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New transfer, Gateway students begin journeys at Notre Dame

| Friday, August 20, 2021

Notre Dame will begin its Welcome Week programming Friday, inviting thousands of new students onto the University’s campus. Included in these numbers are 189 transfer students, joining the student body from colleges and universities across the country, across the world and right in South Bend.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting uncertainties regarding admissions, the enrollment target for last year’s class of transfer students rose to 250. This year, however, the admissions office returned to its typical number.

Similar to first-year students, the incoming class of transfer students will participate in Welcome Week activities beginning Friday, including campus tours, hall programming and seminars designed to help welcome transfer students into the campus community. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many universities’ suspension of in-person classes and activities during the 2020-2021 academic year, many transfer students in this year’s incoming class might have very little experience with an in-person college experience. Despite this obstacle, the University is dedicated to welcoming these new students with open arms, the University’s director of transfer enrollment Erin Camilleri said.

“The Division of Student Affairs will be hosting a Transfer Welcome Weekend for our traditional transfer students where the students can learn more about Notre Dame and begin building lasting friendships with one another,” Camilleri said. “Additionally, Student Affairs has worked very hard to provide on-campus housing opportunities for all transfers. We know the respective residence hall communities will offer those students a warm welcome to Notre Dame.” 

Of the 189 transfer students joining the Notre Dame family this weekend, 77 are part of the Gateway Program, the University’s collaborative curriculum with Holy Cross College. The program invites select students to enroll at Holy Cross for their first year of college, guaranteeing enrollment at Notre Dame at the start of their sophomore year.

Stella Mancini, a sophomore in the Gateway Program majoring in computer science and Italian, shared her story about how she ended up in the program following her application to Notre Dame.

“I got my letter right around my birthday, and I was really upset because I basically saw it as a rejection, and Notre Dame was pretty much my dream school,” Mancini said. “My older brother, who had done the normal four-year program, was the one who told me that his friends had said great things about Gateway and pretty much pushed me in the direction of accepting my invite to the Gateway Program.”

A future resident of McGlinn Hall, Mancini looks forward to her time at Notre Dame, especially given her prior familiarity with the tri-campus community.

“I couldn’t be more excited to actually be at Notre Dame now,” Mancini said. “In a way it feels like I’m still a freshman, but also like I’m ahead since I’ve sort of got the ins and outs of campus down — South Quad, at least, since it’s closest to where I’d enter walking from Holy Cross.” 

Although this academic year marks the end of her time at Holy Cross, Mancini said she is grateful for the experience the Gateway Program provided.

“I’m really just amazingly grateful for all the connections I made in my time in the Gateway program — not just with students but also teachers and even my old dorm’s staff members,” Mancini said. “Being at a campus of roughly 500 people made it really easy to make close bonds with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the courage to talk to a whole lot. And it’s great knowing that I’m transferring alongside all my friends; we’re all going our separate ways with our majors, but we’re still staying in touch every day, and we can see each other any time.” 

And despite the challenges the pandemic posed to the process of transfer admissions this year, Camilleri expressed her gratitude for her position in directing the University’s transfer admissions process.

“I feel so lucky to be working with all of our new students to Notre Dame,” Camilleri said. “Whether students are first-years, transfers, domestic or international students, it is a privilege to play a role in bringing them to Notre Dame. No matter how one’s journey begins, our students are part of the Notre Dame family, and our community is richer for the diverse perspectives and experiences they bring.”

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About Evan McKenna

Evan is a senior at Notre Dame from Morristown, Tennessee majoring in psychology and English with a concentration in creative writing. He is currently serving as the Managing Editor of The Observer, and believes in the immutable power of a well-placed em dash. Reach him at [email protected] or @evanjmckenna on Twitter.

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