Here’s a look at the University of Notre Dame’s 2019 supplemental essay prompts and how to best answer them.
Please provide responses to TWO (2) of the following questions: 150-200 words per essay.
1. The founder of the University of Notre Dame, Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C., was only 28 when he established the University with the vision that it would become a “powerful means of doing good.” We have always known that young people can be catalysts for change. What is one way that you have made an impact in your community?
The Notre Dame admissions office would like to know how you have gotten involved in your community, and what impact your involvement has had on others. Do you advocate for others? Have you joined a political campaign? Have you gotten involved with a local animal shelter? Have you tried to solve (or perhaps solved!) a local problem?
The impact can be on one person or several people; it can be on animals; it can be on the local environment, such as creating a new skate park or dog park. Be sure to describe not just the action you’ve taken, but what you learned about yourself in the process, and of course how others have been positively affected.
2. If you were to bring a new friend to your hometown and give them a personal tour, what is a meaningful place you would show them?
This can be a fun question to answer! The admissions office wants to know more about you – particularly your interests, your likes (and possibly dislikes), how you think, how you spend your time. They are trying to get a sense of who you are and, more so, what sorts of things you might do on ND’s campus. That is, how will you get involved as a Notre Dame student?
For example, maybe there is a historic site in your town. Why are you showing off this site? Do you have a fascination with history? Is that your potential major? Or maybe you’re bringing your friend to the library – perhaps this is where you’ve taught elementary school students math and literature as a volunteer for the past three years. Or maybe you’ll bring a new friend to the art movie house, where you can show off your encyclopedic knowledge of foreign films. Does that mean you’re interested in studying in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at ND? Your answer must reflect who you are and should let the admissions officers get a sense of who you will be on campus.
3. Defend an unpopular opinion you hold.
It’s okay to have an unpopular opinion! But it’s more important to be able to defend your beliefs and opinions. Universities want all sorts of students on campus, and those with differing opinions on various topics will make for more lively discussions in classrooms, dormitories, on the campus quad and even in the opinion columns of the student newspaper.
What makes your opinion unpopular? To whom is it unpopular? You never know, it might be unpopular in your household, school or town, but maybe your opinion is popular with those in South Bend, Indiana! Do not be afraid to share your opinion on a given topic – admissions officers won’t judge you – but be certain to justify why you have the beliefs you do.
4. Many high schools have books that are required reading. Thinking beyond the common examples, what book do you believe should be on your school’s reading list and why?
In this question, Notre Dame wants to learn more about you, not about the book or story you would add to your school’s required reading list. Don’t make this a book report, although you likely will have to provide a brief summary to introduce the admissions officers to your choice.
You want to choose a book that reflects your ideas, values, imagination; you want to let the admissions office know why this story affected you and influenced you, and perhaps why all of your peers should also be reading this same book.
To learn more about how AcceptU’s team of former admissions officers advise families through the college admissions process each year, please click here.