Questions about Santa Clara

<p>I got into my top three schools, and now I have the hard choice of choosing between them. I will be studding Mechanical Engineering.</p>

<p>How is the...
Work Load (compared to USC and Cal Poly)?
Collaborative vs. competitive atmosphere?
Access to prof vs. TA's?
Internship/research opportunities (hands on)?
Ease of changing majors?
level of academic stress? Santa Clara.</p>

<p>thanks a lot,

<p>Hi Skijon, I am only an admitted student for this year and don't plan on going into engineering, but I wanted to relay some information that I learned via tour and talking to students at SCU. There are parents here at CC, though, who have their children at SCU who can answer better than me,and I'm sure will be more than willing to answer your questions! :)</p>

<p>Please take my information with a grain of salt because, like I said, these are things I've heard from students and tour and NOT personal experience. I still hope to help!</p>

<p>-"Collaborative vs. competitive atmosphere:"
I talked to a student who chose SCU over Berkeley and is happy with her decision because of the "more supportive" atmosphere at SCU. While SCU students DO work hard and strive for their best, people are generally nice and civil to each other in academia as opposed to cynical, cutthroat, and downright dirty at some other institutions (I mean that in the best way possible..;)), if you know what I mean.
In her words: "Not sure how else I can explain "competitive," save for this: most people I've met at SCU are the nicest I've ever met. :) Everyone is supportive of one another."</p>

<p>-"Access to prof vs. TA's?"
If I remember correctly from the tour, there are NO teacher's assistants that teach! Also, since classes are generally smaller (low student:teacher ratio), I hear that professors are generally pretty accessible and, more often than not, will treat you like a person over a number.</p>

<p>-"Internship/research opportunities (hands on)?"
Like I said, I'm not an engineering major, but am pretty sure SCU has pretty good internship opportunities: it's in the heart of Silicon Valley! I don't have more specific information. </p>

<p>-"Ease of changing majors?"
I think I read on the site that you can switch after the academic year is over, but that may be only for first-years. I'm not really sure of this one, at all!</p>

<p>As for stress, I'm sure stress is really dependent on the individual. Large courseload + major procrastination will always = stress, but I can't make a collective comment on SCU + stressful courseload... at least, nothing specific!</p>

<p>I hope my information helped, albeit somewhat vague. Maybe someone can affirm/deny my information?</p>

<p>Good luck in your decision, skijon!</p>

<p>Parent response...</p>

<p>DD finds the classes challenging but good. She is working harder than she ever did in high school but loves the challenges the classes at SCU offer. She IS an engineering major.</p>

<p>It is not hard to switch majors...but you do need to be mindful of the courses you are taking to fulfill your major. DD, for example, was accepted as an undeclared arts and sciences major. She took the full science and math sequences as a freshman (like the engineering majors and other science majors). She had no difficulty declaring an engineering major in the college of engineering this year (sophomore year).</p>

<p>There are no TA's at SCU. None. DD says the profs are accessible and helpful. They have office hours and are very willing to help students. Advising is very personal and good. There is a tutorial center where you can get a tutor if needed. </p>

<p>The class atmosphere is very collegial. In fact, often there are scheduled study sessions for students in the same class to study for upcoming exams or work on large homework assignments.</p>

<p>No personal experience with internships, but the school's location certainly is in a hub of possible internships.</p>

<p>DD says students work hard, but also enjoy themselves as well. She enjoys the school very much...everything about it.</p>

<p>While we're talking about Santa Clara, how would you describe the area around campus? We've visited once very briefly, we're going up to explore it further since son was accepted. My first impression is that the campus is really beautiful but I didn't sense "college town" the kids have enough to do off campus without having to travel very far?</p>

<p>kbl, I'm not all that familiar with the area having only been there once to drop my kid off. BUT I will say...she NEVER has a shortage of things to do both on and off campus.</p>

<p>It's not a "college town" like Boston. BUT there is plenty to do. SCU has a ton of "stuff" happening on campus as well.</p>

<p>kbl- Santa Clara is definitely not in a college town, but it's right near San Jose which has lots of things to do. There are lots of concerts, shopping, restaurants etc. I don't go to SCU, I'm an accepted student, but I live pretty close by and my cousin lives in San Jose (though only a few blocks from SCU). I know there's pretty good public transportation in San Jose, but I'm not sure how close that is to the campus.</p>

<p>The public transportation is very close to SCU. It's on El Camino Real...a main road. The CAL train station and transportation hub is right across the street from the main entrance of SCU.</p>

<p>Can freshmen have cars their first year?</p>

<p>kbl, no cars for the first year. But I really don't think you'll need one!
Public transportation via the Cal train, in my experience, is wonderful. I visited SCU two months ago with my mother and opted for the shuttle that goes from the airport to right across the street from SCU for free- the shuttle ride is no more than 10 to 12 minutes. We decided not to take a taxi since the shuttle was free (taxi would have been around $20) and my mom didn't want to try driving through California roads! Neither of us had much prior experience to public transportation, let alone in a different state, but it was fast, efficient, and safe! You can take the Cal to main places around the San Jose area and, I assume, to San Francisco as well. </p>

<p>As for the area around Santa Clara-- it's beautiful! It's a safe environment but not a college town. There isn't much to do directly surrounding SCU, from what I saw, but as thumper said, much to do on campus. I'm on vacation right now in New York and the area surrounding NYU kind of makes me wish I belonged to a college-town, though :P.</p>

<p>My mother and I had a same-day flight (arrived in the morning, left that evening) so after the tour (about an hour long) we took a cab to Santana Row, as suggested by the people in the freshman admissions building (very helpful bunch!). The cab cost around $16 dollars and was about 10 minutes away via cab. Santana Row is an "outdoor-type" of shopping area where there are many benches, greenery, almost park-like atmosphere (think Soho), surrounded by many high-end retailers (Gucci, Prada, Burberry, etc), various shops (stationery stores, Anthropologie, H&M, Urban Outfitters, The Container Store, Crate & Barrel, etc), and a plethora of restaurants! The mall is right across the street from Santana Row, as well. I was always told that you can drive out half an hour/an hour in one direction and be in the heart of San Francisco, drive out in another direction towards Santa Cruz and be on the Boardwalk and beach of Santa Cruz-- there's a lot to do within the Bay Area that isn't too hard to get to. You'll find things to do! :)</p>

<p>Haha I don't think there's a Prada in Santana Row. :)</p>

<p>Valley Fair Mall is the mall across from Santana Row. It's a fabulous mall and my daughter figured out how to take the bus there the first weekend she was there. Santana Row is more fact VERY pricey...but fun.</p>

<p>The mall across the street looks pretty large, and oops on the prada! I meant Furla. Santana Row is fun albeit pricey. :)</p>

<p>I have been accepted to both USF and SCU. I really like SCU, but USF has made me a much better offer ($19.5K vs $7.5K/year). Anybody have any thoughts?</p>

<p>WOW that's a big difference, but I don't know that much about USF so can't really help you. I have the same problem though as I really like SCU but haven't heard from them yet about financial offers while the other school I really like has offered me $25K per year so SCU may be out of the question.</p>