My first encounter with Notre Dame was through Summer Scholars, one of our Pre-College programs, which I attended as a rising junior in high school. I lived on campus, took a course in psychology, and reveled in the freedom of being a “college student” for the two-week program. I loved campus and was challenged by my classwork. Even though I was not yet seriously considering college options, I filed Notre Dame away as a place I would like to apply.
My parents were a formative part of my application process; they strongly encouraged me to not have a “first choice” school, but to cast a wide net and see all my options before deciding what school would be the best fit for me. I didn’t have too many thoughts about the type of school I wanted to go to – I knew I wanted it to be small to mid-size, not in the south, and a relatively athletic campus. Coming from the East Coast, this doesn’t eliminate many schools! I ultimately applied to ten schools and three merit scholarship programs (yes, it was a lot of essays). I had acceptances and rejections, but what really made the difference in my decision process was being selected as a finalist for the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program.
At that time, I had gone through two rounds of applications including 20+ short answer questions and filming a video of myself explaining my goals in the program. (Note: this process has since changed, there is no longer a separate application for merit scholarships. Learn more here: https://scholars.nd.edu/) As a finalist, I came to campus to complete an interview weekend. It was at this point that I truly fell in love with Notre Dame, both the school itself and the opportunities and mentorship that would be available to me through the HY program. When I found out I was accepted to the program later that week, I cried and immediately committed to Notre Dame.
I haven’t looked back since that day, and Notre Dame has been incredibly formative in my personal and academic development. It has given me incredible opportunities to meet amazing people and chase my passions, but most importantly it has taught me how to ask questions about the world around me. My Notre Dame journey has made me competitive for national and international opportunities, and next year I will be pursuing my Master’s of China Studies at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. Call me a nostalgic senior, but I’m truly grateful that my life brought me to Notre Dame. Where will your Notre Dame journey take you?