College Intel

University of Notre Dame Admissions

The Main Building is featured at the University of Notre Dame.
The University of Notre Dame was established in 1842 (photo credit: Matthew Rice).

The University of Notre Dame combines the elite cache of a major research university with the Catholic values of a close-knit spiritual community. Located just north of South Bend, Indiana, Notre Dame was once ubiquitous with American Catholic culture itself. Its reputation for academic achievement, athletic rigor, and religiosity have cemented its place in the forefront of faith-driven higher education in the United States and around the world. Fighting Irish alumni include Nobel Prize-winning biologist Eric Wieschaus, U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Jeffrey Chiesa, and television personalities Sunny Hostin and Hannah Storm.

8,900 undergraduates at Notre Dame enroll between six programs and colleges located on a campus renowned for its beauty: The College of Arts and Letters, The College of Science, The School of Architecture, The College of Engineering, The Mendoza College of Business, and The Keough School of Global Affairs. The university’s core curriculum for all undergraduates consists of “six courses in the general liberal arts” (including math, science, social science, and humanities requirements) “four courses exploring explicitly Catholic dimensions of the liberal arts” (two theology and two philosophy courses), “two courses in writing” completed in the first year, and a first-year experience course.

Notre Dame was established in 1842 when priest Edward Sorin was commissioned by the Catholic Church to construct a college on 524 acres of land in northern Indiana. In the late nineteenth century, under the presidency of Thomas Walsh, Notre Dame invited literary intellectuals to campus through a “belle-lettres” campaign. As the university was swept into the twentieth century, tensions grew around whether Notre Dame should become a research university, as was the tendency of elite institutions at the time. Eventually the administration made the shift, expanding the chemical engineering program, attracting more faculty, and increasing the graduate population on campus.

Knute Rockne, alum and coach of the Notre Dame football team during the early twentieth century, is widely regarded as the greatest college football coach in history. His winning record and legacy of modernizing the game on behalf of all football players continues to be the pride of many Leprechauns, making athletics an integral part of campus culture. The 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American dramatizes his incredible story. And, of course, the 1993 movie Rudy dramatized the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger whose underdog story of walking on Notre Dame’s football team is widely regarded as one of the greatest sports movies ever made.

The football team has won at least eleven national championships (and more depending on the metrics you use!), while all Fighting Irish teams compete in Division I. Home games are a whole-campus affair, beginning with the drumline of the marching band and punctuated by a revelrous procession to the football stadium.

Undergraduate residence halls are another cornerstone of student life. These dorms are populated by student, Catholic rectors, and resident assistants. Students are required to live on campus for their first three years, and most stay in the same residence hall for three to four years. There is no Greek life on campus because of the university’s Catholic mission, but there are over 400 student organizations, including a variety of media, intramural athletic, faith, advocacy, and affinity organizations. 80% of the Student body identify as Catholic, but students of other faiths are also represented on campus and maintain their own religious organizations.

Notre Dame received 28,354 applications to the Class of 2027, but only accepted 12%. Successful applicants demonstrated their academic prowess through completion of required high school coursework and an extensive supplemental essay component. Notre Dame’s admissions office has published some metrics on their most recent class, including: 43% of incoming students were “captains of a varsity sport,” 26% were the “head of a major student organization,” and one in four students will major in business. Students interested in taking part in the cultural and educational phenomenon that is Notre Dame should turn to Ivy Coach to perfect their applications!

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