How do I get into Stanford neuroscience?

Stanford University is a private university, considered one of the most prestigious in the United States, and in the world, thousands of students apply to enter evenly but only a few will be the lucky ones.

In this brief guide, we’re going to answer the question “How do I get into Stanford neuroscience?’’ what Stanford is looking for, the percentage of admission, and what kind of students get admission.

How do I get into Stanford neuroscience?

Stanford University is one of the best and most prestigious in the world, every year it receives thousands of applications demanding admission in order to become part of its community.

Stanford University is an elite institution. This means that to be accepted into the Neuroscience PhD program, you’ve to be the best of the best. It must be exceptional, in a group of exceptional people.

Good grades aren’t enough. Of the roughly 500 applications Stanford receives per admission cycle, perhaps 100 of them have high GPAs and GRE scores. 

And while those academic achievement records are enough to prevent your application from being ranked, they’re not enough to guarantee that you will be selected as one of 30 applicants who have the opportunity to interview for a position in the class for years to come.

Most graduate programs in the US have one (or more) interview sessions, which are an opportunity for faculty members to conduct in-person interviews with applicants. Of the 100 ranked applications, approximately 30 will be invited for in-person interviews at Stanford.

The next step would be the research statement. In this essay, applicants are asked to indicate:

  • Your reasons for applying to the proposed program at Stanford
  • Your preparation for this field of study.
  • Your research and study interests.
  • Future career plans and other aspects of your background and interests that may help the admissions committee assess your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.

In these tests, Stanford will be looking for an applicant who has demonstrated research expertise, independence, and authenticity. So your answers will be essential if you want a successful application. The key is to show you’re an essential individual for the university

In conclusion, our best recommendations for your successful Stanford application are:

  • Source of personal financing, since if Stanford was admitted it would only cover her first two years of education, the rest would be on its own.
  • An applicant must show clear evidence that she wasn’t a technician blindly following orders from her superior. So it’s essential that you demonstrate research experience and independence.
  • Recommendation letters.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in any scientific field.
  • Expand your search and apply to multiple colleges. Many make the mistake of thinking that it’s only worth studying at elite universities, without knowing that there are dozens of highly educated sites like Stanford.

What is Stanford looking for?

Stanford University looks for students with outstanding records, of course, but they also look for very special students who will excel outside of college on a national and even international level. 

There is no one right way to achieve this – it can be in sports, in science, with a successful start-up, etc. – but students have to be creative in thinking of ways they can stand out from the thousands of students around the world who are also competing for these positions.

The main objective of this type of university is to create value, known for “producing” students who are going to make a difference in the world, who are going to change things in society and in the future. 

This university wants to attract and admit these types of young people, students who want and can change the world and who are willing from an early age to focus on their dreams and passions, to sacrifice and work hard on their goals and achieve extraordinary things. To do this, they have to evaluate what these 17-year-old boys and girls have achieved in the past, which is the variable that can most predict their success in the future.

What is the percentage of admissions for Stanford?

Stanford University, a private research institution, is one of the most selective universities in the nation with an acceptance rate of 4.4%.

Incredibly, at Stanford University 69% of applicants who had all A’s and a perfect 2,400 SAT weren’t admitted, probably because the department that manages admission to the university didn’t consider that they could add much value to the campus, beyond his intellectual talent. 

They already have a lot of that at Stanford. What they are really looking for are those extraordinary students who have already demonstrated special actions in their lives and who add value to the diversity of the campus.

What kind of students get admission?

In order to gain admission to Stanford University, the first step they take is a holistic evaluation of each student, focusing on the academic excellence, intellectual vitality, and personal context of each individual. 

They’ll value students who are highly intelligent, who have excelled intellectually or with some other talent, and who have shown that they are ready to do great things. They are looking for the next Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg, people who can change the world in the future.

The most important point in the evaluation of students is academic excellence, based on the preparation they have received, the results they have obtained and the potential they have to be successful people. 

At Stanford, they want young people who have done their best during their high school years, who have A’s, who do very well on entrance exams, and who haven’t settled for what they have experienced academically.

The ambition and intellectual vitality of the student, valuing their commitment, their dedication, and their interest in wanting to do extraordinary things with their life. The letters of recommendation and essays that go into the admission application will give a lot of information about the candidates. 

Stanford wants to see in its candidates’ curiosity, enthusiasm, energy, commitment, and/or ambition in the activities carried out, regardless of the field of action or ‘expertise’ of the student. They want to have people who stand out, who are extraordinary in the activities they do, whether in research, volunteering, technology, entrepreneurial projects, or sports.

There are many students with a perfect academic record who do not get admission to Stanford, mainly because by doing this holistic analysis, the managers see that they could contribute little to the student community. 

And there are others, such as athletes, artists or entrepreneurs, who with the worst grades (compared to the vast majority of perfect academic results) have greater chances of admission in, by contributing a higher value to the university, by bringing knowledge and experiences different and helping with the diversity that a university like Stanford needs.

But, how to be extraordinary?

  • Are you one of the best sportsmen in the world in your discipline?
  • Are you a blogger or YouTuber with thousands of followers?
  • Have you created a company? Or some volunteer foundation?
  • Have you done projects or received internationally recognized awards?
  • Have you developed a technological project?
  • Have they published any of your essays, poems, or other works?
  • Have you invented anything?

If the student has done any of these things, it will show that they are extraordinary, someone talented enough to bring value to their future colleagues at Stanford and to make a difference in the future. By evaluating the past of students, an athlete, a musician, an entrepreneur, an inventor, an engineer, or a YouTuber can demonstrate that they are already successful people.

They have managed to stand out in an important way, they have dedicated a large part of their lives to achieve those successes, they have worked hard and made many sacrifices to get to what they have achieved. They can show that with that ambition and university education, they can achieve what they set out to do in life, helping to change the world.

It is much more important for these universities to get this type of young people, even if they do not have all outstanding, than students with a perfect record who have not yet shown anything out of the ordinary, of which there are already thousands in the US and internationally. 

The more you show that you are very good at something, the more you compensate for any weaknesses the student may have in a transcript or SAT results. The main objective is to stand out in something to make a difference with the rest of the students who are applying for admission.

So what do I need to get into Stanford?

Don’t be demotivated if they don’t accept you

It’s a dream to enter Stanford, but it’s not a failure not to succeed. There are dozens of universities of the highest academic level in the US that also provide many other benefits to the student. You have to prepare other options where you have more chances of admission.

Get ready

You have to start preparing the admission process years in advance. The sooner the student can begin to prepare, especially in developing some extraordinary talent that makes a difference, the better. Don’t waste time on activities that don’t stand out, but focus on that talent to show you’re special and get into Stanford.

Perfect grades

The academic part is very important. The student must be outstanding, students who can’t demonstrate their intelligence don’t count. The more difficult and complex your classes are and the higher the level, the better seen it’ll be by the final evaluators.

Stand out from the crowd

If the student has exceptional grades and isn’t a phenomenon in some non-academic activity, she must be aware that it isn’t what Stanford is looking for and it’s impossible to get admission. Better not waste time or get excited about something impossible.

You can’t think only of the academic part, it’s very important to show that you can contribute much more than just good grades. For this, it’s imperative that you demonstrate activities and actions that are relevant and extraordinary. 

You have to be exceptional, a star of sports, music or art, an entrepreneur or a precocious engineer. If you are one of these individuals, with a good academic record, you’ll have more options for admission than anyone else.

FAQSs: How do I get into Stanford neuroscience?

Does Stanford have a neuroscience major?

No Stanford doesn’t offer a neuroscience major/minor, However, it has a stellar graduate neuroscience program.

How do I become a neuroscientist?

To become a neuroscientist you need to get a bachelor’s degree. You can then choose to obtain a master’s degree with advanced courses in neuroscience or biological sciences, and later you can obtain a PhD program that will allow you to concentrate on neurological research.

How long does it take to get a PhD in neuroscience?

What can you do if you study neuroscience?

After studying neuroscience you can work as a researcher or professor.

What is the goal of neuroscience?

Reveal what is the biological functioning that underlies thought, emotions, behavior, and the higher processes of the human mind (learning, memory, attention, language …).
Describe the structure of the nervous system and the developmental process that it entails from its formation before birth, until death.
Give an answer to the problem of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How do I get into Stanford neuroscience’’ what Stanford is looking for, the percentage of admission, and what kind of students get admission.

So, are you going to apply to Stanford University?

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.


Admissions. (2020). Retrieved October 5, 2020, from Neurosciences PhD Program website:

Application Requirements for All Doctoral Programs (PhD). (2011, August 8). Retrieved October 5, 2020, from Stanford Graduate School of Education website: