Notre Dame College Essay Topics

Interested in applying to the University of Notre Dame? Check out their supplemental essay prompts for this application season!

University of Notre Dame is a catholic university located just adjacent to South Bend, Indiana. It is a mid-sized university with an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 8,500 students in a suburban neighborhood.

While there are many religiously affiliated universities in the U.S., Notre Dame is one of the more traditionally catholic universities. Many of the catholic teachings and traditions are embedded into Notre Dame’s curriculum and student life on campus. Having said that, there are many students who are not religious or hold different religious beliefs. That diversity is also one of the many reasons students wish to become one of the Fighting Irish!

University of Notre Dame has strong, well-rounded academic programs to offer prospective students. They are especially well-known for their undergraduate business programs and more recently, their engineering programs. Interested in applying? Here are the application requirements:

In addition to the Common Application, the University of Notre Dame requires an additional 3 supplemental essays. For all three, in honor of our University’s 175th anniversary, the recommended word count is approximately 175 words per essay. Max. 200 words.

Writing Supplement 1

Essay Prompt: What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions? 

Writing Supplement 2

Please provide responses to TWO (2) of the following questions:

Essay Prompt 1:

The University of Notre Dame is a Holy Cross institution whose educational philosophy has been formed around five core principles inspired by Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. These principles, or pillars, of a Holy Cross education are Mind, Heart, Zeal, Family, and Hope, and they continue to shape our students today. Which pillar or pillars resonate most with you? Why?

Essay Prompt 2:

For whom are you responsible?

Essay Prompt 3:

What is one thing that you know for a fact? Why are you certain?

Essay Prompt 4:

Tell us about something significant that recently occurred in your community. Why does it matter to you?

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About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.




What to expect from Notre Dame’s 2017 supplemental essays

Here’s a look at Notre Dame’s 2017 essay prompts and how to best answer them.

The University of Notre Dame Writing Supplement consists of one (1) essay response to a required question and two (2) essay responses to questions you select from the options provided. In total, you will write three (3) essay responses. In honor of our University’s 175th anniversary, the recommended word count is approximately 175 words per essay.

Please provide a response to the following question:

What excites you about the University of Notre Dame that makes it stand out from other institutions?

With a limited word count, try and think as specifically as possible. Making broad generalizations such as “the classes” or “the campus culture” doesn’t give an admissions officer a lot to work with. What exactly about the classroom environment or academic program is exciting?

Please provide responses to TWO (2) of the following questions:

The University of Notre Dame is a Holy Cross institution whose educational philosophy has been formed around five core principles inspired by Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. These principles, or pillars, of a Holy Cross education are Mind, Heart, Zeal, Family, and Hope, and they continue to shape our students today. Which pillar or pillars resonate most with you? Why?

Remember that you only need to respond to two of the four questions here, so don’t respond if you don’t feel compelled by the prompt. However, if you are interested in the prompt, here’s our advice. Think carefully about each of the five pillars and remember that focusing in on one (or two) can often times be most effective. For instance, if you decide to write about family, be sure to connect it to your own life and circumstances. Most everyone values family – what makes you different? How has this led you to choose Notre Dame?

For whom are you responsible?

This question can be answered in a number of ways. It can be literal – “I am responsible for myself” – “…for my little brother” – “…for my job;” however, it can also be answered broadly – I am responsible for my ethnicity, my sexuality, my environment. Responsibility lends itself to maturity and leadership – do your best to have these qualities shine through in your writing.

What is one thing that you know for a fact? Why are you certain?

An admissions officer wants to see conviction in this answer. Pick something and give it a strong argument. Think about how your argument and answer will help to reveal positive personal qualities.

Tell us about something significant that recently occurred in your community. Why does it matter to you?

Universities are seeking students who are not only qualified academically, but who will effect change on campus over four years. Here is where you can help an admissions officer envision your ability to make an impact at Notre Dame. First, define the community you are referencing – it could be a city, town, neighborhood, family or workplace. Quickly address the event – was it positive? Negative? Then, spend the bulk of your 175 words describing why it is important to you and what you learned from it.

To learn more about how AcceptU’s team of former admissions officers advise families through the process each year, please click here.

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