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Frequently Asked Questions

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2023 New Student FAQs

You are welcome to review the 2023 Approaching Stanford Frequently Asked Questions on this page. The 2024 FAQs will be available in April/May.

Below you will find answers to questions we frequently receive throughout the summer. Please review the responses below and if your question is not listed, contact us by phone or email.

Academics & Enrollment

Approaching Stanford Forms




Preparing for Arrival


Why is there an Enrollment Hold on my account in Axess and how do I get it lifted?

New Student Advisement hold: Every incoming first-year and transfer student has a standard "New Student Advisement" enrollment hold. Frosh: While enrollment will open on August 30 for continuing students, as new students, you will not be able to enroll until you have completed an initial academic advising conversation with your Undergraduate Advising Director (UAD) and attended the required programs of New Student Orientation (NSO). In August, your assigned advisor will contact you by email and invite you to schedule an advising conversation. In September, during NSO, the enrollment hold will be released for all frosh and you will be able to enroll in courses in Axess. Transfers: If you have an academic advising conversation with the Transfer Advisor this summer, your enrollment hold will be released and you will be able to enroll in courses beginning August 30.

Documents for Undergraduate Admission: Your admission is conditional upon receipt of your official final school transcript, and if you self-reported them, your official test scores for ACT and/or SAT. If these documents are not submitted to the Office of Undergraduate by the applicable due dates, an enrollment hold will be placed on your account. For questions, contact

Student Information Update: You will also have a hold that pertains to your completion of the Student Information Update. You will complete this as part of the Approaching Stanford Forms process by logging in to Axess. If you believe you completed this step but you continue to see the hold on your account, revisit the Student Information Update to confirm it was properly saved. This update will be required annually. *5/12/23 Update: The Axess interface has been refreshed for 2023 such that the Student Information Update is not visible. We are working on this and will provide updates when available. If you have completed all other components of your Approaching Stanford Forms and wish to submit them, you are welcome to submit them at this time and can complete the Student Information Update in Axess later this summer.

Vaden Health Center: If you did not complete your Vaden Health Requirements by the required deadlines, there may be a "Vaden Health Requirements" enrollment hold on your account. To have this hold released, you must submit your missing health records/forms.

International Students: International students (non-US citizens, non-Permanent Residents) have an enrollment hold that Bechtel International Center will release upon confirmation that you have arrived to Stanford.

Can I get proof of enrollment?

Once you enroll in courses and submit a Study List, enrollment certifications can be obtained online through Axess. However, as a new first-year student, you cannot enroll in Autumn Quarter courses until your New Student Enrollment Hold is released during NSO. If you need verification for scholarship or insurance purposes, you should first inform the scholarship agency or insurance company that new students will not be able to enroll in courses until September; thus, enrollment certifications will not be available until after that date. Sometimes a copy of your acceptance letter will suffice or companies will provide an extension. If you still need proof of enrollment, please send an email to and we will provide a letter of explanation.

When are the Language Placement Tests and should I take one?

Online written language placement tests are offered June through August. Schedule information and more details can be found on the Language Center's website. The placement tests are necessary if you are trying to fulfill the Language Requirement or if you plan to continue classes in a language with which you have familiarity. Placement tests may diagnose you as needing one to three quarters of additional study for the language before the requirement can be fulfilled. Placement test results are valid for one year.

Can I change information on my Approaching Stanford Forms before the deadline?

If you have already submitted your Forms and the deadline has not yet passed, send an email to indicating your requested change and we will help you make the change.

Can I change information on my Approaching Stanford Forms after the deadline?

If you need to make a change to the Forms after the deadline, please send an email with the request to using your email account. Depending on the issue, we may be able to make the change. Many offices start using the information right away so only certain changes are allowed.

What are Stanford's COVID-19 vaccination policies?

What can we expect for the upcoming year? Will there still be covid restrictions in place?

Stanford is planning for as normal a fall quarter as possible, with modifications as needed based on the public health situation. It's possible that we will ask all students to take a rapid covid test upon move-in to their campus residence. Students will be housed in campus housing with roommates as they currently are this year. As of April 10, 2023, students, faculty, and staff are not required, but strongly encouraged, to be vaccinated for COVID-19 with booster.

Why do I see different terms used at Stanford; am I a "first-year", "frosh", or "freshman"?

At Stanford, we are gradually moving away from the term "freshman/freshmen" and using the term "first-year(s)" to refer to undergraduate students in their first year. You will continue to see both "first-year" and "freshman" being used by different offices and departments, but should gradually begin to see "freshman" being phased out. We will continue to use "frosh" more informally when referring to first-year students and the first-year experience.

Can I enroll in Summer Quarter 2023 at Stanford?

No, prior to their first year at Stanford, new undergraduate first-year and transfer students cannot enroll at Stanford in Summer Quarter (including online courses) nor can they live in campus housing designated for undergraduate students, unless they are participating in a VPUE-sponsored program by invitation. Exceptions are very rarely granted.

When is International Student Orientation (ISO) and how do I register for it? Who should attend ISO?

International Student Orientation (ISO) will take place in September just before general New Student Move-In. 2023 ISO participants should plan to move to campus and into their academic year dorm rooms on Saturday, September 16 (state and county health conditions permitting). ISO will run from September 16-19, concluding on September 19 so that you can meet your dormmates and join dorm activities on that day.

All international students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are required to attend ISO and therefore cannot participate in any other pre-orientation program that conflicts with ISO timing. To register, students will indicate their intent to attend on the Approaching Stanford Forms. If you arrive to the area earlier than September 16, we recommend that you make reservations at a local hotel/motel until you can move to campus, as you cannot move in before September 16. Local lodging guide:

US citizens living abroad, including those with dual citizenship, US permanent residents, and students for whom Bechtel does not issue immigration documents for, are not required nor expected to attend. If you have never lived in the US, you may request approval to attend on the Approaching Stanford Forms and provide an explanation. Bechtel will review all requests and determine which ones are appropriate to approve, if space is available.

When is Move-In and New Student Orientation (NSO)? Is NSO required?

Move-In Day for New Students will be on Tuesday, September 19, one week before the start of Autumn Quarter. Move-In begins at 8:00 a.m. and all new students should be checked in by 5:00 p.m. on this date (state and county health conditions permitting). All new students are required to live on campus in your first year.

New Student Orientation (NSO) will take place from September 20-24 and is required for all new undergraduate students. Guests and family members are welcome to accompany you to Move-In and NSO events on September 19-20. Guests should plan to say their goodbyes no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 20. From that point on, you will be engaged fully in NSO events and should not make any other plans during NSO.

What do I need to do first?

  1. If you have not done so already, you must set up your SUNet ID. Your unique Stanford University Network ID (SUNet ID) identifies you as part of the Stanford community and will allow you to gain access to your Stanford email account, financial aid information, the Stanford Canvas portal, course enrollment, and other secure websites and applications.
  2. Update your Preferred Name and/or Mailing Address in Axess. We will send a small physical mailing to your Mailing Address on record. If needed, follow these instructions to update your preferred name and/or mailing address by May 1.
  3. Beginning May 10, check your Stanford Email. Weekly Approaching Stanford newsletters will be delivered to your Stanford email address beginning May 10 for frosh, and June 7 for transfers. Note: You may need to wait up to 72 hours after setting up your SUNet ID before you can access your Stanford email.
  4. Beginning May 10, visit Approaching Stanford's website and familiarize yourself with the following:
    • Read the Approaching Stanford Handbook, which will be your primary source of information about Stanford.
    • Log into Canvas and review the Approaching Stanford Requirements Checklist, which includes your required Approaching Stanford Forms. Frosh Approaching Stanford Forms deadline is in early June. Transfer Approaching Stanford Forms deadline is the end of June.
    • Refer to the Important Dates and Deadlines for Frosh to identify other important communications and deadlines of which you should be aware.

I'm an international (non-U.S. citizen) student, what do I need to do?

International students are non-US citizens/permanent residents for whom Bechtel issues visa documents. You will receive more information from Bechtel. In the meantime, you can find new international student information on their website or email Bechtel with your questions. All international students should:

Where do I find my Stanford student ID number (SUID)?

You can find your SUID number on your acceptance letter from Dean of Undergraduate Admission Rick Shaw and on your Approaching Stanford Forms under your student photo. Your SUID is eight numbers long and often starts with a "06" or a "5". Note: your SUID is different than your SUNet ID.

How do I change my preferred name?

Go to Axess > Click on My Information > Scroll down to Names > Edit your Preferred Name. You can edit your Preferred First and Preferred Middle Name(s). If you do not want your middle name to appear on your account (Stanford email, Canvas, etc.) as part of your preferred name, you can delete your middle name from the preferred middle name field. If you change your preferred first name this summer, please notify the Approaching Stanford team and we will update your name in our e-newsletter program. Note: changes made in Axess will take about 24 hours to register in the system.

What's Canvas and how do I access it?

Canvas is a secure Stanford system which all students will be required to use for their courses during the academic year. The Approaching Stanford Canvas course is designed to provide you with required actions items to be completed this summer. We will also host online chats with staff and faculty; Q&A sessions with university offices; and also various discussion boards answering FAQs about topics such as moving to Stanford, completing the Approaching Stanford Forms, housing preferences, and more. Log in to read questions posted by your classmates and post your own questions for the Approaching Stanford team and other University administrators to answer in this secure setting. Your SUNet ID and password will be required to log in.

What if I need an academic or housing accommodation?

If you have a medical condition, including severe food allergy, pet allergy, or documented disability, contact the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) to discuss accommodations you might need at Stanford. For those who may need to request a housing accommodation, contact the OAE as soon as possible so those accommodations can be taken into consideration during the housing assignments process. For more information, review OAE's registration process.

How do I change my mailing address?

Go to Axess > Click on My Information > Click on Pivacy Settings > Edit your mailing address. Any changes made in Axess will take about 24 hours to register in the system.

Where does my high school counselor send my final transcript?

Final transcripts should be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admission via the Common Application online form. This is the fastest method for materials to reach your file. If online submission is not possible, school personnel may send materials as an email attachment to Ask your school to include your full legal name, school, and date of birth on all correspondence with the admission office.

How do I check my email?

Log in to your Stanford email account at The University will send communications, including important notifications, only to this email account and you should use it when contacting university offices so that they can verify your identity as the sender. You are responsible for checking your Stanford email regularly. You can configure your email settings at For problems with your Stanford email, submit a Help Ticket to Stanford IT.

How do I access my email on my mobile device or desktop computer?

All new undergraduate students can access their email account using the Microsoft Exchange online service, Office 365, which provides cloud-based email and calendaring. Outlook is the web-based email client for Office 365 and will let you access your Stanford email, calendar, address book, and tasks on any computer through a web browser. To set up a desktop email client or mobile device to access your email, see the Office 365 configuration instructions. You can also use your account to log in to Google Drive and to use Google Apps, but you cannot access Stanford email on Gmail.

What if I'm having problems with Two-Step Authentication or with my SUNet ID?

Two-Step Authentication is required to access secure Stanford systems and protects your Stanford account should someone else learn your password. You can read more and update your authentication method at We recommend that anyone who travels internationally set their two-step authentication method to Duo Mobile Passcode, which allows you to generate your authentication code on your mobile device without an internet or cellular connection.

If you lose access to your account (i.e., lost your authentication device) or if you have forgotten your SUNet ID/password, contact Stanford IT by calling (650) 725-4357, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. If you cannot call them, submit a Help Request.

How do I submit a photo for my ID card?

Your photo is required for your Stanford ID card. The photo upload process is through a system maintained by the ID Card Office. If you have trouble uploading your photo, check to ensure that:

  • You are using a compatible browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer. Safari is not compatible.
  • You have selected a photo that meets the requirements: you are the only person in the photo; the background is solid white or light; you are facing forward with eyes open; no hats or sunglasses.
  • You have submitted your photo in an acceptable format: png, gif, jpg, or jpeg.
  • You have submitted a photo file that is 2MB or smaller.
  • You have correctly cropped your photo. It will not be accepted if the width is larger than the height.

If you have met the above requirements and are still experiencing trouble, please email

In addition to being used for your Stanford ID card, this photo is used for the printed Stanford Lookbook, a publication of the photos, names, hometowns, and dorm assignments of first-year and new transfer students, which every new student receives on move-in day. Your photo may also be displayed in your dorm by your residence staff. You may opt out of being included in the Stanford Lookbook and residence displays by sending an email to with your request by the Approaching Stanford Forms deadline of June 7 (for frosh), or June 30 (for transfers).

Is a personal computer necessary? What kind of laptop should I buy?

While Stanford doesn't require students to have their own personal computer / laptop, it is highly encouraged. Students who already have their own laptop or need to purchase a new one can review Before You Come to Campus for recommendations by the Learning Technology & Spaces staff. There, you will find laptop recommendations as well as additional details you may wish to consider. For questions, contact Student Technical Support.