College Spotlight: Stanford University

Hoover Tower and the Main Quad

College: Stanford University
Number of Majors: More than 69
Location: Palo Alto, California
Type of College: Private four-year

Stanford University, also known as Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private four-year college located in Palo Alto, California. The Stanfords established the university as a memorial to their son Leland Stanford Junior.

The college opened on Oct. 1, 1891. The Stanfords wanted their university to be non-sectarian and affordable. In 2021, Stanford was ranked number six after Yale University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I interviewed Stanford alumni Maggie Pulley about her time at Stanford with the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) in Florence and life at Stanford.

Stanford is well known for its research programs and opportunities. “There are more than 7,900 externally sponsored projects throughout the university, with the total budget for sponsored projects at $1.69 billion for 2020-2021, including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).” ( Stanford also has STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) labs and institutes like Stanford Bio-X, Stanford Chemistry, Engineering, and Medicine for Human Health.

Stanford also offers majors like Asian American Studies, Digital Humanities, Education, Biology, and so many more. Stanford additionally lets undergraduate students partake in the Bing Overseas Studies Program. Some places you can study abroad with BOSP are Australia, Florence, Paris, and Cape Town.

Life at Stanford
Stanford has over 625 organized student groups and 81 student residencies like Ujumaa, Robles, Naranja, and Lagunita. Stanford also has sports–lots of them. At the moment the college is likely best known for their women’s basketball team going to the NCAA championships. Stanford also offers football, men’s baseball, women’s lacrosse, softball, and tennis to name a few from the seemingly infinite list. Stanford is only 35 miles away from San Francisco, a big city that has a lot to see and do.

Interview Q & A:
I interviewed my mother, Maggie Pulley, class of 2001, about her time at Stanford. Pulley was a psychology major who studied abroad in Florence, Italy.

What made you choose Stanford?
“I liked the offerings they had, because they are a big university and the departments they had were also a good size. When I visited, I loved the campus, there were a lot of Black student communities which were inviting. There were also sports, and even though I didn’t play any, I wanted that in my experience.”

What was life like at Stanford?
“Life was good, there were lots of things to do from sports games to performances. I had really interesting classes that were fairly small, I really got to know the professors. It was also nice that the campus was like its own town, consisting of grocery stores, post offices, and even though I liked leaving campus I didn’t need to… there was even a campus gas station.”

What was taking part in BOSP in Florence like?
“Studying abroad was one of my favorite things I did while at Stanford. Stanford had their own learning center in Florence, so I had all of my classes at the learning center. I got to live with an Italian family and learn the culture and language. I went to the Vatican and got a private tour of the Sistine Chapel. I also took an architecture class, and learned about Italian architecture like Duomo.”

Why should future students choose Stanford?
“Great academics. Great sports. World-class professors. Great research opportunities, and resources to pursue your passions and interests.”

How did it change you?
“It opened my eyes to a variety of different people, ideas, and experiences. I met some lifelong friends there too.”

If you are interested in Stanford University or want to learn more, click here.