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Transfer, Gateway students arrive on campus

| Friday, August 18, 2023

The class of 2027 comes to campus Friday morning, but another group has already made Notre Dame their home. On Thursday, 195 transfer students arrived in South Bend.

The group is a diverse one, consisting of 73 students making their way across the street after one or two years at Holy Cross as a part of the Gateway program, as well as 122 students hailing from other colleges and universities across the country.

Mirella Riley, director of transfer enrollment at the University, explained Notre Dame looks for similar attributes in its transfer students as it does in its freshmen. 

“Without exception these are exceptional students who have demonstrated strong academic achievement and character attributes just like our first-year incoming students,” Riley explained. “It’s very similar.”

A key benefit of enrollilng transfer students is their ability to bring different perspectives and experiences to the community, Riley said.

“They’re coming to Notre Dame having maybe worn a different lens and bringing contributions … and skills that they have developed or acquired at other places,” she said. “I feel like that only adds to the vibrancy of our overall campus community here.”

Riley said she was not aware of the exact acceptance rate for transfer students. She explained the number is skewed by students in the Gateway Program who are guaranteed acceptance as long as they maintain a 3.5 grade point average and are in good disciplinary standing.  

“That Gateway program is one that has been a strong one for us, that helps students … acclimate earlier to the University, and … know that it’s their intention to go here when they’re even going through that first-year experience at Holy Cross,” she added.

Most transfer students’ packed Welcome Weekend schedule begins as they move into their dorms Thursday morning. Housing is now guaranteed for students in the Gateway program. However, it is not guaranteed for other transfer students.

At the same time, Riley emphasized most transfer students are able to live on campus and are encouraged to do so.

“We do encourage those types of students to consider that option given the strong culture of residential life that exists here,” she said.

Juan Maldonado, an academic advisor for the Gateway Program noted Gateway students usually find the social transition to living on campus relatively easy.

“In terms of socially, I know because a lot of Gateway students are already involved with clubs around Notre Dame, that aspect is relatively seamless because when students are involved in freshman year, they continue on and sophomore, junior (and) senior year so they have already begun making friends within that community,” he explained.

Gateway students expressed their excitement to move over to Notre Dame.

Sophomore Matt Baldwin said he “couldn’t be more excited to spend the next three across the street with the 10.0 cohort.”

 “After a year of Gateway, I am excited to live and work among students in my major,” sophomore Carson Goldrick added.

Residence halls will have programming for new students on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to introduce them to the University and their new home on campus, according to the Welcome Weekend website

After moving into their dorms in the morning, students and their families will take part in a welcome dinner and reception in Dahnke Ballroom specifically for transfer students and hear from University administrators about the resources available for them. The next evening, transfer students will join freshmen in attending the official University welcome in the Joyce Center where University President Fr. John Jenkins will address the students.

“Having that opportunity to kind of move in and get settled and do some of these dedicated events, I think is important and it’s helpful, I hope, to students in terms of orienting them to Notre Dame but in particular, the University’s leadership and our faculty and staff while they’re here,” Riley said about the events.

Saturday afternoon, students will be able to attend an academic open house where they can speak with faculty and students from all of the undergraduate colleges. Riley praised the programming for helping students “be set up for success right from the get go.”

Maldonado said the Gateway Program itself, in which students take two courses a semester at Notre Dame, is designed to create a smooth academic transition for students.

“In terms of academics, I think that it’s hopefully relatively seamless as well because … the advisors over at Holy Cross are prepping them for whatever college or whatever pathway they want to go down, whether it’s Mendoza, or the College of Science, whether it’s Arts and Letters, pre-health, architecture, wherever within the University that students might transfer into all their courses are helping them to prepare for that,” he said.

Students will attend orientation events such as the Student Services Resource Fair Saturday and the Building Community the Notre Dame Way event Sunday, as well as social events such as DomerFest — a carnival-like event held at Duncan Student Center every year.

After a busy weekend students will conclude their introduction to Notre Dame by attending a peaceful mass at the Grotto on Sunday night.

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