Admissions & Application FAQ

Is my application complete?

You’ve submitted your application online and are now wondering whether your application is complete. As you can imagine, we receive a high volume of mail at this time of the year that includes letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, standardized test scores and application fees. It will be some time before all this paperwork is accurately matched with a student’s application. Once we have processed all of the supporting documentation we’ve received we will begin to notify those students who are missing a portion of their applications. At that time, it is your responsibility to promptly send the required paperwork.

We understand and appreciate your concern for your application, but contacting our office close to the application deadline is unlikely to be productive. Rest assured that if we receive the missing portions of your application in a timely manner, the evaluation of your application will not be negatively affected. In order to evaluate your application we require: the Common Application which includes the Notre Dame Writing Supplement, the application fee, your essay, one teacher’s evaluation, your full transcript, and a standardized test score (either SAT or ACT). All applicants will receive a final communication from our office via email stating that your application is complete and ready for review.

How do I pay the application fee?

The Notre Dame application fee is $75. Payment of this fee is available online and is located in the ‘Payments’ section through the Common Application web site. The application fee is required to apply to Notre Dame.

Payment methods include the following:

Credit card/eCheck – Secure online payments can be submitted using any major credit card.  Alternatively, providing bank account information allows for submission of an electronic check.
Eligibility for the Common Application Fee Waiver is based on financial need.  Qualified applicants may use this payment method to satisfy the application fee requirement.  Your counselor will receive notice of your intent to use the Fee Waiver, and will then need to verify that you meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Common Application.  Once eligibility is confirmed, the Common Application process will bypass the payment step.
The fee payment process within the Common Application can be managed with ease and transparency regardless of which method you opt to use.

Can I see my application status online?

All applicants will receive a communication from our office via email stating that their application is complete and ready for review. You are not able to see the status of your application, nor are you able to obtain an admissions decision online. All communication regarding your admission decision is done via postal mail.

When will I hear my decision?

Decision letters will be mailed in mid-December for Early Action and early-April for Regular Decision.

How do I apply for financial aid?

You can find information about how to apply for financial aid on the Financial Aid tab of our website. February 15 is the priority deadline to apply for financial aid.

Should I apply Restrictive Early Action or Regular Decision?

Notre Dame has a Restrictive Early Action program.
  • A student applying Early Action to Notre Dame may apply to other Early Action programs.
  • A student applying Early Action may not apply to any college or university in their binding Early Decision process.
  • Students do not indicate a first-choice preference by applying early, and still may wait until May 1 to indicate their decision to attend.

Early Action can be a confusing process because every college and university uses it in a different way. Perhaps the easiest means of understanding how Notre Dame uses the Early Action process is to describe what it is not. It is not the avenue students should take merely because Notre Dame is their first choice. Nor is it easier to gain admission through the Early Action process.

In deciding whether or not to apply Early, a student should ask themselves a simple question: can I submit my best application in October of my senior year? If he or she believes that they can put their best foot forward at that time, then Early Action is probably the correct route for them. However, if a student believes that an extra semester could be beneficial to their application for whatever reason (to raise their grades a little, to take an extra SAT or ACT, to add on to their resume, etc.), then that student should consider applying during Regular Decision.  

For more information on when to apply, please click here. Also, if you have any further questions, please call the Undergraduate Admissions Office at (574) 631-7505.

What kind of credentials do I need to be competitive in the applicant pool?

Admission to the University is competitive. Admissible students possess strong academic records and are usually ranked at or near the top of their high school class. The average student admitted for the class of 2014 was ranked in the top 4% of his or her graduating class. These students also scored well on Standardized Tests. For the class of 2014, the middle 50% of admitted students scored between 1380 and 1510 on the SAT and between 32 and 34 on the ACT. A quarter of the admitted group scored above those ranges and 25% scored below. Students admitted to Notre Dame also build strong extracurricular records and are dedicated, passionate leaders in their communities and are evaluated positively by their guidance counselors and teachers. Finally, students competitive in our applicant pool reveal themselves and their personalities in well-written personal statements. Rather than tell us facts about themselves, they show us their uniqueness in a variety of different ways.

Does Notre Dame have a need-blind admissions policy, and if so, what is it?

Notre Dame has a need-blind admissions policy for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. A student’s financial situation is not considered in the evaluation of his or her application. Notre Dame is committed to meeting 100% of each family’s demonstrated financial need in its need-based financial aid process, which is completely separate from its admissions process.

Is there a paper application?

The Common Application is an online-only application and is not available in paper form. After the application is submitted electronically, portions of the application like letters of recommendation and transcripts can still be mailed to complete your application. You will be able to print-preview the application, but please do not mail the print-preview to us. We recommend printing a copy of your completed application to keep for your files.

What type of classes should I be taking in high school?

Applicants to Notre Dame are encouraged to take the most demanding curriculum offered at their high schools. Usually this includes four years of English, math, foreign language, science, and history. The minimum requirements, however, are as follows:

  • For students intending to enter the College of Arts and Letters or the Mendoza College of Business, excluding the Arts and Letters premedical/predental program and the combined Arts-Engineering program, the 16 required units must be distributed as follows: 4 units of English; 3 units of math, including Algebra, Advanced Algebra, and Geometry; 2 units of foreign language; 2 units of history; and 3 units of additional history, science, foreign language, mathematics, and English courses.
  • For students intending to enter the College of Science, the College of Engineering, the School of Architecture, the Arts and Letters premedical/predental program, or the combined Arts-Engineering program, the 16 required units must be distributed as follows: 4 units of English, 4 units of mathematics, including algebra, advanced algebra, geometry, and advanced mathematics (e.g., trigonometry, pre-calculus, or calculus); 2 units of foreign language; 1 unit of chemistry; 1 unit of physics; and 2 units of additional history, science, foreign language, mathematics, and English courses.

A unit is the credit for a year of satisfactory work in an accredited secondary school. The two language units required must be in the same language. If you lack any of the units required for admissions, you must explain in the application why your high school record lacks those units and describe how you might fulfill the requirements prior to enrolling at Notre Dame. For example, some applicants attend secondary schools which do not offer courses such as physics or foreign languages. If admitted to Notre Dame, they would be advised to eliminate the deficiencies by completing the necessary courses at a local college during the spring and summer. Please be advised that we do include algebra and/or any foreign language course completed during eighth grade in our count of admissions requirements. For example, if you earned credit for one full-year introductory French course as an eighth grader and then completed French II in ninth grade, both these credits will be counted.

What Standardized Tests are required for students graduating high school in 2015?

For our evaluation we will use your highest individual SAT Critical Reading and Math subscores from multiple testing dates to compute your composite score. Final acceptable testing date for the SAT is 1/24/15.

We will use your highest ACT composite scores from a single testing date.  We do not require the writing portion of the ACT.  Final acceptable testing date for the ACT is 2/7/15.

Can I send in supplementary material for review?

Yes, an applicant can send the Admissions Office supplementary material to be reviewed by a particular department at Notre Dame. We would encourage this only to those students interested in studying art, music, or architecture.  We ask our applicants to use the SlideRoom application available through the Common Application for their submissions. The University will only accept supplementary material using this method.  We will not accept physical submissions.

Please note that an applicant must submit the Common Application before uploading media through the SlideRoom application.

The Admissions Office will then direct the material to the appropriate department for review.  Our faculty will review art portfolios for students who intend to major in art or architecture.  Music samples for all intended majors will be reviewed.

Can a student send in more than one teacher evaluation?

We ask that our applicants adhere to our policy of sending one letter of evaluation from a teacher they have had in a core academic discipline during high school. We encourage students to ask the classroom teacher who is most familiar with their work ethic, classroom performance, and character. The student’s high school guidance counselor also has the option of sending a letter of evaluation along with the “Counselor’s Report,” which is available through the online or paper application.

Are there admissions quotas by region or state? What about by high school?

No, we do not have quotas of students we want per region or state. We judge students on the merits of their academic and extracurricular talents rather than where they reside (although we certainly want a geographically diverse student body). If we have more students from one state over another, it is simply because we receive more applications from that one state. For instance, we receive more applications from Illinois than from the combined states of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. It then makes sense that we have more enrolled students from Illinois than from those other states. The same holds true for high schools; we are not looking for a set number of students from a particular school. There are some schools from whom we receive many qualified applications. It then makes sense that more students from that school may be admitted in a given year. However, there is no guarantee that we will admit the same number of students the next year because the quality of the applicants may change.

Does Notre Dame accept Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or SAT Subject Test scores?

We do award credit for scores of 4s and 5s on AP exams, 6s and 7s on IB Higher Level exams, and 700 or above on SAT Subject Tests in Foreign Language. Check the First Year of Studies website for specific tests and scores we accept for credit.

Is an applicant at a disadvantage if they go to a public high school versus a Catholic high school?

When reading an application, we do not put any preference on the type of school a student attends. Rather, we look at the strength of the school. To get a feel for a school’s strength, we will look at its graduation rates, the percentage of its graduates who go on to two-year and four-year colleges, the types of classes that are offered, and the average SAT and ACT scores of the graduating class among other factors.

What GPA do I need to be competitive for admission to Notre Dame?

Many schools use different GPA scales and computation methods, so it is difficult to give standardized information regarding Grade Point Averages. We do not recalculate GPAs for our admissions decisions. Instead, we rely much more heavily on class rank when determining how competitive a student is within his/her school. Competitive students are near the top of their class, no matter how their GPA is computed.

Do you offer off-campus alumni interviews, or do I need to come to campus for an interview?

In our admissions process, we do not grant interviews. We encourage students to let their story shine through on their application for admission. All aspects of the Notre Dame application are thoroughly reviewed by our counseling staff.

Students are welcome to contact through phone or email an Admissions Counselor in order to ask specific questions about Notre Dame or the admissions process. If possible, most students find it beneficial to visit Notre Dame to experience the academics, community, tradition, and spiritual nature of our campus. Once here, students and families can take a campus tour and attend an Information Session given by an Admissions Counselor. Families are welcome to ask the Admissions Counselor any questions they have before, during, or after the Information Session. Because we receive applications from all over the world, a visit to Notre Dame will not affect an admissions decision.

We encourage everyone to explore the Notre Dame website to learn more information about our University.

Should I take the ACT or SAT?

We will accept either the SAT or the ACT at Notre Dame. We do not have a preference for either test. We suggest to our applicants to take the SAT or the ACT test at least twice because we tend to see a jump in the score, especially between the Spring of junior year and the Fall of senior year. Students will often take both the SAT and the ACT to see if they can score higher. Please submit all scores, SAT and ACT, to Notre Dame for review. We will take your best composite score for the ACT. For the SAT we will take the highest individual scores for each of the three sections: critical reading, math, and writing. These three best scores will make up your highest individual SAT score.

Does Notre Dame have special requirements for home-schooled students?

Notre Dame welcomes applications from home -schooled applicants. In a typical year, we will receive 40-50 applications from home schooled applicants. The admission rate for home schooled students is slightly higher than the overall admission rate of 28–30%.

In addition to our standard application requirements, we recommend that applicants who are enrolled in a home school curriculum submit SAT Subject Test scores. Tests in the areas of history, foreign language and science can be particularly helpful as we review the student’s application. Also we encourage home school applications to submit an additional recommendation or two if those teacher and guidance counselor evaluations are coming from a parent. Letters could come from a college professor if the applicant has taken classes at a local college or from an adult who has worked with them in an extracurricular activity and knows them well. 

If you have any questions about applying as a home-schooled student, feel free to call the Admissions Office at 574-631-7505.