Frequently Asked Questions
- Application -
Is an interview required for admission?
Admission counselors do not conduct interviews as part of the application and evaluation process. However, a campus visit is highly encouraged.
How many recommendation letters are allowed?
For first-year applicants, one teacher evaluation is required. However, students may submit up to three letters that speak to the skills and character they would bring to SCU. No recommendation letters are required for transfer applicants.
What are the application deadlines?
First-year students will choose one of four application tracks: Early Decision I or II (binding), Early Action (non-binding), or Regular Decision. Please review our key deadlines on our website. Transfer students can apply for fall quarter or winter quarter. Please see transfer application deadlines on our transfer website.
- Financial Aid -
What is the cost of attendance?
The Cost of Attendance can be found on our website. There are several options available to reduce the cost of tuition for prospective students through our Financial Aid office and potential merit scholarships.
Should I apply for FAFSA/CSS if I feel like I do not qualify?
Santa Clara University recommends that first-year students complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® in order to maximize their federal, state and institutional aid. By completing the FAFSA, you will be considered for federal and state aid such as Pell Grant, Cal Grant (California students), Federal Work-Study, and federal student loans. The CSS Profile is only completed by incoming freshmen and is used to award institutional aid.
Is there a separate application for merit-based aid?
All first-year students that complete the Common Application to apply to Santa Clara University are considered for merit scholarships. You do not need a separate application. Transfer students are not eligible for merit-based aid.
What kinds of merit based aid does the university offer?
Santa Clara offers a variety of merit based awards, including the Johnson Scholarship (full tuition and room and board), the Presidential Scholarship (full tuition), the Provost Scholarship (half tuition), and the Dean's Scholarship. Scholarships for athletics, music, theatre, dance, Army ROTC, future teachers, and alumni are also available. Visit the SCU Scholarship webpage for more detailed information.
Check out the SCU Financial Aid website for more information.
- SCU Facts -
What is Santa Clara's retention rate?
95%. The retention rate is the number of first-year students who continue on to their sophomore year at SCU.
What is Santa Clara's graduation rate?
86% of students graduate in four years.
What are the top ten most popular majors at Santa Clara?
Based on the Class of 2018, the most popular majors were: Finance, Communication, Psychology, Economics, Computer Science & Engineering, Marketing, Biology, Political Science, Accounting, and Mechanical Engineering.
Number of applicants, median test scores, demographics, etc.
- Academics -
Can I change majors?
Yes! Students usually declare majors within their first two years at SCU. After declaring a major, students are still able to change majors within the same school or college. Switching majors within the same school or college (Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business) is a simple process. In addition, switching into the College of Arts and Sciences from Engineering or Business is also a relatively simple process. Switching into the School of Engineering or the Leavey School of Business, though, requires an internal transfer process that is more complex and competitive because of the limited number of spots in these schools. We recommend that applicants who are leaning towards Business or Engineering should apply directly into the respective school.
Who teaches the classes at SCU?
100% of courses at SCU are taught by professors. Some classes may have teacher's assistants who assist the professor with study sessions or labs, but the course will always be led by a professor. At Santa Clara, we have a student to faculty ratio of 11:1, so students have ample opportunity to interact with and get to know their professors. All professors are required to have office hours at least twice per week, allowing students to ask questions and develop relationships with their professors.
Does SCU offer study abroad?
SCU offers a varying database of over 150 approved study abroad programs in 50+ countries, at any given time. Students can fulfill major, minor, core, and other graduation requirements, and use 100% of their SCU financial aid while studying abroad. Roughly 25% of SCU students study abroad, most commonly during the fall quarter of their junior year. There are numerous other global (and domestic) engagement opportunities throughout the year, including Global Fellows and Ignatian Center immersion trips. Check out the SCU study abroad website for more information.
- Student Life -
May I have a car on campus?
First-year students are not permitted to have cars on campus. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may purchase a parking permit for a nominal fee. Public transportation options are readily accessible via the Santa Clara Transit Center located directly across from the main entrance of Santa Clara, including CalTrain and the Santa Clara VTA bus system. This includes a free shuttle, which departs every 15 minutes and stops at Avaya Stadium (home of the San Jose Earthquakes), In-N-Out, and the San Jose International Airport. Zipcar is available for student use, as well as Zagster, our student and faculty bike share program.
Is housing guaranteed all four years?
Starting with the Class of 2024, living on campus is required for the first and second year at the University, unless the student has been approved for an exception. SCU's housing is made up of 8 Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) with several halls reserved for upperclassmen, including our luxurious University Villas for juniors and seniors. Additionally, Neighborhood Units owned and managed by the University are available for Sophomores and older, found within a 1-4 block radius around campus. Housing is available for all four years. All students, including commuter students, are able to participate in RLC programming. Numerous off-campus housing opportunities are also available in the immediate area. Check out the SCU Housing webpage for more information.
How many students live on campus?
96% of first-year students live on campus. 80% of sophomores live on campus. Around 30% of juniors and seniors live on campus.
- Admission Events -
Are there any large-scale events where I can come and learn more about SCU?
Yes! We have two large-scale events per year where prospective students can come to learn more about Santa Clara, tour the campus, view residence halls and hear presentations about different academic programs offered. In the fall, we host Open House for all prospective undergraduate students. In the spring, we host Preview Day for students who have been admitted to or wait listed for Santa Clara.
- International Students -
What resources are available for International Students?
About 4 percent of the undergraduate population at Santa Clara are international, hailing from 6 of the 7 continents! We encourage international students to take our virtual tour or visit and explore the opportunities available to them on our unique campus in the heart of the Silicon Valley. To learn more about key admission components and standards for international Students, please visit our Undergraduate Admission page for International Students and the Global Engagement Office page.