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The Recap Episode 8: University welcomes class of 2025

and | Sunday, April 4, 2021

In this episode of The Recap, host Maria Luisa Paul covers the newly-admitted Notre Dame class of 2025 and a program for local entrepreneurs and businesses facing adversity.


The Recap is available to stream on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic and Spotify.

Maria Luisa Paul: From the News Department of The Observer, this is The Recap. I’m Maria Luisa Paul, and I’ll be hosting this episode of The Observer’s News podcast — serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross.

Maria Luisa Paul: Let’s start with a few COVID updates: Over this past week, there was a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases. Between March 27 and April 1, the 7-day moving average increased from 18.6 cases to 20.6 cases. During this time, the University reported a total of 129 positive cases on campus. As of April 2, there have been 1,361 positive cases since testing began on Jan. 18. 200 of these cases are estimated to still be active. However, there’s something encouraging to look forward to in the next couple of weeks: The University announced that, starting April 8, students will be able to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the on-campus vaccination center.

Now for the first of this week’s major headlines, let’s dive into the newly-admitted Notre Dame class of 2025. After receiving a total of 23,639 applications, the University admitted 3,446 students. This represents a record-low acceptance rate of 14.6 percent. Over the years, Notre Dame has seen a consistent increase in applications. However, this year brought an important surge.

Don Bishop: We’ve been having this rise pretty much every year. One year or two, there might be a little bit more of a jump or a little flattening out, but, in general, it’s been pretty consistent. The other element is it’s not just the application increased — we increased 2,366 applications this year, which is an 11.1% gain, but there was probably even a larger jump than that. And the percent of top applicants that normally probably enjoy maybe closer to 40-50% admit rate because of their credentials that group, probably grew again this year. It’s hard to measure as much this year because of COVID. There’s not as many students taking the test in all that, but in general, I would say that not only were we more selective because we had more applicants, but we were even more selected because of who those applicants were.

Maria Luisa Paul: That was Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment. For the first time, Notre Dame opted to undertake a test-optional policy, which might account for the rise in applications. However, it also allowed the University to recruit more diverse applicants, especially those coming from low-income backgrounds.

Don Bishop: I would say one of the inherent benefits of test-optional is it did encourage some students to apply who might otherwise not have applied. We had more students from low-income. We had an increase of about 500 students from lower-income households that had very high class performance.

Maria Luisa Paul: The class of 2025 also includes an increase in international students. Here’s Associate News Editor Ryan Peters with more details.

Ryan Peters: There was a 9% increase in international applicants, with 291 admitted candidates requiring a student visa. Another interesting development is that 20 percent of this year’s accepted students have global connections. This includes dual citizens, U.S. citizens living abroad and students from other countries with a permanent residence in the U.S.

Maria Luisa Paul: With activities being limited across the world, the pandemic gave rise to challenges in evaluating students. The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 also led the university to place 3,101 students on this year’s waitlist — one that Bishop said is “our largest waitlist in memory.” He said the University seeks to enroll 2,050 students every year — so it remains uncertain how the pandemic will affect the amount of students that are taken off the waitlist.

Don Bishop: It is unclear whether we will need to go to the waitlist in early May or not. And if we do, we may have to go more heavy. If the pandemic continues to improve — you know, are the number of vaccinations and the infection rates are going down — probably it won’t impact deposits as much, but it’s unclear right now. So with the uncertainty, we felt that we should do more waitlists, in case we need more spots to be taken. Right now, our model tells us that between 50 to 120 students will most likely be taken off the waitlist in early May, which is our traditional number kind of our range. So we tried to organize ourselves around that.

Maria Luisa Paul: The question still remains: Will Notre Dame opt to permanently switch to test-optional applications? According to Bishop, the University is still evaluating this possibility and will look to the class of 2025 to provide feedback.

To wrap things up, let’s take a look at the South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program, created by Notre Dame professor Michael Morris. Here’s news writer Isabella Laufenberg with the story.

Isabella Laufenberg: Once Morris arrived in Notre Dame in August 2019, he set forth on developing a program to help foster businesses and entrepreneurship in disadvantaged communities. Morris’s program trains 60 to 70 students with varying business experience and knowledge, and it consists on a yearlong training program that starts with a six-week intensive bootcamp.

Michael Morris: If we do this program and people have an interesting experience or they learned some things or they find it intriguing or whatever, you know, we failed. The only thing that matters is businesses get started and those businesses become sustainable.

Isabella Laufenberg: Morris’ previous experience working with communities facing adversity made him realize that he needed to show South Bend that he was going to follow through with his promises in order to build their confidence in him. Before getting the program started, he said he met with leaders in the local African American and Hispanic communities.

Michael Morris: My message to the people that I interacted with was like, ‘Here’s our commitment: 200 new ventures in south bend over the next five years started by people in poverty. And now they’re like, ‘What?’ And I said, ‘200 new ventures started by people in poverty in South Bend over the next five years. Hold us to that. Hold us accountable for that’.”

Maria Luisa Paul: Even though the program started fairly recently, it has already led to stories of success. Such is the case of Cory Pringle, an entrepreneur and owner of three media companies who went through Morris’s program in its inaugural year.

Cory Pringle: I didn’t know anything about business, I just knew to start up an LLC, open up a bank account that sort of thing, and that was it, but I didn’t know nothing about business so I kind of learned that as I went.

Maria Luisa Paul: Thanks to the program, Pringle said he learned how to not only improve his business but how to grow personally as well.

Cory Pringle: Going through the course, and then getting connected with the mentor, I started to have a mindset more of a video production and about business. And then, also learn, you know, from my mentor that I’m a visionary man and learning the importance of a team, and so I learned some different things about myself as well.

Maria Luisa Paul: That’s all for this episode of The Recap. Thanks for listening. Tune in next week for a new summary of the major headlines on Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross’ campuses. This has been Maria Luisa Paul.


Music by Ryan Neff

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