Santa Clara University


First-Year Students

Level I: Qualifications and selection of first-year students

The Honors Program admits about 68 first-year students each fall. High-school seniors interested in admission to the University Honors Program should first complete the university's application process. Admission to the Program itself occurs through either invitation or a special application. An interested student will ensure consideration by submitting an application form.

Qualifications for first-year admission:

The Program generally draws its students from among those already admitted to the University as a President's, Provost's, or Johnson's Scholar.  This acceptance recognizes high achievement in classes, standardized tests, and service to school and community. 

Entering Honors Program students typically present a combined SAT in the upper 1400s or higher, with a correspondingly high grade-point average in college-prep courses. As a rule, the first-year UHP class averages a cumulative SAT of about 1500 and college-prep GPA above 3.9, with comparable ACT scores.

These considerations represent minimal qualifications and do not guarantee admission to the Program. The Director and faculty may weigh other factors in determining a candidate's suitability for the limited number of places available each year.

Admission by invitation:  In winter quarter, after consultation with the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions to determine acceptance criteria, the Director sends letters inviting certain university applicants to join the Honors Program. Those invited are asked to reply by May 1.

Admission by application to Honors Program:  We encourage interested students to apply; an application form may be printed from your web browser. The form asks that you submit an essay to the Director of the Program.   Successful applicants will be notified after May 1.


Level II:  Admission of current & transfer students

Requirements:  Enrolled students not already in the UHP may apply for Level II after completing 32 quarter units of study at Santa Clara.  Normally, the minimal grade point for admission is 3.65 in courses taken at Santa Clara.

For new applications to Level II, the application procedures include:

  • A completed application form, available from the University Honors Program office;
  • An essay or personal statement, as specified in the application materials;
  • Two letters of recommendation from university teachers;
  • An interview with the Program director.

Timetable for Level II applications:

  • First week of spring quarter: The applicant should submit the application, personal statement, and two recommendation letters (the letters in envelopes signed across the seal).
  • The UHP will endeavor to schedule the interview with the director as quickly as possible, then consider the applicant's materials and reach a decision by mid-April.
    Qualifying Level I students automatically pass to Level II, that is, without needing to apply.
Transferring students

Students who transfer from another institution are normally asked to complete 32 quarter units at Santa Clara, with a 3.65 GPA, before applying to the UHP.  Based on academic records, faculty recommendations, and observations of admissions officers, exceptions may be made for a student arriving from an equally selective four-year university.

Application forms

Students wishing to apply to Level II may obtain further information and an application from the Honors Program office.