Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked many questions during the Admissions process. So we're listing the answers here in case you're curious, too.


What classes do I need to take before applying?
We require that candidates for first-year admission have:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of mathematics; at least algebra, geometry and advanced algebra
  • 2 years of a foreign language; 3 preferred
  • 2 years of science; at least one laboratory science
  • 2 years of social studies; one of which being U.S. history

What application does Saint Mary's accept?
We only accept online application through the

What transcripts are required to be submitted for the application?
Applicants are required to submit official transcripts for all secondary schools (high schools) attended. Additionally, official transcripts are required for all colleges and/or universities the student has attended, whether the term was completed or not.

What tests are required to be submitted for the application?
Official reports of test scores should be sent directly to the Undergraduate Admissions Office from the testing service.

  • Saint Mary’s will accept either the SAT or the ACT. The ACT writing assessment is optional. The highest SAT Critical Reading, Writing, and Math scores, even if taken on different test dates, will be used. The highest ACT English, Reading, Math and Science Reasoning sections will be used, even if taken on different test dates. SAT II is not required.
  • The SAT school code for Saint Mary’s is 004675 and for the ACT it is 0386.

What is the middle-50% high school grade point average (GPA) range for accepted students?
For the freshman class accepted for fall 2015, the middle-50% grade point average was 3.4 - 3.9.

What is the middle-50% range for SAT I scores?
For the freshman class accepted for fall 2015, the middle-50% SAT I scores were: Critical Reading: 510-610; Math: 500-610 Writing: 510-610.

How many students are in your typical freshman class?

What percentage of the student body comes from out-of-state?

What is the male to female ratio?
41% male to 59% female

What is the percentage of International students?
2%, 31 countries

What percentage of the undergraduate student body is made up of students of color?
57%.  African American = 7%, Asian-American = 20%, Hispanic/Latino = 26% and Native American = 3%

Do I have to be Catholic to attend Saint Mary's?
No. 54% of our students identify themselves as Catholics, while many choose to pursue faiths of other denominations.

What is the postmark application deadline for freshmen? For transfers?

  • Freshmen:
    Priority (non-binding), Nov. 15
    Regular, Jan. 15
  • Transfers:
    For Spring Term, Jan. 1 (same year as the entering term) 
  • For Fall Term, July 1 (Jan 15- priority financial aid consideration)

What is Saint Mary's deferrment policy?

Students may defer first-year admissions for up to one calendar year immediately following acceptance, provided that they do not attend other collegiate institutions during that interim. Please complete the reactivate form to defer your admission.


What is the average class size of all traditional undergraduate courses?
19 students

What is the traditional student-to-faculty ratio?
13 to 1

What are the five most popular majors among the undergraduate student body?
Business Administration, Communication, English, Psychology, and Accounting.

Do graduate students teach classes?
No.  In fact, 91% of our full-time faculty have the highest degree in their respective field.

Where can I study abroad?
You can study abroad in Argentina, Australia, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and Spain. Students have the option to study during the summer, fall or spring terms.  Participating in a SMC program will enable you to receive academic credit directly from Saint Mary's and retain California state grants along with the rest of your financial aid. The College also conducts a variety of travel courses during the January Term.

Residence Life and Housing

Is on-campus housing guaranteed?
Students are required to live on campus their freshman year.  Housing is guaranteed for the sophomore year, but students may live off-campus if they wish.  For the junior and senior years, housing is awarded based on a lottery system.

How is the food?
Catering is provided by Sodexo Food Service. They offer a wide variety of foods to meet any student's needs. You can also purchase flex dollars for use at all campus retail food outlets and Oliver Hall.

What are the residence halls like?
All of our freshmen residences are located on the central campus. Residences may be singles, doubles or triples and are coed by building (single-sex floors). All rooms are WiFi ready. Check out our Virtual Tours of Campus Housing!

Student Life

Is it easy to get involved?
Since Saint Mary's is a residential college, there is a strong on-campus community. The Student Government, clubs and dorms sponsor parties, movies, comedy nights, dances and dinners. There are more than 40 clubs on campus ranging from the Pre-Law program to the Black Student Union. Campus Ministry and CILSA coordinate volunteer opportunities throughout the Bay Area.

Is there an Athletic program?
The Gaels compete at the NCAA Division I level in 17 different sports, and we have outstanding intramural and club sport programs in men’s and women's sports.

Who are the Christian Brothers?
The Christian Brothers are the world's largest Catholic order devoted exclusively to teaching. In 1868 the order assumed direction and ownership of the College, and has guided the College ever since. 

Financial Aid

What percentage of the student body receives financial aid?
75% of our undergraduates receive financial aid from a variety of sources. Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Stafford Student Loans are often part of an applicant's financial aid package.

What is the average financial aid package?

How do I apply for Financial Aid?
Applicants must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at  There is no fee associated with the FAFSA. California residents who wish to apply for Cal Grants A and/or B must also ask their high school to fill out the California Student Aid Commission's GPA Verification Form (pdf).

When is the financial aid deadline?
The priority deadline for all financial aid forms is Feb. 15. 

For more information, please visit our Financial Aid Office website.

Financial aid website


Have more questions? Don't hesitate to reach out to our office at 925-631-4224 or