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Stanford University

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Stanford made a tremendous difference in my lifeQuite BrightEconomics
Stanford made a tremendous difference in my life through exposure to bright and interesting classmates, and excellent faculty. Most of us acquired a personal identity as "Stanford students" in which we took pride and which we were loath to surrender at graduation. Not everything was perfect and not everyone was highly intelligent or nice, but the place was about as much of a Mecca as it could be given it was full of ambitious teenagers.
4th Year Male -- Class 1982
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Surrounding City: B-
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I spent a lot of time considering whichQuite BrightChemistry
I spent a lot of time considering which university I wanted to attend - right down to May 1. My decision ultimately came down to whether I wanted to spend a lot of money to go to Stanford, or attend a less perstigious university for less money. I do not regret my decision. Stanford works very hard to provide an open environment to its students. Most students are very entusiastic about what they are studying and where they are going in life, and everyone is obviously very talented at what the do. Although I feel like a little fish in a big pond here, I am convinced that, perhaps more than any other aspect of Stanford, my peers are encouraging me to grow.
1st Year Male -- Class 2011
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Surrounding City: C
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After reading some of the lengthy negative commentsQuite BrightPhysics
After reading some of the lengthy negative comments (diatribes?) about Stanford, I have to say I am taken aback. Maybe these individuals had a hard time finding their niche in college, or simply lacked the initiative to take advantage of the opportunities Stanford has to offer. A few seem sardonic to the point of being irrational. All I can offer is the observation that some people will not be happy no matter how much opportunity for enrichment, education, and friendship is placed before them. Cynicism is a virtue I can live without.

Stanford is a truly wonderful place to be an undergrad. The word idyllic comes to mind. Having visited friends at half a dozen other universities around the country (and vice-versa), I know with uncommon certainty that I made the right choice. Beyond the nearly unparalleled opportunities in the classrooms and research labs, the most valuable part of a Stanford education is being surrounded by and interacting with some of the brightest and most broadly thinking people you're likely to ever meet. Having graduated, I miss that!

As for those that claim Stanford is not diverse (ethnically, politically, etc.) -- this is crap. I challenge you to find a more ethnically diverse campus of this stature, anywhere in the world. While self-segregation is an unfortunate reality, students from all ethnicities and backgrounds participate in extracurriculars, sports, research -- not to mention classes. You'd have to live under a rock to not be exposed to other points of view at Stanford. Politically, you should expect that Stanford students tend to lean left, as do most bright, well educated people, especially in the Bay Area. However, there are plenty of conservatives both among the student body (certain fraternities, for example) and at the now-infamous Hoover Institution. At Stanford, I even had a few Evangelical Christian friends. There are many Mormons at Stanford, and many Muslims as well. One of my favorite classes was on Buddhist philosophy. You get the idea.

Full financial aid and need-blind admissions mean that Stanford is now economically more diverse as well. The stereotype of the snooty, privileged, left-wing Silicon Valley intellectual couldn't be further from the Stanford I experienced. There were more hippies and farm boys there than anyone fitting that unfounded stereotype. One of my best friends from undergrad at Stanford was from Kenya. Another was from Turkey. My freshman roommate was from Inglewood -- one of the grittiest neighborhoods of Los Angeles -- not exactly Beverly Hills.

So I guess I'm posting this mainly in response to the few strongly negative reviews I've read. I think those people really missed the boat. Many others have expounded on the countless things that make Stanford the best university in the world -- for undergrads as well as grads -- so I won't go any further. Suffice it to say, I was extremely satisfied with virtually all aspects of my experience at Stanford, and wouldn't trade a minute of it. In fact, if I could change any one thing, I would have stayed longer.

A final piece of advice for those considering a school like Stanford: Get out there and find activities and clubs that are interesting to you. Seek out people who challenge your views, and engage both students and professors in meaningful conversations. Go to basketball games. Go fountain hopping. If you're having difficulties finding your place at Stanford, talk to your Resident Fellow (RF) or your RA -- they took those jobs to help you! I'm convinced that if the poor souls who posted negative comments here had done that, they might have taken away a completely different impression. Hopefully yours will be more like mine.

Good luck, and best wishes.

4th Year Male -- Class 2003
Innovation: A+, Faculty Accessibility: B
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