View From Campus: U.S. College Applications Explained
Santa Clara University, California
This month, Rosalie Saladzis, Assistant Director of International Admission at Santa Clara University in California, shares a brief overview of her institution, her views on the value of IELTS in evaluating students’ English readiness for university study, as well as an overview of the U.S. college application process.
Describe your institution in 5 words or less:
Innovative, Collaborative, Compassionate, Beautiful!
What is your institution known for abroad?
Santa Clara University is known as a mid-sized private liberal arts institution located in the heart of Silicon Valley that blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in a Jesuit education tradition.
What are your top academic programs (undergraduate)
As a comprehensive liberal arts school, students can study business or engineering while not giving up their passion for the arts. Our Leavey School of Business majors such as Finance or Accounting are popular amongst undergraduate students. Minors like Entrepreneurship and International Business are popular across the entire student body.
Within our School of Engineering some of our more popular programs are Computer Science and Engineering or Bioengineering. The hallmark of our engineering education is a solid foundation of theory and practice that is imparted on each student. Besides developing technical skills for the workplace, SCU engineering also focuses on the development of the whole person, and incorporates a broad liberal arts-based general education into its curriculum. The idea of engineering for the betterment of society is at the core of our programs.
What are the top 5 countries represented at your college?
India, China, Japan, Singapore, Philippines
How international is your institution?
4% of our student population is international, coming from 44 different countries.
Do you accept IELTS scores for admissions and do you trust this as a good indicator of a student’s English ability?
Santa Clara University requires proof of English proficiency. To be considered for admission, we accept IELTS as a strong indicator of English ability.
Can you explain the difference between rolling admissions, early decision, early action, and regular decision at U.S. colleges?
- Rolling admissions permits students to submit their applications to the University anytime within a designated window. The average duration of time students are eligible to submit their rolling application is 6 months, while other Universities may indicate their intent to accept applications until the class is filled. Students can expect to receive a decision within a few weeks of applying under rolling admissions.
- Early decision programs are usually binding. ‘Binding’ means that the applicant is committing to enrolling at the university if they are offered admission. The ED option is for students who have decided that a specific university is their first choice. You may not submit Early Decision applications to more than one institution. Students may apply to other Early Action programs, but must agree to promptly withdraw their applications from all other institutions if admitted into their Early Decision school.
- Early Action is a non-binding admission program that allows you to get an admission decision sooner. Admission decisions may include: ‘admit’, ‘deferred to regular decision’ or ‘denied’. Early action applicants are not limited to applying to just one University.
**Please note that Santa Clara University only offers rolling admissions for transfer applicants.
What are institutions looking for in an application essay/statement of purpose?
Institutions are looking for students who are capable of writing at a university level. It’s important that an applicant’s writing sample is grammatically correct and persuasive. I encourage students to utilize the personal essay as an opportunity to share more about what’s important to them and how they may be a good fit for our campus community.
How important are deadlines in the admission process to U.S. institutions?
Meeting application deadlines for U.S. institutions is very important. By meeting the assigned deadline, students demonstrate that they are organized and serious about the possibility of attending their institution.
SCU utilizes Common Application. Our application is open and available for students to begin completing as early as August 1st. The postmark deadline for early decision/early action applicants is November 1st. Regular decision applicants have a postmark deadline of January 7th.
What needs to be in a letter of recommendation that my teachers/professors are asked to write?
Strong letters of recommendation include details regarding academic achievement, how the student engages in a classroom environment, work ethic and character.
Once a student sends in all the required documents to complete their application, how soon after that point will he/she receive an answer?
Students can expect to receive an admissions decision around 2 months after the application deadline.