Does Stanford Accept IB? Criteria for IB Students

does stanford accept ib

As a seasoned IB writer and enthusiast, prospective university students frequently ask me, “Does Stanford accept IB?” Today, I’m here to highlight this subject by combining my years of experience with extensive research. Stanford University, a hallmark of academic distinction, does take IB credentials into account, but there’s more to the story that every IB student should be aware of.

Why IB Students Should Consider Stanford University?

I’ve witnessed a lot of students need help with the choice of where to submit their college applications. One notable option is Stanford University, renowned for its innovative and rigorous academic program. So, let’s highlight a few key points:

  • The IB’s methodology and Stanford’s educational philosophy are very similar. Both value a comprehensive, well-rounded education. The IB’s emphasis on global awareness and Stanford’s multidisciplinary approach and focus on critical thinking are a natural match.
  • Stanford is a research powerhouse. The university’s emphasis on research and innovation can be incredibly appealing for IB students, who are often involved in extended essays and independent projects.
  • The IB’s international outlook is one of its defining characteristics. Stanford’s varied student body, covering numerous cultures and backgrounds, reflects the IB’s worldwide vision.
  • Stanford’s support system for international students is noteworthy. From academic advising to social integration, the university ensures that students worldwide feel welcomed and supported.
  • Stanford’s Silicon Valley location and entrepreneurial ethos attract aspiring innovators and leaders. The IB program’s entrepreneurial approach complements Stanford’s principles of innovation and risk-taking.

Stanford University is an attractive choice for IB students. Its dedication to holistic education, research possibilities, a varied society, excellent support networks, and an entrepreneurial atmosphere complement the values and skills earned via the IB curriculum. As an IB educator with extensive expertise, I advise students to examine how Stanford’s unique programs can complement and enrich their educational path and career goals.

Stanford University’s Admission Policy

According to Stanford’s admission policies, which I’ve examined over the years, they seek diverse, well-rounded candidates. While IB scores are essential, Stanford’s holistic approach means your extracurricular activities and personal essays are equally crucial. Therefore, as an IB student, you should focus on academics and developing a compelling personal profile. 

So, Stanford considers factors other than grades and test scores when making admission decisions. The university values students who exhibit resilience, intellectual curiosity, and a dedication to personal improvement and positively contributing to the larger community. Now, let’s look at some aspects in more detail.

Test-Optional Policy

Stanford has implemented a test-optional policy for first-year and transfer students for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 admission cycles, recognizing the persisting issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited access to admission testing globally. It means that ACT or SAT scores are optional. However, students may choose to submit them if they so desire. Whether or not test scores are included, the admissions committee will consider each applicant’s circumstances.

Two Decision Plans

Stanford has two decision plans for first-year applicants: Regular Decision and Restrictive Early Action. Regular Decision is a classic option appropriate for students whose grades improve or who are completing significant projects or activities in their final year. On the other hand, Restrictive Early Action is a non-binding early application option appropriate for students who have picked Stanford as their top choice and have maintained an excellent academic record through grade 11.

Compliance with the Law

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious admissions, Stanford has adjusted its policies to ensure compliance with the law. It includes training application readers to review applications without considering the race or ethnicity of applicants. However, applicants may still share information about their race by describing their achievements and experiences.

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Minimum IB Score and Average IB Score for Stanford University

So, what about IB requirements for Stanford? This university does not explicitly state a minimum IB score requirement for admission. However, according to information from GoToUniversity, students aiming for admission to Stanford should ideally have an IB score of at least 39 to stand a good chance. This score is considerably higher than the average requirements of universities in the United States. In addition to high academic scores, Stanford University also values participation in sports, leadership in projects, and community service, which can enhance the chances of admission.

It’s crucial to remember that Stanford has a comprehensive admissions procedure. Thus, while academic accomplishments are significant, they comprise a small portion of the application. Additional essential elements of the application form are extracurricular activities, personal essays, and recommendation letters.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding admission requirements, it’s always best to consult Stanford’s official admissions website or contact their admissions office directly.

Preparing Your IB Application for Stanford

Are you preparing your IB application for Stanford? Here’s a tip: focus on showcasing your intellectual curiosity and global outlook, traits that IB programs excel in nurturing. Now, let’s talk about the Stanford University IB requirements in more detail.

Deepening Your Academic Profile

Given the rigorous nature of Stanford’s selection process, it’s imperative to demonstrate your academic prowess. This means going beyond mere grades. As an IB graduate, I can attest to the importance of highlighting how the IB’s core components — Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and CAS — have shaped your academic path.

For instance, a well-executed Extended Essay can testify to your ability to conduct independent research, while your Theory of Knowledge essays can showcase your critical thinking skills.

Extracurricular Engagement

Stanford is known for valuing well-rounded individuals. The CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) component of the IB is a fantastic opportunity to show your engagement beyond the classroom. Whether through artistic pursuits, sports, or community service, these activities can highlight your leadership skills, teamwork, and commitment to positively impacting your community.

Personal Essays: Your Voice, Your Story

Your personal essays are the most crucial part of your application. They are where you get to speak directly to the admissions committee. Reflect on your experiences, challenges, and learnings. Use your essays to weave a narrative reflecting your academic path, growth, and aspirations. Remember, authenticity is critical. Stanford seeks to understand who you are, not just what you have achieved.

Letters of Recommendation

Choose your recommenders wisely. Typically, these should be individuals who have known you in an academic setting — teachers, IB coordinators, or counselors. A good recommendation letter will not just praise you but will provide insights into how you engage with your studies, overcome challenges, and contribute to the classroom environment.

Reflecting on Your International Perspective

The IB curriculum is globally focused, and so is Stanford. Use your application to reflect on how the IB has shaped your global perspective. Discuss any international projects, language skills, and cross-cultural experiences and how these have prepared you to contribute to a diverse university community like Stanford’s.

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Success Stories: IB Graduates at Stanford

The success stories of IB graduates at Stanford University highlight the value and impact of an IB education in shaping well-rounded, intellectually curious individuals. Debra Von Bargen, the Assistant Dean of Admission at Stanford University and an IB parent, has firsthand experience with IB graduates. She notes that IB students show high success rates during their first year of university, underscoring the program’s effectiveness in preparing students for higher education challenges.

One such example is Cooper Galvin, a graduate student at Stanford, who recognized the need to support younger students interested in sciences. This led him to create the Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST), a program where graduate students mentor high school students in developing their science projects. This initiative demonstrates how IB graduates at Stanford excel in their studies and contribute to the broader educational community by supporting and mentoring future generations.

Another example is Anna von Wendorff, an IB alumna, and Stanford freshman who planned to major in Management Science and Engineering. Her experience illustrates how IB graduates carry their skills and passions into their university education, contributing to diverse fields of study.

These insights and stories, gathered from the IB Community Blog and shared by IB alums and university officials, reveal an IB education’s profound impact on students’ success at prestigious institutions like Stanford University.


All IB students who want to attend Stanford should know that their road is difficult but fruitful. The IB curriculum gives you the abilities and perspective to complement Stanford’s values. Therefore, set lofty goals, maintain authenticity, and showcase your distinct IB experience in your application!

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