You never really know ‘till you try. Throughout high school, there is one word that continually lingers until graduation: “College.” Seniors in high school fill out application after application in hopes of being accepted into their dream schools.
For me, I had several ideas of where I wanted to go for college. Being from California, it, at first, seemed sensible to look at mostly California schools. However, as a result of my cousin’s constant stream of fervor and love for Our Lady’s University, I gave in and decided to apply to Notre Dame.
Applying to Notre Dame, at first glance, is undoubtedly intimidating – the average test scores and GPAs of incoming students are through the roof! Even though I was pretty involved in high school, I was afraid that my resume and scores were not enough. After all, the University of Notre Dame is an elite institution – one that accepts only the best.
Never count yourself out. The criteria for acceptance at Notre Dame extends far beyond just the grade. Work instead to be the whole package. Be active in your community and do what you enjoy doing. You don’t have to be some gifted protégé or sports champion, but you do have to show that you are someone that works to succeed. Be genuine, and show how your character would act as a valuable addition to the Notre Dame family.
I applied to Notre Dame in the fall of my senior year of high school through the Restrictive Early Action program. What this essentially means is that I applied earlier, and, henceforth, showed interest in Notre Dame above all else. Through this program, one is not allowed to participate in any other early application programs set up by different universities. While it was a bit more difficult to write the essays with less time than it would take through the normal application process, it was definitely a relief to get it all done early. By submitting my application in the fall, I did not have to worry about anything else – only the decision that would come in the mail around December. It also took some stress off of any other applications that I decided to submit via regular decision. Early Action is a great choice for those who just want to get things out of the way. Even though it doesn't necessarily give you a higher chance of admission, it does show initiative and interest in the University. After all, opting to turn in your application months in advance is a bold choice.
Learning that you are accepted early is a blessing. It strips a lot of unnecessary panic from the second half of senior year. While it does take a bit more effort to submit everything early, it is ultimately very worthwhile. Notre Dame is definitely worth the countless hours spent hammering away at the computer screen, trying to construct the perfect essay. Just know that every word is one step closer to the Golden Dome.
I didn’t use any special tricks or connections to get accepted. All I really did was let my application speak for itself, and hope for the best. I just tried my best to communicate who I am, and what I love doing. After all, being yourself is an invaluable tool in a prospective student's arsenal. I really meant every word that I had written in my application - up to the last sentence: “Notre Dame not only fuels my pursuit for spirituality, but also inspires me as an institution true to her name. I would be choosing to leave California only to come home to Notre Dame.”