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Frequently Asked Questions

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New Student FAQs

Below you will find questions we 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. After having an initial advising conversation with the Undergraduate Advising Director for transfers, you will have your enrollment hold lifted, making you eligible to enroll in courses beginning September 1.

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.

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 verifications can be obtained online through Axess. 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 verifications 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.

Can I enroll in Summer Quarter at Stanford?

No, new undergraduate first-year and transfer students cannot enroll at Stanford in the Summer Quarter (including online courses) nor can they live in campus housing designated for undergraduate students prior to their first year, 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 from September 11-13, 2021. ISO participants should plan to move to campus on September 11. All students for whom the Bechtel International Center will issue visa paperwork are required to attend and therefore cannot participate in any pre-orientation program that conflicts with ISO timing. To register, students will indicate their intent to attend on the Approaching Stanford Forms. 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 to attend. These students 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.

When is New Student Orientation (NSO)? Is NSO required?

New Student Orientation (NSO) is required for all new undergraduate students and will take place from September 14-19, 2021.

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. Check your Stanford Email. Weekly Approaching Stanford newsletters will be delivered to your Stanford email address beginning in June. Note: You may need to wait up to 72 hours after setting up your SUNet ID before you can access your Stanford email.
  3. 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. As a new transfer student, the deadline to submit your Forms is June 25, 2021 at noon (12:00 p.m. PDT).
    • Refer to the Important Dates and Deadlines for Transfers to identify other important communications and deadlines of which you should be aware.
    • Check your Stanford email inbox frequently.

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 during the summer. 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 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 “Student Center” > Scroll down to Personal Information > 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 Student Center > Scroll down to Personal Information > Edit your mailing address. Any changes made in Axess will take about 24 hours to register in the system.

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 25.