Stanford University

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Stanford University Ranking

College rankings can be helpful as you apply to college. You may use US college rankings to help choose which schools you’ll apply to, or even which one you’ll attend. 

Knowing the Stanford University rankings and what a Stanford University ranking means will be helpful if you’re considering an application to Stanford. Below, we’ll explain how the Stanford ranking should impact your college search, and how it compares to the Harvard college ranking. 

While a Stanford ranking can be helpful as you apply to college, don’t base your decisions solely on a college ranking. Without a doubt, college rankings are important. However, they are not the be-all and end-all. Use the Stanford ranking as one data point amongst many as you research the school

We’ll discuss the Stanford ranking in Forbes, the Stanford University ranking in U.S. News, and the Stanford University ranking in Wall Street Journal. You’ll see how each of these Stanford rankings differs depending on the source. Finally, we’ll explain how to interpret a Stanford University ranking and how it should influence your college search. 

So, let’s dive into some Stanford rating lists. 

Where does Stanford rank?

First, let’s check out if the Stanford University ranking is among the top 10 in three different sources: 

  • U.S. News college rankings
  • Wall Street Journal college rankings
  • Forbes college rankings 

The Stanford University ranking in U.S. News is #3 in National Universities. That Stanford University ranking in U.S. News can help you understand and contextualize college rankings in general. However, let’s check some other sources for Stanford University rankings as well. 

The Stanford ranking in Forbes is #3, the same as the U.S. News ranking. The Stanford University ranking in Wall Street Journal is #2, higher than both the Forbes and U.S. News rankings. 

Evidently, there is slight variety in the Stanford University ranking, depending on the source, whether that’s the Forbes college rankings or U.S. News college ranking. However, all three of these Stanford rankings show that Stanford is a top school. What’s more, the Stanford ranking in Forbes has been at #1 in past years. 

So, we’ve looked at the Stanford University ranking in Wall Street Journal, the Stanford University ranking in U.S. News, and the Stanford ranking in Forbes. To check out more college rankings for top schools, read this article

Now, let’s dive into some more specific Stanford ranking lists. 

Stanford Ratings

In addition to the national Stanford ranking, the U.S. News college ranking lists also have Stanford rankings as #2 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs. Further, the U.S. News Stanford rankings are #4 in Best Value Schools. Worldwide, the Stanford rating is #3. Stanford is also listed as the #1 top school in California. Maybe Stanford’s unique quarter system is partly behind this high Stanford ranking!

Additionally, there are many different criteria for college rankings. Let’s check out a few more specific Stanford ratings. 

For example, the Stanford University ranking is #1 in this list of the most beautiful college campuses. The Stanford ranking is in the top spot for best men’s soccer college rankings. And, with a 4% acceptance rate, the Stanford University ranking is #2 in the CBS list of hardest colleges to get into, only behind Harvard. Meanwhile, Bloomberg gives a Stanford ranking of #1 in their overall list of Best Business Schools

So, there are general Stanford University rankings as well as specific Stanford rankings. For more information on the Forbes college rankings in recent years, beyond the Stanford ranking in Forbes, look here. For more Wall Street Journal University rankings, click here

Exploring sources for Stanford rankings

Some of the top U.S. college rankings organizations are U.S. News, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. However, as you look at each U.S. News college ranking, for example, be sure to do your own research outside of these college rankings lists. 

College rankings can be helpful to a point but don’t take them as the final word. Check multiple sources, and do your own independent research about any school you’re interested in. Alongside a school’s college rankings, check each school and department’s website. Further, keep a detailed college list where you record everything you find. 

Comprehensive research will complement college ranking information and help you craft a strong, well-balanced college list and make a college decision.

How are college rankings determined?

We’ve just thrown a lot of different Stanford ratings at you. So, how are college rankings decided? 

Well, you can read an in-depth explanation of college rankings here. However, in short, there are a number of different well-known organizations that have been making US college rankings for years. These include U.S. News, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. 

Each source has its own internal process for how they calculate ratings. For example, you’ll find the U.S. News qualifications here

Use these college rankings as a reference point when you begin your college search. However, no college ranking list will be completely objective. There is no one way to determine the best college out there. Furthermore, the best college for one student will be totally different from the best college for another. Don’t use the college rankings to assess a school’s ability to meet your unique needs. 

As there are so many qualified college ranking sources out there, such as U.S. News college rankings, Wall Street Journal college rankings, and Forbes college rankings, you would do well to cross-reference. 

Finally, there are hundreds of top schools with a high college ranking. To find the best school for you, research lots of factors alongside college rankings. 

Stanford University Ranking vs. Harvard Ranking

Like Stanford, Harvard University is often found at the top of both national and international college ranking lists. So, how do Stanford ratings compare the Harvard ratings? Well, it depends on which college rankings you look at.

Let’s look at a few U.S. News college rankings lists. As we mentioned above, the Stanford University ranking in U.S. News is #3 in National Universities. Comparatively, Harvard also comes in at #3 on that same list. 

As we mentioned before, U.S. News also has Stanford rankings as #4 in Best Value Schools. Harvard comes in just ahead on the same list at #3.

So, although Harvard comes in a bit higher numerically in U.S. News college rankings lists, both schools are extremely highly ranked and offer a great education. The Stanford University rankings prove Stanford is a top college on par with Harvard. 

Whether you should attend Stanford or Harvard will not depend solely on the Harvard or Stanford rating. Instead, choose a school that meets your college needs, educationally, socially, and financially. So, to find the best school for you, do your research beyond the Stanford University ranking and other U.S. college ranking lists. 

Stanford University Ranking: Final Thoughts 

 Now you’ve had an overview of the Stanford University rankings in Forbes, U.S. News, and the Wall Street Journal. So, you should have a better idea of what the Stanford University ranking is and what it means.

As you explore the college rankings more, check out some more of our resources on topics like your dream school and acceptance letters

Although Stanford is a tough school to get into, CollegeAdvisor has resources. For more information on how to get into Stanford, check out our guide. Finally, check out our Stanford webinar or take a virtual tour.

Stanford Acceptance Rate

Acceptance Rate 4%
Acceptance Deadline January 2

Stanford Tuition

Average Cost* $12,894
Average Total Aid Awarded $65,400
Students Receiving Financial Aid 50.36%
*Average cost after financial aid for students receiving grant or scholarship aid, as reported by the college.

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Arshia Malek, M.Ed.
University of Southern California
Thank you for visiting my profile! My name is Arshia, and I'm an Advising Manager and Senior Consultant for I hold a B.A. in Sociology and M.Ed. in Educational Counseling from University of Southern California and a Certificate in College Admission Consulting from UC Berkeley. I look forward to partnering with you and assisting you in your college admissions journey. Key experiences: admission and advisement at USC, QuestBridge, and University of California system. Expertise: college admissions and planning, academic and career counseling, major exploration, transfer, resume and cover letter review, interview preparation, and pre-health advisement.

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Amber Lewis
Stanford University
Hi, everyone! My name is Amber, and I spent my previous two years working as an Undergraduate Admission Counselor at Stanford University. I have both a student and admission perspective of Stanford University, and graduated from Stanford in 2018 with a minor in Spanish and Portuguese. In the admission office, I reviewed applications from different parts of the country and the world, including Canada, California, Virginia and West Virginia; and I look forward to using my experience to encourage you along your own path to college admission soon!

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Brian Seo
Hello, everyone! My name is Brian Hyun Seo, and I am a rising junior at Harvard College, concentrating in Economics with a secondary in History of Science and a Language Citation in Korean. On-campus, I spend most of my time studying and training - I am on the Men's Lightweight Rowing team. During my free time, I enjoy playing the guitar and listening to EDM. If you are looking for someone to help strengthen your college essays and/or walk through the college admissions process, I am your guy!

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Nicholas Welch
Stanford University
Hi! I’m a Stanford undergrad, and so happy to be here. I have offered my college-app services to hosts of family members and friends, and look forward to expanding my outreach to the world. I strongly believe that writing and thinking are identical processes, and want to help students write better, think better, and achieve their dreams all at the same time.

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University of California - Berkeley

CollegeAdvisor’s flexibility proved how much they really put their customers first. After speaking with the founder, I understood the personal story behind why CollegeAdvisor’s services are such a steal: incredible value at an affordable price! The college application process has now become one of the most valuable periods in my young life because the personal development and insight I gained are truly invaluable. My hearty thanks to my incredible advisor in shaping such a critical aspect of my journey and career.

Layal Kazerooni

Matthew Yekell was extremely helpful throughout the entire process of applying to college. He went out of his way to be extremely accommodating to time differences and his help was fundamental to my admission into my top choice universities. He supported me through every step of the application process and made applying to college an enjoyable experience – couldn’t have done it without him!

Hiya Shah
Stanford University


Iyanuloluwa Dare

When I reached out to CollegeAdvisor, they supported me with their program and helped me through the signup step-by-step. I was matched with my mentor. She helped me realize my best fit and find my authentic voice through my passions, experiences and challenges. She encouraged me to weave these experiences into my essays which made them stand out. She went above and beyond to support me through the stressful time of college applications and I am so appreciative of how this program supported me into getting into some amazing schools.

Ayotunde Adeyinka
Stanford University

Right off the bat, my advisor Julia identified my uniqueness and helped me express that, as well as my most beautiful life experiences, on paper. By believing in me every step of the way, she drew out the best in my writing ability and itemized the whole process into simple and more approachable pieces. Through the entire process, I truly felt supported as a distinct individual, and not just as a random applicant by everyone I met from CollegeAdvisor. It was an unforgettable experience for me! I couldn’t have asked for a better advisor.

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