How to Get Into Notre Dame?

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Founded in 1842, Notre Dame is a private Catholic university in Indiana across South Bend with several colleges and a graduate school offering various degree programs. Perhaps Notre Dame has made it onto your list of colleges to apply for, and you want to ensure you do your best to secure admission. Keep reading as we delve into how to get into Notre Dame and what you need to do to achieve this.

What is Notre Dame University Known For?What is Notre Dame University Known For?

Several unique aspects to Notre Dame make it stand out:


The institution boasts several spiritual and religious traditions due to its Catholic roots, including a chapel in every residence hall. One popular tradition is the annual Polar Bear Plunge, where students jump into St. Joseph’s Lake every February to benefit charity. There’s also the Thursday Dillon Hall Milkshake Mass; students gather around the Dillon residence hall chapel and enjoy milkshakes.

Additionally, the Notre Dame community celebrates the last week of classes with events, games, mattress races, picnics, and concerts. An annual tournament is also conducted during Muddy Sunday, where students play mud volleyball. And, of course, the school is big on its football traditions.


Notre Dame is known for its stellar graduation and retention rates, as almost every student graduates on time. Programs like anthropology, business, literature, economics, and Irish language are some of the top in the area, and classes are held across the following schools and colleges in the university:

  • Keough School of Global Affairs
  • College of Arts and Letters
  • College of Engineering
  • School of Architecture
  • College of Business
  • Mendoza College of Business

There are also several dual-degree programs to choose from, allowing students to align professional training with fields in artistic, social, scientific, and humanistic perspectives.


The campus is always bustling with numerous resources and events for students. For example, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center is a haven for films, music, dance, and theater, while the Snite Museum sometimes hosts events and showcases student work.

Notre Dame fosters personal spiritual growth within the community, providing and supporting different types of service, pilgrimages, opportunities for retreats, worship, and much more. If you’re an underrepresented student, the Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) office will support you through initiatives, student organizations, cultural enrichment programs, and events.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Notre Dame?

How Hard Is It to Get Into Notre Dame?

So, the question remains: how hard is it to get into Notre Dame? Although the institution is competitive to get admitted into, your admission chances truly depend on your portfolio and academics.

It is one of the most selective schools in America, having one of the lowest acceptance rates in both the country and Indiana state. Applicants need the perfect mix of grades, extracurriculars, and test scores to be strong contenders during the admissions process.

What is the Notre Dame Acceptance Rate?

What is the Notre Dame Acceptance Rate?

Statistics show that 26,253 students applied for the class of 2024, and only 4035 were admitted, meaning that the Notre Dame acceptance rate currently stands around 15%. In contrast, the early action acceptance is still higher at 21%.

Keep in mind that Notre Dame is interested in more than just your grades; the admissions team wants to see your focused extracurriculars and admissions essays demonstrated through solid achievements. You can visit the school’s official website if you’re interested in the Notre Dame acceptance rate by major.

How to Get Into Notre Dame?

How to Get Into Notre Dame?

While several factors make up a college application, you should focus on some critical things to increase your chances of getting in:

What GPA Do You Need to Get into Notre Dame?

To secure admission into Notre Dame, you must maintain a high-grade point average of 4.06. Your high school transcripts should mainly showcase A’s, especially during senior and junior years. And taking on more challenging classes, such as AP or IB ones, is recommended because it will make your Notre Dame application stronger.

If you’re a high school senior or junior with a GPA below the Notre Dame average GPA of 4.06, you can compensate with a higher ACT or SAT score. As your grades can be hard to change in time for college applications, you can use your test scores to compete effectively with other applicants.

Does Notre Dame Require Standardized Tests?

Sure, most universities claim that they don’t look at test scores and they’re optional, but there’s always a minimum cutoff that you need to meet. As for whether Notre Dame is a test-optional school? Yes, and since it is a very competitive university, you need to score at least 1400 to be considered by the admissions team.

Try to score in the 75th percentile of the SAT to ensure your application is above average, such as around 1550 points out of 1600. In contrast, you should aim for at least a 34 on the ACT because the 25th and 75th percentile scores are 32 and 35, respectively. We recommend taking the ACT over the SAT for Notre Dame, as you can take it multiple times and have complete control over which scores to send.

You have a considerable chance of securing admission if you meet the Notre Dame SAT or ACT requirements by scoring even higher.

Are supplemental essays required?

The university requires prospective students to write a Notre Dame writing supplement with the Coalition or Common Application. Whichever application you choose to register through, you’ll have to fill out a form that must be submitted online.

Notre Dame’s admissions team wants to see more than just your academic achievements and stats, and the supplemental essay is a great way to highlight your personality. Take risks and know there’s no right answer; let your personality shine.

You’ll have to:

  • Write an essay in response to one of four questions from a list of provided options
  • Write one essay response to a required question
  • Keep the word count to a maximum of 200 words per essay

Do You Need to Submit Letters of Recommendation?

Every applicant has to submit one recommendation letter to Notre Dame. This letter can be written by a high school teacher that teaches a core academic subject (like English, Foreign Language, Math, Science, or Social Science) and knows you well. You may also ask your school counselor to write you a counselor evaluation. Note that while it is recommended, this submission is not compulsory.

Do Extracurriculars Matter?

Hard-working artists. Talented pianists. Well-rounded senior class leaders. Notre Dame cares about what you’re doing outside of the classroom, and its most competitive applicants are more than just students.

The university is interested in involved and creative intellectuals who are also passionate individuals with various interests. You can help in the community, research in a specific subject, play a sport, and so much more.

Additional Materials

Additional materials are not required for your Notre Dame application but certain students submit supplemental materials. For instance, if you wish to enroll in a first or second major in the Department of Design, the School of Architecture, or the Department of Art, it’s recommended to submit a creative portfolio with examples of your talent.

And you’ll be pleased to know that the Department of Music encourages every applicant, regardless of their intended major, to provide talent samples, such as videos, music compositions, etc.

 5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Notre Dame

 5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Notre Dame

Here’s what you should do to improve your chances of getting into Notre Dame:

Apply Restrictive Early Action

Applying for the institution’s Restrictive Early Action plan means that you can apply to other schools using an Early Action plan but can’t apply anywhere else with an Early Decision that is non-binding.

If Notre Dame is your dream university, you should definitely opt for the REA option because it has a higher acceptance rate than the regular decision one. You’ll gain an advantage over other applicants. However, if Notre Dame isn’t your top choice, applying for regular decision is better to keep your options open.

Be Sure You Want to Attend

Let’s be honest; while the University of Notre Dame sets itself apart from other prestigious schools in numerous ways, it isn’t for everyone. For example, it takes religious commitment and affiliation seriously. And although you don’t need to be Catholic to attend, remember that the school maintains a connection to the Catholic Church.

Additionally, your interest level during the admissions process is evaluated, meaning that you should demonstrate through visits and other engagements if you’re passionate about attending.

Secure Solid Recommendation Letters

Your letters of recommendation matter since Notre Dame has made one from a teacher in a core academic discipline mandatory. Ensure you ask someone well versed with your character, classroom performance, and work ethic. It would also help if you also consider submitting a counselor recommendation as it will make your application stronger.

Write Compelling Essays

Notre Dame focuses considerably on essays during the admissions process and states it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of sifting through applications. Through your essays, the college admissions team can learn about the adventures you’ve survived, the family traditions you’ve experienced, the embarrassing moments you’ve overcome, the lessons you’ve learned, the challenges you’ve faced, and much more. Since the university doesn’t offer interviews, you have to get your dreams and goals across through supplemental essays.

Aim for a High GPA

Some of the best universities in the world, including Notre Dame, use the Academic Index, which combines your standardized test scores, GPA, and other academic factors. This helps them determine whether students meet a certain threshold before their application’s qualitative components can be evaluated.

For this reason, pursuing a challenging curriculum is in your interest, and the best way to do this is by maintaining a high GPA. You should also take honors courses and AP classes if offered at your high school to showcase you’re ready to take on college.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Get Into Notre Dame?

There’s no doubt that Notre Dame is a selective school, and most students have several questions running through their mind about the application process. You might be wondering what is the minimum GPA to get into Notre Dame or the admission success rate. Go through our guide for help on strategies for getting in and how to tailor your application to make it as competitive as possible.

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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