Notre Dame admits 3,586 students to class of 2022
Kelli Smith | Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Notre Dame has officially opened its doors to the class of 2022 after admitting a total of 3,586 students out of a record-breaking 20,370 applications.
As this is the first year the University has received over 20,000 applications, associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment Don Bishop said Notre Dame has succeeded in increasing the level of interest in ‘highest-ability’ students.
“About one-third of the students considered to be at the very top of the class or with a national test score of 33 to 36 ACT or 1500 to 1600 SAT gained admission to Notre Dame this year,” Bishop said. “ … We’re up four percent in applications, but we’re up 18 percent in what we would call ‘highest-ability applicants.’”
In addition to what he described as an “elaborate evaluation process” that considers how well students performed in their respective environments and how well they fit Notre Dame’s mission of being a “force for good,” Bishop said the admissions team read “very carefully” into what a student said and how he or she said it.
“Kind of the science and art of admissions is to blend the productivity of the student with looking at their motivation and personal attributes to project: is this a student that will use the resources of Notre Dame best or is there another student that convinces us they will have a better appreciation for the priorities that we have at Notre Dame?” he said.
To generate higher levels of interest in the University, Bishop said, the admissions team did more in terms of early outreach and relationship-building to bring forward an awareness of Notre Dame and help students realize their motivations.
“There’s a whole other dimension to Notre Dame [in addition to quality academics] that Notre Dame expects to deliver to every student,” Bishop said. “And that’s you developing a greater sense of who you are, what you’re about and how you can improve the world [and] be a force for good. So we have been hitting that point harder.”
Bishop said a change to this year’s evaluation process was less reliance on class rank, due to the prevalence of ranking oddities across high schools.
“About thirty percent of our admitted students had test scores below the top one percent,” he said. “However, we viewed their applications as stronger due to their classroom achievement, intellectual drive, service and leadership, creativity, special talents and their appreciation for the mission and unique nature of Notre Dame.”
With three percent of admits receiving a merit award, over 55 percent receiving a Notre Dame scholarship and more than one out of every three families receiving need-based financial aid, another factor that increased interest was improving financial aid, Bishop said.
“I think the priorities that we had in recruitment was to build up more students that had come from disadvantaged backgrounds but had spectacular performances,” he said. “We were not going to lower admission standards, but we are going to go find more of those students and try to convince them to come to Notre Dame.”
Another new record, Bishop said, was made in terms of diversity with 42 percent of accepted students being American students of color, international students, United States citizens living abroad or dual citizens.
“We look at disadvantaged backgrounds and their capability of doing the work here, but we also have to look at the students who have probably — admittedly — a lot of resources but have done extremely well with them,” Bishop said. “So it’s blending all of this into a community where everybody’s from a different place — not only geographically — and yet you all get to come together here and you want to be together.”
For the second year in a row, California is the number one state represented with 350 admits, followed by Illinois at 330, Indiana at 227 and New York at 220, Bishop said. As a whole, every state in America and over 80 other nations reported an admit.
“Most top colleges are tilted somewhat toward the region they’re in,” Bishop said. “That is not true at Notre Dame … the median admit will travel over 750 miles to start their career at Notre Dame.”
Bishop said the housing policy to be enacted next year — in which students will be required to live on campus for three years — has resulted in “no reluctance whatsoever” from prospective students considering Notre Dame.
“If anything, they feel like Notre Dame has reinforced the value of the importance of hall experience,” Bishop said.
Admitted students will also come from the waitlist, of which 1,450 students were admitted, and the Gateway Program.
Bishop said the Gateway Program will offer 76 select students a guaranteed transfer to Notre Dame after spending one year at Holy Cross College.
“The quality of the waitlist is well above the profile of the class just a couple of years ago,” Bishop said. “… About 11 percent of this year’s freshman class would not be admitted into this new class due to the increased competitive nature of the applicant pool.”
Bishop said he expects the class of 2022 to be more self-directed in forming questions about their academic interests and lives, and less focused on reaching performance thresholds.
“That has been probably the most important goal we’ve had in the last eight years — going beyond the numbers and really looking at … how are [students] using their intellectual ability, not just how much intellectual ability do they have,” he said.