University of Notre Dame Reviews a Record Number of 9,683 Restrictive Early Action Applications for the Class of 2026

Author: Don Bishop


(Updated: 12/20/2021) Notre Dame has completed its review of a record number of 9,683 Restricted Early Action (REA) applications for the undergraduate Class of 2026, a 25 percent increase over the previous year when 7,743 students vied for a position in the Class of 2025. A total of 1,675 applicants were admitted in this year’s REA cycle.  

In the second year of a test-optional policy, 54 percent of REA applicants submitted test scores and 46 percent elected to go test-optional. This is the same distribution as the previous year. Of the admitted students, 30 percent did not submit a test score.

The continuation of the test-optional plan is in response to the impact of the global pandemic and the accessibility of standardized testing. It allows students to choose whether to submit a test score to be included in the evaluation of their application. The goal is to empower students to decide what they consider to be the strongest application to put forward to Notre Dame.

The REA applicant pool includes an increased number of applicants from students of color and international students for a total of 25 percent. The number of first-generation college applicants was 37 percent higher than last year. 

The make-up of admitted students is:

11% First-generation students

12% International students or U.S. citizens abroad or permanent residents

12% Asian/Pacific Islander students

10% Black students

17% Hispanic/Latino students

1% Native-American students

Notre Dame released REA admissions decisions Thursday, December 16, 2021, at 6:42 p.m. ET, a nod to the University’s founding year of 1842. Students from 4,220 high schools from 50 states and 116 different countries learned of their decisions as they logged into their applicant status portals around the world: 21 percent from the Northeast, 14 percent from the Southeast, 19 percent from the Midwest, 19 percent from the Central Midwest, 19 percent from the West/Southwest, and 10 percent from outside of the U.S. See the above graphic for a geographical breakdown of admitted students. 

Of the admitted student pool, 1,204 high schools are represented, including 43 percent public, 40 percent Catholic, and 18 percent private. 

The academic interests of this applicant pool varied. Twenty-six percent indicated intended majors in the College of Arts and Letters, 22 percent in the College of Engineering and School of Architecture, 24 percent in the Mendoza College of Business, and 28 percent in the College of Science.                             

Typically, the University admits between 1,600 and 1,800 in its REA pool and a larger number in its Regular Decision pool, which has an application deadline of January 1, 2022. Last year, 168 students who were deferred during the REA period gained admission during the RD cycle. This year, 1,599 REA applicants were deferred. 

Notre Dame offers a non-binding application process, allowing students to apply in REA as long as they do not apply early decision to another school with a binding agreement. Despite no binding agreement, REA admitted students at Notre Dame historically enroll at close to a 70 percent rate.