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2020-05-20 00:02:32

How to enroll a foreign student at Stanford?

How to enroll a foreign student at Stanford?

How do I enroll an international student at Stanford? How short is the shortcut to Silicon Valley?

Today Silicon Valley is the Mecca of technology startups, a place where business angels are ready to invest in promising ideas, and people with the right mindset can make their first million by investing in a small project from the very beginning. It's quite possible to find yourself in the same coffee shop as engineers at Google, Tesla, and Facebook: meetings and small meetings are held daily. This area of Northern California seems to be a place where everyone is obsessed with finding ideas, implementing them, and promoting them - nowhere else in the world is there such a concentration of interest in technology. This is where the place itself works for you, its history: a culture of building small teams of professionals, often without funds at the outset, to produce a particular product has developed here.

Stanford has played and is playing an important role in this process: it attracts technically gifted students, provides them with the resources to work on projects. With such an accumulation of brains, ideas, resources, and ambition, Silicon Valley has been and remains a place that attracts talent from all over the world.



A path to Silicon Valley for an international student

Which path to the valley to choose? If you have an idea, a clear implementation plan, and presentation (pitching) skills, then do it: look for investors, develop the product, and don't be afraid of failure. As experienced local marketers say, failure is also experience: investors will not stop investing in the next step if you draw competent conclusions from a failed venture.

The second way is suitable for those who already have capital and are ready to become a venture investor - a good chance to catch big fish in the growth stage. But you must realize that out of 30 projects, only 1 pays back the investment: investment = risk.

The third way is suitable for talented people inclined to the academic approach: go to Stanford University, get the most relevant education, work and develop among the advanced technicians, investors, learn the skills of competent presentation, argumentation, capital management, using the University Resources to develop your own project. Many famous developers and entrepreneurs left the university (Vinton Cerf, Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Lawrence Page, Doris Fisher, Philip Knight, Peter Thiel, Jerry Young, David Philo - Wikipedia even has a special section with the names of these people ), and even if they did not get a degree, the university became a huge educational stage, and also a way to build social connections. Acquaintances + inclusion in social contexts is another whale on which future success rests. The path from Stanford student to successful engineer or investor appeals to many, but it will not be the easiest. Let's take a look at why becoming a Stanford University student is so interesting and challenging.

What is Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is one of the biggest drivers of the U.S. economy and the entire world economy: it is considered a major technological center. Geographically the area is south of San Francisco, San Jose. However the whole San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose itself, small rural and suburban areas around them) is fully referred to as Silicon Valley because of the enormous number of technology companies.

Brief facts about the valley:

  • Population: 3 million
  • Official language: English; residents speak Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, German.
  • GDP per capita: $65,212. GDP per capita: $65,212 (2017 estimate).
  • Death Valley: Before the advent of the Internet, this place was known as Death Valley because people feared personal computers would take over their jobs.

Stanford University is an integral part of the Silicon Valley community

Founded in 1885, Stanford University, the leading academic center in the United States, has become a vibrant community of educators, students, entrepreneurs, and innovators. By the time the university opened, it seemed to many that California no longer needed any major educational centers other than Berkeley, and it was only after World War II that Stanford took the lead in the list of higher education institutions in the United States. Today, Stanford has taken its place next to Princeton, Yale's Columbia University.

A few facts about Stanford:

  • The university is a 45-minute drive from San Francisco.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Stanford is not part of the Ivy League.
  • The university has several majors with unusual names: human biology, ethics in society, and symbolic systems. Double check the name of your desired major before applying.
  • Today, international students make up 34 percent of the university's enrollment.

How to get into Stanford

If you plan to apply to Stanford, you must be an outstanding student, as the acceptance rate is only 4.4%, one of the lowest in the country. Just senior grades, an excellent resume, and an impressive list of extracurricular accomplishments won't be enough.


The standard application procedure is as follows: fill out the form through the general application, the coalition application, and submit a list of documents:

  • SAT or ACT tests. The university does not accept alternative test scores to the ACT or SAT. SAT score (50% average): math: 720-800, language: 700-770, ACT score (50% average): 32-35
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • School report
  • High school transcripts.
  • Application fee - $90
  • Semi-annual transcript (by February 15)
  • Portfolio with examples of work. The university accepts portfolios of art practice, dance, music, theater (Oct. 15-Dec. 1).

What else you need to know:

Stanford University courses begin in the fall, spring or winter. Several courses may have admissions during the summer session.
Applications for international students are accepted in September
Admission decisions are published six to seven weeks after application.
Applying early ensures that a student can complete the admissions process in time to apply for a visa to study in the United States.

International applicants additionally submit:

TOEFL or IELTS test scores (optional). Fluency in English is a prerequisite for admission, but the university does not require standardized test scores. The exams only help determine the English language proficiency of international candidates. Recommended scores: TOEFL (IBT) - 100, TOEFL (PBT) - 570, IELTS - 7, PTE - 68.
Official copies of original transcripts, ratings. These must be translated into English, and copies of the translated documents must be submitted with the application. Translations cannot be made by the applicant.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email confirming that the application has been processed from Stanford.

How hard is it to get to Stanford?

Stanford is the most selective college in the United States: out of 45,451 applicants, only 2,071 were selected last year. The selection process among potential applicants is based on a holistic approach, with all components of the application evaluated - while test scores are important, they do not solve all problems. How to stand out among applicants:

  • Demonstrate excellence: talk about your most important academic, extracurricular, personal accomplishments. Ask parents, friends, counselors to read the materials to make sure you present yourself honestly and positively.
  • Demonstrate your character: Young people should emphasize your willingness to grow and other positive qualities. University depends not on who you are, but on who you become.
  • Demonstrate specific knowledge, a willingness to do serious research.


Admission to graduate school at Stanford University

Prospective master's students must have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a recognized college. They will also need proof of standardized exams such as the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT. Students with high scores have a much higher chance of admission. The standardized exams must have been taken at least 5 years prior to application.

Minimum TOEFL scores required for graduates: Humanities, Social Sciences, Education - 100 (iBT), 600 (PBT); Mechanical Engineering - 89 (iBT), 575 (PBT).

The application fee is $125 (for all master's programs except MBA; MBA applicants must pay $275 as a participation fee).

List of documents for applicants:

  • Completed online application
  • Academic transcripts from all (!) institutions you have attended
  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • English test scores
  • Declaration of Intent
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Interview (may be required for more than one program)
  • International degree equivalents.

Additional information for majors:

  • Interview required for MBA / MD / transfer students from other universities
  • Work experience is recommended for majors applying for LLM / MBA
  • Standard application deadline November 1-January 2
  • GRE or GMAT required
  • Statement of Purpose: Concise and clearly articulated goals should explain the reasons for applying to the proposed program
  • Preparation for future research, research interests
  • Other background information that may help in evaluating incoming applications
  • Summary: Be sure to include any of your publications
  • Additional form: some master's programs (mostly engineering) require students to provide additional information, including a list of websites, publications.

What if you are rejected?

Don't be too hard on yourself: even the best applicants are not guaranteed a place at Stanford. The university does not accept appeals, but for students who really feel that this is the institution that meets their needs, admission is possible the following year. You can apply again after a one-year hiatus, but that route is riskier than attending another institution. If you want to plug into a startup right out of college, MIT and CalTech offer comparable ways to enter the tech industry. Silicon Valley is characterized by a philosophical attitude toward failure--a tolerance for failure--and a failed attempt at recognition fits well with that spirit.


How much does it cost to live in Silicon Valley

Monthly cost of rent in the valley:

  • 1-bedroom apartment downtown - from $2,200
  • 1 bedroom apartment outside of downtown - from $1,800
  • 3 bedroom apartment downtown - from $3,362
  • 3-bedroom apartment outside of downtown - from $2,900.
  • Home Buying Prices:
  • Price per square foot downtown - from $6,894.9
  • Price per square meter outside the city: $4,974.2.
  • There are restaurants serving food from most parts of the world, from great burgers to fine dining.


  • Inexpensive restaurant - $12-$20.
  • Coffee to go - $3.75-$5
  • Bottle of Coke - $1-3
  • 1 liter of milk - $0.79-1.32
  • A loaf of bread - $2.2-4.41.
  • A large number of independent grocery stores, regular supermarket chains, farmers' markets and stores sell healthy and organic products. Popular supermarkets include Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Chevez Supermarket, Molly Stones, and Bianchini's.

Silicon Valley has an excellent transportation system: buses, rail. High-speed transit in the Gulf region carries thousands of people every day.

Ticket prices:

  • Adult - $2.
  • Day ticket - $6
  • Unlimited Monthly Subscription - $70
  • Unlimited annual subscription - $770.

Not everyone uses a car here: some for environmental reasons, some work close to home. Many choose alternative transportation: bike, scooter, moped - cities are equipped with bike lanes.

Finding a job

If you want to stay in the valley after graduation, start working while you're studying! The obvious jobs are in high tech, but there are others - law, finance, education, health care, services: these are also big employers. Salaries depend on what industry you work in.

How to find a job: start with Monster and Snag a Job and move on to Google recruiters, who can help you get some preliminary interviews. AngelList is a startup platform for meeting investors and like-minded talent. is a great site for finding tech jobs. There's always a popular way to find jobs using accumulated connections.

The Dark Side of the Valley

Life in Silicon Valley is heterogeneous. If you got a good job at a major corporation or started a startup, you'll find yourself in a winning position. But there are many who don't immediately find their way up: living in rented trailers, failing in their efforts not once, not twice, but many times. The cost of living is high, and only the most successful get paid accordingly.

The crime rate is high. In prosperous areas you may be safe, but once you leave its borders, your safety is threatened.

There is an imbalance between the number of men/women in the valley - young men clearly outnumber girls. What's the solution? Many emigrants bring their families with them, some look for a couple in other cities.


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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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