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| Before you choose to apply or attend Notre Dame, make sure it is right for you. I applied to schools based on my test scores/likelihood of getting in. Some of the schools to which I applied, like Georgetown, were great for me. However, I did not get into Georgetown. Notre Dame ended up being my academically best option (ironic, seeing as how it's general regarded as "better" than Georgetown (barely, though)). I never did an official visit to Notre Dame, I just assumed I would like it because I liked Georgetown and I assumed the two would be similar. My dad is an alumni of Notre Dame, and I had visited when I was younger--before I was considering it for me. |
Unfortunately, I don't think Notre Dame is for me and I am looking to transfer. I am not Catholic, and I didn't think that would be a huge problem but my life views are actually different from most people there, given 85% of the student body is Catholic. Yes, Georgetown is Catholic too, but not nearly as much regarding both student body and school policy. The city of Southbend offers nothing with the exception of a few good restaurants and some bars--but not too much. Notre Dame was the only school to which I applied that wasn't in a big city (Nashville, L.A., Miami, and DC). Furthermore, the party scene seems, at least based on my expectations, pretty skimpy. You effectively have to take a cab to any off-campus parties and they're usually not too great (I guess I was expecting crazier). Dorm rules are lax when it comes to alcohol--beer is fine if you're over 21, though you can easily get away with both beer and liquor regardless of age is you're even somewhat smart about it. However, dorms are NOT coed, and members of the opposite gender must leave the dorm by midnight on weeknights and 2:00 am on weekend nights. Also, nearly everyone at Notre Dame (the guys, anyway) are absolutely obsessed with sports--ESPN is always on, and I have to nearly fight to watch a movie or the news, it's really like a drug to them. I don't like watching sports (with the exception of the ND home games, which are of course fun) so this is hard for me, too. Also, probably because there is such a high number of Catholics, there is comparatively little diversity of opinion/culture of most people here--it's not a "right-wing" school, but I am pretty liberal amongst my friends, and I consider myself a moderate-conservative person (many people are socially conservative).
All this being said, from an academic standpoint, Notre Dame is a fantastic place to be--it will help you to secure a future (of course, no degree is a guarantee these days). Professors are very easy to access, and nearly all are very friendly and helpful. Students are extremely kind, and there is a huge sense of community at the school as well. If you want to go to college to simply be a study machine and do some clubs, then ND may be a good place for you. If you want a bigger social scene or city life, then I would suggest giving ND a second look before applying or especially choosing to attend. If you are not Catholic--or especially not Christian such as myself (passive agnostic here)--then I would be cautious too. Like I said, I thought this wouldn't bother me, but it ended up being more of an "issue" than I thought it would be. Best of luck in choosing the right school, whether you're transferring from another or are filling out apps for the first time.
|Dec 01 2013|| 1st Year Male --
Class 2017 |
| I had a mixed experience at Notre Dame, but overall I am very glad I attended. I think that the average student body, social life, and administration was terrible, but I met some extremely great people and the faculty is top notch.|
My department was extremely accessible and high quality. Teachers were very knowledgeable and eager to help students. Although it was a small department that the university was not known for, we had great classes that exposed us to many topics and the field and prepared us for success. After talking to students from other top schools, I realize that the academics could have been somewhat more rigorous. At no point did I feel like I was in a weed out class, and was encouraged all the time. My department was extremely useful for getting jobs, there was always a semester job available, recommendations for summer jobs that were abundant, and leads (which ended in offers) on jobs after graduation. Notre Dame has a great network that is very willing to help you out. The one issue I had with our department is that resources seemed misplaced, which was the administrations choice, not my departments/schools. The university got rid of the engineering computer lab which was commonly full of all kinds of engineering students and I spent several all-nighters in. This became grad student offices. The lab was replaced with computers in the engineering library (maybe 30 in total for the whole engineering department). It clearly wasn't a financial issue because at the same time a new engineering building (without a computer lab) was constructed.
The social life was not very conducive to someone who is not obsessed with football. Everyone goes to football games, and it was not until junior year that I realized nothing negative would happen to me if I didn't go to the games. It is assumed that you will go to football games, and people will not understand if you don't want to, especially as a male. There is not much to do at the university besides discuss what ESPN characters said in the dining hall and getting drunk in dorms/house parties (don't get me wrong I enjoy drinking very much).
There isn't much alternative lifestyle at Notre Dame. I did not enjoy the social life at Notre Dame for a while. As a freshman I thought something was wrong with me for not loving football because there did not seem to be any other option. It took a while, but I found Great friends who did not care about sports/the ND culture and realized that the environment at ND is not the norm. The vast majority of the student body is conservative, gay rights and alternative lifestyles aren't very welcome. This isn't helped by the university's archaic rules on gender relationships. The opposite sex is not allowed to be in any of the same sex dorms after midnight on a weeknight, or 2am on a weekend, which doesn't help a developing adult become independent and learn their own boundaries.
It is clear that Notre Dame's number 1 priority is football, not catholicism, not anything else. The bookstore is atrocious, it's all football paraphernalia that are extremely overpriced, not actual books. I've never seen some much of a cult atmosphere, people love buying branded Notre Dame shirts/posters/cups that bring in tons of money. The school is run by alumni, the football crazed alumni come first, catholic crazed come second, any other interests get drowned out. The tailgates are fun, but you realize that the allegiance isn't just something to talk about on game days, people are really serious about it and will defend Notre Dame to a fault.
There are some very great social service opportunities at Notre Dame. Every break there will be a volunteer trip open to anyone to build houses or serve the poor. Notre Dame funds many summer service learning programs (SSLP) to help out underprivileged communities in the US and abroad. I had the opportunity to go to a project similar to this in Asia which really opened my eyes to some global issues. This drastically changed my perspective and piqued my interest in worldwide interest that would not have happened otherwise.
The relationship between the university and South Bend is very bad. There wasn't much around the university to go to when I started as a student, so most people stayed on campus except to go to bars or the mall in mishawaka. Eddy street gave the students a few options, but it was all chain restaurants, nothing local to make students want to venture into south bend. There are great bike paths, restaurants, shops, and volunteer opportunities in south bend, but i don't think most students recognize this. Students refer to people that live in south bend as townies, which is meant as (and I find) extremely derogatory.Overall, I think there are amazing academic and social service opportunities at Notre Dame. But someone attending ND needs to be discerning and look outside of the socially acceptable opportunities if they don't see them as satisfying.
|Sep 08 2013|| 4th Year Male --
Class 2011 |
|Not so bright|
| After looking hard into other schools, I was convinced that Notre Dame was my dream school and was ecstatic when I got it. As time went on, I realized that ND was definitely not for me. Although it is a great school academically and will challenge you, there are many other cons to consider.|
I was too caught up in the fact that I got accepted to a top university and thought that I should go here because it was the best school I got accepted to. Since then, I have realized that ranking is definitely not the only aspect of a school to take into consideration.
To start off, the weather here is absolutely atrocious. The campus is gorgeous and nothing can compare to the lakes or God Quad in the spring, but these facts are overshadowed by 5 months of freezing weather and bipolar South Bend weather. To continue, South Bend is a crap hole of a city. You really never know what is going to happen when you go off campus so I'll just leave that at that. Then, there is the student body. Everybody here seems to be a hard partier or a hardcore, close-minded Catholic. The social scene is mediocre at best. If you don't like the people in your hall freshman year, then you're basically screwed socially as it is very difficult to make any quality friendships outside of the few people that you are randomly placed with.I know it's my choice to transfer out but I can only imagine what my parents reaction would be if I decided to transfer to a lesser school after shelling out so much for ND. In all, ND really isn't that bad of a place if you can find a social clique you like relatively quickly because you will be stuck with them for the rest of your four years. ND is perfect for the majority of students but some are just screwed over by the outdated social scene and can't deal with not seeing the sun for months at a time.
|Mar 23 2013|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2016 |