- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Anthropology
- Gender: M
- High School: Sacramento Waldorf
- Transfer Student:
Overall, Stanford is a pleasant place with interesting people, good academics and an attractive campus. Common complaints include: too far from a big city (ie, San Francisco- Palo Alto and San Jose don't count), not enough social life, bad dating prospects. How quickly you will like Stanford depends largely on what kind of person you are: if you like sweatpants, hip-hop and Econ, come right in. If, on the other hand, you prefer skinny jeans, indie bands and CompLit, campus will seem less welcoming initially. But with six thousand undergraduates you can meet literally any kind of person you want, and people tend to find their niche.
Academics at Stanford are generally solid though you can certainly find yourself in boring classes if you aren't careful. My favorite class I've taken so far was one offered between Anthropology and Urban Studies called 'Cities in Comparative Perspective'. The professor talked theory beautifully and students tended to have strong, interesting opinions. My least favorite classes are the big lecture classes (which you often have to take as pre-reqs for the more popular majors) where the professors sometimes fail to communicate effectively. Small classes and seminars are usually very good; I don't spend much time with professors outside of class, but they definitely learn your name, encourage you to come to office hours and remember you. Intellectual conversations outside of class are not frequent, but they do happen and no one's afraid to seem smart. People generally seem very relaxed about academics, no matter how stressed they are behind closed doors, and are generous with notes and collaboration. Special note should be made of the language programs; of the two I've taken, French and Portuguese, both were amazing.
Stanford is a very relaxed place and is ostenstatiously diverse, with lots of minority representation and a small but growing LGBQ community. However, this superficial tolerance often conceals serious tension between different religious and ethnic groups. There are plenty of rich kids and children-of-the-famous, but also lots of students from middle- and lower-class socioeconomic backgrounds. Everyone mixes pretty freely. Campus style is pretty bland, with a lot of sweats and flip-flops, though people have been getting more stylish over the last year or so. People tend to be friendly, relaxed and pretty egalitarian. People who care about art and style may initially feel out of place; they find their scene, but often more slowly. There are a fair number of attractive people, but dating is hard and people tend to be hesitant about relationships. Also, though the LGBQ scene is improving, attractive gay men and women are hard to come by and dating is near impossible.
The Best Things
The campus, weather and location in Northern California is amazing.
The Worst Things
The lack of a real social/dating scene.