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Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Private | 9-12 | 1688 students


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Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $343,800. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,070.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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28 reviews of this school

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Posted July 6, 2013

Teachers are worse than public school teachers. Also front desk ladies are always rude and half the time they just tell you to look up your questions on the school website. Also being on the football team was a complete waste of my parents thousands of dollars. If you aren't on the A team for football, you wont even know the plays because the coaches use the B team players as bags holders.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 5, 2013

As a current Santa Margarita student it upsets me to see such negativity about a school in which I pride myself on attending. IN my almost 4 years at Santa Margarita, I have experienced little to no racial attitudes, bullying, or snobby behavior. True, the school is located in a rather wealthy area, but the amount of students who are more humble with their wealth outweigh those who are flashy. I came into SM with 2 friends and a social shell that seemed unbreakable. The people I have met and the things I have experienced have made me into the bubbly and outgoing student I am today, with an overflowing amount of school pride. I am proud to be an Eagle!
—Submitted by a student

Posted April 14, 2013

We were very excited for our son to attend but the snobbiness of the financial aid people gave us a bad taste in our mouth. Her attitude was horrible when we called to ask for questions, her replies were "well, it's all on the website", instead of explaining doubts/confusion or questions. Did not make us feel welcome at all. Our child is very bright and if administration is treating us this way, what is to be expected? We chose a different school based on how welcomed we felt and how much interest they have in our child, that happens with colleges too, the ones who show more interest are the ones who treat and make your child truly feel special and welcome.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 23, 2012

I am a sophmore now at SM and I love this school! Most of the teachers are great and nice! The classes are easy and hard just depends what classes you are taking. Although the deans offices are very strick with dress code etc. I have had some bad luck though at this school a lot, but I still love it. Most of the kids are very snobby because they think there rich and can get anything they want. Also they still catergie you into popular, need, or cool groups etc. So if you not pretty you wint be popular etc. Other than that great school! The athletics are amazing! Football we are state chanps etc! I recommend this school for sure!
—Submitted by a student

Posted April 18, 2012

We will not be sending our child to SM for his sophomore year. We no longer care to pay $15,000 for a geography teacher who talks more about her ex-husband than countries and continents or a science teacher who spends most of the classroom at her computer while telling the students to "fill out the worksheets" to teach themselves on their own. Our son has been an A student for all of his school years and is now struggling with C's. This school favors winning athletic teams over faculty who can actually engage their students in the most basic of subjects.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 9, 2011

I am a Santa Margarita graduate, and I loved my 4 years at SM. My SM experience turned me into an extremely competitive college applicant, and I ended up deciding to attend UCLA. After 2 years of college, I still look back on my time at SM as my fondest memories. My fellow peers there were kind and thoughtful, the school spirit can not be matched, and I always felt I had the full support of teachers and administration. To address some concerns raised by others, I have found Santa Margarita to be an extremely racially inclusive environment. I had friends of many races, and friend groups did not draw themselves on racial lines at all. If someone was to make a racially insensitive remark, I can assure you that it would be not tolerated by their peers or the school AT ALL. Though there are many white students there, I would attest that to it's location right outside the gate of Coto de Caza-- a community that is 89% white. I am so thankful that I was able to attend Santa Margarita, and have truly formed lifelong friendships there. I can honestly say that if I was making a decision on where to send my child, I would choose SMCHS without hesitation.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 30, 2011

They don't follow their own mission statement. Every child is not accepted for who they are. This is a very snobby school, and they only care about your child if it benefits them. Only problem is there aren't any other decent options in the area. Beautiful Campus, and beautiful facility.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 2, 2010

I do agree with the few comments below, SM does have somewhat of a racial student body. As a former SM student, I know by first hand that many students do look down on minorities and will make fun of then on a daily basis. This is even more true for the Mexican janiators, who everyone at the school has extreme disrespect for. Many students don't even conceal the fact that they have some racial animosity towards cultural diversity.
—Submitted by a student

Posted October 24, 2010

I am a freshman at SM, and after hearing so many horror stories of upper class men being so cruel to freshmen at other schools, I was prepared for the worst. However, my experience thus far has been an incredibly satisfying one. I came into the school knowing almost nobody, and the entire student has been incredibly receptive. The administration is well run and strict to the point without crossing the line and giving us all the freedom that is appropriate for high school students. The campus is well protected and has an incredibly close, guarded, and safe feeling to it. The classes are challenging and the teachers most definitely push you to your full potential.I am doing the best I have in school, and it's not incredibly difficult, thanks to the help of the teachers. I am so incredibly happy at SM and would definitely reccommend it to prespective students!
—Submitted by a student

Posted May 1, 2010

SMCHS gives a student a terrific education, teaching them to prepared and to work hard and you will see results in life and in yourself. However, if your teen is Latino or African American your teen will be harrased by the students. The majority of the school is caucasian and the area around it is to and their is a lot of racism towards minorities. Now I am not declaring that every student is a racist but I do believe there is some parent influence on some of the students and that is what is causing this harassment. I do not feel any child should have to endure what my son endured at SMCHS.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 1, 2010

Ever since middle school I have had terribe grades. For my freshman year i went to tesoro and i was nearly held back. My parents transfered me to SM hoping that it would help me. Thanks to SM I am now on the honor roll. I will be going to harvard next year. I dont think any of this woul;d have been possible without SM
—Submitted by a student

Posted December 27, 2009

SMCHS is an incredible education. The rich academics prepare you for the college life, and my parents putting me in this school is the best decision they ever made. If you happen to be deciding between Santa Margarita and Tesoro, definitely choose SM, hands down.. Go Eagles!!!
—Submitted by a student

Posted November 28, 2009

This is an amazing school. The academics are great and so are the teachers. Do not send your child here if they aren't prepared to work hard. There are many high expectations not only from the faculty but also from your peers. One thing I have noticed is that the campus and students give you a safe feeling. Although the school is expensive you get exactly what your paying for.
—Submitted by a student

Posted May 21, 2009

This school is the best! If you want to skate by, this is not the school for you. They have the highest standards, and expect the best from you. Several of my friends transfered in here from the local high schools and love it here. One thing I like at SMHS is the feeling of community. There is a closeness among the students and alot of respect. Students stand when an adult comes in the room, we pray before classes, the dress codes are enforced. The environment is really nice. I'm grateful that my parents sent me to Santa Margarita High.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 2, 2009

This school was amazing I'm so grateful my parents sent me here. It prepared me extremely well for college.
—Submitted by a student

Posted December 19, 2008

The principal is beginning his 2nd year at SM and has already increased school spirit by the tons. He has created a more faith-filled environment and increased the dedication of the teachers to the school. There are always some people who complain about the school, but- the good merits about SM most definitely outweigh the bad.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 26, 2008

Incredible school. If you want to be prepared for college you should definently go here. The Academics are some of the toughest yet most excellent around. School spirit is incredible, and the school plays host to some of the biggest high school sports rivalries in California. Do not send your child to this school if they don't plan on working hard. Colleges love the school, in an interview I had with LMU they said every student earns the grades they get at SM, unlike many other schools in California who inflate grades to the maximum, creating a huge drop out rate when the students get to college.
—Submitted by a student

Posted August 10, 2007

We had a good experience.One son just grad.with a 3.6 while in the ASP program and received extra help. Son # 2 starting with all Honors. They really care about the students! It is a sacrifice but well worth it.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 11, 2007

I'm a current student at this school... My sister attended 11 years ago, and she loved it, along with my parents. However, the school is not in the right direction and is losing its quality. We have been disappointed countless times this year and really don't reccomend this school anymore. It used to be great, but its going downhill.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 19, 2007

As a parent of two recent graduates, I can enthusiastically attest to the outstanding quality of the faculty, curriculum, college preparation and extracurricular activities at Santa Margarita. They are one of the few South Orange County schools to feature an International Baccalaureate program, which both our students took advantage of (they are now attending top ranked colleges back east). The campus is outstanding, with first class facilities. A caring, nurturing environment -- but be prepared to work and play hard!
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 64% 26%
Two or more races 20% 3%
Hispanic 8% 52%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 7% 11%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 1%
Black 1% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. Raymond Dunne
  • Coed
  • Roman catholic
  • NCEA


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  • Religious


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Diocese of Orange
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22062 Antonio Parkway
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Website: Click here
Phone: (949) 766-6000


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