Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

September 8, 2023

notre dame supplemental essays

The University of Notre Dame is a famed Catholic institution located outside the city of South Bend, Indiana. It is a dream college for many brilliant high school students around the globe, across all faiths. For the Class of 2027, the acceptance rate fell just below 12%, roughly one-third the figure seen back in the late 1980s. This begs the question—if most of the 28,000 applicants to Notre Dame are academically qualified, how does the school decide which 3,400 to accept? While the answer to that question is, of course, multifaceted, one of the answers is that you need to take advantage of the Notre Dame supplemental essays.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into the University of Notre Dame? Visit our blog entitled:  How to Get Into Notre Dame: Admissions Data and Strategies   for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

Your mission is to write compelling, standout compositions that showcase your exceptional writing ability and reveal more about who you are as an individual. There are two parts to Notre Dame’s writing supplement and you must select a total of five prompts—two short answer (150 words or fewer) and three very short answer (50 words or fewer). Below are Notre Dame’s supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one.

Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2023-24

Please choose two questions from the options below. Your brief essay response to each question should be no more than 150 words. 

Notre Dame fosters an undergraduate experience dedicated to the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of each individual, characterized by a collective sense of care for every person. How do you foster service to others in your community? 

To truly understand where Notre Dame is coming from with this question, one needs to look no further than the school’s own mission statement: “Notre Dame wants to educate and inspire its students to be moral citizens within their communities and the larger world, to use their talents to the best of their ability, and to develop the generous sensibilities needed to relieve injustice, oppression, and poverty in all of their manifestations.”

If you have been involved in some type of charitable/community service endeavor throughout your high school years, this is a great opportunity to speak about that venture in more detail. Looking forward, how might you continue the work you’ve been doing? You can also connect your aspirations in this realm to specific service opportunities that are available at Notre Dame.

What is distinctive about your personal experiences and development (eg, family support, culture, disability, personal background, community, etc)? Why are these experiences important to you and how will you enrich the Notre Dame community?

Some students may have a powerful and deeply personal story to tell about their racial/ethnic identity, sexual/gender identity, family background, cultural background, or religious identity, among others; others may feel that there isn’t anything particularly compelling about their own identity in any one of those categories. Alternatively, you could also talk about your place in an affinity group. Perhaps your involvement in an affinity group centered on Dungeons & Dragons, anime, volleyball, chess, painting, being a fan of a sports team, film, or any other interest one can fathom that is a core, essential, can’t-imagine-life-without-it component of your identity. If so, this essay will likely be a perfect fit for you.

Notre Dame Supplemental Essays (Continued)

Although this prompt’s open floor plan may feel daunting, a good tactic is to first consider what has already been communicated within your Common App personal statement and activities list. What important aspect(s) of yourself have not been shared (or sufficiently discussed)? The admissions officer reading your essay is hoping to connect with you through your written words, so—within your essay’s reflection—be open, humble, thoughtful, inquisitive, emotionally honest, mature, and/or insightful about what you learned, how you grew, and how you hope to impact the Notre Dame community as a result.

Describe a time when you advocated for something you believed in and influenced others through thoughtful discourse to promote a deeper understanding of a difficult situation.

At its core, this essay is a chance to illustrate that you are a mature leader who follows their conscience. After all, this kind of young person would be a welcome addition to the Notre Dame community. Your essay is likely going to be strongest if the task of standing up for something you believed in was difficult. There is likely to be an element of friction to this story, perhaps a sacrifice of some kind.

Advocating for something we believe in is easy when it jibes with the beliefs of the majority group or an institution to which we belong. The more revealing anecdotes will likely come from instances of disagreement with your family, a coach, a teacher, a religious leader, a group of your peers, etc. As you consider whether or not to select this essay, assess whether or not you have a truly dynamic and personal story to tell in this realm.

Please choose three questions from the options below. Your response to each short-answer question should be no more than 50 words. 

  • Everyone has different priorities when considering their higher education options and building their college or university list. Tell us about your “non-negotiable” factor(s) when searching for your future college home.

If you choose to answer this question, know that you’ll need to think very deeply about your answer. Admissions officers are going to receive scores of responses about aesthetically pleasing campuses and top-ranked sports teams. As such, dig deep into what your non-negotiable factors are, and think about which ones will be genuinely satisfied by attending Notre Dame. The strongest responses here will likely speak to some aspect of Notre Dame’s academic structure, social community, or general ethos . Ideally, the answer will communicate something important about how your academic and extracurricular priorities are a great fit for what Notre Dame has to offer.

2) What brings you joy?

What brings you glee, exuberance, jubilation, delight, elation, bliss…joy? There are a multitude of universal and highly relatable experiences that bring joy to one’s soul. For example, it could involve family, pets, hobbies, habits, scenes of natural beauty, literature, travel, etc. However, you could also talk about dreams for the future, more bittersweet moments, abstract thoughts, moments of glorious introversion, or a time that you  unexpectedly felt joy.

3) What is worth fighting for?

Out of everything on this Earth, what makes you tick? What keeps you up at night? What issue could you talk about or debate for hours? If you could address one problem in the world, large or small, what would it be? What values do you hold most dear? If you are answering at least one of these questions, you are on the right track with this essay.

4) What is something that genuinely interests you, and how does this tie to the academic area you hope to study at Notre Dame?

What subject makes you read books and online content until the late hours of the night? Which topics have you encountered in or outside of school that pique your curiosity? What confuses, surprises, or makes you want to learn more? Whatever your answer is, remember that you’ll need to speak to how it ties into the academic area you’d like to pursue in college, so you’ll need to be able to make a clear connection between the two. For example, your obsession with creating the perfect soufflé may have natural tie-ins to a potential chemistry major but not so much to computer science. As such, you’ll likely want to brainstorm a variety of interests so that you can choose one that clearly relates to your major.

Alternatively, you might find it helpful to approach this essay in reverse—first, consider your academic area of choice, and then, identify interests that relate to it. Or, you can take on the challenge of finding how two seemingly disparate interests/areas overlap, of course (if you end up writing an essay about soufflés and computer science, please send it to us!).

5) How does faith influence the decisions you make?

Notre Dame is a Catholic university, and religion will be part of your education and experience. If you do consider yourself to be a religious, spiritual, and/or faithful person, how does that inform the way you move through life and make decisions?

If you’re not a religious or spiritual person and do not feel that faith has any impact on your decisions, you’ll likely want to avoid answering this one.

How important are the essays at the University of Notre Dame?

There are only two factors that Notre Dame considers to be “very important” to their evaluation process. They are: rigor of secondary school record and character/personal qualities. The next tier of “important” admissions factors includes class rank, GPA, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and the essays. Without question, the essays play a sizable role in the admissions process at Notre Dame. They can help the committee decide who to admit when choosing between similarly credentialed (GPA, test scores, etc.) applicants.

Want personalized assistance with your Notre Dame supplemental essays?

If you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Notre Dame supplemental essays, we encourage you to  get a quote  today.

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Dave Bergman

Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

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August 30, 2023

2023-2024 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompts

An aerial view of Notre Dame University's center of campus.

The University of Notre Dame has published its 2023-2024 supplemental admissions essays for applicants to the Class of 2028. This year, in addition to the Personal Statement on The Common Application , Notre Dame applicants are asked to respond to two of three essay questions in a maximum of 150 words and three of five short-answer prompts in 50 words or fewer.

2023-2024 Notre Dame Essay Topics and Short Answers

Applicants are asked to respond to two of the following three essay questions in 150 words or fewer:

1. Notre Dame fosters an undergraduate experience dedicated to the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of each individual, characterized by a collective sense of care for every person. How do you foster service to others in your community?

Notre Dame, as a Catholic University, wants to see how you serve humanity. Ideally, applicants will showcase how they serve their community through their singular hook.

If their hook is applied mathematics, it would behoove an applicant to highlight how they’re addressing a community issue — like recycling or the school budget. If their hook is political science, they should write about how they’re agitating for change from a political standpoint with their town or city board (or its equivalent).

2. What is distinctive about your personal experiences and development (e.g., family support, culture, disability, personal background, community, etc.)? Why are these experiences important to you and how will you enrich the Notre Dame community?

In the wake of the Supreme Court outlawing the practice of Affirmative Action , many highly selective universities like Notre Dame have included this sort of community question in their supplements. To answer this essay question powerfully, students need not be underrepresented minorities to write a powerful response. The question is intentionally open-ended. If a student wishes to write about their faith and how they’ll bring their spiritual beliefs to Notre Dame, that works! If a student wishes to write about their disability and how they’ll bring a sense of activism for people with disabilities to Notre Dame’s community, that works too!

3. Describe a time when you advocated for something you believed in and influenced others through thoughtful discourse to promote a deeper understanding of a difficult situation.

Notre Dame’s admissions committee wants to understand what matters to a student, what makes them tick, and how they’ll go about agitating for the change they wish to see in the world — starting on Notre Dame’s campus. In order to get a sense of the change they’ll fight for each day, the best predictor is the change they’ve fought for to date.

So Notre Dame applicants will ideally zero in on one specific story — one that hopefully ties into the singular hook they present to Notre Dame ( rather than well-roundedness ) — and, through that story, make it clear what matters to them and why.

Also, it’s important to note that students do not need to have successfully swayed others to take action. Maybe they failed to persuade their peers. That’s ok! The mere act of trying to agitate for change in a specific area, ideally related to the student’s hook, will present the applicant in a good light — even if they’re ultimately unsuccessful. In fact, their failure will only make them more human and more likable to the admissions committee.

Short Answers

Students are asked to respond to three of the following five short-answer essay prompts.

1. Everyone has different priorities when considering their higher education options and building their college or university list. Tell us about your “non-negotiable” factor(s) when searching for your future college home.

Students will ideally pick something that sings Notre Dame! Because the admissions committee isn’t asking, “ Why Notre Dame ,” students do not need to include a specific reference to a Notre Dame program, institute, activity, or tradition. But they should choose something that Notre Dame either does extraordinarily well or one can’t find at most other top universities.

2. What brings you joy?

Too many applicants choose a topic that’s simply silly for this prompt, which is a common short-answer essay question among the elite universities. While the prompt need not relate to a student’s hook, it should always highlight how they think. It should always highlight a student’s intellectual curiosity. It can’t just be silly.

3. What is worth fighting for?

Here’s an opportunity for applicants to get deep but we encourage them not to pick too grandiose of a topic. They should instead choose something that they can genuinely change in the course of their lifetimes. Applicants should think locally, not globally.

4. What is something that genuinely interests you and how does this tie to the academic area you hope to study at Notre Dame?

This prompt presents applicants the chance to tie in a Notre Dame specific that doesn’t apply to any school but Notre Dame — so long as it relates to the student’s academic interest (which ideally relates to the hook they’ve demonstrated in the activities section and in other essays). Applicants should avoid name-dropping professors and listing classes when tying in their academic interest with Notre Dame.  

5. How does faith influence the decisions you make?

As a Catholic University, Notre Dame wants to understand how an applicant’s faith drives how they live their life. Students need not be religious to earn admission to Notre Dame. In fact, students need not even be Catholic. But Notre Dame’s admissions committee wants to feel that you appreciate the role faith can play in the lives of your peers and that you’re open to believing in  something  bigger than yourself.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Notre Dame Essays

If you’re interested in giving yourself the best chance of earning admission to Notre Dame by submitting essays that wow Notre Dame admissions officers, fill out Ivy Coach ’s free consultation form , and we’ll be in touch to go through our college counseling services for seniors.

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College Essays

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The University of Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States. It attracts the best and brightest students from around the country, and its acceptance rate shows that. For the 2021-2022 school year, they admitted only 15% of applicants . Because most applicants have amazing grades and transcripts, your Notre Dame application essays will be one of the most important ways for you to stand out from the crowd!

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about writing Notre Dame's application essays. First, we'll give you an overview of the Notre Dame supplement. Then we'll walk you through each essay individually and answer the following questions:

  • What is the essay asking you to do?
  • What makes for a good answer?
  • What are some potential essay topics?
  • Are there pitfalls you should avoid?

And finally, we'll give you four top tips for taking your Notre Dame essays to the next level. So let's get started!

Why Are the Notre Dame Application Essays Important?

The hard truth is that getting into Notre Dame is tough. Only 15% of applicants in 2020/2021 were accepted, which makes Notre Dame even harder to get into than schools like Georgia Tech and Vassar !

And because Notre Dame attracts top talent, admitted students also boast excellent standardized test scores. In fact, the average Notre Dame student scored between a 1460–1540 on their SAT or a 33–35 on their ACT.

So what kind of applicants get admitted? According to the Notre Dame Office of Undergraduate Admissions , Notre Dame is looking for well-rounded, passionate students who excel in the classroom and are involved in the community. Here's how Notre Dame sums up the importance of the essay portion of your application:

"The writing supplement gives us an opportunity to get to know you in a more personal way outside of your stats. So, let your personality shine, take risks, and remember that there is no right answer."

In other words, admissions counselors want to know the  real  you. These essays are your chance to show admissions counselors that you're the whole package, especially since Notre Dame does not conduct admissions interviews.

That means your essay responses will be one of your only opportunities to show admissions counselors that you're an excellent fit for their university .

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Let's take a closer look at the Notre Dame supplement, which you'll have to fill out as part of your overall application.

An Overview of the Notre Dame Supplement

The Notre Dame supplement is available through either the Common App or the Coalition App websites. The Common App and the Coalition App are online platforms that let you apply to multiple colleges at once. If you aren't sure what they are or how to use them, check out our guides to filling out the Common App and the Coalition App , which include tips for tackling the personal essays!

Here's where things get a little bit tricky: the Notre Dame supplement is submitted in addition to the application you have already filled out. That means you will be submitting additional essays specific to Notre Dame on top of the essays you've written for your universal application package. That's why it's called the Notre Dame supplement!

The 2 Parts of the Notre Dame Writing Supplement

The supplement itself asks you to write and submit two additional essays, which are split into two groups:

  • First, there's the mandatory essay . This is the prompt that everyone who applies to Notre Dame must answer.
  • For your other essay, you're given a choice between four prompts and must answer one.

The online portals give you a maximum of 200 words to respond to each prompt. That's not very much space! But remember: your admissions essays are about quality, not quantity.

Now that you have a general sense of the Notre Dame supplement, let's take a closer look at each essay topic.

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Essay 1: "Why Notre Dame?"

Notre Dame is a Catholic university, founded by members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, with a mission to educate the hearts and minds of students. What excites you about attending Notre Dame?

Remember: this essay topic is mandatory, which means you must answer it to complete the supplement. But don't worry...we're going to walk you through the process!

What Is the Essay Asking You to Do?

This prompt is essentially the "Why This College?" question. This is a common supplemental essay question designed to help admissions counselors understand why Notre Dame—and literally no other university!—is the perfect school for you. The "Why Notre Dame" prompt also serves another purpose: it helps them get a sense of how you, as both a student and as a person, will contribute to the Notre Dame community.

Y our job is to show admissions counselors that you're the perfect fit for Notre Dame, and vise versa.

What Makes for a Good Answer?

If you want to knock this essay out of the park, here's what you should do.

#1: Do your homework.

The key to writing an amazing "Why Notre Dame?" essay is showing admissions counselors that you've really dug into the resources and opportunities available at the school. Doing this proves you're more than interested—it shows you're passionate and motivated, too.

As you research, look at specific classes you might be interested in taking and/or professors you might want to research under. ( Here's a list of all the colleges and departments at Notre Dame to get you started !) For example, if you want to program the next Alexa, you'll want to mention taking classes like Artificial Intelligence and Software Development Practices. Or if curing cancer is more your thing, you can mention working with Dr. Jessica Brown , who is researching RNA to better understand how cancer works.

#2: Not sure what you want to major in yet? No problem.

This is a common question we get when it comes to the "Why This College?" essay. The simple answer is: it's okay to not know! Admissions counselors know that your major isn't set in stone, but they do want to see that you're thinking about the future. Even if you're not 100% certain about what you want to do in the future, pick a potential academic field for the sake of writing this prompt.

#3: Plan to address the "mind" and the "heart."

You probably already noticed that the application prompt very specifically mentions two concepts: the "mind" and the "heart." Notre Dame is a religiously affiliated institution, and while they don't require all students to be religious, part of their core mission is to foster "the development...of those disciplined habits of mind, body, and spirit."

So in your response, you need to make sure you're doing more than just talking about how Notre Dame will shape you academically. Admissions counselors also want to see how the school will shape you as a person. You'll have to address both of these things in order to accurately answer the prompt!

#4: Don't overlook the Notre Dame community, either.

The prompt specifically asks you about how the Notre Dame experience will impact you, which means admissions counselors want to know more about how you'll fit into the Notre Dame community.

For instance, if you were in theatre in high school, you might want to participate in Shakespeare at Notre Dame ! Also, many departments have their own student organizations (like the American Studies Club or Beta Gamma Sigma , a business honors society). Make sure you check departmental pages for this information.

One quick note about religion: Notre Dame is a Catholic university, so many of i ts community programs are religiously affiliated . Unless you're serious about becoming a member of one of these groups, don't mention it in your essay. Admissions counselors read thousands of applications every year, and they will know if you're being sincere!

#5: Start narrowing things down.

Now that you've done your research and have a list of classes, professors, programs, and extracurriculars, choose the two or three things that stand out most. You only have 200 words, so you need to give yourself space to talk about the items you've chosen!

#6: Relate your topics to your goals .

Remember, your job is to show admissions counselors that Notre Dame is the only school for you. Explain how the classes, programs, and activities you've mentioned will put you on the path to achieve your goals while growing as a person.

For example, if you want to study adolescent psychology, explain how your coursework and experience at Notre Dame will help you go on to research how social media affects adolescents' brain development. By making it personal, you'll be able to emphasize how Notre Dame is the only place that can set you on the path to success.

What Are Some Potential Essay Topics?

Along with the examples we mention earlier in this section, here are a few other topics you might consider for this essay:

  • Talk about how you hope to contribute to a specific ongoing research project with professor in your department.
  • Explain your future career goals and mention how joining specific campus organizations will help put you on the path to success.
  • Discuss how you want to take classes in two departments in order to think about a problem in your future profession in new ways.

Are There Pitfalls You Should Avoid?

Avoid these mistakes so you don't leave the wrong impression with admissions counselors.

#1: Avoid generalities

Make sure you're being as specific as possible about what makes Notre Dame special. Don't just say you're excited to attend because of the school's study abroad programs—most, if not all, major colleges in the United States offer study abroad. What specific programs does Notre Dame offer that you can't find anywhere else?

The same goes for talking about your career interests. Don't say that you want to stop climate change. How do you want to do that? How will specific classes, professors, and research opportunities at Notre Dame help you save the world?

#2: Leave sports out of it

We know, we know: part of the appeal of Notre Dame is joining the legion of Fighting Irish. But unless you're joining one of the athletic teams, focus on academics, career, and service opportunities instead.

#3: Don't sound bored

The question asks about what makes you excited to attend Notre Dame, so let your passion show through in your writing.

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Essay 2: Choose Your Prompt

For this section of the Notre Dame essay supplement, you're given three essay prompts, and you'll choose one to answer. Again, you'll have a 200 word limit. 

How to Choose Your Prompt

For some people, choosing the prompt is the hardest part! There are a few things you can do to make this easier.

#1: Choose the prompt that lets you share new information

Go through the list and rule out any prompts that you've already discussed as part of your Common App or Coalition App. Some of the Notre Dame supplement essays involve talking about similar topics to the Common App and Coalition App essay prompts. Make sure you choose a Notre Dame essay prompt that lets you talk about something fresh and new!

#2: Brainstorm every prompt

Take an afternoon and write down potential ideas for every prompt below. Don't worry about whether the ideas are good or not—just write them down! Once you're done, take a look at which prompts give you the opportunity to share something new that you haven't already mentioned in your application.

#3: Read ahead

Take a minute to read through the Notre Dame essay example topics below. See if any of the ideas or strategies jump out to you!

Now let's take a closer look at each prompt and how to answer them.

People in the Notre Dame community come from many different places, backgrounds, and walks of life. How is where you’re from a part of who you are?

What Is This Essay Asking You to Do?

The purpose of this essay prompt is to learn more about what makes you who you are. This is your change to (briefly!) show how your background, be it cultural or geographical or anything else, has shaped you into the person you are now. You don't have a lot of room, but try to be as specific as possible.

A major part of this essay is explaining how it relates to who you are as a person, so be sure to choose a topic that you feel will give readers a bit of a better insight into who you are.

What Makes a Good Answer?

#1: Be honest. Don't be tempted to choose a topic that you really don't care that much about but feel will "impress" Notre Dame. It'll result in a weak essay they'll see right through. 

#2: Explain why your background is important to you. This probably the most important part of your response since it shows readers what makes you tick.

#3: Give examples. Give specific examples of how your background has shaped you. Do you have certain family or cultural traditions? Places you visit? Holidays? Go into detail!

#1: Lying . As we mentioned above, don't make up an interest to try to impress the admissions team. Faking your background is a very bad idea, and won't help your application. Notre Dame wants to get to know the real you. Show them.

#2: Forgetting to tie it back to yourself. So your town has an annual rubber duckie festival? Great! But how does that relate back to you? Notre Dame didn't ask this question to learn more about your home; they want to know about you!.

Tell us about a time when you advocated for something you believe in.

In this essay, you get the chance to not only show what you believe in, but what you're willing to do in order to defend it. In short, it's a great way to show off your character, something Notre Dame cares a lot about. The causes closest to you offer great insight into who you are and what you value.

#1: Choosing an appropriate topic. You may care very, very much about which order the S tar Wars movies should be viewed in, but try to pick something that shows your character and beliefs.

#2: Reflecting on your actions. Remember to say why you felt compelled to advocate for what you believed in. What were the stakes? What did it mean to you? And how did you feel after?

#1: Spending too long setting the scene. You only have 200 words, so you'll need to establish the setting as quickly as possible.

#2: Being vague. Another major pitfall in answering this question is being too vague and general. For example, stating something like, "After I told the school board we needed to focus more on sustainability in our school and lunch supplies, it felt good" isn't quite enough. Why did you feel good? What else did you feel? And what happened afterward?

If you were given unlimited resources to help solve one problem in your community, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?

This essay prompt asks you to choose something in your community that you want to fix. This works in two parts: first, you get to show what you care about in your community. Are you focused on environmental justice? A specific neighborhood? A school? A group of people?

Second, you get to dream big and solve the problem yourself , which shows off your creativity and dedication.

#1: Explaining the problem. You'll need to begin by describing the problem, and stating clearly why it's so important to you to solve. Why this specific issue? Why does it matter, and what are potential consequences? How would it help your community?

#2: Describing the solution . In order to show how much thought you've given to this problem, you'll need to take care in providing the solution. You have unlimited funds to solve it, but this isn't the time to get goofy. Instead, think forward to the future: make sure your solution isn't a quick fix, but something more long term.

#1: Not taking the prompt seriously. Make sure you choose a real problem in your community. You may personally find it terrible that there's no frozen yogurt place in town, but try to dream a little bigger. Notre Dame takes their prompts fairly seriously, and they want to know what you value.

#2: Being too general. You only have 200 words, but try to get as specific as possible. If you're advocating for a community skate park, for example, say precisely how that will help the area, who will be positively impacted, and what your unlimited funds will go toward.

What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? Why was it meaningful to you?

This essay prompt wants you to think about how you see yourself, and why . There are many types of compliments you can choose from, but try to choose one that reflects your values. Perhaps someone pointed out your helpfulness, which made you realize how much you value service. Or maybe you were praised for a talent or skill you've worked very hard on.

#1: Sincerity. This is a tricky prompt. It can be really hard to talk yourself up, and that's precisely what they're asking you to do. Be your truest self, and make sure you do a lot of inner reflection about which topic you choose.  

#2: The right topic . There are many different types of compliments, and they all feel great! But not all of them will reveal what Notre Dame wants from you. It feels wonderful when someone compliments your eyes, but that could be a little tricky to translate into a short essay.

#1: Humblebragging. It's hard! In a lot of ways, this essay is asking you to brag about how awesome other people think you are. But remember to focus this essay on how you accepted the compliment, and what happened to you internally. 

#2: Not reflecting enough. Remember the last part of the prompt: you need to say why this compliment was meaningful to you. Really think about this part. Did it give you confidence that you needed? Did it make you see yourself in a new light? Did it change the way you acted?

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4 Tips for Writing a Killer Notre Dame Essay

Follow these four tips to write a great Notre Dame essay that'll show the school who you are and why they want to admit you.

#1: Be Authentic

You're unique, with your own passions, experiences, and beliefs. Admissions counselors want to try to learn more about the "you" behind the transcript, so don't be afraid to let your personality shine through in your essays. Even more importantly, don't try to fabricate stories about yourself that you think will impress the admissions board. We guarantee that there are plenty of compelling things about you! Besides, admissions counselors have a finely tuned lie detector; they'll know if you're making things up.

Admissions counselors look to your essays to learn more about you. That's why it's important to be yourself! Here's what the Notre Dame Admissions website has to say about being authentic: "Your essays are the most enjoyable part of the application reading process. Why? Because we learn about important decisions you've made, adventures you've survived, lessons you've learned, family traditions you've experienced, challenges you've faced, embarrassing moments you've overcome."

#2: Deal With the Religion Question

Not everyone who gets into Notre Dame is religious, but it's important to know that some older demographic surveys show that the student body is up to 85% Catholic . Likewise, institutionally reported data indicates that a student's religious affiliation and/or commitment is considered in the admissions process . So if you are religious and haven't already mentioned that elsewhere, you might consider discussing it in your Notre Dame application essays.

But be careful! Make sure you review Notre Dame's mission and commitments to make sure your answers align with the university's beliefs. Additionally, don't beat a dead horse. Every response shouldn't revolve around religion—Notre Dame is looking for well-rounded students with a variety of interests and passions.

And if you're not religious, don't lie to try and make yourself a more appealing candidate. Like we mentioned earlier, admissions counselors read thousands of applications every year. They'll be able to tell if you're being honest or not.

#3: Jump Right In

Abandon the long-winded introduction! You only have 200 words, so make every one count. To do that, get right into your topic from the very first sentence. If that feels weird, don't worry: you can write a sentence or two of introduction to get you started, then delete it when you start revisions.

#4: Show, Don't Tell

Use descriptive words to paint a picture for your reader. Don't say "I was so nervous to sing in the talent show." Instead, say something like, "My palms were sweaty and I thought I might faint, but I walked on stage and sang anyway." One tells the reader what you did, and the other gives the reader a glimpse at your experience.

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What's Next?

Notre Dame is one of the top 20 colleges in the US , so you know admission is competitive. Using an acceptance calculator can help you better understand your chances of getting in .

Notre Dame accepts both the Common App and the Coalition App. Not sure which one you should use? Don't worry: we've got a handy-dandy guide to make your decision a breeze .

Both the Common App and the Coalition App require additional essays beyond the ones we discussed in this post. (Yep, that means even more writing! Yay!) Thankfully, we have in-depth guides for both the Common App essays and the Coalition App essays .

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Conquering University of Notre Dame's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays

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Welcome, future Fighting Irish! If you're considering the University of Notre Dame, you're probably aware of its unique supplemental essays. These essays are your chance to illustrate your personality, values, and commitment to the spirit of Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has two required prompts (200 words each) and two optional prompts (150 words each) for their supplemental essays.

Required Prompts

The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic university that places a strong emphasis on community and service. How will a Notre Dame education and community support your personal growth?

Choose one of the following:

a. Share an example of a time when you exhibited leadership.

b. Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus.

When tackling these prompts, illustrate your story in a manner that reflects your understanding of Notre Dame's community-driven ethos.

Example: "Joining a Catholic university like Notre Dame means becoming part of a community that nurtures faith, service, and knowledge. My personal growth aligns with Notre Dame's mission, as I see education as a tool for empowerment. Through programs like the Center for Social Concerns, I look forward to learning how to translate my biochemistry studies into real-world solutions that serve humanity."

Optional Prompts

  • If you have already graduated, briefly (4000 characters max) summarize what you have done in the time since you graduated.
  • If there is something more you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy, please share that information here.

For the optional prompts, only write them if you have substantial information to share. The first prompt is an opportunity for gap-year students to articulate their experiences during their time off.

The second optional prompt is a wildcard. Use it to discuss a unique aspect of your background, highlight a significant experience, or explain a part of your application that might be confusing to admissions officers.

Example: "I would like to draw attention to my volunteer stint at a local nursing home during my junior year. Initially, I joined to fulfil community service hours. However, this experience shaped my perspective on healthcare and elderly care, making me passionate about geriatric medicine."

In all your responses, maintain authenticity and provide specific examples to make your narrative vivid and compelling. Remember, Notre Dame seeks students who embody their values of faith, service, and community. Showcase your alignment with these values and your potential to contribute to their vibrant community.

Go ahead, future Fighting Irish, and use these insights to craft your best supplemental essays. We believe in you!

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Last updated April 14, 2023

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Blog > Essay Advice , Private University , Supplementals > How to Write the Notre Dame Supplemental Essays

How to Write the Notre Dame Supplemental Essays

Admissions officer reviewed by Ben Bousquet, M.Ed Former Vanderbilt University

Written by Ben Bousquet, M.Ed Former Vanderbilt University Admissions

Key Takeaway

If you’re applying to the University of Notre Dame, then you’ll be writing two supplemental essays, each of a maximum of 200 words. You’re required to answer the first essay prompt, but you have some strategic choice with the second one.

Let’s get into it.

Prompt #1 (required)

Notre dame is a catholic university, founded by members of the congregation of holy cross, with a mission to educate the hearts and minds of students. what excites you about attending notre dame.

This is a Why Us essay if ever I’ve seen one. But you’re not just starting from scratch. That first sentence of the prompt gives you a humongous hint about what you should be writing about.

See, Why Us essays can be tricky because there are so many topics you can focus on: academics, campus life, values, and more. You want to show that you understand the campus climate in a broad and deep way.

The first sentence is a hint because it gives you a few values with which to start: the fact that Notre Dame is a Catholic institution with “a mission to educate the hearts and minds of students.”

As you’re crafting your answer, you can think about why your values align with those of Notre Dame. What is exciting about how your heart and mind will be educated as a Notre Dame student? Be specific.

In your response, feel free to include particular details from the school’s website, interactions with people on campus, or information you gathered in an information session or campus tour. Your essay should make it clear that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re a natural fit for the Notre Dame community.

Now, the common question: do you have to be Catholic to apply to Notre Dame? Do I have to write about Catholicism? Notre Dame accepts students of all religious beliefs as well as no religious beliefs. That being said, the school skews heavily Catholic. You do not need to be or write about Catholicism or try to connect with the faith if it isn’t your own. If it is, great, this is a place to lean into that. If not, you can feel free to stick to the “educate the hearts and minds” bit.

Prompt #2 (choose ONE to respond to)

You’ve got a lot of options to choose from among these four. Each will add a particular kind of narrative to your application, so my advice for choosing which prompt to write about is this: a) find the area where you have the most compelling thing to say, and b) think about what parts of you are absent from the rest of your application.

1. People in the Notre Dame community come from many different places, backgrounds, and walks of life. How is where you’re from a part of who you are?

If you have a particularly interesting backstory, or if there’s something about your background context that isn’t revealed anywhere else in your application, then this might be the best prompt for you to choose.

2. Tell us about a time when you advocated for something you believe in.

This second option is a good way to show value alignment with Notre Dame. By explicitly writing about something you believe in, you can demonstrate that your values match up with Notre Dame’s institutional values. When writing your response, also be sure to focus on action steps. Notre Dame admissions officers want to see how you can take action for something you believe in.

3. If you were given unlimited resources to help solve one problem in your community, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?

Again, we have another prompt that focuses on actions. But instead of writing about something you’ve already done, this prompt lets you dream a little. Notre Dame wants to see that you can identify a significant problem and plan for a solution. What you choose to write about will reveal a) what part of your community you value most and b) your critical thinking skills.

4. What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? Why was it meaningful to you?

This prompt is kind of a quirky one. Should you write about the time someone complimented your new shoes? Probably not. You’ll want to choose a compliment that holds a lot of underlying meaning or significance. Maybe a teacher complimented your work ethic or a stranger complimented your kindness. What you write about should teach your Notre Dame admissions officer something about who you are.

And with that, you’re ready to get started on your Notre Dame supplemental essays! If you still need a little more guidance before jumping in, check out our How to Get into Notre Dame guide or sign up for the Essay Academy—our comprehensive digital college essay course. Happy writing! 👋

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3 University of Notre Dame Essay Examples by Accepted Students

college essay guy notre dame supplemental essays

The University of Notre Dame is a highly selective school, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to the University of Notre Dame. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Read our University of Notre Dame es say breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

Prompt: A Notre Dame education is not just for you, but also for those who will benefit from the impact you make. Who do you aspire to serve after you graduate? (200 words)

I was ten years old when I first heard the word Alzheimer’s. While my Mom explained that Grammy would progressively lose several of her mental functions, my head spun as I tried to process my new reality. I grew up 2,000 miles apart from Grammy, and after her diagnosis, our lengthy phone calls turned into meaningless exchanges as she forgot who I was. I was fifteen when Grammy passed away, but my heart mourned the person I lost five years earlier, the side of my grandmother that disease had stripped away.

I aspire to honor Grammy’s legacy by serving elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. At Notre Dame, I would like to work under Dr. Suhail Alam to develop therapies for treating neurodegenerative disease using epigenetic pathways. In this role, I will tie my personal connection with neurodegenerative disease to my research skills from the USC Biomechanics Research Lab, working towards a cure to serve both current and future Alzheimer’s patients. Once I graduate, I hope to build on this foundation as a physician. By working directly to treat Alzheimer’s patients and continuing with medical research, I will serve all those who have been personally affected by neurodegenerative disease.

What the Essay Did Well

This is a great response that answers the prompt, has a strong emotional connection, and even ties in why this student wants to attend Notre Dame. The essay goes above and beyond what the prompt asks for without losing any of the important details and explanation needed to answer the prompt.

We learn that this student wants to serve people who have been affected by neurodegenerative diseases and their families by becoming a physician for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s very clear who they intend to serve after graduation. We also get emotional reflection in the anecdote at the beginning the student used to explain their motivation for focusing on neurodegenerative diseases. This essay does a really good job of establishing emotion and pathos in a story that fits with the rest of the essay. It wasn’t super detailed, but we learned how hopeless this student felt and how that translated into a need to dedicate their life to serving Alzheimer’s patients.

Another great aspect of this essay is how it mentioned specific resources at Notre Dame that will help them accomplish their goal of becoming a physician post-grad. The prompt didn’t specifically ask for the student to discuss offerings they want to take advantage of, but including it shows that this student feels Notre Dame will play an integral part in their future success. Mentioning Dr. Alam and the specific research this student wants to participate in is a clear sign that this student has done their research and knows exactly what they want out of Notre Dame.

In general, this was a great response to the prompt because it walked the reader through this student’s life. Starting with this student’s reasoning for pursuing this path when they were a child, the essay then discusses how they will develop their interest and skills in college to ultimately be able to practice as a physician as an adult. This roadmap the essay follows makes the essay very easy to follow so they reader walks away knowing exactly who this student wants to serve and how they intend to get there. 

What Could Be Improved

One way this essay could be strengthened would be to employ more showing and less telling in the anecdote at the beginning. Right now, the student tells us what happened retrospectively: “I was ten years old when I first heard the word Alzheimer’s.” Rather than explaining what happened as the current senior writing the essay, the student should have put themselves back in the moment as a ten year old kid to make the story more engaging.

If the essay showed the anecdote instead of telling it, it could look something like this: “‘Alzheimer’s?’ I could barely figure out how to spell the word, let alone comprehend what it meant for Grammy. ‘So Grammy isn’t going to remember me anymore?’ There must be a mistake.” Putting the student into the moment when they first heard about their grandma’s Alzheimer’s allows them to use dialogue and real-time emotions to deliver an even bigger emotional connection in the hook.

I could sense my student—Aanya’s—interest evaporate as I stumbled. My virtual whiteboard was filled with abstract art, trying to pass off as math notations. Although I was initially reluctant to let her use Khan Academy, its quality and technical sophistication blew me away. Moreover, after Aanya mastered the basics online, we explored exciting higher-order problems and she developed enduring insights.

The economist in me spotted the opportunity to divide labor. Imagine the power of a great teacher reaching millions of students across the world through a single video. This allows physical teachers to support students who need more help individually. Especially in underfunded schools with teacher shortages, pre-recorded lessons would be a cost-effective solution.

However, implementing blended pedagogy is impossible through one discipline. The pandemic exposed an alarming digital divide, and there’s a desperate need to procure laptops and provide internet access. To raise capital and gain expertise to execute these projects, I’d use resources at Mendoza for nonprofit management. I want to take political science classes because without understanding political hurdles, these grand dreams would be stillborn. 

After I graduate, my most far-flung-dream is to start a school, innovative in pedagogy and audacious in striving to improve social mobility.

This essay did a good job of presenting the student’s knowledge about education and the nuances in providing a good education. Through their discussion of tutoring a student, pre-recorded lessons, and disparities in Internet access, this student establishes that they have hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge about how to best provide education. Providing these details helps display the student’s passion for teaching. By making the student’s passion clear, the admissions officers reading this essay know that this student will be an engaged student who will one day accomplish something great.

The essay also did a nice job of connecting the student’s future dream to what they discussed during the essay. In the last sentence we learn that this student wants to open a school that combines innovative teaching methods, they mentioned in the second paragraph, with the possibility for social mobility, that they recognized was an issue in the current education system in the third paragraph. Having this overarching idea was helpful to understand how everything they mentioned would fit together in their future.

This essay really struggled with clarity. It wasn’t clear until the last sentence what this student actually wanted to do after graduating. The initial story of tutoring Aanya didn’t really connect to the rest of the essay and left the reader trying to find a connection in the first few paragraphs. The student’s ambition to open up a school with innovative teaching methods to overcome social mobility should have been upfront so the reader would understand how each paragraph fit into answering the prompt.

The transitions from ideas were also disjointed which added to some of the confusion. The student goes from talking about tutoring a student, to Khan Academy, to economics, to unequal Internet access without providing a clear roadmap of where they are heading next. These transitions could have been made clearer with the inclusion of transition words to segway from one topic to the next. 

It was also unclear what this student’s connection to this issue was besides tutoring Aanya. They seemed to be informed about providing education, but there was a lack of personal reflection on what inspired them to start teaching in the first place or when they realized disparities in Internet access was an issue they wanted to address. By the end of the essay, the reader knows what the student wants to do (open a school that addresses the online learning and social mobility problems addressed in the essay), but we don’t know why . The why is the most important part, so this essay needs to address that. 

Prompt: Notre Dame has a rich history deeply rooted in tradition. Share how a favorite tradition from your life has impacted who you are today.

Although I despised them at the time, technology restrictions in Boarding school gave birth to a tradition close to my heart. With nothing else to do, our suitemates would gather together after “lights-out” and just talk. Sometimes it’d be consoling a friend over a bad break-up or a serious debate on the merits of Latin honors. Whatever the topic, these conversations were always compassionate, spirited, and a source of familial support.

This camaraderie also made studying profoundly different, as learning and fun stopped being antithetical ideas. Nights reserved for calculus were always punctuated by ping-pong sessions, but we never sabotaged each other in a futile race to the top. We were a collaborative family, where instead of selfish opportunity costs, we were driven by brotherly love. No accolade could beat this feeling of finding home, away from home. 

At Notre Dame, to build that sense of family, I want to create a discussion group—Night Owls—to gather at night and ponder both the grandiose and whimsical philosophical questions over hot chocolate. Think of these events as modern versions of the infamous Greek Symposia, just without the booze. This combination of conversation, family, and intellectual inquiry is what I want from college. It doesn’t sound very prudential, but it’s surely poetic.

The student who wrote this essay did a good job of tying their previous experience with a tradition to a tradition they want to bring to the Notre Dame community. This student pinpointed exactly what they loved so much about living in a community with their peers and how they planned to recreate that experience in college. The descriptions about the types of debates or ping-pong tournaments the student engaged in create an image of an intellectual and supportive environment admissions officers want to see at their college.

Additionally, by coming up with a name and a plan for the discussion group, the student’s interest is evident and it shows that they took time to consider genuinely starting this group at college. In general, the student’s writing created a warm sense of family and bonding that displayed some of the student’s key values. This leaves the reader with a positive impression of the type of person this student is outside of the classroom, which was exactly what the prompt was looking to achieve.

One way this essay could be improved would be to include concrete examples of the types of discussions the student had at boarding school or want to have at Notre Dame. Although the essay mentions discussing bad break-ups and Latin honors, adding more detail like a quote said by one of the student’s friends or an idea they discussed that made them reflect on the world would help put the reader in the room with the student. The admissions officers should have a full grasp on the impact these late-night discussions had on the student. The more details and reflections to show what memorable things were said, the better the readers will understand why this is such an important tradition to this student. 

Where to Get Your Notre Dame  Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your Notre Dame essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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University of Notre Dame

Undergraduate Admissions

Application Overview

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How to Apply

The University of Notre Dame offers three secure online applications for first year applicants:

  • Common Application at  commonapp.org .
  • Apply Coalition on Scoir at  app.scoir.com/app/signup/2800092 .
  • Questbridge Application at questbridge.org  (QuestBridge applicants are not required to submit the Common Application or Coalition Application.)

Please note that after your application is submitted electronically, letters of recommendation and transcripts can still be sent to complete your application. 

First-Year vs. Transfer Applicants

The notre dame writing supplement: we want to meet the real you..

We require applicants to submit the Notre Dame Writing Supplement in addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application. This form is available to registrants of either website and is submitted with the application. It must be submitted online. 

The writing supplement gives us an opportunity to get to know you in a more personal way outside of your stats. So, let your personality shine, take risks, and remember that there is no right answer.

The University of Notre Dame Writing Section consists of responses to two (2) brief essay questions and three (3) short-answer responses to questions you select from the options provided.

Please provide a response to two (2) of the following questions. The word count is a maximum of 150 words per response.

  • Notre Dame fosters an undergraduate experience dedicated to the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of each individual, characterized by a collective sense of care for every person. How do you foster service to others in your community?
  • What is distinctive about your personal experiences and development (e.g., family support, culture, disability, personal background, community, etc.)? Why are these experiences important to you and how will you enrich the Notre Dame community?
  • Describe a time when you advocated for something you believed in and influenced others through thoughtful discourse to promote a deeper understanding of a difficult situation.

Short Answer

Please choose three questions from the options below. Your response to each short-answer question should be no more than 50 words.

  • Everyone has different priorities when considering their higher education options and building their college or university list. Tell us about your “non-negotiable” factor(s) when searching for your future college home.
  • What brings you joy?
  • What is worth fighting for?
  • What is something that genuinely interests you and how does this tie to the academic area you hope to study at Notre Dame?
  • How does faith influence the decisions you make?

Application Checklist

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions must have  all  of the following items before beginning application review:

  • Your application, submitted via the Common Application or Coalition Application website.
  • The Notre Dame Writing Supplement, submitted via the Common Application or Coalition Application. 
  • Official high school transcripts or record of academic achievement in secondary school. Note: Restrictive Early Action applicants are encouraged to submit an optional summary or progress report of first quarter or first trimester performance via their applicant status portal.
  • A letter of evaluation from a high school teacher in a core academic subject area who knows you well
  • Counselor evaluation (recommended, not required)
  • Optional: Results of your ACT or SAT assessment scores - Notre Dame is test-optional for the 2024 and 2025 application cycles. Students may choose whether or not to include test scores when submitting their applications.  Learn more about the test-optional program.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75

NOTE: If you are an international student, please visit the  International Admissions pages  for additional instructions and information. 

Regarding Deadlines

Submit the online version of the Common Application (with the Notre Dame Writing Supplement) or the Coalition Application (the writing supplement is included within the application)  no later than November 1 for Restrictive Early Action or January 1 for Regular Decision .

We reserve the right to make a decision on your application based on the materials that we receive. Be sure to pay careful attention to your applicant status portal and monitor your email as well. We send regular communications to students with incomplete applications.

Note that we will continue to accept required supplemental application materials past the application deadline (i.e., letters of recommendation, test scores), but encourage students to submit documents as soon as possible so that we may take all important information into consideration during our review.

Don't Lose These Dates

Print them off, mark your calendars, set reminders on your devices.

  • Applications Available: August 1
  • Restrictive Early Action : November 1
  • REA Supporting Documents: November 15
  • SlideRoom Submissions: November 15
  • Regular Decision : January 1
  • RD Supporting Documents: January 15
  • SlideRoom Submissions:  January 15
  • Priority Deadline to Apply for Financial Aid : February 15
  • Confirmation Deadline: May 1

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Notre Dame Essay Examples

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Feeling stuck as you begin to write your Notre Dame essay? By reading Notre Dame essay examples, you can prepare yourself to write your own Why Notre Dame essay. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some Notre Dame essay examples—specifically, some why school essay examples. By writing a strong why Notre Dame essay, you can maximize your odds in the admissions process.

It’s important to include specific details about Notre Dame in your Why Notre Dame essay. By reading through Notre Dame essay examples, you can find some inspiration for your own supplements. When you read Notre Dame essays that worked, you’ll learn more about what kind of essays function best. 

Reading Notre Dame essay examples can also help you learn what makes a strong structure for a college essay. So, pay attention to the grammar, content, and flow of each of these Notre Dame essays.

Soon, we’ll take a look at some Notre Dame essay examples. But first, let’s learn a bit more about Notre Dame. 

What kind of school is Notre Dame?

Notre Dame is a private, Catholic university located in Notre Dame, Indiana. With a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 9,000 , Notre Dame is considered a mid-sized university with a suburban setting. Moreover, Notre Dame is a research university , allowing students the opportunity to participate in original research projects. So, for students interested in conducting original research, the many innovative projects at Notre Dame can form a great foundation for a Why Notre Dame essay. 

Notre Dame Essay Examples

As a Catholic university, Notre Dame’s culture centers around the Catholic faith. However, the school welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. You may find that many Notre Dame essay examples focus on Catholicism and service, as the Notre Dame questions address community and core values. Many Notre Dame essays that worked successfully detail a commitment to service and community. Other successful Notre Dame essay examples address topics of religious faith. 

Competitive Notre Dame admissions

Notre Dame is a competitive school as well. The Notre Dame acceptance rate is currently 15% , making it a “reach” school on many students’ college lists . With such a competitive applicant pool, you should put thought and effort into every aspect of your application. So, make sure to visit the Notre Dame admissions website for a full application overview. Researching different Notre Dame essay examples can also help you as you complete your Notre Dame application. 

Notre Dame Essay Requirements

The Notre Dame application requirements include several supplemental essays. One of these Notre Dame questions is required; the other four are options from which all students must select one. So, in total, each student will complete two Notre Dame essays. 

Here are the Notre Dame essay prompts: 

Students are required to complete two of the Notre Dame questions. While all students must complete the first prompt—the Why Notre Dame essay—students can choose from the other four prompts. 

Mind the word limit

All of the Notre Dame questions have the same word limit of 200 words. Our Notre Dame essay examples respond to a variety of prompts; by reading these Notre Dame essays that worked, you can learn how to approach any of the Notre Dame questions. The Notre Dame Admissions Office has also compiled guides and tips on writing the supplemental essays. 

Reading different Notre Dame essay examples for each of the different Notre Dame prompts can also help you pick which optional question to answer. Which essays do you find the most compelling? Additionally, which essay prompts most align with what you like about Notre Dame’s campus? Reading other Why School essay examples can also help you brainstorm. Notre Dame essays that worked can give you a solid sense of what a successful essay looks like. Moreover, these Notre Dame essay examples can help you focus on what speaks to you about Notre Dame’s campus. 

Writing Why School Essays

The Why School essay is a common supplemental essay prompt. In addition to the Why Notre Dame essay, you will likely need to write a number of why school essays. Schools like Northwestern , Duke University, Yale University , and the University of Chicago all have a Why School essay. It’s important to spend time and effort on your Why School essay, as it is the best chance to express your interest directly to college admissions offices.

Reading different Why School essay examples can help you learn about each school. Sample essays can also help you learn what other students find compelling about different colleges. Still, your Why School essay should reflect your own interests and passions. Research each school and highlight 1-2 aspects of each college in every Why School essay. If you’re feeling stuck, try to find Why School essay examples for your college of choice. 

Focusing your interests

It can be helpful to focus on your intended major when writing a Why School essay. However, you should plan to include 1-3 non-academic features as well. So, first, think about what you’d like to pursue in college outside the classroom. Then, look for a specific club, resource, or program at each school that aligns with these interests.

Many of the Notre Dame essay examples focus on community service, as Notre Dame is a Catholic university. So, for instance, pointing to specific community service opportunities at Notre Dame can bolster your Notre Dame essay. 

Research is also a key component in many Why School essay examples. The more you know about a given college, the stronger your essays will be. Many of the Notre Dame essays that worked showcase the deep knowledge students have around Notre Dame’s mission and programs. So, reading Notre Dame essay examples can help you with your research. We’ve also compiled a helpful list of tips for researching colleges in the next section if you need more help!

5 Tips for Researching Colleges

Notre Dame Essay Examples

If you’re feeling stuck about your Why Notre Dame essay, we’ve compiled some tips on researching colleges. With thorough research, you can prepare yourself to write strong Why School essays that reference specific details. 

If you’re unsure about what to research for each school, we have some suggestions:

1. research your specific major.

Focusing on your major is a great way to find specific information about the college you’re applying to. Read through the course offerings and see if any classes pique your interest. Additionally, look for any research projects or professors to highlight as well. Connecting your academic goals to Notre Dame’s programs will show the admissions team that you genuinely want to attend. 

2. Learn about internship opportunities 

By learning about internship opportunities, you can gain an understanding of how a given college can help you reach your career goals. This can form a great topic for your Why School essay. Many colleges offer undergraduate research opportunities or career services that help connect students with local internships. Additionally, some schools allow students to work closely with faculty on research—look to see if there are any unique opportunities available. Think broadly about what you’d like to pursue with your degree, and find the specific programs that will help you get there. 

3. Consider study abroad and extracurricular programs 

Many students look forward to studying abroad during their undergraduate years. By researching a school’s study abroad options, you can connect your personal goals with their programs. So, look at each program and make note of any interesting or unique excursions, classes, or experiences. If the school does not offer study abroad programs, look for any interesting summer programs or clubs to mention in your essay. Telling admissions officers how you’ll involve yourself on campus can help communicate your excitement in the application process. 

4. Research the surrounding area

Many Why School essay examples will mention a school’s surrounding area. So, if you go this route, keep it specific. Is there a company or business in the area you’re interested in working for? What makes the surrounding area special? What about the town or city calls to you? However, remember that the college itself should form the foundation of your Why School essay. So, be sure to not spend too much time on the surrounding area in your essay—you should still focus primarily on the school’s campus. However, it’s important to know the surrounding area well before you apply to any school. 

5. Learn about the history 

Researching a school’s history can give you great insight into its core values and guiding principles. When was the school founded? How has it changed over the years? While you may not reference the school’s history directly in your essay, you can build your essay around the school’s mission and goals. Plus, you may learn something interesting that you can weave into your essay. Showing admissions officers that you’ve done your research is a great way to demonstrate your interest.

A helpful example

Let’s imagine a hypothetical student, Emma, who is submitting a Notre Dame application.  After reading some Notre Dame essay examples, Emma is ready to write her own. Emma plans to major in English, has organized several book drives in her community, and is heavily involved with her high school’s band. She also likes that Notre Dame offers a concentration in creative writing , as she wants to be an author after graduation. 

After researching Notre Dame, she knows that she wants to highlight the unique creative writing program, the robust community service programs, and the famous Notre Dame Marching Band . She’ll also mention specific courses she’s excited to take and a volunteer project she’s interested in pursuing. Inspired by reading Notre Dame essays that worked, she’ll focus on her commitment to volunteering and her community, highlighting Notre Dame’s core mission. Additionally, like many other Notre Dame essay examples, her essay will acknowledge Notre Dame’s long history and communicate her excitement to join campus. 

Notre Dame Essay Example

Notre Dame Essay Examples

We’ve included an example of a Why Notre Dame essay in this section. As one of the many Notre Dame essays that worked, this essay is a great resource for students interested in Notre Dame. This essay also does a great job of including specific details about the student’s experiences and what excites them about Notre Dame: 

Why Notre Dame essay example

Essay prompt: why notre dame.

After one hour long information session at a random high school in Delaware, I was in love. But really, my interest in Notre Dame started well before this Tuesday in September of my senior year.

My sophomore year of high school, my guidance counselors encouraged me to make a list of what I thought I wanted in a college. These guidelines considered factors such as how far away I want to go from home and did I prefer an urban or rural environment. When I compared my list to everything the University of Notre Dame has to offer, I realized it is a perfect match. It fits all of the smaller components I desire including a beautiful campus, medium class size, varsity athletics and an array of extracurricular activities.

Notre Dame also matches the more significant items on my checklist. To be specific, I have attended Catholic school since I was three years old and my faith is an integral part of my life. I appreciate that attending Notre Dame would offer me the opportunity to continue my faith education in a comfortable, Christian environment.

Plenty of schools have strong academics, varsity athletics, and a religious background. Notre Dame has all three. But, that alone is not why Notre Dame is my “dream school.” What makes Notre Dame so special to me is its incomparable sense of community, service, and faith. Every aspect of student-life at Notre Dame is based on community. I want to be one of those students who will forever believe that their residence hall is the best on campus, a fan who cheers for the Irish in a sea of navy and gold, and a classmate who works with her peers to ensure learning and success for the entire class.

Service is another significant element of the Notre Dame experience. I value the put-others-first attitude and the desire to give back that Notre Dame students emulate. Finally, Catholic identity and faith formation do not take a backseat at the University of Notre Dame. I value the opportunity to attend mass in my dorm and grow in my faith surrounded by students and staff who support me in everything I do.

Why this Notre Dame essay worked

As with many Notre Dame essay examples, this essay speaks to what makes Notre Dame unique—namely, the school’s focus on service and Catholic values. The student’s passion about Notre Dame comes through, and it’s also clear that they’ve done extensive research on the extracurriculars and academics offered. 

Like other Notre Dame essays that worked, this successful essay highlights the school’s commitment to service. This writer actively highlights their commitment to service while also emphasizing how they’ll engage with the community at Notre Dame. 

If you’re wondering how to get into Notre Dame, reading Notre Dame essay examples like the one above can help you focus your supplemental essays. As you write, think about what makes Notre Dame unique and interesting to you. This can help guide your research and, moreover, will make your Why Notre Dame essay feel authentic to you and your goals. 

If you’re looking for additional resources, the Notre Dame admissions office has a guide on the supplemental essay. You can also find some additional tips on the Notre Dame questions here, as well as information on how to get into Notre Dame from U.S. News . 

Does Notre Dame care about essays?

college essay guy notre dame supplemental essays

Yes—Notre Dame cares about essays.

It’s hard to say exactly how the supplemental essays play into the Notre Dame admissions process, as the school reviews applications holistically. Still, it’s important to put time and effort into your Notre Dame questions. 

The Why Notre Dame essay lets you communicate directly with admissions officers and highlight why you’re applying to Notre Dame. Given the low Notre Dame acceptance rate, your essays are the best opportunity to stand out through the application process. The admissions officers at Notre Dame want to know why you want to join their community, and the Notre Dame questions aim to help you explain your reasons. 

Reading Notre Dame essays that worked can also help you learn which kind of students get into Notre Dame. The Why Notre Dame essay is one of the more personal elements of a student’s Notre Dame application, allowing admissions officers greater insight to your goals and academic passions. When you read Notre Dame essay examples, note how these essays connect each student’s profile to Notre Dame’s mission and values. If you’re wondering how to get into Notre Dame, focus your research on the Notre Dame essay examples. In doing so, you’ll gain a better understanding of what a successful application can look like. 

Other CollegeAdvisor Resources on Notre Dame

If you plan to apply to Notre Dame, CollegeAdvisor has many resources to help you. You can read our guide on Notre Dame here , where you’ll find helpful information such as application deadlines, Notre Dame’s location, information on tuition,  and popular majors. You can also watch our University of Notre Dame panel with alumni and current students. If you’re currently researching schools, our panel can teach you more about Notre Dame’s campus life and application process. 

University of Notre Dame Panel

For more information on the Why Notre Dame essay (as well as the other Notre Dame questions), you can read our Notre Dame essay guide here. This guide provides a deep dive on the Notre Dame application requirements and is a great place to start your research. In addition to Notre Dame essay examples, reading resources on how to get into Notre Dame can help prepare you for the admissions process. You can also read about our Client Success Story about the Whitaker Family—this can help you see what the application process looks like and how CollegeAdvisor can support you through it. 

Resources on Notre Dame majors

If you’re interested in majoring in business, CollegeAdvisor also has an in-depth guide on the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame. You can learn about the different business majors as well as the specific requirements for students in the business school. For students interested in the QuestBridge scholarship, you can read our guide here. The University of Notre Dame is a QuestBridge College Partner, meaning students can match with Notre Dame and receive a scholarship that covers the full cost of college. 

Majoring in Business at Notre Dame

Overall, CollegeAdvisor has plenty of resources available specific to Notre Dame, as well as resources on the college application process as a whole. You can also find more Why School essay examples in our guide here , and information on college application deadlines here . We also feature guides on How to Choose a Major and How to Pay for College. Additionally, you can find over 300 free college admissions webinars on a wide variety of topics in our library . 

Notre Dame Essay Examples – Final Thoughts

The Why Notre Dame essay is a central part of any student’s Notre Dame application. Reading Notre Dame essays that worked can help you jumpstart the writing process. It can also give you a solid framework for what kind of essays create a lasting impact. 

As we discussed, students can choose between four Notre Dame questions for their second supplement. Choose your topic carefully so that your essay highlights your strengths. The best Notre Dame essay examples showcase the core parts of the writers’ identities and describe how Notre Dame will help them achieve their goals. Connecting your experiences to Notre Dame’s overall mission and values can help your Notre Dame essay stand out. 

One last thing to remember

The biggest takeaway from our Notre Dame essay examples should be the importance of research. Make sure to research the specific programs and majors at all the colleges on your list. Our Notre Dame essays that worked highlight specific offerings. So, the time and effort you spend researching schools will pay off during the application process. 

If you’re feeling stuck in your research, you can read more about the college search here. Spend time looking through the Notre Dame Admissions website to keep up to date on the Notre Dame application requirements. While the application process can be daunting, familiarizing yourself with Notre Dame essay examples is a great place to start. 

Looking for personalized expert guidance as you respond to the Notre Dame questions? Click here to schedule a free consultation with our team. 

Notre Dame Essay Examples

This article was written by senior advisor, Jess Klein . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.

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University of Notre Dame 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Regular Decision: 

University of Notre Dame 2019-20 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 3 essays of 200 words.

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why , Oddball , Community

Please provide a response to the following question:

What excites you about the university of notre dame that makes it stand out from other institutions (200 words).

Why Notre Dame? You have 200 words to explain to Admissions Officers at University of Notre Dame why you are taking the time to apply and fill out these supplements! As with any other why essay, your goal here isn’t simply to regurgitate facts from the admissions highlights page. Take your research to the next level and dig for the kinds of classes and opportunities that spark your interest. By using carefully-selected details, you’ll show admissions not only that you care about the school, but also what kind of student you’d be when you get there.

Your answer can refer to academics (majors, classes, professors), the community (clubs, events, student body), or anything else that makes you want to be a Notre Dame student (campus culture, sports, your dad’s stories of his glory days). This is where you prove that you have done your homework on Notre Dame. Feel free to explore their website for little bits of information that excite you. Maybe you want to join their Culinary Appreciation and Outreach Society. Do they have a Race and Gender in Reality TV class that you would love to take? Let them know! Lastly, remember to connect your own experiences to the ones you hope to have at Notre Dame.   

Please provide responses to TWO (2) of the following questions in 200 words:

The founder of the university of notre dame, father edward sorin, c.s.c., was only 28 when he established the university with the vision that it would become a “powerful means of doing good.” we have always known that young people can be catalysts for change. what is one way that you have made an impact in your community.

This prompt wants you to think back on a time you worked for the greater good and put others before yourself. From the time you volunteered as a crossing guard to the winter you organized a coat drive for local people experiencing homelessness, all stories of impact and service are relevant here. Admissions wants to know that you not only look out for others, but also have community-awareness, an ability to recognize when your actions affect others.

If you were to bring a new friend to your hometown and give them a personal tour, what is a meaningful place you would show them?

It’s The Bachelor “hometowns week” and this is your shot at showing admissions where you come from and what it means to you. The prompt only asks for one place, so take a mental memory tour of your town and see what sticks out to you. Is there a restaurant that your family always goes to for Sunday dinner? Is there a soccer field where you finally figured out what “give & go” meant? Maybe your formative years were spent at church, or the mall was the only place you could have some independence with your friends. Wherever you end up, take a moment: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Bring the reader there mentally with sensory-rich words. Once you’re “there together,” explain the significance of this place and share why it’s so special to you. Like with all supplemental essays, your response should reveal something new about you to admissions.

Defend an unpopular opinion you hold.

Um, we kind of love this new prompt. From pineapple on pizza to the American Office being better than the British Office , you know you have one. While this can be taken seriously (e.g. you believe that all schools should require uniforms), it’s also a chance to get creative and add a little humor. We all have unpopular opinions, and defending them can elicit some really entertaining and fun responses. At the end of the day, this is really an opportunity to show your logic and reasoning skills. Get specific! Show the reader your point of view and give concrete details/examples. The opinion you choose isn’t as important as the effort and passion you put in to defending it. Think of something you love (or love to hate) and break it down. Choose your fighter.

Many high schools have books that are required reading. Thinking beyond the common examples, what book do you believe should be on your school’s reading list and why?

This reminds us of people who still say “The Great Gatsby” is their favorite book at the age of 35. Not to knock it, we love us some 20s glamour and a dead body in a swimming pool, but have they read it since their sophomore year of high school?! (Whew, sorry. Had to get that off our chest.) Admissions wants to know that you’re expanding your mind beyond your required reading list. Don’t worry about getting too intellectual here, just think of something that has spoken to you or made your imagination soar. Maybe you finally got around to reading the memoir of your favorite historical figure. Maybe you discovered Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and became entranced. No matter the book, be sure to answer the “why?” part of the question comprehensively.

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Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Examples

Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Examples

Taking a look at Notre Dame supplemental essay examples is a top-notch method for learning how to write your own responses to the essay prompts.

Supplemental college application essays are one of the best ways to stand out and show your top-choice school why you are a perfect applicant for their program. They allow you to showcase your personal self, and that is the best way to stay in the minds of the admissions committee and go from an applicant to a student.

How to write a college essay can be tricky; there is a lot to say within a word count that might seem big, but gets eaten up quickly. Studying sample college essays will illustrate writing methods and give you tremendous insight into how to go about creating your own essay.

This article will provide samples to the Notre Dame supplemental essays.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 11 min read

Please note that all Notre Dame supplemental essays have a maximum word count of 200 words.

Applicants are required to answer two prompts in total. All applicants must use the first prompt, but may choose from three additional prompts for their second essay.

Need more tips for writing?

The founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Moreau, wrote, “We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” How do you hope a Notre Dame education and experience will transform your mind and heart?

Sample Essay #1:

These days we see science and religion as enemies, fighting with one another.

Born Catholic I started my life unquestioning my religion. When I was in high school, I began walking two paths: one towards science, the other away from faith.

I was frustrated with the Church, avowed there was no God and picked fights with family and friends about it.

My studies gave me the opportunity to visit a particle accelerator. One of the scientists who gave us the tour was, as I found out, religious. I stayed behind, grilling him about how he reconciled faith and science, and he talked about the mystery of the universe. His pursuit for Truth in science was because he loved the profound expanse of nature. His love of God came from the same place.

Notre Dame prides itself on its religious origins and its Catholicism. I have come to a place where I want to explore the universe in an institution that advances science, but remains humbled by the profundity of Creation. I think that these qualities of Notre Dame’s will help me to reconcile the struggle my values and find my place in the universe.

During the spring semester, Notre Dame faculty gave 3-Minute Lightning Talks on exciting topics within their fields of expertise. While you don\u2019t have a Ph.D. yet, we bet you\u2019re developing an expertise in something. If you were giving a Lightning Talk, what topic (academic or not) would you choose? ","label":"1st prompt (of 3)","title":"1st prompt (of 3)"}]" code="tab1" template="BlogArticle">

I spent a lot of my recent years trying to read as many important books as I can, tracking down lists of books everybody “should” read, mostly composed of classics, academically-sanctioned works of genius, and the most seminal benchmarks of literature throughout the ages. All of this has made reading a chore – a list that I check off. I’m not saying they aren’t great works, just that I put the canons of others ahead of my own enjoyment.

My Lightning Talk would be on literary enjoyment – reading for pleasure – and how this act opens up the mind and the imagination. When I was a boy, I read tirelessly, mostly seeking out the sort of science-fiction and fantasy novels that were likely to have a Frank Frazetta painting for a cover. They were pulpy explorations of pretend worlds that fueled my mind and let me push my imagination to its limits.

I would like to unpack the idea that literature can be fun and still beneficial. I would talk about those pulp-fantasy novels and how they have opened my mind to new worlds.

Sample Essay #2:

Jumping out of a plane is safe enough that they’ll let untrained members of the public go skydiving. But if it’s so safe, why do people get a thrill out of it? Shouldn’t we relax up there?

I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker, spending hours at skateparks, trying to learn parkour, and driving a little faster than I’m supposed to. Recently, I’ve started to wonder “Why?”

I’ve been reading a lot of articles and books about adrenaline and people who go looking for that rush. Freud posited the death wish. Psychologists call it “sensation seeking”. Some people claim it’s for fun, others for a challenge. Adrenaline junkies get worse and worse, needing more of a “hit” as though these heightened brain chemical reactions are the same as a drug.

My talk would be about the reasons why we go looking for thrills and about how it affects our minds and bodies. Knowing why people seek out adrenaline-inducing experiences would help us master our habits and pursue our passions.

Sample Essay #3:

I was listening to the Howard Stern Show, and two of the guys on the show were really yelling at each other. Howard’s program is filled with these moments and it’s one of the most popular shows of all time.

Contentious posts rate higher on social media. Youtube videos with titles like, “So-and-so DESTROYS Somebody” gain millions of views. Why do we fight? Is there a value?

I’ve begun to research why we argue and if there are benefits to it. There are! We work out ideas together as a group that way, we engage with each other, and we can either work out problems or discover who is problematic.

There is a strong movement for social media companies to take responsibility for their users’ speech and shut it down if it gets out of hand. Ironically, the discussions on this topic – free speech and censorship – are as divisive as the speech itself.

My Lightning Talk would be about our fascination with, and the uses for, argumentative behaviors, and about whether or not we should be allowed to say anything we want.

There is a story or meaning behind every name or nickname \u2013 both those we\u2019re given and those that we choose. What is meaningful to you about your name? ","label":"2nd prompt (of 3)","title":"2nd prompt (of 3)"}]" code="tab2" template="BlogArticle">

My name, Dipti, has been a source of relentless pain and teasing, bringing me down constantly, and I hated it.

When we moved to the US, nobody said anything mean to the three-year-old me, but as soon as I went to school, I was bullied. It was my clothes, so I stopped wearing “weird” clothes. It was my food, so I got mom to pack “normal” lunches. It was my name, and I couldn’t escape.

I tried to be called “Dee”, but I was “Dipti” in roll-call.

Dipti means “light”, but it felt heavy. It’s my grandmother’s name, but I didn’t remember her. I had to meet her again when we got enough money to bring her over to stay with us.

Grandma Dipti was Light. I barely understood her words, but I understood her love, and felt shame for trying to abandon her name, like I was abandoning her beautiful spirit.

Now I don’t care who dislikes my name. Embracing who I am found me friends who love me for me. I am working on a family tree, plunging into my personal history, and I love knowing where I come from.

Now my name is a joy and a light in my life.

I share my name with a month of the year and with a general; my name is Julian.

First, I learned of Caesar’s conquests and power. It set a high standard to strive for, and led me to run for student council – Julian the Senator. My connection to a famous historical figure also gave me a love of history; I study it, love it, and hope to become a history professor.

But, in my studies, I also discovered Gaius Julius Caesar’s abuses of his power, precipitating the fall of the Roman republic and the rise of the Roman empire. This is a cautionary tale: use power for good.

Some people nickname me Jules or Julie. “Girls’ names!” That used to annoy me a lot, but I have gained two perspectives in consequence of these labels: the first is that I need a thicker skin; little things shouldn’t bother me. The second is that teasing might sting a bit, but others have it worse with aggressive misgendering, or severe bullying.

I know that I have certain powers on student senate and if I ever cross the Rubicon, it will be for the rights of the bullied, not to become a tyrant.

My parents just liked the sound of the name “Alan”, so that’s my name. I have no relatives named Alan, they didn’t have any close friends named Alan, and Alan doesn’t even mean anything. Some people speculate that it means “deer”, but there are others who think it means, “little rock”, or “handsome”, so it could mean anything.

I gave this very little heed growing up, although I did get annoyed once when my siblings and I were all looking up our names and they had substantive meanings but mine just means nothing.

Some people have names they have to live up to. Their names are grand. Mine is plain. But I like that. I like that, with my name, I don’t have to live up to my name, but I can fill it.

I wasn’t captain of the debate team because I had something to prove, no; it was because I loved debating. My passion led me forward, not some silly high bar set by a name.

This lack of meaning in my main moniker taught me to strive for individuality.

While your essays will be personal, you should use the academic essay structure to make your story flow.

No. You have some choice, but you must complete two essays.

All applicants complete the first essay prompt (Prompt #1), and then choose one from the three other sub-prompts (three entries in Prompt #2).

Generally-speaking, any time you are given the option to submit an essay, test, or short answer, take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your application and make it more memorable.

Essentially, consider everything mandatory, because good quality submissions will all help your application.

Consider them strict, yes.

Keep to the directions you are given, find your creative voice within those boundaries.

Colleges look for people who think outside the box, not those who color outside the lines.

Notre Dame doesn’t use interviews in its admissions process, so the essays are the best way that the admissions committee has of seeing the “you” beyond pure numbers and data. While you can give a picture of yourself through extracurriculars, the essays allow you to speak directly to the committee and show your passion and your journey that is taking you to your top-choice school.

You will be talking about yourself, but specifically highlighting experiences you’ve had, knowledge you’ve gained, and traits and abilities you’ve acquired that will appeal to the school you’re applying to (in this case, Notre Dame).

Try to highlight courses, research, or values that the school has, even if only in oblique ways.

Valuable qualities to show are leadership, curiosity, perseverance, dedication, problem-solving, studiousness, and creative thinking.

If you can showcase that you learn from failure, that can also be beneficial.

Your goal is to say something meaningful about yourself, something memorable that will stick with the admissions committee, and something that will make you connect with the college you’re applying to. If you’ve done that with fifty words to spare, there’s nothing wrong with coming in under the word count.

On the other hand, if you’ve only written fifty words out of two-hundred, it’s likely that you haven’t said enough.

Avail yourself of college essay advisors so you know when you’ve said what you’re trying to say.

Notre Dame is open to all denominations, faiths, and persons from non-religious backgrounds. No matter who you are, you are welcomed into Notre Dame’s studies, and your application is not contingent on your spirituality or lack thereof.

Many universities and colleges in the US were founded by religious institutions or religious persons, but none of those schools will penalize a non-religious applicant or make them feel unwelcome on campus or in class.

When you’re applying to a variety of schools, and we do recommend you apply to 8-10, there may be some overlap in college essay topics . As always, do your research. Before writing all of your essays, take a look at the different topics, and if you find areas of overlap, you can certainly reuse writing.

With that said, colleges are looking for values in line with theirs, so you may need to make sure that your essays align with multiple colleges in every way, not just the specific prompts.

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college essay guy notre dame supplemental essays

Notre Dame supplemental essays?

I'm planning on applying to Notre Dame and I heard that they have supplemental essays. So, does anyone know what type of questions they usually ask and how to best prepare for them?

Notre Dame does indeed require supplemental essays as part of their application process. While the prompts may change slightly from year to year, they generally revolve around three themes: community, academics, and personal growth. Here are some of the most common questions you might come across:

1. Community: Notre Dame seeks to create a tight-knit community that is diverse and inclusive. You might be asked to describe a time when you interacted with someone whose background differs from yours and how it impacted you. Alternatively, you could be asked about how you would contribute to the Notre Dame community.

2. Academics: Notre Dame values intellectual curiosity and a strong academic foundation. You might be asked to discuss a time when you engaged in a scholarly pursuit that went beyond your coursework requirements or how you plan to make use of your education after graduation.

3. Personal Growth: Personal development is an essential part of the Notre Dame experience. You might be asked to write about a time when you faced a challenge, how you overcame it, and what you learned from the experience. Or, you could be asked to describe a goal you have for your future and how Notre Dame can help you achieve it.

When preparing to write these essays, it's important to reflect on your experiences and consider what makes you a unique candidate. Think about how your interests, goals, and values align with Notre Dame's mission and values. Be genuine and authentic in your responses, and make sure to provide specific examples to support your claims.

To stay organized and focused, create an outline before you start writing. This will help you ensure your essay is well-structured and flows logically from one point to the next. Additionally, consider asking a teacher, school counselor, or trusted friend to read your essays and provide feedback. This can help you identify areas where you need to clarify your ideas or polish your writing.

Finally, keep the word count in mind as you write. Notre Dame has a word limit for supplemental essays, usually around 150-200 words, so it's essential to be concise and make every word count.

With thorough preparation and thoughtful reflection, you'll be well on your way to writing strong supplemental essays that will help you stand out in the Notre Dame application process.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the University of Notre Dame ...

    Option 1: "Why us?" essay. Option 2: "Joy" essay. Option 3: "Advocacy" essay. Option 4: "Why major?" essay. Option 5: "Faith" essay. Notre Dame gives you a few options to choose from to help them see more of who you are and what you bring to the college campus.

  2. How to Write the University of Notre Dame Essays 2023-2024

    The University of Notre Dame has two sets of supplemental essay prompts, with each set having multiple options to choose from. The prompts themselves are short, but you're required to answer two out of three options for Prompt 1, and three out of five options for Prompt 2. As such, it's important to carefully consider which ...

  3. 2023-24 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    University of Notre Dame 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations. The Requirements: Two 200-word essays; three 50-word short responses. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball, Community, Short Answer.

  4. 2022-23 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    The Requirements: 2 essays of 200 words. Supplemental Essay Type (s):Why, Oddball, Community. The University of Notre Dame Writing Supplement consists of one (1) essay response to a required question and one (1) essay response to one of four questions you select from a list of options provided.

  5. Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Prompts and Tips

    Below are Notre Dame's supplemental prompts for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to address each one. Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2023-24 Section #1. Please choose two questions from the options below. Your brief essay response to each question should be no more than 150 words.

  6. 2023-2024 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompts

    The University of Notre Dame has published its 2023-2024 supplemental admissions essays for applicants to the Class of 2028. This year, in addition to the Personal Statement on The Common Application, Notre Dame applicants are asked to respond to two of three essay questions in a maximum of 150 words and three of five short-answer ...

  7. Learn How to Write Great Supplemental College Essays

    Learn to write beautiful supplemental essays and tackle your activities list and Additional Information section. Write supplemental essays for hundreds of the most competitive colleges. Follow our step-by-step guides and read our supplemental essay examples that work.

  8. Write Your Best Essay: Tips from A Notre Dame Admissions Counselor

    Question #5: For the supplemental essays, is it better to choose an essay that focuses on the applicant as a person or the applicant's views or ideas? Your readers will receive plenty of personal information from the rest of the application, but the college essays are the first time on the application that your readers get to hear ...

  9. 4 Tips for Writing Amazing Notre Dame Essays

    First, we'll give you an overview of the Notre Dame supplement. Then we'll walk you through each essay individually and answer the following questions: What is the essay asking you to do? What makes for a good answer? What are some potential essay topics? Are there pitfalls you should avoid?

  10. Notre Dame Essay

    In your Notre Dame supplemental essays, you will discuss your motivations for applying to the school as well as your background and experiences. As you write, remember the purpose of the Notre Dame essay prompts—to help the Notre Dame admissions committee get to know you.

  11. 2020-21 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball, Community. The University of Notre Dame Writing Section consists of one (1) essay response to a required question and two (2) essay responses to questions you select from the options provided. In total, you will write three (3) essay responses.

  12. Conquering University of Notre Dame's 2023-2024 Supplemental Essays

    If you're considering the University of Notre Dame, you're probably aware of its unique supplemental essays. These essays are your chance to illustrate your personality, values, and commitment to the spirit of Notre Dame. Notre Dame has two required prompts (200 words each) and two optional prompts (150 words each) for their supplemental essays.

  13. How to Write the Notre Dame Supplemental Essays

    You've got two supplemental essays to write for Notre Dame. The first—a Why Us essay—will let you show your alignment with Notre Dame. The second prompt, which you'll have some choice with, will let you show a more personal side to the admissions committee.

  14. Notre Dame Supplemental Essays

    Recognize the significance of Notre Dame supplemental essays in the admissions process. These essays offer a unique opportunity to go beyond your academic achievements and reveal your personal qualities. Moreover, Notre Dame supplemental essays allow you to showcase your character, values, and alignment with the university's mission. So, use ...

  15. Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

    The University of Notre Dame requires applicants to complete two supplemental essays as part of their application process. For the admissions cycle, Notre Dame provides three distinct essay prompts, and applicants are asked to select and respond to two of these. Each response must be concise and impactful, with a maximum word count of 150.

  16. How to Write the University of Notre Dame Essays 2020-2021

    In addition to the Common App, Coalition or Questbridge personal essay, applicants must complete three shorter supplemental essays in order to be considered for admission to Notre Dame.

  17. 3 University of Notre Dame Essay Examples by Accepted Students

    Read our University of Notre Dame essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year's supplemental prompts. Example 1. Prompt: A Notre Dame education is not just for you, but also for those who will benefit from the impact you make. Who do you aspire to serve after you graduate? (200 words)

  18. Apply

    We require applicants to submit the Notre Dame Writing Supplement in addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application. This form is available to registrants of either website and is submitted with the application. It must be submitted online.

  19. Notre Dame Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

    The Notre Dame supplemental essays 2022-2023 allow applicants a certain amount of freedom when choosing their supplemental essay topic, but we're going to look at each essay prompt and discuss the best way to respond to each topic.

  20. Notre Dame Essay Examples

    The Notre Dame application requirements include several supplemental essays. One of these Notre Dame questions is required; the other four are options from which all students must select one. So, in total, each student will complete two Notre Dame essays. Here are the Notre Dame essay prompts:

  21. 2019-20 University of Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

    University of Notre Dame 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide. Regular Decision: University of Notre Dame 2019-20 Application Essay Question Explanations. The Requirements: 3 essays of 200 words. Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why, Oddball, Community. Please provide a response to the following question:

  22. Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Examples

    Notre Dame Supplemental Essay Examples. Updated: Jan 01, 2024. Taking a look at Notre Dame supplemental essay examples is a top-notch method for learning how to write your own responses to the essay prompts.

  23. Notre Dame supplemental essays?

    Notre Dame has a word limit for supplemental essays, usually around 150-200 words, so it's essential to be concise and make every word count. With thorough preparation and thoughtful reflection, you'll be well on your way to writing strong supplemental essays that will help you stand out in the Notre Dame application process. 2 months ago.