Harvard vs Stanford University 2024

Much has been said about Harvard vs Stanford; their academic programs, extracurriculars, housing, food, etc.

Unarguably, Stanford and Harvard are two of America’s most prestigious and selective universities. While both colleges offer top-notch academics, there is yet something contrasting between them, leading to very different student experiences.

In this article, we will take some time to really look at some of the similarities and differences between Harvard and Stanford Universities.

What this is going to do for you is to help you decide which of the two schools fits your career goals.

So follow closely as we take you on this journey. Meanwhile, here’s the table of content for an overview of what to expect in this article.

Harvard vs Stanford: A Quick Overview

Before we delve into what we’ve got, here’s an overview of some critical things you need to know about Standford and Harvard Universities.

Harvard Stanford
Location Cambridge, MA Stanford, CA
Campus Type Urban Suburban
Undergraduate Enrollment 6,788 6,994
Acceptance Rate 5% 4%
U.S. News Ranking 2 6
Sticker Price $72,391 (2024 school year) $74,723 (2024 school year)
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 6:1 5:1
Middle 50% SAT/ACT SAT: 1470-1560 (combined)ACT: 33-35 SAT: 720-800 (M); 700-770 (EWR)ACT: 32-35
Subject Tests Required? Two recommended Optional
Median Starting Salary $69,000 $70,400

Harvard vs Stanford University: An Insider View

Harvard is located in Cambridge, just a few miles from Boston.

Students can access the city’s famous attractions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Faneuil Hall, and numerous restaurants. They can also enjoy top Cambridge attractions like Harvard Square and the nearby MIT.

If you want a tour around the city, it is easier to use the metro, usually known as T by the locals.

Cambridge is in the heart of New England, where winters are cold and snowy, although summers can be pretty warm. Since Harvard is right on the Charles River and not far from the Atlantic Ocean, you can also expect quite a bit of windy weather.

Meanwhile, Stanford University is located in Stanford, just off Palo Alto. Tech giants like Google and Facebook surround it.

Stanford has a cosy atmosphere where you can have fun; a great place to have coffee and relax. You can also find many hikers and mountain bikers.

Check this out: Harvard University Acceptance Rate in 2024

Total Enrollment

Although Stanford and Harvard have undergraduate student bodies of under 7,000, Harvard has far more graduate students, with a total enrollment of 20,700 to Stanford’s 16,384 students.

About 69% of Stanford classes have fewer than 20 students, while 72% of Harvard’s do. The student-to-faculty ratio is 5:1 at Stanford and 6:1 at Harvard.

Stanford University Scholarships Opportunities for International Students, 2024 (SHARE)

Academic Prowess

Stanford is best known for its specializations in technology, including engineering and computer science. In addition, the university also offers specializations in a wide variety of other disciplines like aeronautics and astronautics, art practice, Native American studies, and theatre studies.


Accommodation is guaranteed for all Stanford full-time students. Some of the options to them include flats, apartments, and dormitories.

At Stanford, graduates and newly relocated students must reside on campus and be assigned to residences based on the preference forms they fill out. At the same time, upper classes apply through a lottery system.

Students living in Stanford’s campus residential life can and do participate in activities such as college dinner parties, lectures, film auditions, excursions to nearby attractions, festive celebrations, community events, and more. About 97% of the students live on campus.

Meanwhile, Harvard students live in one of 12 hostels after their first year. Harvard provides homes and a community that promotes friendship and relationships with classmates and instructors.

More than 97% of college students live on campus, and housing is guaranteed for all four years.


Undergraduate students at Stanford have a choice of three meal plans per week. Certain dorm residents enjoy meals cooked in their halls. There are also several dining halls offering a range of cuisines where you can choose what you want to eat.

At Harvard, freshmen eat at Annenberg Hall while upperclassmen eat in their houses. There are plenty of feeding options you can choose from here.

Scholarships and Financial aid

While the least cost to attend Stanford or Harvard is above $70,000, many students receive financial aid to support them through their studies. About 70% of Stanford students receive some aid from the government to attend, while 58% receive aid directly from the university.

In the same vein, fifty per cent of Harvard students receive financial aid.

Neither Stanford nor Harvard offers merit-based aid. However, both institutions are committed to meeting 100% of students’ financial needs.

See also: Study in Stanford University: Admission Requirements, Courses Offered Tuition Fee, Ranking

Career Outcomes

Graduates of both Harvard and Stanford can expect to have thriving careers, with an average starting salary of about $70,000.

The salaries are expected to increase from $70,000 to $136,700 for Harvard alumni and $122,900 for Stanford alumni. This is according to Collegesimply.

Graduates from both schools end up in very executive positions in various industries.

Given Stanford’s proximity to Silicon Valley and strength in relevant disciplines, many alumni from Stanford work in the tech sector, although you’ll also find them in plenty of other fields.

Harvard alumni, meanwhile, thrive in areas like finance, medicine, engineering, and consulting.

Tips to Help you Decide Between Stanford and Harvard

Choosing where exactly to study could be somewhat of a difficult task for most students.

One thing is that both institutions have excellent education and career path. For many students, the choice comes down to location: Would you rather attend school in an area where it’s perpetually warm on the West Coast, or do you prefer seasons and an East Coast, New England atmosphere?

Another thing you need to pay attention to is the school’s particular strength. For example, if you’re an aspiring computer scientist or software developer, Stanford may be the place for you, given its renowned technology-related programs.

Meanwhile, Harvard produces some of the very top aspiring physicians and businesspeople. Those pre-med may also appreciate Harvard’s proximity to the many top-notch hospitals in Boston.

Conclusion- Harvard vs Stanford

It’s worth remembering that both Stanford and Harvard are extremely selective. If you want to increase your chances of admission to these colleges and others, check out CollegeVine’s Admissions Calculator where you’ll receive insights into your real chances of acceptance, as well as advice on how to improve your chances. 

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References- Harvard vs Stanford

collegevine.com– Stanford vs Havard

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