Deferred and Waiting List Applicants

Deferred Applicants


The Office of Undergraduate Admissions releases Restrictive Early Action decisions in mid-December and, for most, this results in a definitive decision—admit or deny. However, some applicants might receive a deferred decision.


A deferred decision means that the admissions committee is not yet ready to make a final decision on a student’s application. We receive about one-third of our total applications during the Restrictive Early Action cycle, and our staff wants the chance to evaluate deferred students’ applications within the context of the larger Regular Decision pool. Being deferred is not the end of the admissions process. With a highly competitive applicant pool, we are very serious about which students we choose to defer, and we only do so if we feel that they will be competitive later in the process.


Advice for Deferred Applicants

  • Keep us updated with any changes to your application. The most important part of this is sending us your first semester senior year grades. Many high school counselors will do this automatically, but if not, this should be a top priority for you. The admissions committee wants to see that students are maintaining a strong academic performance throughout their senior year, particularly if the applicant is taking high-level courses. Being informed of any changes in GPA or class rank can also be helpful in our evaluation process.
  • You should also update us on any significant extracurricular accomplishments or awards that you have or will receive after our Restrictive Early Action process. The easiest way to do this is to upload additional materials via your applicant status portal.
  • You do not need to submit any additional letters of recommendation. We generally do not encourage letters of recommendation beyond the required academic teacher letter and optional counselor letter, which you submitted with your original application.
  • If Notre Dame is truly one of your first-choice schools, you may also write a letter of desire explaining why you believe Notre Dame is the best school for you. You may send this letter directly to your regional admissions counselor and/or upload to your applicant status portal so we can be sure to add it to your admissions file. This letter of desire is a great opportunity to tell the admissions committee a little bit more about yourself and to explain why you would love to attend Notre Dame.
  • Finally, be patient. We know that the stress and anticipation of the college admissions process may be weighing on you right now, but the best advice we can give is to relax and let the process take its course.

Note: Please submit any additional materials no later than March 1 for consideration in our review of your application. 


Waiting List Applicants


For those students that are placed on Notre Dame’s waiting list, we recognize the time and effort you have invested in the application process, and we thank you for your continued interest in Notre Dame.


Advice for Students on the Waiting List

  • Confirm your place on Notre Dame’s waiting list through your applicant status portal. This action lets us know that you would like to be considered for admission from the waiting list. You can also indicate if you are no longer interested in attending Notre Dame. We understand that some students prefer the resolution of moving forward with another college or university, and we respect that decision.
  • Commit to enrolling at another college or university before the May 1 enrollment confirmation deadline. This typically involves submitting a nonrefundable deposit. You must make all necessary preparations to attend another institution before this date.
  • Complete your financial aid application if applicable. Notre Dame is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of every student admitted to the University. Even though the priority deadlines have passed, it is not too late to submit your financial aid application and supporting documents.
  • Share any significant application updates with your regional admissions counselor through your applicant status portal, such as updated transcripts and noteworthy accomplishments. A lot can happen between January 1 and May 1 and we want to make sure your application is as current as possible. Please note that we do not encourage additional letters of recommendation.
  • In addition to your classroom and extracurricular achievements, we are interested in learning about what Notre Dame means to you and why you wish to attend. Therefore, if the 150-word limit for the “What excites you about attending Notre Dame?” essay prompt was not enough to express your thoughts, feel free to expand upon that question and share it with us.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why does Notre Dame create a waiting list?


The size and strength of our applicant pool precludes us from admitting all of the great applicants whom we envision thriving on our campus. Creating a waiting list allows us to select additional students who will compose our first-year class if space allows following the May 1 enrollment confirmation deadline.


How many students were offered a place on the waiting list?


On average about 1,500 students receive the waiting list offer each year. About half of them agree to remain on the waiting list.


How many students will be admitted from the waiting list?


We don’t know. Historically, 50-100 students are admitted from the waiting list each year. Some years we admit more (100+); other years we have admitted zero.


Who will be admitted from the waiting list?


We don’t know. This is the most difficult question to answer as we believe every student on our waiting list is capable and worthy of being a Notre Dame student. After the May 1 enrollment confirmation deadline passes, we will evaluate our class size and needs and see how we can meet those needs. We consider many factors.


Are applicants on the waiting list ranked?


No. Notre Dame does not determine any ranking system for those who have been offered a place on the waiting list.


Can I visit campus if I’m on the waiting list?


We do not encourage students on the waiting list to visit campus. For those who choose to, we offer general information sessions and group campus tours. Students who visit campus are not more likely to be admitted.


Is admission from the waiting list need-blind?


Yes. Notre Dame is need-blind for all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Notre Dame is need-aware for all international students. We are committed to this policy when admitting students from the waiting list. Being need-blind means we do not use one’s need (or lack of need) for financial assistance as a factor in our decisions.


How do I send my updates to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions?


Students who decide to send any of the recommended updates are asked to upload them via the "Upload Materials" section of their applicant status portal. It is our preference that updates are sent together as a package rather than in multiple uploads. All updates should be sent before May 1.


When will I learn if I’ve been admitted from the waiting list?


We anticipate notifying students who will be admitted by mid-May. However, decisions could be made on a rolling basis until late June if necessary. Final notifications of admission decisions will be sent by the end of June.


If I am admitted from the waiting list, how will I be notified?


The admissions staff makes every effort to place a personal phone call to each student who is being admitted from the waiting list. An official written offer of admission is then mailed to the student’s home.


Is admission from the waiting list binding?


No. Students admitted from the waiting list will be given a period of time of at least one week to confirm whether they will or will not accept our offer of admission.


Is there financial aid available for students admitted from the waiting list?


Yes. Notre Dame is committed to meeting the full demonstrated need of every student who is admitted. If you haven’t already, please complete the financial aid application.


Is there on-campus housing available for students admitted from the waiting list?


Yes. If you are admitted from the waiting list, you are as much a Notre Dame student as anyone else who will enroll.