Application Requirements

Like most schools, we require the Common App with an essay, a transcript, SAT or ACT scores, a recommendation and an application fee.

Required Application Materials

First-year applicants are required to submit the following:

Transfer applicants are required to submit the following:

  • A completed Common Application with an Essay - Personal Statement, Saint Mary's specific questions, and two additional short essays.  All of these are found and submitted online at
  • Final high school transcripts or the results of a high school graduation equivalency exam
  • Official transcripts of all college work. Official transcripts must be submitted for all colleges or universities attended whether the student completed the term(s) or not
  • A letter of recommendation is highly encouraged, but not required
  • $60 USD application fee 

Additional transfer process info

Letters of recommendation may be sent separately or included with other materials. The Admissions Committee will not make a final decision on your application until all application materials are received.

Evaluating Your Application

The chief qualities sought in a candidate are intellectual preparation, seriousness of purpose and moral integrity. The school record is considered the most reliable measure of potential college ability. However, extra-curricular accomplishments may strengthen an application insofar as they indicate special talents, perseverance and maturity.

Applications for admission are reviewed on an individual basis, and minor deficiencies in preparation may be waived if justified by superior marks, test scores and recommendation.

Subject Requirements

All successful applicants are expected to complete at least 16 units of secondary school course work that will include the following:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of Mathematics (algebra, advanced algebra or the equivalent, and geometry)*
  • 2 years of the same foreign language
  • 2 years of science (at least one laboratory) *
  • 2 years of social studies or history, plus 1 year of U.S. history

*Students who plan to major in a science or mathematics are expected to show particular strength in their scientific and mathematical preparation.

Essay/Personal Statement

The essay, or personal statement, is a tool that allows for a comprehensive narrative from the applicant to the Admissions Committee. Candidates for admissions may choose one of the prompts provided on the Common Application or write on a topic of their choice. Recommended length of the writing piece is 250-650 words.

SAT and ACT Policies

Saint Mary's employs the highest sub-scores on both the ACT and SAT when making admission and scholarship decisions, and in the advisement and course placement of first time freshmen. Since we use the highest separate scores from different test administrations (e.g. the highest critical reading, writing and mathematics scores from the SAT; the highest English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning sub-scores from the ACT), we strongly encourage students to provide us with all their results from all administrations of the ACT and/or SAT.

Test scores must be received from first time freshman applicants no later than Nov. 15 for those applying for early action, and no later than Feb. 1 for those applying for regular admission consideration. Practically, this means that students should take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring of their junior year if applying for early action, and no later than November of their senior year when applying for regular admission. Students who demonstrate interest early in the college search process by listing Saint Mary's College of California when registering for the ACT or SAT will receive full notification about our opportunities (for example, scholarships, visitation programs, visits by Saint Mary's counselors to their schools, opportunities for regional interviews, etc.). Therefore we strongly recommend listing Saint Mary's College of California to receive all of your test scores.

The essay on the SAT and ACT is optional, but recommended. 

The SAT school code for Saint Mary’s is 004675 and for the ACT it is 0386

Letter of Recommendation

One letter of recommendation is required from your counselor or a teacher with whom you have taken one of the required core classes. We advise giving your counselor or teacher ample time to submit the letter of recommendation by the postmark deadline. The letter may be written on a separate piece of paper or directly on the evaluation form provided by the Common Application.   

Personal Interviews

Saint Mary’s encourages interviews with prospective students, but does not require them. Interviews allow the admissions staff to collect more information about applicants and allow students the chance to ask individual questions to determine whether Saint Mary’s is a good fit for them. Students can schedule interviews as part of their campus visit, though we typically require at least two weeks notice to ensure counselor availability.

Application Fee

The fee for application is $60 USD. This may be paid directly on the Common Application by credit card or by sending a check to the Office of Admissions made out to Saint Mary’s College.

We understand that this may be a financial burden to some families, therefore the College accepts the following fee waivers:

Call (925) 631-4224 if you have questions or need assistance during the application process. You may also email us at