Author: Julia Tombari


For high school seniors, application season is a time of consecutive all-nighters, unparalleled anxiety and stress, and huge expectations for the future; that is for the time being, attending their dream college. Seniors can be found hunching over laptops, reading every bit of information possible on school websites, watching YouTube videos hoping to gain advice and insight, and perusing College Confidential or Naviance, hoping that user ‘magentamonkey777’ is reliable, and that you CAN get into your dream school with X, Y, and Z on your application and a perfect combination of test scores. To put it bluntly, college application season is a time where young adults hope that “the odds will be ever in their favor”. As early admissions decisions for the class of 2019 will be mailed soon, I find myself this Thanksgiving holiday reminiscing on my early admission experience.

Unlike most schools where your admissions decision is just a login and click away, Notre Dame’s decision comes in one of two sizes, a big or a small envelope mailed to your home address. Of course, you can safely say that a big envelope is promising, yet the wait is mentally torturing. Having had ND as a part of my family since I was young, I knew I wanted to attend ND and my obsession with the school during application season you could say was downright obnoxious. I had the fight song on loop on my iPod and had already started my collection of ND logo wear. Every day when I came home from school in November and December, I remember sitting at my desk at home watching YouTube videos on the admissions channel, or of ND students opening up their big envelopes as high school seniors and screaming and jumping up and down while crying and laughing at the same time. As December came around, the daily trip to my mailbox became more and more nerve wracking. I felt like Charlie from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” hoping that my “golden ticket”, or “ticket to the Golden Dome” would be inside that envelope.

Finally, the day came where I came home from a long day at school and my mom handed me my big envelope. I cannot even begin to explain the amount of emotion that overcame me. I was riding an emotional rollercoaster of relief, happiness, and unexplainable joy. Receiving my big envelope, to this day, was without a doubt the best Christmas gift I have ever received. The friends and connections I have made while at Notre Dame are irreplaceable, and the time I have spent learning here has been unreal, and full of zeal and inspiration.

For those of you applying early to Notre Dame and other colleges, as someone who was once in your shoes, I hope that you can find time to self- reflect away from your laptop or smartphone, and give yourself peace of mind during this hectic time. It’s easy to get into the mindset that admissions decisions, whether good or bad, are a reflection of you as a person. Know that no matter where you attend school, whether it be Notre Dame or another institution, you will contribute so much of your talents, convictions, and passions. 

Good luck, and Go Irish!