What are my chances of getting into Stanford University?

So, my grade 9 and 10 marks are pretty average.

Grade 9 - (86%)
Grade 10 - (83%)

If I can get 98% averages in grade 11 and 12, what would my chances be of getting admitted into Stanford? I really want to go there because it’s a beautiful school and I would love to live in California.

I’m Canadian, by the way.

If you can get a 98 for the next 2 years why did you not get it so far? Grades are only one of many admission criteria to elite US schools. What have you done or plan to do to make yourself exceptional and deserving of admission to one of the top schools in the world?

There are some students who get into Stanford with marks like those. But these students have some special hook. Like being an athlete, legacy, or some other connection. Even if you raise your marks, it will be difficult.

But you shouldn’t lose hope, there are plenty of great schools in California. Just look around I’m sure you’ll find some other schools that are a great fit.

You don’t have to talk in such a condescending and discouraging way. I just wanted to know what the chances would be.

I didn’t get it so far because I haven’t been working hard since I had no plans for the future. Before you say ‘tHatS nOt aN eXcuSe’, I hardly think you can expect a 14 year old to know what they want for their future. I used to think that I was going to attend uOttawa or Carleton, but now that I’m older I’ve realized there are many universities available for me. I’ve always wanted to live in California, so getting into a top school would be amazing for me to convince my parents into letting me move there for university.

As for making myself ‘exceptional’ and ‘deserving’, I haven’t figured that out yet, but I WILL find a way. I know that I am intelligent since I have scored 90+ in courses I love such as English. I received the highest mark on the exam in English for my grade. Maybe I can use my writing and critical thinking skills to my advantage? I don’t know what opportunities there are since I haven’t looked much into it yet.

[quote=“sgopal2, post:3, topic:2101356”]

Like being an athlete, legacy, or some other connection.

Can you explain what you mean by ‘legacy’?


Legacy applicants are defined as the children of Stanford graduates at either the undergraduate or graduate level. With respect to philanthropy, Stanford does not document in admission files the donor status of all applicants’ families.

There is no way to chance an applicant for an elite university with around a 4.3% acceptance rate. All you can do is your best to present a competitive application, formulate a balanced college list which includes several Match and Safety schools and really hope for the best.

Even if you have do everything perfectly from here on out, your chances would be no better than around the acceptance rate.

Read up on what kind of students Stanford is looking for before you apply.


Best of luck.

Stanford has under a 5% acceptance rate. The odds are against every unhooked applicant.

Guessing one’s chances for admission to Stanford is not a reasonable exercise without a standardized test score (ACT or SAT) and at least one activity at which you are exceptional.

Consider getting a copy of the Fiske Guide To Colleges. It has descriptions of approximately 350 top colleges & universities in the US, Canada (UBC, McGill, Queen’s University, & the University of Toronto), Great Britain and Ireland. The Fiske Guide has entries on 29 colleges & universities located in California.

I would encourage you to start reading the Stanford Cardinal (school newspaper) and also read a series titled, Why You Don’t Feel Successful at Princeton (put out by a senior editor at Princeton). There are many amazing schools to consider.

Just as US school students are facing a plethora of admissions changes due to Covid-19 and other financial factors for schools the landscape will also likely change in the next few years for international students.

Your priorities right now should be about finding hobbies and activities you love and doing your best in school as well as investing in your community in ways that bless others and yourself. The path will be made known :slight_smile: Best of luck!

Question: Do you think your application would rise above 96% of the other applications? Think of who the other applicants would be, who you would be competing with. Those students had a 98% all four years and top scores on their standardized tests. That’s just the starting point. Beyond that, they have a unique quality or accomplishment that stands out from all the other applications. They’re the top accordion player in the country. They published a book of poems that won an award. They are a named author on a peer-reviewed scientific study. They skate-boarded around the perimeter of the U.S. They composed a classical piece that was performed by the NY Philharmonic. They’ve performed on Broadway.

Those who are not legacy applicants, recruited athletes, or in another category that Stanford is looking for (under-represented minority, child of a huge donor), have to be far and above the typical smart teenager.

Thing is, the students who have done these things didn’t “make” themselves exceptional. That’s just who they are. This is not meant to be condescending. I think people here just want to wake you up. You have close to a 0% chance of getting into Stanford based just on what you’ve told us. That’s real talk. California is home to 281 colleges and universities. Instead of trying to make yourself fit into a certain school, find the school that you—who you already are—will fit into.

It has been estimated that at Elite colleges like Stanford, up to 50% of the class seats are reserved for hooked applicants (legacy, URM, athletes, donors, etc). To compound this, more than 2/3 of the class is typically filled during the early round. This leaves about 1/3 of the seats left during the RD round. About 2/3 of the applicants submit during the RD round for only 1/3 of the slots. This leads to intense competition.

It’s not condescending.
It’s the harsh reality.

This is one of those questions where, if one has to ask, they’re likely far behind in researching on their own, unaware of what makes a truly competitive candidate, and resting hopes on dreams.

Dreams don’t get you in. Your competition will have 4 years of top academic performance, high achievement (not the easy hs stuff) that shows drive, motivation, energy, and more.

Kinda like saying, with 2 years til the next Olympics, that you want to win a medal, but you’ve barely started learning the sport, practicing, and showing results.

I think your time would be better spent finding match schools in California, if that is where you wish to attend college. The competition for admissions is intense at Stanford and while anything is possible, admission is not likely based on your current performance.

Please ask your parents how much they have budgeted for college costs. Have they mentioned to you that they have set aside $50-70k per year for your college costs in California?

Canadian schools have a great advantage in that their educational costs to their residents aren’t exponential.

As an international student, you won’t qualify for federal nor state funding in California AND, the scholarships that may be available are EXTREMELY competitive.

“Canadian schools have a great advantage in that their educational costs to their residents aren’t exponential.”

True. The difference between the price for Canadians at universities in Canada versus the cost in the US for international students is HUGE. The exchange rate also matters here. Canadian schools also have the advantage that admissions is predictable, and there are enough spots at the top Canadian universities for all strong Canadian high school graduates. There are also a lot of very good universities in Canada (which go way beyond the few that folks down here in the US tend to think about).

Another big issue: Canadian employers prefer to hire from the many excellent Canadian universities. US employers need to hire graduates who have the legal right to work in the US. Having graduated from a top university in the US does not give a person the right to work in the US for three years (this is different compared to Canada). I have some personal experience with this, which wasn’t much fun at the time.

Stanford is a great school, and the campus is beautiful. Stanford said (in an article sent to alumni) that 80% of their applicants are qualified to attend. They accept less than 5% of applicants. Acceptance rates for international students is quite a bit lower.

“Pretty average” does not get an international student accepted to Stanford.