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Fewer Holy Cross transfers accepted by ND

Becky Hogan | Monday, February 27, 2006

In one of the most legendary tales of a college transfer student, Rudy Ruettiger makes the switch from Holy Cross College to Notre Dame. But stories like the one portrayed in “Rudy” are becoming less common as the University has accepted fewer Holy Cross transfer applicants in recent years.

Of the 85 students from Holy Cross who applied as transfers to Notre Dame in 2005, 40 percent were admitted, according to the Holy Cross Web site. This semester, four out of the 15 applicants from Holy Cross were accepted to Notre Dame – the lowest acceptance rate for a spring semester in the last eight years. About 80 Holy Cross students apply for transfer to Notre Dame each year.

Susan Joyce, associate director of admissions for Notre Dame, said the deans who read transfer applications advise anyone who hopes to transfer to Notre Dame to go to the most competitive four-year school possible – a recommendation that makes it automatically more difficult to transfer from Holy Cross, which converted to a four-year college in the fall of 2003 after 36 years as a junior college.

Joyce said the credit requirements for transfers to Notre Dame’s School of Engineering and the College of Science are sometimes more rigorous than the classes made available to Holy Cross students, making them less competitive within the transfer applicant pool.

For sophomore transfer student Colin Ethier, who began classes at Notre Dame in January, getting to Notre Dame certainly wasn’t easy.

He was originally declined admission to the University during his senior year of high school and opted to reapply after a year attending Holy Cross.

“It was kind of hard to transition in the middle of the school year, but I have good classes and everyone has been really helpful,” Ethier said. “I don’t know if [Holy Cross] really helped with my acceptance, but it helped me to prepare [for Notre Dame]. I definitely felt prepared.”

Ethier – who transferred into the College of Arts and Letters – said the largest challenge he faced when trying to transfer to Notre Dame was figuring out which classes he should take at Holy Cross to secure his acceptance at Notre Dame.

“The hardest part was making sure that I had the right classes [to transfer]. Everyone tells you something different,” he said.

Sophomore Danyal Kareem transferred to Notre Dame last fall and had to take the highest-level science classes available at Holy Cross in order to get into Notre Dame’s College of Science.

While Kareem said he was glad to have made the switch to Notre Dame because Holy Cross lacked science courses for him to take after his first year, he noted differences between courses at the College and the University – differences that may have ultimately helped him transfer.

“The classes [at Holy Cross] were smaller and the professors were able to be more involved in the courses,” he said.

Kareem said he feels he may not have had the grades to get into Notre Dame if he had tried to transfer from a school with larger class sizes.

And for Kareem, the hardest part of the transition was not getting used to Notre Dame classes – it was making new friends.

“A lot of sophomores and juniors have already made their group of friends, which makes it harder for transfer students,” he said.

Holy Cross freshman Anthony Garcia, who was previously denied admittance to the University, hopes to reapply in the spring of 2007 to the College of Arts and Letters.

In the meantime, however, he said he feels that attending Holy Cross allows him to go to school away from home while at the same time learning about Notre Dame’s environment.

“I’ve heard of many people who have had the opportunity of getting into Notre Dame [after attending Holy Cross], but I also wanted to experience the Notre Dame community altogether,” he said.