Fast Facts


  • Founded: 1987, the charter class of 216 students graduated in June of 1991
  • Alumni: 11,000 graduates, approximately 30 graduates are employed at the school
  • Enrollment: 1,645 students, 51 percent male and 49 percent female
  • Class size: Average class size of 22 with a student to teacher ratio of 14:1
  • Faculty: 109 faculty and 71 percent have advanced degrees
  • Tuition: $16,435 for Catholic families and $18,275 for non-Catholic families, discounted rate offered for additional students
  • Tuition Assistance: One of every four students receives financial assistance. More than $2.8 million to be awarded to families for the 2019-2020 school year
  • Accreditation: Accredited by the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Certified as an International Baccalaureate World School (IB), Member of the College Board
  • Overall awards: Ranked the No.1 Catholic high school in Orange County and the No.1 Co-ed Catholic high School in Southern California by Niche.com
  • Geographically Diverse: Our students live in 42 different communities; SMCHS is home to international students from ten different countries.
  • Transportation: Santa Margarita offers three bus routes serving North and South Orange County and an active carpool group.
  • Closed Campus: SMCHS is committed to a safe, healthy and secure learning environment. Safety measures include a closed campus, partnership with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Text-a-Tip/TIPS incident reporting program, security personnel, emergency preparedness procedures and comprehensive visitor policy.


  • SAT Score (2019 average): 1269 compared to the state average of 1076
  • ACT Score (2018 average): 27.5, compared to the state average of 22.7
  • AP Scholars: 209 AP Scolars in 2019
  • AP Testing: 80 percent of students in 2019 scored a 3 or higher on AP exams compared to the 67 percent global rate.
  • National Merit Semifinalists Three in 2019, more than any other Catholic high school in Orange County; these students scored in the top 1 percent in the U.S.
  • Counselors: Nine counselors oversee class scheduling, college planning and admissions, and personal counseling. A school psychologist supports student learning as well as emotional and social wellness.
  • Higher Level Courses: 107 courses
  • IB World School: The only Catholic International Baccalaureate high school in the county. SMCHS offers both the rigorous full diploma program and the opportunity for students to take IB courses.
  • Auxiliary Studies Program: Comprehensive academic support to assist students with specialized learning needs
  • Learning Strategies Course: For students who need to strengthen their study skills
  • Model United Nations (MUN): Award-winning program with students participating in mock meetings of the UN across the globe
  • Schedule: Seven courses with six classes per day
  • College Bound: 99 percent of the Class of 2019 attends college; the class earned $42 million in scholarship offers with average combined scholarship offers per graduate totaling $100,000. Members of the Class of 2019 attend 146 different colleges across 41 states and five countries. College acceptances for the class tallied 1,991 with a 100 percent acceptance rate at 184 schools.
  • Director of College Relations dedicated to building strong partnerships with universities across the nation.
  • Annual College Fair & College Rep Visits: More than 200 colleges attend the annual college fair; approximately 155 college representatives visit campus annually.


  • Courses in both visual and performing arts: Including film, broadcast journalism, screenwriting, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, orchestra, choir, dance, theater, theater tech, band, steel drums, classical guitar and handbells. The school offers 61 visual and performing arts courses.
  • Orange County Cappies: Student-critic program gives students the opportunity to review other high school productions and have their work published.
  • Talon Theatre Productions: Recognized by the Spirit of the MACY Awards, the Orange County Cappies and the International Thespian Society.
  • Domestic and abroad travel opportunities: The performing arts program has performed at St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Carnegie Hall and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and attended festivals across the nation and in Europe.
  • Eagle Television: Student-run news program produced in state-of-the-art digital media studio.
  • Juried Art Exhibitions: Student artwork is featured in juried art shows including the Festival of Arts.
  • Talon Academy of the Arts: After-school program provides specialized training with guest artists and industry professionals.
  • ComedySports: Improv training program strengthens communication skills.


  • 25 CIF teams, plus club sports Including equestrian, ice hockey and sand volleyball and surfing
  • 88 percent of students participate in athletics. All teams emphasize sportsmanship and character building.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: A three-story athletic center with a 5,800 square-foot fitness and weight room center provides unmatched training opportunities for our student athletes. The center earned LEED silver certification for its eco-friendly design and includes team and film rooms. The campus also includes tennis courts, an aquatics center complete with stadium seating, an Olympic-sized pool, athletic fields, all-weather track and recently installed FieldTurf.
  • 47 students from the Class of 2019 committed to universities for athletics
  • 71 CIF championships, 217 league champions, 121 individual/relay championships and 8 state championships, more than any other school since Santa Margarita opened in 1987
  • Ten-time recipient of the CIF Commissioner’s Cup honoring the top athletic program in the 570-member CIF Southern Section
  • No-Cut Sports: Football, swimming, diving, cross country, girls basketball, water polo, wrestling and track and field all follow a no-cut policy.
  • Competitive: Santa Margarita competes in the Trinity League, touted as one of the top leagues in the nation.


  • Clubs and Activities: More than 90% of the student body participates in over 85 different campus clubs and activities
  • Link Crew eases the transition into high school with upperclassmen serving as mentors to the freshman class
  • Eagles Edge provides “real-world” growth and networking opportunities
  • Top-ranked student spirit section by OCVarsity
  • Modernized Library Media Center provides a technology-based collaborative learning environment as well as quiet study space
  • Chef-prepared campus dining featuring healthy, whole foods by Sapphire at School
  • Leadership Opportunities: Through extracurricular activities, clubs, honor societies, campus ministry programs, the arts and athletic teams, SMCHS students develop leadership and management skills
  • Culturally Diverse: 62% Caucasian, 10% Hispanic, 15% Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% Multiracial, 1% African American, 1% Native American/Alaskan native.
  • Two full-time registered nurses support the mental and physical health needs of students providing first aid, health counseling and health programs.

    • Masses: All-school masses are celebrated throughout the year. Daily mass and weekly adoration are offered in the school’s Sacred Heart Chapel.
    • Peer Ministry: Students serve as faith leaders by coordinating masses, retreats and service opportunities.
    • RCIA Program: Offers students the opportunity to explore becoming Catholic. Interested students study with our faculty and staff.
    • Retreats and Fellowship: Overnight retreats offered for all grade levels, praise and worship gatherings build community and strengthen faith
    • Community Service: Christian service is an integral part of an SMCHS education and shapes the character of our students. All students engage in service through a class project. Immersion opportunities allow students to live out their faith.
    • Campus Chaplain: Santa Margarita has a chaplain on campus providing pastoral care and serving as a witness of religious life.


    • One-to-One Tablet PC Program:
      Puts the latest tablet PC in the hands of every student and teacher to enhance classroom instruction; a Tech Services Center provides on-campus support. Students and teachers use digital notebooks, including digital ink, to collaborate, stay organized and increase efficiency.
    • Microsoft Showcase School:
      One of 41 schools in the nation recognized for transforming the educational experience providing student-centered immersive learning.
    • Technology-Centered Electives:
      Including TV and digital media production, graphic design and computer programming
    • STREAM Program: Integrates science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math to bridge a better understanding of curriculum across disciplines
    • Robotics: The after-school competitive team took top honors in the county in 2018 and has competed at the world championships three times.
    • MAC Lab: A fully equipped Mac lab for graphic design and multimedia design classes.