The BasicsLocation: Santa Clara, CAFounded: 1851Mascot: BroncosColors: Santa Clara Red and WhiteUndergraduate Enrollment (Fall 2013): 5,435Tuition: $42,156 (Room and Board: about $12, 546)Percentage of Women: 47%Acceptance Rate: 14,980 applications, 7,456 accepted, 1,291 enrolled (based on class of2017)Greek Life: Yes, but not affiliated with the schoolFor more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit www.scu.edu/admission
Why Choose SCU?We asked a couple of our writers what caught their eye about Santa Clara!Why did you apply to SCU?“I loved the location and the fact that it's a small Jesuit campus. I went to Catholic schoolall my life so I really wanted to attend a college that is religiously affiliated. ““I was recruited to row here at SCU and fell in love with the campus and team whenon my official visit. I immediately felt at home when on campus. Everyone was sowelcoming!”What did you like about SCU as a prospective student?“The people here are friendly and welcoming. The campus is beautiful and so are itsstudents! SCU is also a great school, academically speaking.”“This goes without saying, but the campus is beautiful! When I visited, the people wereso friendly and the campus had a very communal feel to it. I really liked that, especiallycoming from the east coast. I wanted to find a home away from home when I was lookingat colleges, and SCU felt like that to me the first time I visited.”
Santa Clara University is an amazing school, located on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, surrounded by an awesome area, with a great student body.
SCU is a seriously smart school. The engineering, business, and arts and sciences schools all are excellent, and the Jesuit curriculum is guaranteed to give you a well-rounded education no matter which school you’re in. We also have a ton of great sports teams. While we don’t have football, that doesn’t stop us from having a fierce rivalry with Gonzaga, and everyone attends the basketball game against the Zags.
If you’ve ever seen the campus, then you can understand the obscene amount of Instagrams that people take of it (check out #scusnaps to get a small taste of what our feeds look like). Surrounded by fountains and palm trees, you feel more like you’re on a resort than a college campus. Studying while sun bathing in the rose gardens is a frequent activity, and everyone sits outside as often as possible. With the recent additions of pedestrian malls, the campus is even more beautiful (who knew that was even possible?).
Even though we are blessed with a gorgeous campus, we all get tired of “the bubble.” Luckily, the surroundings are just as awesome as the campus. Santana Row is a fun strip of restaurants and shops that students often stroll through that is only ten minutes from campus. Students also love the farmers market that is only a couple of blocks off campus on Saturdays. San Francisco is only about an hour away, and the CalTrain station right across from campus makes getting there super easy. The beach is also near at hand with Santa Cruz only a thirty minute car ride away.
Santa Clara has all of these great things going for it, but the student body is what I personally like best about SCU. One of the nice things for the ladies is that the gender ratio is in our favor (51% male, high for colleges these days). Another great thing is that all of the students are friendly and happy. Walking through campus is always fun, because everyone is saying hi to each other and stopping to chat in between classes. Not knowing anyone in your class is no big deal, because chances are you’re going to make new friends. Even during midterms or dead week, people have a hard time not smiling. There are no barriers between classes (aka freshman are welcome additions and everyone loves them), and people are always excited and willing to make new acquaintances.
It’s hard to find a place to dance.
Santa Clara University is known by its neighbors as a raucous, “work hard, play hard” type of school. You would think all the noise would be accompanied by a little dancing; sadly, most house parties quickly degrade to conversations about how trashed everyone is. Students have been searching far and wide for a dance floor that will not succumb to the curse.
There is not much diversity.
Much of SCU’s student body is always complaining about the lack of diversity at this school. Although the SCU is more ethnically diverse than the average university, a large portion of the student body looks, acts, and dresses eerily similar.
There are not enough traditions.
For California’s oldest institute of higher learning, you would think we would have too many traditions to count. Unfortunately if there were any traditions in the past, they are all defunct by now.
New Collegiette on Campus
Freshmen, do not be afraid! Everyone loves you and welcomes you here at Santa Clara! Frosh are friends, not food. I’m serious. You might be walking down the street and hear someone scream at you, “FRESHMAN!!!” in a good way. Hey, that person might even invite you to a “Freshman and a Fifth” date event that night. Heartwarming, right? But really, the transition to freshman year is smoother when it is so natural for everyone on campus to open the door for you, smile at you, or even give you a casual “hello”.
Most freshmen live in Swig, Dunne, or Graham, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet freshmen in all of the other dorms, as well. Regardless of what dorm you are in, you are sure to have a beautiful view of campus.
The university also puts on events in the beginning of the year to help students get involved and have fun. There is a club fair for students to sign up for as many clubs as they would like to sign up for, and there is also the fall concert. Some of the past performers we have been lucky to welcome to SCU include Tyga, Young the Giant, and Love and Theft.
Some quotes from Freshman collegiettes:
“My experience in the dorms was incredible! The first week, I was nervous that I wouldn't make any friends, and that the sophomores on my floor would exclude the freshman, but I was totally wrong. When I couldn't find my classes, the sophomores on my floor walked me to them. When I walked into Benson, I always spotted a familiar face. Santa Clara truly became my home after the first week.”
“I loved meeting new people and I was lucky enough to become best friends with my roommate. I seriously encourage people to go through recruitment because you then have instant connections that can help you with not only building a social life but also with classes and job opportunities, too!”
“Coming from out of state (and pretty far), Santa Clara was so warm and exciting from the very beginning. In my opinion, the first year of college requires some transition time, but SCU gave me so many opportunities to ease the transition, make new friends, and create a sense of belonging here. Although the club fair was somewhat crazy, that's where my love for a lot of the clubs around campus came from.”
All About Academics
Here at Santa Clara, we have a great variety of majors. One might think that some majors are more popular than others, but according to a study done this year, results show that the popular majors based on cluster are generally in the same percentile. Take a look at the pie chart below for some numbers. One cool thing to consider is the opportunity students have to design their own major. Regardless of the school you are in, all students will complete a thesis or capstone their senior year, which tend to be heavier workloads.
Course registration is based off of seniority. Seniors register first, followed by the juniors, and so on. In each grade, the order of registration is based off the amount of units each student has. However, if you don’t get into a class, don’t worry too much. You can always get on a waitlist for a class by signing up in that particular department or by emailing the teacher. Attend the first day of class, and you just might get off the waitlist.
Prospective students might take a look at all of the general education requirements and be a tad overwhelmed, but there is no reason to worry. So many classes you take can end up double dipping for requirements, sometimes even triple dipping!
The 10-week quarters are definitely fast paced. This may or may not mean lots of library time. It truly just depends on the class and teacher. Some students might have a super busy quarter in the fall followed by a more relaxed quarter in the winter. You can find most students in the beautiful library in the middle of campus. With 4 different levels, there is a place for everyone. The first floor is probably the noisiest, as it is home to the café and many people doing group projects. The basement and 2nd floors have some quiet chatter, but remember, everyone will stare at you if you drop a pencil on the 3rd floor. Find your niche!
Learn From the Best
Because each of the three schools has different course requirements and different professors, its hard to make a list of the top professors. Instead, here are some tips to maximize your time at SCU:
1. Be flexible with your schedule early in college. You have to take the university core at some point. By being flexible, you can find some real cool classes.
Pro Tip – take THTR 7 (Improv) for your fine arts requirement. Laugh a lot, little homework, easy A.
2. Utilize Rate My Professor and SCU Evaluations. However, keep in mind that only the really happy and really angry kids typically take the time to fill in Rate My Professor.
Pro Tip - Be honest with yourself when scheduling classes. Taking the best professor at 8 am won’t matter if you sleep through class half the time
3. Plan loosely with CourseAvail. Once course availability for the next quarter is released (usually around week four or five of the current quarter), tentatively plan out what you want to take, but be as flexible as possible. If you really need to take a specific class or professor, send them an email finding out how fast the class fills up, and if possible if you could be put on the waitlist in the event it closes before your registration time.
Pro Tip – Tell them why you are very excited to take this class with them specifically; professors like to hear compliments as well!
4. If you are doing most of your learning inside of the classroom, you are doing college completely wrong. Particularly as an underclassman, being at Santa Clara will provide you with opportunities to grow up faster than you can ever imagine. Mistakes will be made, but college is definitely the time to figure out who you are and prepare for a kickass life.
Pro Tip – Sometimes it seems like students here lose sight of the big picture of college until it is too late. For the vast majority of us, ideally that means graduating with a sweet job. Being located in Silicon Valley, there are current students or recent alums at effectively every company you could ever work for. One of the things I wish I had realized earlier is how to make the most of the seniors and recent grads. Learn how to write a decent email, or get involved in organizations that expose you to those people and learn as much as you can from them. It is much easier to get those fantastic internships at the Big 4, start-ups, Apple, Google, investment banks, Yahoo, LinkedIn, basically every company worth working for, when a fellow Bronco introduces you to the recruiter and helps you through the interview process. The students at this school are arguably its best feature, so don’t let it go to waste.
Interests & Involvement
It is practically impossible not to get involved at SCU. Club fairs and campus involvement events dotting every quarter’s calendar. “You can’t walk through Benson without hearing about something happening on campus,” says one collegiette. “There’s always something going on.”
Santa Clara University is home to nine Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs), including Into the Wild – SCU’s beloved outdoors club that leads everything from weekend hikes, rock climbing adventures, even overnight trips to Yosemite! There are also over 150 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) - academic, professional, and (of course) just plain fun! “Clubs here are pretty low-key,” says one junior. “You can be as involved as you want to be.”
Organizations like Igwebuike and Barkada bring culture to campus, while other clubs like SCU A Cappella and The Stable bring life to campus through music and song. “There really is a club out there for everyone.”
Santa Clara’s athletics are underrated as the “school spirit” atmosphere goes in and out depending on the game and the sport being played.
“Wow, who knew we had scho
ol spirit?” said a colleague at the recent SCU vs. Gonzaga basketball game. While the sarcasm puts a negative light on Santa Clara’s spirit, there is much to be said to that comment that is true and obviously not true. While Santa Clara students tend to be a little slow to the school spirit game, it is not that we have no spirit; its that we don’t know a lot about our sports in the first place. But, as a large sports advocate and intern with the Men’s Basketball Team, I know there is much to be learned.
Our men’s basketball team has done increasingly better every year, having beat one of our rivals this year, Saint Mary’s. Our women’s soccer team finished this season with an impressive 16-3 record. At the end of the day, Santa Clara is a competitive Division I athletics program. Santa Clara also holds over 8 different club teams and has a strong intramural quarterly program. While on the outside, team spirit may not seem like Santa Clara’s strong point, every student is active either on a team or cheering at an event. The spirit is definitely here, you just have to be involved and passionate to find it.
Santa Clara has a higher ratio of males to females than most other colleges, with almost 51% male undergraduates. Typically, women like the ratio and tend to not have an opposition towards it. This is in part because Santa Clara is a very accepting and friendly campus. There is a level of respect, and there are no catcalls or derogatory comments made to women on campus. There have been some cases of people wandering on or off campus who have harassed women, but these have been very few. Generally, women feel safe walking around.
Women also feel comfortable wearing whatever they want on campus. Women wear a variety of different styles and types of clothing. On any given day women wear anything from workout attire to a simple sundress and sandals. For the most part, the attire is casual and versatile.
There are a variety of women’s organizations on campus, including: Association of Computing Machinery for Women, Her Campus Santa Clara, Hermanas Unidas Inc., SCU Vagina Monologues, Society of Women Engineers, Undergraduate Women in Business, Wonderfully Made. The Office of Multicultural Learning caters to people of all races as well as people of both male and female genders. There is also a Women and Gender Studies Major and Minor program available.
Food & Drink
SCU’s one dining hall, Benson, is located in the center of campus. The food, catered by Bon Appetit, is generally pretty good and healthier than most schools. It offers many vegetarian options, and is currently expanding its vegan options. There’s a salad bar, La Parilla (Mexican), The Bronco (late night), and a bistro, where you can get sushi once a week. You can also make your own pasta or stir-fry. The Bronco offers a delivery service with a subscription. It’s $39 ($29 if you subscribe at the beginning of the year) per quarter and if you are willing to put down the money, it can be convenient. Late night mozzarella sticks are a personal fave.
The Cellar, which is a market place for students, is located on the lower level of Benson. There, you can buy some groceries to take back to your dorm room. You can also use your meal points there, which is very helpful. Towards the end of the quarter, the Cellar has a “Sidewalk Sale” where you can use your remaining meal points to buy items in bulk. Once people start living off campus though, they rarely go to Benson or the Cellar because prices are a little high. Most people buy groceries and cook, or go to some restaurants off-campus every now and then.
Overall, Benson offers a lot of options, but it’s easy to get sick of the food. Some popular off-campus restaurants within walking distance are Jasmine Thai, Pizza My Heart, Starbucks, Ike’s, Wicked Chicken, and Taco Bell. Many off-campus locations accept Flex, as well. A list of restaurants that accept Flex can be found here. Lastly, a Safeway is located right next to campus. Each of the dorms has a kitchen, and most have one on every floor for residents to use. If you live in Casa or Sobrato, your suite has its own kitchen for your own personal use.
The Santa Clara social scene is pretty fantastic compared to most schools. There’s a lot of entertainment available to you no matter what your preferences are, and it’s pretty much all very inclusive. We'll break it down for you:
1. House Parties
There are a few bars that the juniors and seniors will frequent that are within a few blocks of campus, as well as the option of clubbing in San Jose or San Francisco, but for the most part our social scene takes place pretty close to campus. Santa Clara has about a block of houses surrounding it where most of the off-campus parties are held, particularly on Bellomy Street, otherwise known as “light side”. Some of my best memories have been made at student-held parties such as the gigantic spring day party, Cinco de Alvisos, which is held at a housing complex and becomes a sort of bangin’ block party. It’s relatively safe on Bellomy and you can come and go between several houses. It’s also where the majority of the fraternity and sorority houses are located, which brings us to…
2. Greek Life
Roughly 20% of students are involved in SCU Greek life, and it’s a really fun way to get to know people as a freshman. Many freshman are encouraged to go through recruitment just to get to know some people even if they don’t wind up feeling like they fit with a particular house. No harm in getting yourself out there! If you do join Greek life, there are plenty of events such as formals and date dashes, mixers with other organizations, and fun bonding events with the members of your sorority/fraternity. If you don’t join Greek, life they still host some really fun events that the rest of the student body are more than welcome to participate in! Plenty of students make teams for and attend Theta Dodgeball, Kappa Karnival, or Alpha Phi Star Search and many other events throughout the year, so keep your eyes open for those events!
3. Clubs/On Campus Events
Santa Clara has an extremely lively social scene on campus as well. Love Jones is an open-mic event run by Igwebuike (the black student union) every quarter, which almost always has a packed house. Into The Wild holds reasonably priced weekend hikes, ski trips, white water rafting, camping… the list is actually endless. Don’t forget intramural sports, fitness classes, volunteer opportunities, academic speakers, environmentally friendly gardening (The Forge), the list is literally endless. Among several other things, there are also the spring and fall concerts that have featured several well-known artists such as Diplo, LMFAO, and Young The Giant. Your Residential Learning Community if you live on campus will also have lots of events within your own building, so you can even pop in and out of an event for study breaks!
Hopefully this has given you some perspective on the social scene here at Santa Clara! This is a really quick overview, but you would be hard pressed to not find something you are interested in.
Santa Clara’s on campus living consists of nine residence halls and the university Villas. Each hall has a residential learning community (RLC) that is organized around two themes, and most people have a common class with the people on their floor to promote bonding. The dorms also host several activities through out the year to help the students get to know one another in the dorms.
Freshmen are required to live on campus, and many sophomores chose to live on campus again. Most freshmen either live in Swig, Dunne, San Filippo, Casa, Graham, or Sobrato. Students can chose to select a roommate or be randomly assigned one. Every dorm is very safe and many people feel comfortable leaving their door unlocked (though we would not recommend this).
Exploring Santa Clara
Though Santa Clara is a smaller suburban town, there are plenty of shops and restaurants surrounding campus. Most of what you will need is within walking distance of campus, making it easy for students who don’t have cars.
Safeway is located right next to campus, so it is easily accessible for students both on and off-campus. There are a ton of restaurants and fast food places, including Taco Bell, Wicked Chicken, and Pizza My Heart right by Safeway; Togo’s, Hungry Hound, Starbucks, Jasmine’s Thai and Mio Vicino in Franklin Square, Mondo Burrito, and more. Chipotle and Free Birds is also just a bus or car ride away down the Alameda.
Nightlife mostly revolves around off-campus parties, as well as the local bars Blinky’s and The Hut. If you need to get to the mall, you can take the bus right by the train station and will get there in less than 15 minutes. Santana Row is also accessible by the bus, and has tons of shopping, including Madewell, Free People, and Urban Outfitters, as well as more upscale restaurants.
There is a shopping center about a 5 minute drive away on Coleman Avenue that has a Target, Trader Joes, Panda Express, Smashburger, Panera Bread, and more, but you’ll need a car.
There are popular off-campus activities, including going to San Francisco and Santa Cruz, or doing off-campus events organized by your RLC or ASG. If you want to take a day trip to San Francisco, you can easily get there by taking the CalTrain, located directly off campus, and can navigate the city by bus or by walking.
HC's Complete College Guide: Santa Clara University
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