Mater Dei High School

Mater Dei High School Photo #1 - Mater Dei High School: A Tradition of Excellence in Catholic Education Since 1950. Entrance Exam: Saturday, 2/11 at 7:45am. Register online at Application Available NOW at
Founded in 1950, Mater Dei is more than a high school.
We are a community built on Catholic fellowship and intellectual rigor, dedicated to developing our students' talents as they pursue their dreams of academic excellence, artistic distinction, athletic glory, and spiritual growth.
For 70 years, Mater Dei and its students have influenced Orange County through campus ministry, the arts, academics and athletics.
Mater Dei students continue to become National Merit finalists, county-wide science fair winners, CIF champions, award-winning performers and artists and much more! Our students are characterized by curiosity, ambition and service to others.
Mater Dei students take these lessons with them as they move on to some of the most prestigious universities and well into their professional lives in the worlds of medicine, law, technology, finance, education, entertainment, government, business and ministry.
Mater Dei High School recognizes the value of each and every student and his or her contribution to our traditions of Honor, Glory and Love which have been a part of the Monarch experience since our inception.
Whether you`re a prospective student or parent, alumnus, lifetime parent, current student or parent, or grandparent, know that Mater Dei is a place to call home.
We are a family. Thank you again for visiting our site and we look forward to the opportunity to see you in person on campus.

Top Placements

Mater Dei High School places among the top 20% of private schools in California for:

School Overview

School Membership(s)School Assoc.National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Religious AffiliationRoman Catholic
Grades OfferedGrades 9-12
Learning Difference ProgramsYes
Learning Programs SupportedDocumented learning or attention differences
Year Founded1950
Summer School OfferedYes
Summer Program DetailsLink to Summer Program Details

Student Body

Total Students2,152 students
Student Body TypeCo-ed
% Students of Color
State avg.: 45%
Students by Grade Mater Dei High School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers105 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio20:1
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size28 students
Number of AP Courses25 courses
List of Courses OfferedLink to List of Courses
Advanced CoursesAP Art 2D & 3D Design, AP Art History, AP Art: Drawing, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Capstone Seminar, AP English Lit & Comp, AP European History, AP French Language and Culture, AP Language and Composition, AP Latin Literature, AP Macroeconomics, AP Music Theory, AP Physics 1, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Statistics, AP US Gov't and Politics, AP US History
Average SAT score1160
Average ACT score25
Matriculation DataMatric. DataLink to Matriculation Data
Classroom Dress CodeCasual
(Uniforms Required)

Finances and Admission

Admission DeadlineDec. 14 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost$16,900
Tuition NotesNon-Catholic Tuition is $15,500
% on Financial Aid
Acceptance Rate
National avg.: 85%
Admissions DirectorJennifer Hornbuckle '03
Admissions AssociateMrs. Lisa Rosales


Total Sports Offered21 sports
SportsBaseball, Basketball, Cheering, Cross Country, Dance, Drill Team, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Sailing, Soccer, Softball, Surf Team, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, WrestlingBaseballBasketball,
CheeringCross Country,
DanceDrill Team,
GymnasticsIce Hockey,
Surf TeamSwimming,
TennisTrack and Field,
VolleyballWater Polo,


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.53 extracurriculars
ExtracurricularsExtra-curric.Biking and Cycling Club, Bowling Club, California Scholarship Federation (CSF), Chess/Strategy Club, Computer Club, Debate & Forensics, Disc Club/Vinyl Appreciation Club, Drama Club, E.A.R.T.H. Club (Environmental Club), Fashion Club, Film Club, Fishing Club, Future USCholars, Habitat For Humanity, Hockey Club, Home Economics Club, Interact Club, International Club, Junior States of America (JSA), Kaleidoscope, Key Club, Knitting Club, Latin Club, Magic Club, Make a Wish Club, Martial Arts Club, MD Disney Club, Model United Nations (MUN), Monarch Ministry, Music as Medicine, Musical Theater Club, National Art Honor Society (NAHS), National Honor Society (NHS), Origami Club, Pacific Islander Club, Photography Club, Project Lunchbox, RAD Camp Club, Red Cross Club, Renaissance, Rock Musician Club, SADD

Club or Organization:
Anime Club, Asian American Club, Astronomy Club, Monarch Television Club, Sailing Club, Scarlet Ambassadors, Science Club, Snowboarding Club, Surf Club, Table Tennis Club, Vinyl Record Club

School Notes

  • Mater Dei is a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory high school located in Santa Ana, California. 
  • Founded 1950
  • School colors: Scarlet & Gray
  • Mascot: Monarch (Lion)
  • Enrollment fall 2016 - 2,179 students making us the largest non-public school west of Chicago
  • Student ratio is: Male - 46% / Female - 54%
  • Accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and is co-accredited Western
  • Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Member of College Board and Member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • 99% college placement
  • 28:1 student/teacher ratio; average class size is 25-30 students
  • School wide, mandatory, random drug-testing program fosters a safe, drug-free environment
  • Closed campus; 24 hour security
  • 40% of the student body receives need based financial aid through the generosity of Mater Dei benefactors and the Bishop`s Assistance Fund through the Diocese of Orange
  • Apple Distinguished School
  • To understand the success of our sports teams, performing arts programs and other extra-curricular activities, look inside the students themselves. Teachers, administrators, and coaches respect each student, knowing that if they're at Mater Dei, they know a lot about dedication. The result is extraordinary commitment to self-discipline and teamwork in all chosen school activities.
  • 35% of the professional staff coach, moderate or direct extracurricular programs
  • More than 91% of the student body participates in at least one co-curricular or extra-curricular program
  • 70% of student body are registered members of 40 school clubsASB (Associated Student Body) involves over 350 students who organize and coordinate more than 150 school activities including rallies and dances
  • MDTV informs the students of upcoming events and offers courses in television production
  • The Crown yearbook and Scarlet Scroll student newspaper offer hands-on publications and print production experience to students.
  • Mater Dei's Campus Ministry program and Religious Studies Department involves the entire school community through faith development and enrichment through service, outreach, retreats, daily prayer, pastoral counseling and Reconciliation.
  • Our students come from every city in Orange County bringing a variety of gifts and talents to a large school with a small school atmosphere. Just as a family cares for each individual, so does Mater Dei. When young people and their parents get to know the Mater Dei family, they want to become a part of it.
  • Culturally Diverse
  • 48% Caucasian
  • 32% Hispanic
  • 16% Asian
  • 3% African-American
  • 1% Native American
  • 1% Pacific Islander
  • 7% Other
  • Race Number exceeds 100% due to reporting of multiple ethnicities
  • Religiously Diverse
  • 80% Catholic; 20% represent a variety of other faiths
  • 62% of student body come from Catholic elementary schools; 38% attended public/private schools
  • Geographically Diverse
  • Mater Dei is centrally located in Orange County in the City of Santa Ana. We are 2.5 miles north of South Coast Plaza.
  • Students live in every city in Orange County; some commute from Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
  • Mater Dei offers a comprehensive academic program in college prep, honors and Advanced Placement. Those who are motivated to learn and work hard, within a college-preparatory curriculum, find success at Mater Dei and beyond.
  • Mater Dei has had 138 National Merit Finalists and One Gates Millennial Scholar in its history
  • 22 Honors and 22 AP classes offered; 58% of the student body is enrolled in Honors and/or AP courses
  • Electives offered in visual arts, television production, math, performing arts, physical education, science, social studies, language and business & technology
  • 78% of students appear on the honor roll with a 3.0 + GPA
  • Daily peer-to-peer and faculty tutoring offers students the extra help they need to succeed
  • The Muth Family Learning Center serves 10% of our students who have diagnosed special learning needs
  • The College and Career Resource Center provides support for students to prepare for life after Mater Dei
  • The Guidance & Counseling Center is supported by seven academic counselors, five personal counselors
  • Located in our Guidance & Counseling Center is our GatewayCenter: it houses the tools our students need to find helpful workshops, college planning and research, assistance with internships, summer experiences, alumni connections, mentors and other opportunities to connect with the real world.  It is a hub where students can meet, learn and explore resources in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
  • Teaching faculty are credentialed; over 40% have advanced degrees
  • Over 5% of faculty/staff and coaches are MD alumni
  • SAT and ACT Scores are above national and state averages
  • Mater Dei takes a comprehensive approach to Ed Tech from its core philosophy to the dynamic wireless infrastructure to online safety
  • All students and teaching faculty utilize an iPad which has enhanced the educational and assessment process with digital textbooks, applications and online learning resources through
  • Over 52 dynamic, cost effective e-text titles are available.
  • Over 90% of books are electronic for most incoming freshmen. 
  • Over 500 approved learning apps and platforms including Blackboard Learn, Keynote, Notability, Pages, and the student-created Mater Dei High School App to name a few. 
  • Extron MediaLink, an integrated digital multi-media system is in all classrooms for projection and collaboration
  • Re-imagined state-of-the art library opened in September 2013 and includes learning commons, tech hub, private study rooms, iMac workstations and print corrals, LibGuide digital portals for high quality research information.
  • It is an exciting time to be an artist at Mater Dei. Through involvement in either performing or visual arts, students have avenues of creativity in and out of the classroom. Over 40% of the student body participates in the visual and performing arts programs.
  • Performing Arts 
  • The Performing Arts Department includes comprehensive Choral and Hand-bell, Instrumental, Theatre, Dance, and Pep programs.Students sing, play, dance, and act, and run crew in a wide variety of performances throughout the school year.
  • Performing Arts faculty members are artistically proficient and accomplishedMusical and theatre groups excel in festivalsDance Team, Cheerleading Squad, and Song Team compete nationally each year.
  • Many performing artists are admitted to prestigious colleges with some receiving scholarships to continue their studies in music, theatre or dance.
  • Visual Arts
  • The Visual Arts Program offers an array of classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced artists in various mediums including pencil, paints, ceramics, photography and graphic design.
  • Student artwork is showcased throughout campus and is featured in the Annual Student Art Show each spring.
  • Students have exhibited work in a number of art shows including Imagination Celebration, Color it Orange Juried Art Exhibition, and the California Art Education Association Youth Art Month Exhibition to name a few.
  • The athletics program at Mater Dei offers 24 different sports programs over three seasons with multiple levels in each program.
  • Over 50% of MD students participate in athletics as athletes, statisticians, managers or trainers
  • State of the art facilities include aquatic center, gym, athletic fields, track, weight room, golf practice facility and baseball complex
  • 50 student athletes from the Class of 2016 signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in collegiate athletics
  • Over 100 National, State and CIF championships won by athletic teams
  • Ranked #1 by ESPN Rise & and #2 by Sports Illustrated for comprehensive athletic program
  • Two Heisman trophy winners and seven Olympians (four in the 2016 Summer Games) in the school's history
  • Four National Gatorade Players of the Year and 12 State Players of the Year.
  • Christian education is intended to "make people's faith become living, conscious and active, through the light of instruction" (The Bishop's Office in the Church, 14). Mater Dei is a unique setting within which this ideal can be realized in the lives of our students. Many Mater Dei students become leaders in the Church and the community.
  • 100% of student body complete at least 80 hours of community service prior to graduation
  • Class of 2016 completed nearly 80,000 volunteer hours at hundreds of organizations an average of 160 hours per student
  • Over 400 students involved in daily and weekly liturgies and prayer services. Over 500 students participate annually in retreats
  • Over 500 students participate annually in our on-campus Special Games Outreach, which invites over 250 athletes with special needs to compete, play and have fun!
  • Building on overv65 years of excellence, Mater Dei is rich in tradition and a belief in the very best.
  • First graduating Class of 1953 created the school traditions that are alive and well with today`s generation of Monarchs
  • Alumni network of nearly 27,000 have pursued careers in medicine, law, technology, finance, government and ministry.
  • Active alumni association with online social networking through Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram. 
  • Class reunions keep Monarchs connected to former classmates, faculty and their alma mater
  • Family events throughout the school year (the Family Mass & Reception, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Brunch, Grandparents Day and Marian Mass) unite the Mater Dei family in a spirit of faith while celebrating our bondSchool publications 
  • Scarlet & Gray Magazine (bi-annually) and The Scarlet Scroll (student written, online monthly newspaper) keep the MD family informed of events, activities and updates in the community
  • Mater Dei is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of all students, faculty, staff, and guests. An atmosphere of mutual love and respect exists at our school, while the disciplinary procedures address issues that may disrupt our school's commitment to family values.
  • Mater Dei has adopted a zero tolerance policy for certain behaviors deemed a danger to our school community: Any student directly associated with or conspiring to bring a gun, gang, or drugs for sale onto the campus or to any Mater Dei function or activity will be subject to immediate expulsion.
  • School-wide mandatory, random drug testing, initiated in 1997, is a pro-active program designed to create a safe, drug-free environment for students and to assist them in getting help when needed.

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