Meet the Saint Mary’s Class of 2027

They’re one of the most diverse first-year classes in SMC history. They also include more first-generation students and students of color.

by SMC Office of Marketing and Communications | October 5, 2023

With the Class of 2027, Saint Mary’s College of California welcomes one of the most diverse classes in the 160-year history of the College. Saint Mary’s was founded with the mission of making a quality education accessible to all. Over 60% of the Class 2027 are students of color. This year’s incoming class also includes 30% more first-generation students than last year, as well as more Pell grant eligible students, which support students of exceptional financial need.

The 514 students hail from some 20 states—from California to New Jersey, Oregon to Illinois—as well as Guam. Along with first-year students, the Class of 2027 includes nearly 140 transfer students. That number represents an increase of 15% more first-year students and 6% more transfer students—and the largest class in four years. They come from community colleges and four-year institutions throughout California as well as public and private colleges from Washington to Arizona, North Carolina to Vermont. 

Over 60% of the Class 2027 are students of color. This year’s incoming class also includes 30% more first-generation students than last year, as well as more Pell grant eligible students.

With its campus in the San Francisco Bay Area, Saint Mary’s offers programs connecting students around the world. In terms of drawing students to the Bay Area, the Class of 2027 includes 19 international students, the most in five years, and represents a growing global awareness of opportunities offered at Saint Mary’s. Students hail from 11 countries—from Australia to Ethiopia, Brazil to Kyrgyzstan—and come from every continent except Antarctica.

Class of 2027 Graphic with statistics, including: 514 first-year students, 138 transfer students
Illustration by Adira Weixlmann

Since 2015 Saint Mary’s has earned the designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution, with full-time equivalent undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic. At SMC, 33% of the incoming first-year students are Latinx or Hispanic, as are nearly 30% of students transferring to the College this fall. Saint Mary’s has also earned the designation as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institution. And this year, SMC marks the 50th anniversary of the High Potential Program, which provides support and mentorship for first-generation and low-income college students.

“Those who get to know the programs, community, and transformative education at Saint Mary’s realize what a remarkable place this is,” says Shobi Sivadasan, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “We’re excited to welcome these new students to the Gael community. And even more excited to see what they’ll do out in the world beyond Saint Mary’s.” 


New Scholarships 

Saint Mary’s Athletics is home to 16 Division 1 sports teams, which draw students from across the United States and around the world. Arriving on campus to don Gaels colors this year are 108 new student-athletes—89 first-year students and 19 students who transferred to Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s also boasts a robust club sports program, most notably the Men’s Rugby team, which has won multiple national championships and draws international attention.

In terms of gender, about 55% of the Class of ’27 identify as female and 45% identify as male; the class also includes students who identify as non-binary or other gendered. They arrive with an average GPA of 3.6. So what are they interested in studying at SMC? While students don’t have to declare majors during their first year, the areas where they have expressed the most interest include Business Administration, Communication, Biology/Health Science, Psychology, and Kinesiology. In 2022 Saint Mary’s also launched a BA and BS in Computer Science, which has drawn increased interest.

Six students covered in paint in front of the sign GOD IS A GAEL
We are Gaels! The Class of 2027 shows their colors. / Photo by Gerry Serrano

Saint Mary’s also recently established a number of new merit-based scholarship initiatives, including the International Excellence Scholarship, which is open to students from outside the United States. Departmental scholarship programs have also been expanded to include new majors, including Computer Science, Sociology, and World Languages & Cultures.

The Class of 2027 also arrives as Saint Mary’s has once again earned recognition as the No. 4 college in the West in U.S. News and World Report rankings. SMC also appears on the list of top 389 colleges according to the Princeton Review; earns recognition from Money Magazine as among the best colleges for quality, affordability, and outcomes; and appears on Forbes’ list of top colleges and top master’s universities according to Washington Monthly, earning particularly high marks when it comes to service.


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LEARN MORE: Get in touch with a member of the admissions team.

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