Road Trip: “Aha! Moments” at Santa Clara University

Time to look at some “local” California schools this winter and spring.  Here are “aha moments” from Santa Clara University.  

The first “aha” is size.  Santa Clara is on 106 acres, smaller than many small liberal arts schools…but with a student population that’s two to three times their size.  The result is an active feel to the campus. Santa Clara University, the oldest university in California with the 8th California mission (Mission Santa Clara de Asis) on its campus is: a stone’s throw from the San Jose International Airport; situated at the center of Silicon Valley; and home to the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium.  In short, there is a lot packed into a little space. 

Santa Clara University has a Jesuit heritage, though half the student body is not Catholic.  The whole visit seemed to emphasize academics and the Jesuit values of community, engagement and application of learning.  The bigger “aha” is that Jesuit values manifest themselves in ways that don’t feel “religious”.  Here are three examples. 

  • Community-based learning where, as part of the class and/or its assignments, students put what they are learning into practice in the community.  
  • General Education requirements in areas such as social justice, ethics, diversity, civic engagement in addition to 3 religion courses typical at a school of religious heritage.  
  • Dorms are Residential Learning Centers where all students on a dorm floor take a Critical Thinking General Ed class together to add to the sense of campus community.

Peers are academically capable with average unweighted GPA scores of 3.76 in Engineering, 3.68 in Business, and 3.62 in Arts and Science. More impressive is the motivation and hands-on experience of students; the largest minor is Entrepreneurship and 79% of students do at least one internship (86% of those students have a job when they graduate). Cisco, Apple, and Oracle are the top three employers of graduates. 

Fun Fact: Ruff Riders is a club to join as a freshman for $75 and you can go to any sporting event over the four years as a student for free.  

Admission Tips: Freshman grades count.  Writing standardized tests don’t count. And, both Early Decision and Early Action are offered for Nov 1st application submissions.

Consider Santa Clara University if your academic record is good and solid (vs. exceptional) and you have a strong desire to intern in Silicon Valley and to engage in your and the local community.