15 FAQs for parents of new Stanford students

New Student Orientation
Students welcome freshmen, transfers and parents and families to campus for New Student Orientation.

Approaching Stanford receives many questions from parents and families planning for their students’ arrival at Stanford in the fall. Below are 15 frequently asked questions and the resulting answers. Don’t see your question here? Email the Parent Helpline at [email protected] or check out the parent FAQ webpage.

I plan to buy my son a bike on campus, preferably a used one. Will we be able to store it somewhere before Move-In Day?

There are bike racks throughout campus that allow students to lock their bikes. You can use these before a student officially moves in. If you are looking for a used bike, visit the campus bike store.

When do students report AP scores?

Students should contact the College Board and request that AP scores be sent to Stanford. Credit for applicable tests will be applied in September at the beginning of the Autumn Quarter. See the 2015-16 AP Credit chart.

If AP scores were sent to Stanford Undergraduate Admission during the application process, is that sufficient for credit to complete the foreign language requirement?

Yes. If AP scores were reported with the application for admission, then a student does not need to send them in again. However AP tests taken after the admission application will need to be sent to Stanford. A student can contact [email protected] with questions.

When my son waives Cardinal Care, will charges be put through our insurance?

If your son chooses to waive Cardinal Care and retain your health insurance plan, you will want to understand how he will access the benefits of that insurance plan. Vaden Health Center does not bill other insurance plans. Your son would submit the Vaden billing statement to your insurance company.

entrance banner
The entrance to Stanford during New Student Orientation.

Will incoming students receive a P.O. box address prior to check-in day?

Students receive their P.O. box address a few weeks before check-in day. Students can view their P.O. box addresses starting Sept. 8 by logging into Axess. Students keep this P.O. box address throughout their stay at Stanford. Stanford residences don’t accept mail.

Since roommates aren’t known until Move-In Day, is there time during the 15th or later that week for parents to buy and deliver items such as a mini fridge or microwave?

Many parents shop for their students on Move-In Day, which is Tuesday, Sept. 15. The dorms open at 8 a.m., and many families spend the morning moving in and shopping for additional supplies. Open houses and welcomes take place in the afternoon. While those are optional, you’ll want to be sure to attend Convocation at 4 p.m. The Stanford Bookstore offers many dorm-room supplies. Also, many stores are within 15 minutes driving of Stanford and often sell out of popular supplies, so a morning shopping trip is recommended. It’s a good idea to wait before buying big items to coordinate with the roommate and because students often find they don’t need fridges and microwaves. Every dorm has a kitchenette that’s easily accessible. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 16, students will be busy with New Student Orientation, but parents can continue shopping for them on the 16th and coordinate times to drop off supplies.

Is there a list of everything that is supplied in the room?

You can find a list of what each student will have in his or her room here. Once housing is assigned (email notifications will be sent to students on Aug. 7), you can see information about specific residences and floor plans online.

My daughter is confused by the language requirement. If she received a 4 or 5 on an AP language test, has she met the Stanford language requirement?

All students must complete one year of college-level foreign-language study. As to your question about AP scores, the answer depends on which language your daughter studied. Students can fulfill the language requirement with either a 4 or 5 on the AP test in the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin (Literature or Vergil) or Spanish. Learn more about the language requirement.  Learn more about language placement.

Is it standard practice for parents to provide a debit/credit card to students for incidental expenses?

Every family does things differently, but one option is the StanfordCardPlan (SCP). The SCP allows students to use their Stanford ID card to make purchases of up to $1,000 per quarter at the Stanford Bookstore and other campus locations. These charges are added directly to the university bill. Students can sign up for the SCP in Axess.

moving in
Moving in to Stanford during New Student Orientation.

When are academic advisors assigned?

Academic advising directors will be assigned and will contact students by email in August.

What is the best way to submit a scholarship check made payable to Stanford?

If your student has received a scholarship check, the best place to send it to is the Office of Financial Aid in Montag Hall. Financial Aid processes all scholarship checks made out to students and to Stanford. Be sure to put your student’s ID# on the check so that the office can place it in the correct account.

Is there any specific recommendation from Stanford in terms of laptops or desktops?

No, Stanford does not recommend anything in particular for laptops or other technologies. The Stanford Bookstore features the Cardinal Technology Center. Also check the guidelines from Stanford Academic Computing Services around personal computing options. 

Is there a way for a student to have Stanford automatically release grades to a parent?

There’s no automated way for grades to be sent to another person. If your student wishes to share his or her grades, he or she can convert them to a PDF that can be forwarded manually.

For students with multiple food allergies, what would be a good approach to determine if foods are free of all the allergens?

Students can speak with the general managers and/or chefs in their dining hall when they arrive to campus to discuss specific needs and figure out the best plan for the year. The dining halls are great at accommodating allergies and food restrictions and staff love interacting with students.

Are there direct shuttles from the airports to Stanford?

Stanford does not operate shuttles between campus and the airports; however, there are multiple private shuttle services to choose from. Check out the Visitor Information website.