Frequently Asked Questions
2023 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
- Why is there an Enrollment Hold on my account in Axess? How do I get it lifted?
- Can I get proof of enrollment?
- When are the Language Placement Tests? Should I take one?
Approaching Stanford Forms
- Can I change information on my Approaching Stanford Forms before the deadline?
- Can I change information on my Approaching Stanford Forms after the deadline?
- What are Stanford's COVID-19 vaccination policies?
- What can we expect for the upcoming year? Will there still be covid restrictions in place?
- When is International Student Orientation (ISO) and how do I register for it? Who should attend ISO?
- When is New Student Orientation (NSO)? Is NSO required?
Preparing for Arrival
- What do I need to do first?
- I'm an international (non-U.S. citizen) student, what do I need to do?
- Where do I find my Stanford student ID number (SUID)?
- How do I change my preferred name and/or mailing address?
- What's Canvas and how do I access it?
- What if I need an academic or housing accommodation?
- How do I change my mailing address?
- How do I check my @stanford.edu email?
- How do I access my @stanford.edu email on my mobile device or desktop computer?
- What if I'm having problems with two-step authentication or with my SUNet ID?
- How do I submit a photo for my ID card?
- Is a personal computer necessary? What kind of laptop should I buy?
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 August 30.
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 deadline, 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.
Once you enroll in courses and submit a Study List, enrollment certifications 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 transfer students will not be able to enroll in courses until August 30; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide a letter of explanation.
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.
If you have already submitted your Forms and the deadline has not yet passed, send an email to email@example.com indicating your requested change and we will help you make the change.
If you need to make a change to the Forms after the deadline, please send an email with the request to firstname.lastname@example.org using your @stanford.edu 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.
- 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.
- Review COVID-19 current policies and subscribe to Health Alert emails.
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 test upon move-in to their campus residence. Students in undergraduate residences 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.
No, prior to their first year at Stanford, 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.
For Summer 2023, new transfer students are invited to enroll in PWR1TRF "Writing & Rhetoric: Beyond the Ivory Tower - Rhetoric of the University." This is a fully-funded, VPUE-sponsored course only for new transfers that is offered virtually.
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 just before general New Student Move-In. ISO 2023 participants should plan to move to campus and into their academic year residence on Saturday, September 16 (county and state health conditions permitting). ISO will run from September 16-19, concluding on September 19.
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: visit.stanford.edu/basics/lodging.html
U.S. citizens living abroad, including those with dual citizenship, U.S. permanent residents, and students for whom Bechtel does not issue immigration documents for, are not required to attend. If you have never lived in the U.S., 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.
Move-In Day for new students will be on Tuesday, September 19, one week before the start of Autumn Quarter. For those living in undergraduate residences, 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). For those living in graduate residences, move-in will also take place on September 19, unless otherwise requested through the Housing Service Center.
New Student Orientation (NSO) will take place from September 20-24, 2023 and is required for all new undergraduate students. Guests and family members are welcome to accompany you for Move-In Day 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.
- 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.
- 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 June 1.
- Beginning June 7, check your Stanford Email. Weekly Approaching Stanford newsletters will be delivered to your Stanford email address beginning June 7. Note: You may need to wait up to 72 hours after setting up your SUNet ID before you can access your Stanford email.
- Beginning June 7, 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 30, 2023 at 5:00 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.
International students are non-U.S. 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:
- Complete the Initial I-20 or DS-2019 Request form in Bechtel Connect.
- Between August 1-15, acknowledge or waive Cardinal Care Health Insurance online in Axess. If you choose to waive Cardinal Care, you must submit the International Student Insurance Coverage Certification Form.
- Plan to move to Stanford on Saturday, September 16, and attend International Student Orientation (ISO) from September 16-19.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go to Axess > Click on My Information > Click on Privacy Settings" > Edit your mailing address. Any changes made in Axess will take about 24 hours to register in the system.
Log in to your Stanford email account at webmail.stanford.edu. 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 email.stanford.edu. For problems with your Stanford email, submit a Help Ticket to Stanford IT.
All new undergraduate students can access their @stanford.edu 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 @stanford.edu account to log in to Google Drive and to use Google Apps, but you cannot access Stanford email on Gmail.
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 twostep.stanford.edu. 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.
- 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your request by the Approaching Stanford Forms deadline of June 30.
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.