Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find questions we receive throughout the summer from families of incoming students. Please review the responses below and if your question is not listed, contact us by phone or email.
- How can I stay up to date as a Stanford parent/guardian?
- How can I contact the University with questions or concerns?
- What are Stanford's COVID-19 vaccination policies?
- What can we expect for the upcoming year? Will there still be COVID restrictions in place?
- Where can I get updated information about COVID-19 and Stanford?
Financial & Medical
- What is the process for paying tuition? Where can I find information about methods of payment?
- What is the best way to submit a scholarship check made payable to Stanford?
- Where can I learn more about Vaden Health Center and Cardinal Care Health Insurance?
Housing & Dining
- What does my student need to bring to college? Do students bring mini-fridges and microwaves?
- What is my student's mailing address?
- When are housing and roommate assignments sent?
- Is there a way to learn more about specific residences and floor plans?
- Is a meal plan required for students? What types of foods do the dining halls provide? What about students with a food allergy?
- When is Family Weekend?
- Is there a way to send a cake or treats to my student on their birthday or favorite holiday?
- When is New Student Orientation (NSO)?
- If my student is participating in a pre-orientation program, when should I come to campus to move them in?
- Where can parents and families stay around Stanford?
Planning for Arrival
- What can I do to help my student prepare over the summer?
- Where can we go shopping near Stanford?
- Should my student bring a computer?
- When will my student enroll in Autumn Quarter courses?
- Where can I get proof of enrollment for my student?
- When are students on break from classes?
- Can my student have a car on campus?
- Where can bikes be purchased?
- How can my student get to the airport from campus?
Visit families.stanford.edu for helpful information for parents and families. The University Communications team will send Family Newsletters by email on a quarterly basis throughout the academic year. Individuals who receive the Approaching Stanford summer newsletter will automatically be added to the Family Newsletter database once the school year begins. If you are not on this mailing list and would like to be added, have your student email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information. Note that this request must come from your student.
For emergencies, call 9-1-1.
If your student is in crisis and needs immediate assistance, call the Resident Director On Call at (650) 504-8022. The RD On Call line is answered 24/7. For general inquiries, call or email the Stanford Parent & Family Help Line at (650) 725-0649 or email@example.com. This line is responded to during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
- Effective Monday, April 10, 2023, the university will no longer require—but will continue to strongly recommend—COVID vaccinations and boosters for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and students.
- Review Covid-19 Vaccination FAQs.
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.
We encourage you to check the Health Alerts webpage, healthalerts.stanford.edu, for posted updates, announcements, and information about COVID-19. You may also choose to subscribe to email updates from the Health Alerts team.
Charges and credits (e.g., out-of-pocket payments, financial aid, loans) from university departments are aggregated in your student's account and provided electronically on a monthly basis. All term charges for undergraduate students (tuition, health insurance, housing, etc.) are due prior to the start of the quarter, unless otherwise specified. All other charges are billed and are due monthly. Student’s monthly university bills are generated on or around the 25th of each month and due on the 20th of the following month. Their first University bill will be available on September 1 and payment for charges on this bill will be due by September 20. Detailed information is available on the Student Financial Services website, including how students can set up parents/guardians as Authorized Users and Due Dates. Authorized Users will be able to view and pay the bill.
Students should send scholarship checks to the Office of Financial Aid in Montag Hall. Financial Aid processes all scholarship checks made out to students and to Stanford. Be sure your student’s Stanford ID number is on the check so that it is applied to the correct account.
Stanford offers health services through the Vaden Health Center. These include medical services and a variety of counseling services. Students will be required to complete a set of forms as part of their Entrance Health Requirements.
Students must enroll in or waive Cardinal Care Health Insurance in Axess by September 15 (the date for international students is August 15). Note that enrollment is for the entire year from September 1-August 31. More information can be found in the Student Health Matters catalog.
You can find suggestions for packing listed in the Life on the Farm chapter of the Approaching Stanford Handbook. Each room has a mini-fridge for roommates to share and microwaves are available in the communal kitchenette, along with a full refrigerator and stove/oven. We encourage students to wait until move-in to decide on purchasing larger items for their dorm room, only after they've been able to meet and speak with their roommate(s).
Stanford accepts packages at our on-campus U.S. Post Office and at the Undergraduate Package Center in Tresidder Union, a central package receiving center on campus. Mail and/or packages addressed to residences will not be accepted; instead learn how to address mail items to your student.
Stanford will receive packages for students only after they have arrived and moved into their campus residence. Therefore, please do not send boxes before your student's scheduled move-in date, as they will not be accepted. Be sure that your student packs their essentials in the luggage they bring with them to check in (clothes, shoes, jacket, toiletries and towel, medications, essential bedding, etc.)
Housing assignments will be announced in mid-August by email notification. If applicable, students will find out who their roommate is when they move to campus on Move-In Day, just before New Student Orientation (NSO) begins. Unlike many other colleges and universities, Stanford does not give students the option of requesting a particular roommate in the first year, nor do we reveal roommate matches prior to move-in. This policy is rooted in the belief that the relationship roommates have with each other will be more positive and successful if it begins from the point of face-to-face interaction, rather than being shaped by any preconceived notions stemming from limited information or online communications. Stanford realizes there are practical consequences to this policy that may create temporary inconveniences for you, but year after year, experience tells us this is a winning way to handle roommate assignments.
Once housing is assigned in August, you can review information about specific residences and floor plans on the Student Housing website.
Is a meal plan required for students? What types of food do the dining halls provide? What about students with a food allergy?
Meal plans are required for all incoming first-year students. They are automatically enrolled in the 15 Meals/Week Meal Plan + Meal Plan Dollars, but can adjust to the 19 Meals/Week Meal Plan when they arrive, if desired.
Dining halls provide a variety of healthy and nutritious foods, accommodating students with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets, and other diet restrictions. All prepared foods have descriptions of common allergens they may contain. Students with allergies or who require religious or medical food accommodations can speak with our nutritionist for resources and additional information. Please consult R&DE Student Dining for more details.
R&DE Stanford Diningʼs CleanDining program builds upon the already high standards of food safety and sanitation in the dining halls, utilizing industry best practices and enhanced cleaning protocols. The goal of R&DE Stanford Diningʼs CleanDining program is to provide students with reassurance of the safety of their dining experience and create a focus on enhanced cleanliness that will be visible to students. For further questions, feedback or information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Family Weekend website for updated information. Dates and further details about the next Family Weekend will be announced in Autumn Quarter 2023.
The Stanford Parents' Club typically offers a delivery service with cakes and other treats delivered to your student’s dorm room.
Move-In Day is September 19, 2023, and all new frosh and transfers should plan to move in by 5:00 p.m. on this day, unless arriving earlier for an on-campus pre-orientation program. New Student Orientation (NSO) is scheduled for September 19-24, 2023. More information regarding orientation scheduling and programing is forthcoming.
If my student is participating in a pre-orientation program, when should I come to campus to move them in?
A variety of pre-orientation programs will be hosted in the days leading up to New Student Orientation (NSO). Dates and details of these programs, including application details are available on the pre-orientation webpage.
For on-campus pre-orientation programs, students will move in early directly to their dorms rooms. If you will be accompanying them, you can help them move in to their room on the first day of their program when they arrive.
For off-campus pre-orientation programs, students will arrive to campus and immediately depart on their trips. They will return from their trips on September 19 and move in to their dorm rooms on that date. If you will be meeting them, plan to meet them at their dorm when they return.
While we do not provide parents and families with any housing accommodations during New Student Orientation (NSO), there are many hotels in Palo Alto and the surrounding cities. We recommend booking a hotel room early before hotels fill up. The Visitor Information section of the Stanford website provides a thorough lodging guide as well as airport details, maps/directions, and other travel information.
The Approaching Stanford Handbook is their main resource for this transition. You’re welcome to review it as well—we hope you will encourage your student to refer to the Handbook or to contact our office by email or phone when they have questions.
Students are responsible for reading University communications (by checking their @stanford.edu email) and completing required actions this summer, including submitting their required Approaching Stanford Forms and Vaden Health Forms, and completing required online education courses. They may also opt to take various placement tests/diagnostics, communicate with academic advisors, and apply for programs. You can look at the Important Dates and Deadlines (for frosh, or for transfers) for more information. Please remember that students cannot share any login/password information with you, as it would be a violation of University policy. You should not complete their Approaching Stanford Forms. Finally, we hope that you will help your student enjoy their well-deserved summer break!
There are a plethora of shops near campus including banks and grocery stores. Stanford Shopping Center, Town & Country Village, and San Antonio Shopping Center should provide you with many options to fulfill your shopping needs. Dorm rooms come with furniture, so please don't purchase additional furniture, but items such as plastic storage bins, hangers, and desk lamps can be useful.
Review the Getting Started page on the Learning Technologies & Spaces website to learn about computing at Stanford, resources, and recommendations for buying a computer. Students can also use a computer in one of the many computer clusters throughout campus (including one in each undergraduate residence hall!)
First-year (frosh) students will enroll in courses during New Student Orientation (NSO). Transfer students will enroll in courses beginning September 1. The course catalog will be published on ExploreCourses in mid-August, allowing time for students to browse the course offerings before enrolling. They must be registered for classes by the Preliminary Study List Deadline, 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
Students can request enrollment verifications in Axess only once they have enrolled in courses. Because new students cannot enroll in Autumn Quarter courses until New Student Orientation (NSO), if you need verification for scholarship, tax, or insurance purposes, please inform the institution that Stanford first-year students will not be able to enroll in courses until orientation and thus, enrollment verifications will not be available until late September. Sometimes a copy of your student’s acceptance letter will suffice or institutions will provide an extension. If proof of enrollment is required, your student should send an email to email@example.com with this request and we will provide a letter of explanation.
Stanford's Academic Calendar is the calendar for the entire academic year, including dates for breaks. It is best to wait to learn your student's final exams schedule before booking flights. They generally learn that schedule at the beginning of classes each quarter.
First-year students are not allowed to have a car on campus for Autumn Quarter, unless there is a medical need approved by the Office of Accessible Education. For those who continue to have a need after Autumn Quarter, first-year students will be able to apply for future permit considerations. Transfer students may bring a car to campus and must purchase a parking permit through Stanford Transportation's website. Whether or not one has a car on campus, Stanford has many great options for alternative transportation. For more information review Stanford Transportation resources.
Many students appreciate having a bicycle to navigate campus. Your student may bring a bicycle from home or buy one from one of Palo Alto’s many local bike vendors. The Campus Bike Shop, located in Tresidder Union, also rents, sells, and services bikes and is a convenient on-campus option. Read Bike Information and Resources for New Students, which discusses bike safety, services, and resources at Stanford.
There are several transportation options for getting to surrounding airports, including a number of private shuttle and ride share services. Caltrain also connects students to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Jose International Airport (SJC). Read Getting to Stanford on R&DE's website for more detailed information.