Undergraduate First-Year Admissions

We're excited that you're considering Dominican University of California! We are here to guide you, answer your questions and prepare you for the beginning of your Dominican story. Let's get started. 

Start Your Journey Here

The first-year admission process includes the evaluation of several factors, including academics, leadership both inside and outside the classroom, recommendation from a teacher, counselor or community leader and your personal essay. We’ve boiled this down to just five easy steps. 

Upcoming Admissions Events

Apply to Dominican in Five Steps:

  1. Write your personal essay. (Please see guidance in the FAQ listed below.)

  2. Complete and submit your application. (Free for most students.)

  3. Ask your high school to send your transcripts (grades 9-11) to Dominican. (Your counselor will know how.)

  4. Decide whether to submit your test scores. Please note — while Dominican is test optional for most majors, nursing students and homeschooled students are required to submit SAT or ACT test scores. International students who need to demonstrate English proficiency should check our International Admissions page.  

  5. Decide whether to submit a letter of recommendation. Please note — for most students, a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or community leader is optional. Only nursing majors are required to submit letters of recommendation.

Ready to begin? You have two choices: 

Apply Through the Common Application Apply Through The Dominican Application 


Application and Aid Deadlines

Dominican has a rolling admissions policy, which means we evaluate applications as they are received and will continue to evaluate applications until we’ve filled all the slots for our incoming class. 

We also have priority deadlines for first-year students. This means if you apply before the priority deadline, you have a higher chance of getting admitted and/or receiving a scholarship.

Please note — the Nursing major deadline is final.

Fall Priority February 1, 2020 
Spring Priority December 1, 2020

Rolling Admissions: Accepting applications through June, but financial aid is not guaranteed. 

Fall Priority February 1, 2020

All students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the first step towards receiving need-based financial aid from the University. 

Deadline: The FAFSA opens October 1 each year. To qualify for a Cal Grant, the FAFSA must be submitted by March 2. 

Cal Grant Deadline March 2, 2020

To learn more about scholarships and financial aid at Dominican, visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled our most frequently asked admissions questions below. Have a question not included here? Connect with an admissions counselor today

Most first-year students are not required to submit test scores as part of the admissions process. When you apply, you can choose whether to include your test scores or not.

(Students who do not qualify for the test-optional policy include: nursing majors, homeschooled students, and international students needing to show English language proficiency.)

Students who choose to be Test Optional may upload any of the following to supplement their application:

  • A graded paper completed for an academic course in the last three years of high school, including senior year.
  • A link to a digital portfolio or website demonstrating a talent or skill.
  • A reference letter regarding leadership activity in an organization such as civic, church, social or high school.
  • Proof of attainment of Eagle Scout through Boy Scouts of America or Gold Award through Girl Scouts of the USA along with evidence of the type of project/issue and the results. 

Learn more about our Test-Optional Policy

Yes. If you are submitting test scores, the highest SAT subscores for evidence-based reading and writing, and the math sections will be used if you have taken the test more than once. For the ACT, the highest composite score will be used.

You may choose from one of the following essay prompts:

  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. 
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? 
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. 

The Nursing and Health Science/Pre-Occupational Therapy programs are competitive. To assist the Admissions Committee when reviewing your file, applicants to these programs will be required to submit an additional essay that addresses the following: 

  • Why would you like to major in Nursing or Occupational Therapy and what contributions do you see yourself making to the profession? 

You should prepare to graduate from an accredited high school with a total of 15 units in college preparatory subjects, to include the following:

  • Four years of English
  • Two years of one international language 
  • Two years of college preparatory mathematics — algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc. (3 to 4 years preferred) 
  • One year of lab science to be taken in grades 10-12 (2 years preferred) 
  • One year of U.S. history or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year U.S. government (two years preferred) (one year of world history or Western civilization is an acceptable alternative for international students)

We also encourage students to choose additional courses in at least two of the following areas: Art, Computer Science, English, History, International Language, Music, and Social Science.

Yes. Dominican understands the academic challenge and motivation inherent in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The University will grant transfer credit of lower-division semester units for each Higher Level Subject examination passed with a score or grade of 4 or higher. Please note — no credit will be awarded for Standard Level passes. 

There is no limit to the number of IB or Advanced Placement (AP) exam credits that may apply to General Education requirements; however, no more than a total of 30-semester units of combined IB and/or AP credit may apply towards the bachelor's degree at Dominican.

General Education requirements that may be met by IB examination credit:

  • Mathematical Thinking and Quantitative Reasoning (MT)
  • Social Science (SS)
  • Natural Science (NS), Biological Science (NSB), and Physical Science (NSP)
  • Creative and Performing Arts (CA)
  • International Language matriculation requirement (IL)

Students wishing to demonstrate content knowledge equivalent to a specific course at Dominican should submit syllabi from their IB courses for assessment by faculty in each discipline. Pre-Nursing and Pre-Occupational Therapy students must submit syllabi from their IB courses both to the discipline in which the course is offered (e.g., Biology or Chemistry) and also the Nursing department.

Refer to the 2019-20 Academic Catalog to learn more. 

If you were homeschooled, we welcome your interest in Dominican University of California. Please read the following guidelines to learn more about what is required to become eligible for admission consideration: 

  • Provide transcripts for any courses that you took through a homeschool umbrella program, a local high school or an accredited college or university.
  • If you don’t have official transcripts, you will need to provide a detailed outline of your homeschool curriculum, including subject areas studied, level of instruction, time spent on each discipline, texts read, work produced and assessment of performance or grade. In addition, the person (other than yourself) who has been most responsible for your overall academic program should submit a short narrative that summarizes your educational experience. 
  • Submit official test scores from either the SAT or ACT. Please note — test scores are waived if you graduated from high school more than two years ago.
  • Homeschooled students are not required to submit an equivalency diploma, however, we do require admitted students to present the following: proof of graduation, such as a homeschool diploma (a certificate of completion that is considered the equivalent of a high school diploma in the applicant's home state), or results from a GED test prior to enrollment at Dominican.
  • We strongly encourage homeschooled students to visit campus and complete an admissions counseling appointment with a member of our admissions staff.

The Dominican Difference

What makes Dominican stand out? Our students, our outcomes...

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In the nation for social mobility

Ranked as a top school in Stanford research.

What else?

...our location, our rankings, our diversity. 

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Ranked nationally

Ranked in the top one-third by Wall Street Journal for delivering outcomes and quality education.

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Ethic diversity

Dominican students who identify as ethnically diverse.

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Admissions Tours and Events

Visit our campus, located in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We offer personalized tours, group tours and Campus Visit Days throughout the year. 

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Student Ambassadors

Our team of student ambassadors are here to help you throughout your admissions journey.

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Reimagining Citizenship

Dominican and the city of Novato have teamed up to offer a unique scholarship program in which students receive a high-quality college education while engaging with the community through local government.

Reimagining Citizenship
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Civic Action Fellowship

Dominican has partnered with California Volunteers and AmeriCorps to offer an innovative fellowship that draws on public service as a way to build your resume and earn funds to assist with college tuition.

Civic Action Fellowship
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Tuition and Financial Aid

A degree from a private university like Dominican University of California is more accessible than you might think. We’re here to help you and your family discover the possibilities.

LEARN MORE About Tuition and Aid

Meet our Team

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Maria Gentile

Director of Undergraduate Admissions
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Dennis Yan

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions
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Julissa Ramirez-Romo

Undergraduate Admissions Counselor
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Alyssa Pedersen

Undergraduate Admissions Counselor
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Robert Bassin, MA, MBA

Transfer Admissions Counselor

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Dominican University of California, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901