There’s no shortage of extraordinary applicants at Notre Dame.

Over 18,000 students applied for the 1,985 places in the First Year class of 2015.

As we evaluate applications, we admit students who excel within the context of our highly competitive applicant pool. We are proud of the students we enroll, and we understand that we can’t admit every incredible student that applies.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

Academic performance in high school

There’s no minimum grade point average or class rank required, but know this: You’re up against the best and the brightest in the world. The more rigorous your course selection, the better your grades, and the higher your class rank, the more competitive your application will be.

High school academic requirements

The University requires the completion of the following high school courses in order to be considered for admission. A unit is the credit for a year of satisfactory work in an accredited secondary school. The two language units required should be in the same language.

For students intending to enter the College of Arts and Letters or the Mendoza College of Business, excluding the Arts and Letters Pre-Health program, Neuroscience and Behavior, and the combined Arts-Engineering program, the required 16 units must be distributed as follows:

  • 4 units of English

  • 3 units of Mathematics - Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry
 (4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of Foreign Language
 (3-4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of Science
 (4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of History/Social Science (3-4 units preferred)

  • 3 units of additional History/Social Science, 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 Pre-Health program, Neuroscience and Behavior, or the combined Arts and Engineering program, the distribution must be:

  • 4 units of English

  • 4 units of Mathematics - Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Advanced Mathematics (e.g. Pre-calculus, Calculus)

  • 2 units of Foreign Language
 (3-4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of Science - Chemistry
 and Physics (4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of History/Social Science (3-4 units preferred)
  • 2 units of additional History/Social Science, Science, Foreign Language, Mathematics, and English courses

Although we require at least 16 academic units for admission, our most competitive applicants will have four units in each major academic area and in the most rigorous level their high school offers. We do include algebra and/or foreign language courses 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, then completed French II in ninth grade, both credits will be counted.

Standardized tests

Either the SAT or the ACT is required for application to the University of Notre Dame.

For our evaluation we will use your highest individual SAT Critical Reading and Math sub-scores 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.

SAT Subject Tests, AP tests, and IB tests are only used in the application process if scores enhance an application. They may also be used for credit and placement in the First Year of Studies.

Home-schooled applicants

In addition to our standard application requirements, three SAT Subject Tests, one each in History, Foreign Language, and Science, are recommended for home-schooled applicants. Students may choose the exams they wish to take within these subject areas. If a home-schooled student has an AP exam in one of these subject areas, it can substitute for the SAT Subject Test. 

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

Extracurricular activities? More like passions.

World-class pianists. Well-rounded senior class leaders. Dedicated artists. Our most competitive applicants are more than just students—they are creative intellectuals, passionate people with multiple interests. Above all else, they are involved—in the classroom, in the community, and in the relentless pursuit of truth.

Letters of evaluation

We request two—and only two—letters of evaluation from every applicant. Your guidance counselor will complete a counselor evaluation and short personal letter, and one of your high school teachers will complete the other. You may choose any high school teacher to write your letter, as long as he or she has taught you in an academic subject area (math, science, English, social science, or foreign language) and knows you well.

Essay: Reflect, have fun, show us who you really are.

The Essay portion of both the Common Application and the Notre Dame Writing Supplement to the Common Application gives our Admissions Committee the opportunity to get to know you.

Your essays are the most enjoyable part of the application reading process. Why? Because we learn about important decisions you’ve made, adventures you’ve survived, lessons you’ve learned, family traditions you’ve experienced, challenges you’ve faced, embarrassing moments you’ve overcome.

We do not offer an interview as part of the admissions process, so it is through your essays that we are able to hear your voice, learn your sense of humor, empathize with your struggles. We get to know the real you, beyond lists of courses, numbers, and activities.