Deferred and Waiting List 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. Please upload all additional materials via your applicant status portal.
- You should also update us on any significant extracurricular accomplishments or awards that you have or will receive after our Restrictive Early Action process. Please upload all additional materials via your applicant status portal. Note: do not send links to Google docs as we cannot open them due to the threat of malware and viruses. Upload all documents directly to your application 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 upload the letter 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 February 1 for consideration in our review of your application.
For those students who are placed on Notre Dame’s waiting list, please know first and foremost that we are extremely grateful for the significant time and effort you have invested in the application process, and we greatly appreciate your continued interest in Notre Dame.
Next Steps 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 their enrollment confirmation deadline. This typically involves submitting a nonrefundable deposit.
- Upload a letter of continued interest to your application portal by April 15.
- 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. We want to make sure your application is as current as possible. Please note that we do not encourage additional letters of recommendation.
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.
How many students were offered a place on the waiting list?
The number of students who opt to remain on the waiting list will fluctuate as students make their final college selections. Historically, about 60% of our applicants offered waiting list status agree to remain on our waiting list.
How many students will be admitted from the waiting list?
This year we have aligned our offers of admissions with the expectation that about 50 to 150 students will ultimately be admitted from the waiting list. With the exception of last year, we have averaged between 50 and 120 offers of admission to students who opted to remain on the waiting list. There have been a few years where we experienced a surge in enrollments and no positions were available.
Who will be admitted from the waiting list?
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. We consider many factors. We will evaluate our class size and needs and start admitting students from the waiting list on a rolling basis later this spring.
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.
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.
When will I learn if I’ve been admitted from the waiting list?
Typically, we begin notifying students who will be admitted from the waiting list between May 3 and May 15.
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 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 submit your financial aid applications.
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 and will be guaranteed housing on campus in one of our 33 residence halls.