Notre Dame enrolls most selective and most diverse class in history
Kathryn Muchnick | Friday, August 18, 2023
About 2,060 first-year students will arrive on campus this weekend, beginning their time at Notre Dame with Welcome Weekend festivities. The class of 2027, compiled from a pool of 28,354 applicants, was the most selective and most diverse class in Notre Dame history.
The 2023 admissions rate was 11.9%, down from 12.9% in 2022 and 15% in 2021. Micki Kidder, vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said this matches trends from peer institutions.
“What’s impressive yet admittedly difficult for our team is that 75% to 80% of this applicant pool is academically prepared for Notre Dame. That has been the case for a while and definitely continued to be the case with this applicant pool,” Kidder said.
The challenge, then, is to invite a class that demonstrates an authentic commitment to service and desire for a Notre Dame education, Kidder said.
Kidder said her team looks to compile “a really vibrant, talented, other-centered group of scholars with a consistent commitment to the mission, which is hard to articulate in a number.”
Kidder cited data published by the Common App, illustrating that the number of applications per applicant has increased over the past few years. The Common App found that in 2013-14, just 0.4% of applicants applied to the maximum of 20 schools, and 7% applied to over 10 schools. In 2021-22, 1.8% of applicants applied to 20 schools, and 17% applied to over 10 schools.
Notre Dame has witnessed a similarly growing applicant pool in recent years.
“In many ways that reflects, I think, the impressive academic rigor, undergraduate research and the inclusive community that our students experience here,” Kidder said. “So that’s, in some ways, an indicator of success.”
Of the roughly 3,500 admitted students, 60% enrolled at Notre Dame.
The class of 2027 is also the most diverse class in Notre Dame history — 20.5% of the class is first generation or Pell recipients, 34% of the class identifies as students of color and 8% of the class is international.
“We have record percentages of lower-income students, students of color and international students, and I think this is really important as we seek to fulfill Notre Dame’s mission,” Kidder said. “I view it as really essential to our student body that it reflects the vibrancy of the global Catholic community and that this Admissions Office works really hard on outreach and recruitment efforts in order to achieve that vibrancy and diversity.”
The class of 2027 was admitted before affirmative action was overturned by the Supreme Court in June. In response to the ruling, University President Fr. John Jenkins said in a statement the University “will study the Supreme Court’s decision and consider any implications for our admissions process as we strive to fulfill our distinctive mission.”
This year, the recruitment strategy already in place will be “amplified,” according to Kidder. She highlighted purposeful relationships with prospective students.
“This isn’t a one-time outreach that Notre Dame makes to a diverse group of prospective families and assumes that they’re going to apply to Notre Dame,” Kidder said. “We really need to authentically invest in relationships so that we can continue to increase the diversity of our applicant pool.”
The University is in its third year of a test-optional admissions process, which began during the pandemic. About 37% of the class of 2027 applied without a test score, up 4% from the previous year.
Though the test-optional practice has been extended in the short term — through the 2025 application year — it is unclear whether that policy will extend long term.
“After only being test optional for a couple of years, I don’t think we have sufficient information to make the long-term policy decision,” Kidder said.
Kidder emphasized her excitement for Welcome Weekend and the arrival of the class of 2027.
“I love Welcome Weekend. I think we welcome students to this family better than any university in the world,” she said. “After reading the materials of these students, they are incredibly impressive, wonderfully kind human beings. And I’m very excited to welcome them home.”