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Survey names ND a ‘Dream College’

Molly Madden | Monday, March 29, 2010

Notre Dame is one of American parent’s “Dream Schools,” according to a recent survey conducted by the Princeton Review. The survey of 3,042 parents of college applicants ranked Notre Dame the No. 7 school where parents would want to send their child if acceptance and cost were not issues.

The Princeton Review has consistently ranked Notre Dame since the survey’s creation in 2003, and Director of Admissions Dan Saracino said the University’s constant presence says a lot about the Notre Dame education.

“What it really means is that we’re consistent,” Saracino said. “We’re not a ‘hot’ school or a ‘trendy’ school. We’re a school that stands for the same values today as it did years ago.”
Notre Dame was ranked behind institutions such as Stanford University, Princeton University and Harvard University. Saracino said Notre Dame is “confident” in its mission and is continuing to try and further the education experience for Notre Dame students by following that mission.

“We’re not trying to be Harvard; we’re trying to be a better Notre Dame,” he said.

Saracino said Notre Dame’s mission has helped make the University “one of the top schools in terms of dream schools,” even though Notre Dame was ranked No. 4 last year in the same survey.

“I don’t see anything disturbing about a drop from fourth to seventh,” he said. “Over the years, Notre Dame is always listed in various surveys as being in the top five or top 10 by parents, students and high school counselors. We’re always going to be one of those schools.”

Freshman Mario Earnest said he thinks the drop in rankings could be in part the result of the University’s public position.

“Recent events that have happened in relation to the University were handled very publicly and there were some mixed reactions,” he said. “But that goes along with being a dream school. We’re in the spotlight so what we say matters.”

Of the 10 schools listed in the survey, Notre Dame is the only college with a religious affiliation.

Notre Dame is the only top-10 institution with a religious affiliation, and Saracino said he believes Notre Dame’s Catholic presence on this survey is a very “positive” indicator.
“Notre Dame is recognized as being one of the schools that is clearly dedicated to nurturing the mind, heart and soul,” he said.

Freshman Natalie Baumann said she is happy religion is still considered an important factor when it comes to selecting an institution of higher learning.

“Being the sole Catholic school on that list shows that faith is still important for some people, which is a good thing,” she said.

Freshman Kelly Sullivan said certain aspects of Notre Dame matter more than others to students.

“Rankings on substantial matter, such as Mendoza [College of Business] being the best business school in the country, are what really matter to students,” Sullivan said.

Sophomore Eileen Gillespie, who agreed with Sullivan said, “students don’t really care about lists like this.”

While Baumann said Notre Dame’s consistent ranking was a good thing, she said parents’ opinions of the University shouldn’t be of major concern to students.

“Who cares if someone else thinks it’s a dream school,” she said. “It only matters what I think of the school.”

Whether or not students care about these rankings, Saracino said the University has been receiving more undergraduate applications each year and that “the quality of the student body is stronger than it has ever been.”

“Notre Dame is always going to be a top school in the eyes of students, parents and the public because in their minds, Notre Dame is what an ideal college should be like,” Saracino said.