The new calendar year at Santa Clara University is off to a good start. Our admission prospects are looking very good as the enrollment management team is reviewing a robust set of regular decision applications that were due January 7.  Prior to the midnight deadline we had received a total of over 12,000 applications, including early applications, and expect the total to reach 15,000. From the pool of admitted students we are targeting an enrollment of 1275 students for the incoming freshman class.

The early applicant pool had a strong showing with 4500 applications received by the November 1 deadline. This pool included applicants taking advantage of the Early Action and the newly implemented Early Decision options.  The combined total of early applicants represented 9% more than last year's single Early Action pool.We were pleased with the outcome of the first-ever binding Early Decision option, under which 89 students were admitted and have binding agreements to attend.  Under the non-binding Early Action program, 2189 students were admitted.  

Students were busy this winter break attending immersion programs in Peru, New Orleans and a new urban immersion in Oakland working with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Ignatian Center facilitated the immersion trips in which 37 students selected from 131 applicants participated.  In addition to the Oakland program, students traveled to New Orleans and worked with the St. Bernard Project on home construction projects. The immersion group in Lima, Peru provided support to various community-based initiatives with youth and elders.  Whether beyond international borders or right here in neighboring communities, our students experienced a reality different from their own that changed them in profound and often unexpected ways.  Accompanying people in their local communities and situations brought the students out of their comfort zone and asked of them important questions about their service, their future, and their faith. Their reflections get to the essence of how transformative these immersion experiences can be:

  • "I felt closer to God on this trip than I have in a long time. I also gained the confidence to be able to step out of my comfort zone, and I learned that everyone has a story."
  • "Everything you know about yourself, your community, your faith, your life- all of it can change when you throw yourself into a life that is radically different than your own."
  • "It truly broke my heart in a thousand ways, opened my eyes, and changed me forever."

Personal remarks like these affirm the immersion programs and their impact on our students. Immersion trips are hallmarks of a Santa Clara education that go to the core of the Jesuit approach to work and ministry. They offer students the opportunity to be present to unknown neighbors far and wide, and work to help them where they are, as they are, in the real world.  For this group of students, the trips did not disappoint.

The spirit of Ignatius Loyola is alive and well among us, as students finished the fall quarter by participating in the Ignatian Retreat organized and sponsored by Campus Ministry. Nineteen students attended the 5-day silent retreat putting into practice the centuries-old Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. With spiritual directors coming from SCU and beyond, the retreat offered students the opportunity to pray, learn and receive spiritual direction guided by the Exercises. Ignatius left to us the gift of the Exercises, which remains a part of life at Santa Clara and on Jesuit campuses around the world.