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Students to visit campus as part of NDignite

| Thursday, November 6, 2014

A group of middle and high school students from Lawrence, Massachusetts, will visit campus Thursday through Sunday to experience collegiate life at Notre Dame. The experience is part of the NDignite Connection program, which aims to connect students with the University early in their college search processes.

The program is run by the Office of Outreach and Engagement Recruitment, whose mission “has a lot to do with establishing the pipeline for the University,” director Dr. Alyssia Coates said.

“So we are at the tip of the recruitment tunnel,” she said. “We are identifying early students who are in the seventh to ninth grade with the hopes that after coming to the University to get a glimpse of what college life is like, they will ultimately gain admission to the University of Notre Dame or to selective colleges across the country.”

Coates said the program aims to impact students whether they choose Notre Dame or another school.

“What we say is to use academics as a foundation to identify the students, and we use Notre Dame principles, values and cornerstones of leadership, service and faith to cultivate and shape the students,” Coates said. “So whether or not they come to Notre Dame or go somewhere else, we feel that we have placed our mark on those students so that they can live up to the University’s mission of the greater good, aligning their academics with their interests and really helping others.”

The students in eighth through twelfth grade arriving from Lawrence are “high ability students” and rank in the top 5 percent of their classes.

Lawrence is the “pilot city” for the Office of Outreach and Engagement Recruitment initiatives, Coates said.

“For years, we’ve had SSLP students coming to Lawrence, and we said that we’d love to see Lawrence come to Notre Dame,” she said. “That, along with the initiative that our associate vice president had for this early outreach initiative, is the reason we thought Lawrence would be a great city to begin in. What was really nice about that was we were able to utilize the SSLP counselors that typically work in Lawrence to participate in the program.”

The program will be hosted by both SSLP students and Coates’ interns, she said.

After arriving on campus on Thursday, the students will participate in a variety of activities meant to give them a flavor of many aspects of life at Notre Dame. According to Coates, they will begin on Friday working with Professor Ted Mandell and students involved in the Film, Theatre and Television (FTT) program to create a video.

Other activities include a panel, in which current students can answer questions and describe their experiences at Notre Dame. In addition, Coates said the students will participate in “what we ultimately love to do with Notre Dame students – service activities. They’re going to be making blankets and cards and close out Friday with a prayer service at the grotto.”

The students will also spend time meeting with the Department of Enrollment, including members of the Office of Financial Services and Admissions and Dean of the First Year of Studies Hugh Page.

“The program aligns NDignite with the First Year of Studies,” Coates said. “We teach the students about college readiness, and those are some of the things that we address with them, that these are some of the things that high ability students are doing or should be doing and what universities are looking for in high ability students. We bring it to their age level.”

Students will join a watch of Saturday’s game and will conclude their visit with a tour of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart that includes a concert and interaction with the Voices of Faith Choir.

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

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