Stanford University

Palo Alto, CA: When I began forming my list of colleges to visit in California, Stanford was never on the list. One of the top research universities in the world, perfectly etched into beautiful Palo Alto, Stanford has only a seven percent acceptance rate. Yeah, right. I don’t think so. Nevertheless, my mom thought a visit would be interesting, so I went, desperately trying not to get my hopes up. But, like everyone else, I fell in love.

Stanford’s beautiful campus is not one you can easily overlook. The majority of Stanford’s buildings are Spanish-style orange sandstone with red-tiled roofs. The campus is adorned with beautifully carved arches. Amidst this traditional architectural style, newer buildings add a modern look that doesn’t feel out of place. Large palm trees and other plantings fill the campus.

Stanford’s academic record speaks for itself. However, in addition to its top-tier academic ranking, this university boasts impressive athletics too. The school and its students strive to achieve a “scholar-athlete” profile, and have earned over 100 national championships since its founding. The campus echoes that vibe through its extensive facilities.

Stanford caters to students’ passions, offering over 590 student clubs and organizations and recognizing 40 religious groups. Whatever you’re interested in, from singing groups to service clubs, from sports to the most esoteric hobbies, Stanford’s got it.

Like other colleges, Stanford has unique traditions. To combat the California heat, students will take a dip in the numerous fountains on campus, a tradition known as fountain-hopping. On cold winter nights, students run through the warm underground steam tunnels beneath the campus. On the night of the full moon of the fall quarter, seniors kiss freshmen on the Quad.

More than anything else, however, Stanford stands out because of its students. Students there are extremely passionate and dedicated. They truly want to learn and grow intellectually.

College is so much more than just a campus. Your college experience is shaped by the relationships you make. I don’t think I could find a university to match Stanford’s level of intellectual stimulation.

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