Undergraduate Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

"The mission of Soka University of America is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life"


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About Soka

Soka University of America is a 4-year, private, non-profit liberal arts college located in Southern California. Soka is located in Aliso Viejo, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. It is founded on the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and respect for the dignity of life and is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs. It offers:

  • 8:1 student/faculty ratio with an average class size of 16
  • Eastern and Western perspectives taught across the non-sectarian curriculum
  • Every student studies a foreign language
  • Every student participates in a semester of study abroad in the junior year

Our current student body totals approximately 400 students. About 50% are from over 40 other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Canada, China, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela and Zambia.

The statistics also show students with strong academic achievement as the average entering GPA is 3.74 and a 1789 SAT Combo (Based on a SAT 2400 scale).

The US students who entered in 2013 were 7% African American, 12% Latino/Hispanic, 38% Asian/Asian American, 25% Caucasian, 3% Native American, 2% Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander, and 13% Not Indicated.

Click here to view the FAQs for Academics at Soka.

View Fast Facts and FAQs on Soka University by clicking here.

Soka's catalog is available online or you may contact Soka and request one.

Application Process

There are three ways to apply for admission:

In addition to academic excellence, Soka values students' commitment, service, active leadership, and the ability to interact well with others.

Soka uses admission processes similar to those at other institutions and acts through its Admission Committee to review student applications and make selections for each entering class. The Admission Committee evaluates an applicant's ability to excel in the classroom and to develop as a thoughtful scholar. Therefore, applicants are evaluated on (but not limited to) the following:

  • High school record for grades 9 - 11
  • Extracurricular activities, leadership and special talents
  • Essays (two)
  • Academic Recommendations (two)
  • Official Test Scores from the SAT with Essay or the ACT with Writing.

You must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent prior to entering Soka. You should also have completed a college preparatory program. Applicants who graduate from high schools outside of the United States or its territories should have completed a high school program that qualifies them for college and university entrance in the United States. Fluency in English, with strong reading and writing skills, is essential.

Although all successful Soka applicants will have excellent academic records, good grades and strong test scores are not enough by themselves for an applicant to be accepted. The committee also reviews an applicant's extracurricular interests, activities, and talents. There is no ideal extracurricular profile for a Soka applicant. However, the committee strongly considers the variety of extracurricular activities in which the applicant has been recognized and, especially, has demonstrated leadership.

The Admission Committee examines an applicant's performance on either the SAT or ACT test, required of all applicants. SAT II tests are not required. Soka does not employ an SAT score numerical cut-off below which a student will not be accepted. An applicant's primary language is considered during review of SAT scores. The committee carefully reads an applicant's personal essays. The essays serve as an important indicator of an applicant's ability to think critically and creatively. The essays are also an extremely important avenue for the Admission Committee to discover something personal about the applicant and about his or her reasons for choosing Soka. The essay provides applicants the opportunity to show the committee who they are beyond their grades and test scores. Finally, applicants must submit recommendations from two faculty members who know them and their work. One recommendation can come from the applicant's guidance counselor, principal, or headmaster, as appropriate. The recommendation is most helpful when the writer knows the applicant well. In summary, Soka seeks students who demonstrate the real potential to live the mission of Soka in their lives after graduation.

Yes, we use two admission periods. The Early Action application deadline is November 1st with an admission decision announced by December 1st. At Soka, Early Action is not binding, but provides applicants an early decision. Early Action is suggested only for academically superior applicants. Students who are not accepted during Early Action will automatically have their applications rolled into the Regular Admission cycle for further admission consideration, therefore an applicant need not re-apply to Soka for the Regular Admission cycle. The Regular Admission application deadline is January 15th with an admission decision announced by March 1st. Admitted students who wish to attend Soka are required to pay a US $400 non-refundable tuition deposit by May 1st.

No, you do not need to start over. We realize that it takes a lot of effort to get all of these materials to Soka University. If you have a "partial file" at Soka after the Early Action deadline of November 1st, we will keep it open so that you may complete it during the Regular Admission process. Soka's admission process requires materials from the domestic or international admission checklist. If you missed the Early Action period, please don't be discouraged. We accept the majority of our class during the Regular Admission period and both groups are evaluated in exactly the same manner.

Yes, you can make the following additions to your application: (1) You may add new SAT or ACT scores taken since the Early Action deadline; (2) You may send Soka official school grades/transcripts for any coursework taken during the fall if you wish, although it is not required. You may not send another essay or submit new letters of recommendation or make other changes except for the test scores and grades.

Application Requirements

The SAT code is 4066. With the Soka college code, the testing agency can send results directly to Soka. Soka's ACT code is 0467. It is important that you request that your scores be sent to us directly from the appropriate agency; Soka does not accept scores reported by the applicant or on the high school transcript. SUA does not require the SAT II-SAT Subject Test.

Yes, applicants submitting SAT scores to fulfill the test score requirement must take the Essay portion.  You can register for the SAT and elect the Essay portion or you can add the Essay to an existing registration.  For ACT takers, the Writing section is required.

Yes, Soka will accept either the old SAT or the redesigned SAT (first administered March 2016). Soka will not accept scores older than 5 years from the testing date.

Yes, we accept fee waivers for our Application. Your High School Counselor can send us a fee waiver from College Board, NACAC or through the Common Application. The fee waiver must be mailed or submitted through the Common App (we do not accept faxed, or emailed documents). If you are applying using the Soka Online Application, we will notify you via email once the fee waiver is received with instructions on how to submit your application. All fee waivers must be received by us no later than November 1 for Early Action and January 15 for Regular Admission. Any questions regarding fee waivers can be directed to admission@soka.edu or 949-480-4150.

International Requirements

For purposes of admission to Soka University of America, international students are defined solely on their citizenship/residency status.  If a student does not hold citizenship or permanent residency in the United States, the student is classified as an international student.

Yes, all applicants are required to take either the SAT with Essay or ACT with Writing.  Test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency; Soka does not accept scores reported by the student or by the high school.  Click here to find a SAT test center near you and click here to find an ACT test center near you.

Students applying for International admission to Soka University of America will need to fulfill an English proficiency requirement. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will be a required test score submission. Students applying for International Admission and whose native language is English will need to contact admission@soka.edu for details.

The IERF (International Education Research Foundation) detail report converts and authenticates your academic work completed outside of the United States to the US equivalency.  The IERF Detail Report is required for all coursework completed outside of the United States; this is true even if the primary language of instruction is English. The academic documents required to produce your IERF Detail Report varies by country.  Please visit the IERF website to see what the requirements are for your country: http://ierf.org/index.php/individuals/country-specific-requirements/. The process to obtain an IERF Detail Report takes on average 1 month to complete; for this reason we urge you to start this process early to avoid having to pay rush service and shipping fees.

Who can Attend?

Soka is open to highly motivated students of all nationalities and beliefs who have excelled in a range of academic courses. Soka carefully considers a number of criteria for admission without a rigid emphasis on any one factor. We extend our need-blind admissions policy and holistic application review to all students without regard to citizenship or immigration status. For more information on application requirements and policies for all applicants, we encourage you to contact the Office of Admission.

If you are currently attending a college or university you may still apply, however all admitted students enter as first-year students.  Soka does not accept college credits in place of required course work needed to graduate because of its unique interdisciplinary curriculum.  However, applicants with completed college coursework must still submit college transcripts, as the courses they have taken may be considered during the evaluation process for admission.

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