Santa Clara in Silicon Valley Emphasizes Ethics and Social Justice

Santa Clara emphasizes a commitment to academics and community and is distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities. This comprehensive, faith-based, Division 1 university offers small classes taught by full professors and incorporates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice to educate students and citizens prepared to contribute to a more just, humane, and sustainable world. The beautiful 106-acre campus in Santa Clara, California, littered with palm trees and luscious rose bushes, is steeped in history and tradition.

This selective mid-sized California university has a heritage of traditional Jesuit ideals of “infusing morality and ethics into strong and coherent academics.” Founded by the Jesuits and with a large undergraduate population (almost half) of Roman Catholics, religion has a non-intrusive impact on campus life. Santa Clara students will find many opportunities for spiritual development and to get involved with local volunteer organizations. Students will also have access to job-recruitment and internships afforded to a university located in Silicon Valley, with other 70% participation.

Here are a few quick facts about Santa Clara:

Acceptance: 50%

4-year Graduation rate: 84%

Freshman retention: 94%

Freshmen from out of state: 41%

Most popular majors: finance, economics, communication

Housing: Guaranteed housing all four years, but juniors and seniors often utilize the option to live off-campus. While nearly all freshmen and sophomores live on campus, the dorms only house about 56% of the overall student population. Plans are currently in the works to build more university housing to help battle the rising cost of off-campus housing. Students have remarked that the campus always feels safe.


Santa Clara University

Academics: Santa Clara offers a rigorous undergraduate curriculum as well as robust masters program, law degrees, and engineering doctorate programs. While offering 8 different engineering programs that comprise 15% of the student population, Political Science, Communication, and Psychology are still the most popular classes among students.

SC boasts its 3-2 engineering program in which a student can attain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. The college has also recently added minors in professional writing and real estate. 

Santa Clara’s Core Curriculum prescribes courses in three broad categories: Knowledge, Habits of Mind and Heart (skills), and Engagement with the World. Core Pathways supplement majors and the Core Curriculum by offering 24 sets of courses with interdisciplinary themes (justice and the arts, and values in science and technology, are two such examples). Students choose one Pathway and complete 3-4 courses. A student’s chosen Pathway culminates with an Integrative Reflection Essay and required community service and oftentimes requires completion of a capstone project. 


Similar colleges to consider:
Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo, Loyola Marymount, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Southern California


Social:  “There’s a great social life both on and off-campus and over a hundred clubs and programs to get involved in,” says one student. Social life is active as 150 student organizations offer a myriad of on and off-campus activities. The Activity Programming Board coordinates a number of popular events such as concerts, movie nights, Midnight Breakfast, to name a few. Although Santa Clara no longer supports fraternities and sororities, Greek organizations and the off-campus party scene still thrive on their own.

Santa Clara’s campus features only one central dining hall where food is prepared by the same company that caters to Apple and Google events. Anyone with a food allergy can take comfort in the fact that they will have a plethora of food options that are organic, farm to table, as well as gluten- and allergen-free.

Financial: Santa Clara offers both university grants and need-based financial aid, with two-thirds of students receiving support. The average percent of need met is 79%. Although the tuition and fees run about $73,000, the average financial aid package is $54,000: $38,000 coming from need-based financial aid, and another $16,000 from merit aid. About 73% of students receive financial aid.

What do you think about this college? What else would you like to learn about it? Please post your comments below.

How Will COVID-19 Affect The 2020 College Admissions Cycle?

How Will COVID-19 Affect The 2020 College Admissions Cycle?

Most of us have seen a change to our day to day lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the short-term changes are obvious, many people are wondering what the long-term impact will be. That includes prospective college students. Especially juniors in the Class of 2021 may be wondering how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 college admissions cycle.

The 2020 College Admissions Cycle

The good news is many schools have shared that they don’t expect COVID-19 to impact the college admissions cycle in a major way.

For example, Princeton undergrad admissions tweeted, in early March 2020, “Please note: The coronavirus outbreak and its effects have no impact on how we evaluate applicants to the University.”

That said, there are many ways COVID-19 has already affected students and schools.

Keep in mind, the situation is rapidly evolving. But here’s some of the other information that is currently available about how COVID-19 will (and will not) affect the 2020 college admissions cycle and other academic events.

Admissions Offices

Most post-secondary schools in the United States have closed their admissions offices for now. Be that as it may, they’re still operating virtually. Students can contact them via phone or email to get more information.

Admitted Students Days

If you’re still a year or two away from college visits, we have several resources to help you prepare for successful college campus visits. Click here for my top 5 tips for the best campus visit tips to save you time and money.

But things have been shaken up for students who were planning to visit campuses to learn about their new school this year. Most schools have canceled their admitted students’ days and weekends for students who were already accepted for the fall semester.

Some schools, including Harvard, have moved their admitted students events online. Instead of hosting “Visits” on campus, they’re moving to host “Virtual Visits” that will be available to admitted students for all of April rather than just a three-day period.

College-bound high school juniors should also take a look at this post where I discuss how they (and their parents) can make the most of the year as they prepare for college.

International Students

Many international students have already been accepted for the Fall 2020 semester. Most schools continue to accept and welcome these students. But many schools, including California Institute of Technology (Caltech), require all arrivals at the university to initially follow the same self-quarantine guidelines that apply to all travelers.


How Will COVID-19 Affect The 2020 College Admissions Cycle?
A photo from my trip to Caltech


Prospective international students could experience certain barriers to their education at American schools. Many schools require standardized testing before admission. In many parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, standardized test sites have closed. This is expected to seriously affect the number of international students that apply.

Tuition and Fees

Unfortunately, having fewer international students is also detrimental to the schools that rely on income from international students. International students are estimated to bring in more than $2.5 billion in tuition plus required fees to American schools.

With fewer admissions, tuition rates could rise for American students, particularly those at public colleges that could lose the most revenue.

Understandably, many prospective students are frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding their upcoming academic future. Prospective students should continue to monitor school websites for updates and information. At the same time, they can continue to do what they can to prepare for college.

Optimistically, most schools are expected to return to normal operation by this fall.

If you’re looking for the right college where you can get in and get money, click here to learn more.

Want to see more posts like this? Don’t miss these:

How to Stay Healthy in College: 5 Top Tips
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7 ways to support your child during the college application process


Why a Scholarship Search is a Waste of Time

Why a Scholarship Search is a Waste of Time

For some students, getting into college is a challenge in and of itself. Add on top of that finding the money to pay for college and it can feel downright impossible. But let me assure you, it’s not! There are plenty of tools and resources available to help you get into and pay for college. But some students turn to a scholarship search in hopes it will find the money they need.

But is that really the best way?

Scholarship search resources

Every year during this time, I hear from parents who are worried about the costs of college and want more information on available scholarships. I certainly understand their concerns and will suggest these sites to them for a scholarship search:

The truth about performing a scholarship search

But I also point out something else they need to know: these private scholarships only represent a fraction of the monies available to students every year.

In fact, the 2011 Trends in Student Aid from College Board reported that scholarships from private and employer sources (combined) represented only 4% of all student aid. More recently, the total amount of aid that undergraduate and graduate students received from all grants, loans, tax credits, and work-study was $246.0 billion as of 2018-2019. Click here to see more highlights from Trends in Student Aid 2019.

Not to mention, these private scholarships typically require an application, recommendations, and, often, essays! Imagine the time it takes to compile this information.

By the way, here’s how juniors can get the best teacher recommendations before their first college application.

Let’s take for example this popular scholarship: Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Inc.

This program offers 250 scholarships valued at $2,500 – $5,000. Recently, there were 70,000+ applicants for these awards. Hmmm. . . that’s a 296 to 1 odds of winning.

But, if you are indeed one of the 2,200 finalists, you must submit an application, essays, recommendations, and transcripts.

On average, students could spend several hours writing these essays and collecting all the required information. You should apply for this scholarship if you meet the criteria. Keep in mind that you can not apply until senior year when you’re likely spending time on college applications, academics, athletics, and more.

Scholarship opportunities with better odds

For students who may be sophomores or juniors and have a little more flexibility in their schedule and time to carefully write their essays and obtain strong recommendations, you can consider other scholarship opportunities with better odds.

US Bank offers even an online scholarship application that must be used at selected colleges. There are 40 recipients of these $1,000 awards.

Recently, 14,000 applicants. Hmmm. . . 350 to 1 odds of receiving this one.

So, where’s the money?

For freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, here’s where you can really get more bang for your buck and save time . . .

Do well in the things you already do well, i.e. academics, athletics, musical talents, school leadership!

There are so many colleges that are competing for new students. Some colleges are seeking “A” students. Other colleges are seeking quality “B” students. There are even other colleges that are seeking “C” students with potential!

Another set of colleges is seeking those students who will lead community service efforts. The list goes on in terms of great college matches for athletics, musical talents, and future club leaders!

Focus on your strengths

By continuing to do well in your areas of strength, students have access to about 17% of the student aid pie.

That percentage represents monies that come directly from the colleges. For many of these colleges, such as Agnes Scott, Occidental, or the University of Michigan, students apply by submitting an admissions application. So the time you spend completing your application with recommendations and essays benefits your search for student aid.

Being a student that’s a good match for the types of students that college recruits have much more favorable odds than only completing a scholarship search.

For example, the University of Rochester offers millions in merit aid. Ninety-one percent of their students received aid from the university with an average package of $21,000. Their admissions rate is about 35%. Hmmm. . . that’s about 3 to 1 odds!

Those odds seem to be a better use of your time!

Okay, now fill me in. Where have you been finding money for college?

Are you looking for the right college to get in and get money? Click here to check out my free master class.

If you enjoyed this post, don’t miss these either:

Living Off-Campus: Pros and Cons
College Application Checklist
Colleges with Free Laundry: A Time and Money Saving Consideration

This article was updated from the original post from February 4, 2012.