanford will change the residential hall structure (dorms) starting this Fall, calling ResX.

Stanford is super good at taking care of Frosh but the support diminishes when the students become Sophomore and on. So they want to establishment “communities” on the campus and the students can spend their four years with their cohorts if they want to. They can apply for the residential hall choices with their friends if they choose to do so. And the housing lottery system will end and the housing will be determined by the seniority (Senior, Jr, Soph). They will still have Frosh only dorms, those are older dorms but it’s a great way to meet with their own peers.

BTW Stanford has LOADS of internship opportunities if the students seek out. Most of the summer internship programs provide a stipend ($9500 this year) and if a student wants to remain on campus, the stipend will cover the room and board. Of course, if it’s a CS student, Google is right there and they have a paid summer internship too!

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Is the housing lottery system ending and instead housing selection by seniority? If so, I didn’t see any information on the website. You can see some historical draw cutoff numbers at 2019 Undergraduate Draw Women's Cut-Off Numbers | Stanford R&DE . For example, a pair of students needed to draw <= 6 out of 2862 to get a “premier” room (2-room double) in La Casa Italiana. If they instead drew 2862 out of 2862, the only options would be less desirable dorms in the Governor’s Corner area. Freshmen are required to live on campus and have a different system, as described in posts above.

The lottery system called “the draw” will end. It was a tiered system, meaning each student from Soph through Senior gets 3 tiers during 3 years after the first year, and Tier 1 is the highest priority and you can use any time. So there was a chance that Soph is getting better room/residential hall than Senior.

ResX will eliminate such possibility and they still have to enter a lottery but based on the seniority, which will give the priority housing assignment. Looks like the webpage hasn’t been updated about this info. I heard this via webinar by Stanford R&E staff.

From FAQ: I’m an incoming frosh '25, what options do I have for where to live in fall?
Incoming frosh’25 will be assigned to an all-frosh house in a neighborhood or be able to apply for an ethnic theme dorm or University Theme House that is open to frosh.

You can get more info on the webpage.

The full task force report is at https://news-media.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/15171741/ResX-final-report-April-14.pdf . It sounds like the housing will be divided into 8-10 “neighborhoods”, with the intention of students remaining within their “neighborhood” for the full 4 years at Stanford. However, upperclassmen can request switching neighborhoods. It sounds like it’s a work in progress, and details may change.

Yes but they will implement it for the new academic year, so the students will be notified during summer about the housing assignment.

Stanford announced the neighborhoods for ResX. There are a lot more Frosh only dorms.


Mom to RD 2020 applicant who took a gap year. Want to follow housing talks. From NC–in case anyone is from the South.

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