Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University

Decision Time

Mike Sexton, SCU's vice president for Enrollment Management and Eva Blanco Masias, the dean of undergraduate admission, discuss Preview Days for admitted students.

Are you visiting Santa Clara University for Preview Days April 8 and April 9? Do you have a lot of questions and are looking for some answers? Mike Sexton, SCU's vice president for Enrollment Management and Eva Blanco Masias, the dean of undergraduate admission, provide some answers.


What's one experience/tour I don't want to miss while I'm here?

You’ll probably get a different answer from every person you ask, so make sure to ask while you’re on campus, too! Some might say spending some time in the Mission Gardens is a perfect way to reflect on your time at Preview Day—it is absolutely beautiful in the spring. Others might encourage you to take advantage of the more specific tours, whether it is in Engineering or the Communication Department’s TV Studio. And don’t miss out on the SCU Showcase at the end of the day—it is a great opportunity to talk to student club leaders, meet faculty in different academic departments, and get answers to the questions your parents might keep asking you about.

Will I graduate in four years? What’s Santa Clara University’s 4 year graduation rate?

At Santa Clara, the average first-year retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 96 percent. Our four-year graduation rate for those students who began in Fall 2011 was 84 percent. At public universities, only 46 percent of students graduate in six years. At private schools, the national average for graduating in six years is only 55 percent. 

Will I be able to live on campus?

95 percent of all first year students live on campus. All first-years and most sophomores live in RLCs (Residential Learning Communities) housed in eight of our ten campus residence halls. Each RLC is built around one or two themes, like community service or contemporary world issues. Juniors and seniors can choose to live in the University Villas, a 128-unit townhouse-style complex, a few steps off the main campus. And for those interested in living in rentals off campus, there are many options, including some that are owned and managed by Santa Clara.

How easy is it to get off campus? Will I need a car?

SCU’s location definitely makes it easy to explore the Bay Area and beyond. There are great public transportation options just across the street. CalTrain can get you within two blocks from where the San Francisco Giants play baseball or into the heart of San Jose—the tenth largest city in the US! First-year students aren’t able to bring a car on campus, but with so much so close, you won’t miss it. And we have 11 Zipcars for rent. 

What is the best use of my time on campus when I visit campus for Preview Days?

Leave time for the unexpected. Go to the scheduled events but leave time for the unexpected. Go to the MarketPlace in Benson Center and check out the dining. Talk to students you meet as you walk across campus. Talk to other students at the event, do the script, and go the off script.

What if I am undecided or want to change my major?

You aren’t alone! Many students come in undecided or end up changing their plans along the way. Our Core Curriculum allows students to explore their interests and it can sometimes spark new passions. Talk to lots of students while at Preview Day to hear about their journey picking a major—some of them might still be deciding too! There are lots of people to help you figure it out at SCU from our Drahmann Advising Center to the Career Center to different faculty at the program.

What are the different ways students get involved on campus?

From world-renowned speakers to intimate theatre productions, there is always something happening on and around campus. Student life at Santa Clara is vibrant and exciting with lots of opportunities to engage with other students. Santa Clara University students know how to have fun. From long standing traditions such as the primal scream to spontaneous celebrations, Santa Clara makes it easy to embrace adventures and experiences that make for a great four years.

What types of student organizations are on campus?

There are more than 150 student organizations on campus including the Santa Clara Community Action Program, a volunteer service organization, and the Santa Clara Review, a biannual literary magazine. The Santa Clara Broncos field 20 Division I athletic teams and 17 club sports, and are known for their successful soccer and volleyball programs. The Ruff Riders—the official student booster club of SCU athletics—is the largest organization on campus.

How will I get an internship?

Internships are the norm, not the exception, at Santa Clara University. Internship opportunities around Silicon Valley and at Bay Area companies like Cisco, Google, Apple, and Intel get Santa Clara students started in their careers before they become seniors. They also exist in non-tech areas—government, banks, nonprofits, schools, hospitals, etc. 

How easy is it to get to Santa Clara? What’s the weather in Santa Clara like?

The Mission Campus is a short, free bus ride from San Jose airport. And we enjoy 300 days of sunshine every year! It is much warmer and less foggy than San Francisco. 

What resources are available for my student to be supported academically, socially and residentially?

At SCU, students are integrated into campus via the Residential Learning Communities (RLCs)—this is where they will find their first line of support with our Community Facilitators, Resident Directors, and Spiritual Facilitators. We also have a strong tutoring center, Disabilities Resource Office, the Cowell Health Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for times when your student might need additional support. When you attend the SCU Showcase at the end of the day, many of the offices who will support your student in these ways are there to answer any more specific questions!

Any other words of advice?

The school you pick has to be the best one for you. If your family is pressuring you to go to a big school but you know you’ll excel in a small classroom, keep that in mind. When you visit, be open minded and ask tons of questions. The energy and excitement of students you’ll meet when you visit is amazing. Get a true taste of what it's like to be a Bronco.