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ND ranks as “dream school”

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Monday, April 2, 2012

March saw Notre Dame rising in another set of rankings, as the Princeton Review survey “College Hopes and Worries” listed the University as parents’ No. 4 “dream college” for their children, up from No. 9 in 2011.

Notre Dame was ranked behind Stanford University, Princeton University and Harvard University.

According to the Princeton Review’s website, “dream colleges” are schools that parents wish they were sending their children to if cost and admission were not contributing factors. A separate ranking listed the top ten dream colleges for students.

Bob Mundy, director of admissions, said the ranking speaks to the positive perception of Notre Dame nationwide.

“If you can step back and think about it as a parent might, I think it provides a nicely illustrative view of Notre Dame,” Mundy said. “Parents want great things for their children, and I think this is a statement that they see Notre Dame as a unique combination of education of the mind and heart.”

While some other universities were chosen as dream colleges for both parents and students, Notre Dame did not make the student list.

“There is definitely a difference between the student and parent perspectives,” Mundy said. “They’re looking for some of the same things, but not all, so naturally different factors come into play.”

Mundy said he believes the ranking demonstrates this disparity in goals.

“Parents really see college as a time to grow intellectually, socially and spiritually, and in this case, it means that they see Notre Dame as an ideal place for this.”

University Spokesman Dennis Brown said the administration was pleased about the ranking.

“We believe Notre Dame is among the nation’s best in providing an extraordinary undergraduate experience, and we’re pleased that parents who engaged in this survey have recognized as much,” Brown said.

He said, however, the University does not allow such rankings to carry much weight.

“While we recognize that the various college surveys and rankings serve a useful function for some prospective students and their parents, we have joined with others for 20 years in expressing our reservations about their various methodologies,” Brown said.

Mundy said he believes rankings like this could potentially affect future applicant pools.

“It might help more in the early stages of the application process,” he said. “If Notre Dame is on the parents’ radar and that helps get us on the student radar, that’s a good thing.”

Parents’ influence over their children is an important component of academic recruiting, Mundy said.

“Once we can get on students’ radar, we can pretty much do the rest,” he said.  

Mundy said the rankings, though positive, would not affect University policy in the short or long term.

“Rankings give a global view of our institution,” he said. “They don’t necessarily affect our internal policy. This is certainly a very positive affirmation for us, though.”