College Spotlight – University of Notre Dame

Freshman Update

by Jacob Miller
March, 2021

College Expert Counselor: Sue Luse

Greetings from South Bend!

Notre Dame Golden Dome behind me

My name is Jake Miller; I am a freshman at the University of Notre Dame and alumnus of Saint Thomas Academy.

I have absolutely loved becoming acquainted with the campus and people here at Notre Dame, and I could not be more grateful to College Expert for doing their best to ensure my future success.

Currently, most activities and classes at Notre Dame are largely in-person. As a finance major, I have been able to attend all of my classes in-person this semester, which has made a huge difference, especially in classes such as computer science. In addition, there are many opportunities to socialize and do things with friends in-person. This fall, it was a blast to be able to attend the Notre Dame football games and see the Irish go undefeated during the regular season; we won’t talk about what happened after that… In order to ensure social distancing, the University has built several lodges: temporary, enclosed spaces that allow students to socialize safely while keeping distance from others. These lodges have proven to be extremely beneficial during these past few snowy days.

Returning to academic life, my classes have been extremely manageable. I do have to point out that I am a finance major! However, I felt that my high school experience prepared me well for college courses. I have also not needed to attend office hours frequently; personally, I dislike attending office hours and like to attempt to solve most of my problems on my own. In the case that students do have a desire to attend office hours, however, they are readily accessible. Furthermore, many classes at Notre Dame are graded on an academic curve; this means that the instructor can only give out a certain amount of A grades. This makes a seemingly easy course more challenging; however, I have found that this does not create a sort of “unhealthy competition”. Really, it provides a motivation to constantly try hard, and it sets the best students apart from all others.

Lodges – temporary, enclosed spaces for socializing

Residential life has been amazing at Notre Dame. Students are required to live on-campus for three years. All first-year students are assigned to a random same-sex dorm and given a random roommate. There are 32 possible dorms in which students can be assigned, giving each person a close-knit community in which students, like myself, can make friends. On top of having an RA in each dorm, each dorm has a full-time rector in charge of the dorm. But more so, the rector looks out for each individual and attempts to connect with them and help them grow as a person. Many rectors are Roman Catholic priests from the Congregation of the Holy Cross; others are long-time educators or young, vibrant men and women. Think of the rector as a “mom” or “dad” in the dorm that really cares about each student while giving them space; this is college, of course! This is a very unique aspect of Notre Dame. Each student is seen as a man/woman of dignity – not a fish in the ocean. I have been blessed to create an awesome relationship with my rector, and I know that I could come to him with any problems or concerns.

Notre Dame Basilica of the Sacred Heart

To all students considering Notre Dame – this is a special place. There is a place for every person here. Do not be intimidated by any of our traditions/unique aspects. Of course, Notre Dame is a Catholic school and will not back down on its values, yet the University welcomes all students regardless of background. Attending Mass is not mandatory. There are large Muslim, Jewish, and Protestant student associations. Many students from public schools attend Notre Dame. For the academically motivated student who wants to grow as a human being while having a whole lot of fun, Notre Dame may be the place for you. If you have any questions about the school, please contact College Expert, and they can put me in touch with you.

Stay safe and Go Irish!

Notre Dame Hesburgh Library