This is a pretty good review of Stanford University

Ah yes.. Leland Stanford Junior University, what a great combination of Athletics and Academics, what a fun, talented and motivated student body, and what a great location to boot! Before I begin, I will say there is some truth to Stanford's well known selling points, but that the University, the student body, and the campus atmosphere also have their flaws. I will share my criticisms in list form:

 

Lack of idealism - Lack of committment to service and activism - Pre-professionalism

Stanford is not the campus for the budding social activist or political revolutionary. The general atmosphere of the student body is "me, me" and there is little social activism or community work, and when there is it all seems overwhelmingly for themselves/ourselves. The vast majority of students here do not choose to use the power and influence of their education to advance change, but rather act in insulated self interest to preserve the status quo and stay on top of the heap. Stanford has often been described as an incubator for high tech companies, and that is truly what it acts as for students in many fields, a sheltered, artificially sunny bubble in which to "grow up". Students may talk radically, but no one walks the walk.

 

Conformity - Elitism

Stanford students are a remarkably alike bunch. They often differentiate themselves in meaningless, tokenistic ways, but when it comes down to it most think and act remarkably similarly. The Stanford Student is white, s/he is from Southern California, s/he likes to skateboard and surf and lie in the sun, s/he always appears happy-go lucky, is intensely concerned with post college life and future financial security but does their best to hide it. They have few interests outside of class, few goals beyond the stereotypical concept of success, and just very few facets in general. Add to this general social ineptitude, and you can imagine what an interesting and enjoyable group of people you'll find yourself amongst.

 

Astonishingly weak social scene - Very little dating

There is never anything fun to do on campus on the weekends. The frat parties are all the same, and they consist of many Stanford Students (as caricatured above) standing around drinking, saying what's up to casual, insubstantial acquaintances, listening to the same tired records from 1996 by the same tired DJ, DJ Kenny G, and usually wearing Hawaiian shirts. Worse yet, there is usually only one such party to chose from! Then there are the many in room parties, which consist of alcohol, alcohol and more alcohol. Non-drinkers, enjoy! There are no parties with good music, good dancing, or good looking girls, unless you like bleary-eyed sorority girls who wear their Stanford sweatshirts three days in a row. So what are people doing? Are they dating? No of course not! First of all there is no where to go in the soulless wasteland that is Silicon Valley, secondly everyone is too driven, work-obsessed, out of touch with their feelings and disinterested in developing meaningful relationships of any kind for dating to occur.

 

Weather

Ah but the weather, can't complain about that now can you? Actually, it is truly nice for maybe 4 months of the school year, not all year as they would have you believe. And even when it is warm during the day, even when it hits 90, it will be 40 at night. It is 40 every night in the bay area, meaning you often have to change clothes several times a day. And when it rains you must either ruin your clothes getting to class by bike (thanks to our spacious 8000 acre campus), or set out by foot 30 minutes before you need to arrive. 

 

Location

There can be no worse college town than Palo Alto. Everything is overpriced and targeted to the Silicon Valley jet set. This goes for food, clothing, real estate, you name it. You want affordable, try East Palo Alto, the skeleton in Stanford's geographic closet. This community of 30,000 is concentrated in a 2.5 sq mile area on the other side of Hwy 101 a careful bit of gerrymandering in the 60's separated the two communities by the new highway which incidentally paved over East Palo Alto residences. Besides the immediate environs of the Peninsula, Stanford is lucky enough to be closest to the lamest and most Stanford like of the three bay area cities, San Jose! Lots to see and do there, trust me. The clubs on South First street are worth checking out once, but not returning to. Oakland and San Francisco, representing everything Stanford is not, are located about an hour away by car with no traffic, or anywhere from 2-3 hrs away at rush hour. Public transit, especially the BART, is very ineffective, especially in getting to Oakland. Both real cities in the bay are worth spending time in.

 

Conclusion

I seriously recommend not attending Stanford University for undergrad. Hardly anyone has genuine academic interest, or intellect, even, and more or less slaves through four years of college just to reach a career goal, which seldom strays from physician, lawyer, banker, programmer. It's vocational school for $40,000 a year. There is no student union; student life is terrible. Students almost never leave campus, and on campus there isn't much to do either in terms of normal life. You will study all day and get really good at academics/test taking, but miss out on real-life events/work experience/everything else that your friends at less isolated universities are getting because the only people you are interacting with are students and professors, not a real-life community.

Category: