First, it's all relative. While the number admitted into the undergraduate class has remained unchanged for years, Stanford, like many of its peer schools, has had a record number of total applicants. Regardless of arguments over whether too much preference is given to one category over another, thousands of students are going to be turned away, and there is no doubt that the vast majority of them could have met the demands of a Stanford education. We could, for instance, have filled incoming classes four or five times over with applicants who achieved grade point averages of 4.0 or greater.
I wish there were a formula to explain who is accepted and who isn't, but the decision making is as much art as it is science. Each class is a symphony with its own distinct composition and sound; the final roster is an effort to create harmony, and that means that some extraordinary bass players don't get a chair. What's more, even among my staff there are legitimate differences about applicants. The bottom line: The world is not going to judge anyone negatively because they didn't get into Stanford or one of our peer institutions.
Regular Decision FAQs