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University admits 1,673 to class of 2025 in largest early action pool ever

| Monday, February 8, 2021

The University released decisions for its restrictive early action (REA) process Dec. 16, admitting 1,673 students to the class of 2025.

With 7,744 total applicants, this year’s REA pool was the largest ever, with about a 21.6 percent acceptance rate. The total number of applications across REA and regular decision also hit an all-time high with 23,637 applications.

Liya Blitzer | The Observer
Out of 7,744 applicants in the restrictive early action process, the University admitted 1,673 students and deferred 1,712 to regular decision.

Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said the University is up a total of 11 percent for all applications. Ninety percent of this increase in admits are students of diversity, he said, with 115 more admits for U.S. students of color and international students.

“We’re trying to become each year more diverse, more representative of the entire characteristics of this country,” Bishop said. “Notre Dame wants to be a top school for everybody, not just be more preponderance of certain groups so we’ve worked hard at that, and some of our hard work has paid off. There’s still more to do, but we’re moving forward.”

In the cohort of REA admits, 1,155 high schools are represented with students coming from 63 countries.

As a non-binding application process, REA allows students to apply prior to the regular decision process as long as they do not apply early decision to another school with a binding contract.

“We are not going to provide early action for students who already have their hearts set on another place,” Bishop said. “Notre Dame is going to act like what we are, and we are a first-choice school. And while we don’t require you to come if we admit you, we certainly don’t want to admit you then have you unable to respond to that offer.”

Typically, the cohort of REA admits has roughly a 67 percent enrollment rate. With the University expecting to enroll 2,050 total first-year students in the fall of 2021, Bishop said he estimates about half of the class of 2025 will be REA admits.

In addition, Bishop said the University is already up 15 to 20 percent in the rate of admitted students securing a place in the class.

“This will require us to be cautious in how many students overall are admitted. We do not plan to over enroll the class goal of 2,050,” Bishop said. “This fall we enrolled 2,193, which was 143 larger than our original goal.”

A total of 1,712 REA applicants were deferred to regular decision. Bishop said deferred students are encouraged to continue to show interest in attending Notre Dame and send any major updates to attach to their application.

In the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, applicants were not required to submit a standardized test score with their application due to difficulties students were facing in the midst of a pandemic. However, Bishop said the University had already been moving away from the standardized test requirement in recent years.

“Test scores are too often associated with income of the student and the family background,” Bishop said. “There is more of an alignment between high income and high test scores than ever before.”

Thirty-one percent of REA admits chose to be test-optional and have their application reviewed without a test score. Bishop said the University was not more favorable to students who submitted a test score.

“The fact that 31 percent of our early action students did not have a test score I think shows that we were pretty open to reviewing your attributes without it, particularly this year, knowing that maybe, as many as two-thirds of those test-optional students wanted to have taken the test, but weren’t able to, and the other third maybe they just don’t see testing as their top attribute,” Bishop said.

In the total number of applications, 51 percent submitted a test while 49 percent chose to be test-optional.

In addition, Bishop said this year’s REA applicants were not compared to applicants from previous years in terms of academic and extracurricular opportunities that may not have been available at the end of their junior year and beginning of senior year due to the pandemic.

“[Applicants] are only going to be reviewed within the context of what other students of their same circumstances are in and what they chose to do,” Bishop said. “[The pandemic] is restricting things but we’re paying attention to whatever students want to tell us of what they have been doing and how they responded to this challenge.”

This article previously misstated the number of high schools represented by the REA admits. The Observer regrets this error. 

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About Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a junior pursuing a major in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. While she calls Breen-Phillips her home on campus, she is originally from Indianapolis. She currently serves as the Notre Dame News Editor.

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