Stanford definitely isn’t a tech school

Oct. 12, 2018, 2:00 a.m.

Over a year ago, a young and impressionable Kiara sat in MemAud and listened to Marc Tessier-Lavigne tell her that Stanford wasn’t a tech school. In the time that has elapsed since then, I’ve finally begun to understand why he told us that, and I can think of many reasons why Stanford is, in fact, not a tech school.

1. Silicon Valley

It’s hard to talk about Stanford and tech without mentioning Silicon Valley, since it’s generally accepted that Stanford’s presence in the Bay Area essentially gave rise to Silicon Valley. And since it’s impossible for Silicon Valley to have come from a tech school, this is a great example of why Stanford is not a tech school.

2. The career fair

I think the recent career fair is a perfect example of the fact that Stanford isn’t a tech school. Only half of the career fair was dedicated to jobs for engineering and CS majors. No tech school would leave half of the career fair for literally all of its other majors.

3. The other career fair

Half of one career fair isn’t enough; Stanford is so ready to show that it isn’t a tech school that it has an entire, second career fair just for the rest of the engineering and CS majors. Such a thoughtful action certainly cannot be the work of a tech school.

4. The percentage of tech and engineering majors

Thanks to Stanford’s helpful statistics, we know that last year there were 7,056 undergraduates. Subtract the 3,478 undeclared students, and we get 3,578 undergrads who had declared their major. However, some people double major, so by adding up the total of all students enrolled under an undergraduate major, we get 3,952. Of those 3,952, 1,580 were in the engineering department, and 703 were specifically in computer science. That means about 40 percent of all declared undergraduates at Stanford last year were in the engineering department, and about 18 percent of all declared undergraduates majored specifically in CS. The numbers don’t lie. There’s absolutely no way Stanford could be a tech school with so many students majoring in CS and other engineering fields.

5. CS 106A

Everyone takes CS 106A. I have no intention whatsoever of doing anything even the tiniest bit related to CS, yet I’ve been told many times by many, many people that I should take CS 106A anyway. And many people do seem to take CS 106A, regardless of whether or not they want anything to do with CS. This quarter, ExploreCourses says there are 433 students enrolled in CS 106A. That’s 40 sections. Just the thought of that many students taking this one specific intro course this quarter proves that Stanford can’t be a tech school.

6. CS 106B

But wait, there’s more! The sequel to CS 106A – CS 106B – also has shockingly high enrollment, meaning that hundreds of Stanford students don’t just take one CS class, they go on to take more. In fact, there are more people currently enrolled in 106B than 106A. There are 461 students, to be exact. So, by doing more math (this is the last time, I promise), we can see that there are 894 people currently taking an intro CS class. In one quarter. These are certainly not the numbers of a tech school.

7. CS + X

As I stated previously, some students at Stanford choose to double major. This is a lot of work, but it allows students to pursue multiple interests. Understandably, it can get a bit tricky to balance the requirements for two majors. However, if you want to major in CS, but you also want to study something else because you aren’t attending a tech school, you get a special joint major program just for you! It’s called CS + X, and it lets you mix some humanities into those long coding sessions. Unfortunately, as Stanford is not a tech school, they don’t offer any other joint major program.

Clearly, the mere idea of Stanford being a tech school is ridiculous. It’s just a regular school that has hundreds upon hundreds of people that take CS classes, has half of its declared students enrolled in engineering majors, and funnels its graduates into cushy Silicon Valley tech jobs. Just like any other university.


Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’

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