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 requirements and 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 (FLI-SO, ISO, SPOT, or SNIP) 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This line is responded to during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
All students will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with booster for the 2022-23 academic year. Subscribe to the Health Alerts emails, and review COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement and FAQs and the COVID-19 Current Policies for the most updated information.
Stanford is planning for as normal a fall quarter as possible, with modifications as needed based on the public health situation. We expect all students to take a COVID-19 test upon move-in to their campus residence. Students will be housed in campus housing with roommates as they currently are this year. We require all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 (with booster). We will accommodate students who cannot take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. Students in this situation must request an exemption and, if approved, will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and other potential public health requirements.
We encourage you to frequently 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 3 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 Payers and Due Dates. Authorized Payers 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 (coming soon).
You can find suggestions for packing listed in the Life on the Farm chapter of the Approaching Stanford Handbook. We discourage mini-fridges, microwaves, and other items that use a great deal of energy. Every dorm has a communal kitchenette with a full refrigerator, stove/oven, and microwave for students to use; and there are late night dining options on campus.
Stanford accepts packages at our on-campus Post Office and at the Undergraduate Package Center in Tresidder Union, a central package receiving center on campus. Mail/Packages addressed to residences will not be accepted. See UG2's website for the mailing address and more information.
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 midAugust by email notification. If applicable, students will find out who their roommate is when they move to campus on Move-In Day, just before 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 email@example.com.
Visit the Family Weekend website for updated information. Details about the 2022-2023 program will likely be announced in Autumn Quarter.
The Stanford Parents' Club typically offers a delivery service with cakes and other treats delivered to your student’s dorm room. Due to COVID-19, this program has been temporarily suspended.
Move-In Day is September 20, 2022, and all new frosh and transfers should plan to move in on this day, unless arriving earlier for an on-campus pre-orientation program. New Student Orientation is scheduled for September 21-25, 2022. More information regarding orientation scheduling and programing is forthcoming.
If my student is participating in a pre-orientation program (i.e., ISO, FLI-SO, SPOT, or SNIP) when should I come to campus to move them in?
The University is excited to offer pre-orientation programs in person for 2022. 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 20 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 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 Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning 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 through campus (including one in each undergraduate residence hall!)
First-year (frosh) students will enroll in courses during New Student Orientation. 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 Monday, September 26, 2022.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.