If anyone had told me in October of 2019 when I was applying to colleges, that on April 8, 2020, I would commit to going to college in Indiana for the next four years of my life, I would have laughed. Then, I visited Notre Dame and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Even more than beautiful, the students on campus looked...happy? You may wonder why is that a shock? Honestly, I did not expect South Bend, Indiana during the freezing February winter, to have students walking around with smiles on their faces. By the end of the weekend, I understood why, because Notre Dame is truly a place like no other. I am a sophomore now, and I still smile as I walk to my dorm from the library and admire all that surrounds me.
My favorite part about Notre Dame is that the people here are genuine. Both the students and the faculty have always made me feel welcomed. I think any student can feel welcome in the way they chose. Whether it be by joining a student organization of people of similar background, asking the person who sits next to you in class “Hey, do you want to get lunch”? Whichever path you choose to adapt your comfort, will work out for you.
If it takes a while for you to feel comfortable, that is okay! Please know you are so far from alone. You are surrounded by thousands of other great people, and there will always be at least one, five, or even twenty people who want to be there for you. All you have to do is ask. Well, there are plenty of clubs to join if you are someone who likes feeling like they belong through doing extracurriculars and services! There is a student activities club fair hosted at the beginning of each school year, and students are welcome to walk around, sign up for clubs they are interested in. For instance, I signed up for at least twenty. Currently, I am in no more than seven. It is okay to change your mind.
Do you know what else is okay to change your mind about? Your major. I am a sophomore who has already changed my major from Psychology to Economics and currently to American Studies and Global Affairs. You don’t have to have your life figured out as a junior or senior in high school, I know I did not at all. If you do, that’s great! Though I will say, keep an open mind, you can end up finding a passion in something you never thought you would.
If Notre Dame is a school you’re interested in, apply. You don’t have to be fully committed; I seriously was not even considering Notre Dame when I applied to college. After four months, one visit, and one quarantine lockdown later, and I couldn’t imagine myself choosing to go anywhere else. If you’re worried about finances, don’t, Notre Dame meets 100% of demonstrated financial needs. Please, go online, find the University of Notre Dame Office of Financial Aid, and reach out to a Financial Aid Counselor! They will help guide you through the process if you need any help or have any further questions.
In terms of applying, my biggest advice to you is to be yourself on your application. By the time you are applying to college, the academic and extracurricular part of your application will practically be done. Use the essay portions of the application to stand out and show yourself as a person. Once you’ve submitted your application, try not to stress much. Time won’t go faster because you are stressed. Just know, you did all that you could, and if Notre Dame is meant for you, well I hope you reach out to me when you come!