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Participation Requirements

As LEAD Scholars, students are expected to fulfill program requirements that ensure their full participation in the SCU and LEAD Scholars communities. The majority of students' requirements take place during the first year. 

Before Incoming Year

Residential Learning Community Requirement (RLC)

Students living on and off campus are welcome to participate in the LEAD Scholars Program. First year students participating in the LEAD Scholars program must be a member of one of the following Residential Learning Communities (RLCs) during their first year: Unity, CyPhi, Xavier or Communitas. Commuter students, while not living in the residence halls, must also join one of these LEAD RLCs. Housing exceptions can be made for students who have been approved for housing accommodations through Disabilities
Resources. Transfer students living on campus are not required to live in a LEAD designated RLC. Commuter transfer students are not required to be a member of an RLC.

New or Transfer Student Orientation

Incoming first year LEAD Scholars and their families are asked to attend New Student Orientation session 4 (July 19-20) or session 5 (July 23-24). [Please note that there was an error on some of the admissions information re. the LEAD preferred orientation sessions]. Attendance at one of these two sessions is optional, but strongly preferred. At these two orientation sessions, we hold a dinner for LEAD Scholars and their families to learn more about the program and connect with involved faculty, staff and students. Students participating in sessions 1, 2, 3, or 6 will meet with a LEAD Scholars Program staff member to learn more about the program. Because LEAD Week conflicts with orientation session 7, we strongly recommend that students do not participate in session 7. If you need to participate in session 7, we will make sure that you receive information about LEAD, and a schedule that accommodates both the LEAD Week and Orientation schedules.

Transfer students should plan to attend Transfer Orientation on the Friday before the academic year begins.

Please click here to learn more about New Student or Transfer Orientation. If you are a first year LEAD Scholar and would like to register for or change your orientation session to 4 or 5, please contact the New Student Orientation office at or 408-551-1995.

If you are a Pell Grant recipient, the New Student Orientation office is able to offer complimentary registration to the incoming students and one family member. Please contact them for more information.

Incoming Year

LEAD Week*

LEAD Week takes place the week before fall quarter begins. This program is a one-week program that is of no cost to student participants. First-year students are introduced to the academics of Santa Clara University by beginning their English 1A class early. Transfer student either take ENGL 1A if they have not completed their introductory English requirement or participate in a series of transfer student meetings to learn more about SCU.

Peer Mentoring group during LEAD Week

All incoming LEAD Scholars also take a one-week ungraded elective course of their choosing in such fields as Engineering, Mathematics, Business, Ethnic Studies or Religious Studies. LEAD Week also offers workshops that familiarize students with university resources and culture. Lastly, peer mentors coordinate a various team-building activities to engage students and foster community among LEAD Scholars. 



English 1A and 2A* (Critical Thinking and Writing)

First-year LEAD Scholars take the first year required courses, English 1A and 2A within the LEAD Scholars Program. Transfer students may also be required to take these course if they have not completed their introductory English requirement. These courses begin during LEAD Week and continue through fall and winter quarters of their first year. Students take English 1A and 2A with the same instructor and students. These instructors for the LEAD Scholars English 1A and 2A have been specially selected because of their interest in working with first-generation college students. These two courses provide an academic foundation for students, allowing them to fulfill their Critical Thinking and Writing requirement within an academically challenging and supportive environment.


LEAD Scholar presenting during a research symposium

LEAD Scholar presenting during a research symposium


LEAD Seminar 1 and 2, and LEAD 101

In first year LEAD Scholars also take LEAD 1 and 2, the LEAD Seminars during fall and winter quarters. This is a 2-unit course that addresses students' transition to college. In the first quarter, students explore various resources on campus and how these resources can assist them in a successful transition to college. In LEAD 2 during winter quarter, students explore campus leadership opportunities and how to take advantage of these opportunities. For example they will learn about orientation leader and community facilitator positions, and develop their resume-writing and interviewing skills.

Transfer LEAD Scholars are required to take LEAD 101 which begins during LEAD Week and continues through fall quarter. During this class students will learn about campus resources and leadership opportunities with a special focus on vocation and career.

On-going LEAD Requirements

Mandatory Participation Requirement

All first, second, third and fourth year students are also required to participate in one LEAD Scholars Program activities per quarter (3 per year) to maintain a connection to the program and continue their own personal and academic growth. Students can fulfill this requirement by attending or planning a LEAD event, or being a tour guide or panelist for a LEAD-sponsored tour for K-12 students. Please consult with the Associate Director about other ways to fulfill the requirement. Those students who do not fulfill the participation requirement will have their priority registration suspended.

Mandatory Course Requirement

The LEAD Scholars Program offers courses that fulfill both LEAD and SCU Core Curriculum requirements. Each student is required to take one 2-unit LEAD vocational exploration course. First-year students are required to take this course in their sophomore or junior year. Transfer students are also required to take this course in their sophomore or junior year, but can be granted permission to take it in their senior year. Those students who do not fulfill the participation requirement will have their priority registration suspended.

While participation in the LEAD Scholars Program is optional, once a student agrees to participate these components: LEAD Week, LEAD English 1A and 2A, the LEAD Seminar 1 and 2, and fulfilling the course and participation requirement are mandatory.