The College Admissions Process

today we’ll be exploring the exciting and sometimes intimidating world of college admissions and we couldn’t have asked for a better guest to join us Don Bishop is our names associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment in addition to his service at Notre Dame he’s held senior positions in enrollment at Ohio Wesleyan Cornell Creighton and Embry Riddle and also in his career he at one point served as the head of senior employments for a multi-billion dollar corporation so he kind of knows the the after-effects of going to a great college from from serving in that position he’s a member of Notre Dame’s class of 1977 he earned a master’s degree from the University in 1985 and Don’s wife and he has a daughter who also graduated from Notre Dame so a huge Notre Dame family and we’re just thrilled that he could be here today with us to share his his expertise in this area so Don thanks so much for joining us thanks for having me for those of you who are joining us live just wanted to give you a quick rundown of how today’s program is going to go in a few seconds Don is going to kick off his presentation that’ll take up about the first half of our program we’ll be walking through his thoughts on a college admissions process today and giving us a look at Notre Dame’s process and and next year’s the current admitted class and after that he’ll be taking your questions so you’ll see directly below the streaming player where your lot where you are watching us there’s a forum to submit questions you can start submitting your questions now do so throughout the show and we’ll try to get to as many of them as we can with that Don I’ll hand it over to you oh thank you so much and I know this is a topic a lot of people are very passionate about very interested in I’ve been doing these talks to high schools around the world over the last 10 15 years so the first part of my talk is really going to not just talk about Notre Dame it’s I’m assuming as parents as if students are watching some high school counselors may be watching I want to talk to you about all of your choices and not just Notre Dame and then the second part of my presentation we’ll be extremely specific just on Notre Dame but I think this first half of the presentation is really designed to walk you through the process I had three children go to college our oldest went to Notre Dame the other two other schools where proper fits for them so I understand that Notre Dame is not the only College that even as a dedicated alum or a parent of a current student this is not always the right place for a variety of reasons for every student we hope we can convince you as much as possible that it is but that’s not always the case so this first part of the presentation is really designed to talk to you broadly and then we’ll get more specific in great detail about Notre Dame so the first thing I just want to talk about is the landscape that’s out there that the colleges face that the college applicants face there are about 3.2 million high school graduating seniors about two-thirds of those will go to college there are actually 2200 different four-year colleges and universities in the United States to choose from and the other interesting thing is that about 10% of the college-bound students went to private high schools but about 22% of the students enrolling at college and roll at a private university so the idea of private universities is even more attractive to the American household going to college that it is at the high school level and we’re certainly very pleased to be one of the top leaders in that cohort of colleges now what I’m going to do with these slides we will make these available so don’t feel that you have to quickly write down because there’s a fair amount of data in some of these slides but I wanted to give you a perspective a lot of people hear about the SAT the a CT and they hear scores bandied around but I think often they don’t know how rare a certain score is so what I’ve done in this chart is identified if you’re in the top 1% in the nation in testing on the critical reading in the math section of the SAT that meant that your combined score of those two sections was around 1,500 to 1,600 the equivalent on the AC T would be 33 to 36 if you were in the top 5% you had a round of 13 80 on the

SAT or a 29 or 30 on the AC T so this chart just gives you an idea that as your students start taking the PSAT the AC T plan the SAT in the AC T this at least gives you some sense for where they stack up when you get those reports by the way by the Testing Services they will also give you your percentiles in that so that just gives you that type of information obviously the class rank information is provided to you at your high school about at Notre Dame about 42 percent of our applicants have high school rank but now more than about you know 58% do not have a class rank most of those schools do give you an us a distribution of grades where we have a ballpark idea of where you did in your class but the class performance is something I’ll talk about it a little bit but to give you the landscape I often talk about the most selective colleges and I’m always asked why aren’t all the straight-a students with top test scores getting in why can’t the colleges admit them all and it’s really simple math there are about 50,000 high school seniors applying to college this year that were either in the top 1% of the nation in the national testing and or in their high school class performance and if you look at the top 15 colleges that I would argue Notre Dame’s in that group we can only enroll about 25,000 students combined and probably about a third of the students at those schools are admitted and enrolled for a variety of talents and attributes that would not necessarily just be driving the decision based upon class performance and test score so that means there are about 15,000 spots for around 50,000 students most of these students applied at ten eight to twelve different schools may an average of 10 so there are so many applicants at that level the other thing is numbers as you’ll see as we talk about this later are not the only things we use to admit a class but they are a good starting point to just get some perspective so I’m not going to go through all these points but if you download this PowerPoint you’ll get to view these at one thing I would tell you is look at the top 16 to 30 the top 31 to 50 the top 50 to 200 colleges if there are 2200 colleges and a college is in the top 100 or 200 that still is a very high level college and students in the top 1% don’t just go to the top 15 or the top 30 they are spread across many of these great College choices and I’ve worked at some of these other great columns choices and I know that there is deserving as having your attention as we are and some of the other top 15 schools but this at least gives you some idea the top 20 colleges don’t really give much merit awards and as a family if you’re looking at lowering your cost and your student is in the top 5% of an enrolling class of a top 50 or a top 100 college that college may offer you a lot more merit money and reduce your cost and you may judge that that College is going to give you a tremendous value so the testing in your class performance and your relative position the class it’s not just getting in its where you are in that pecking order as to what what the cost might be for you to give you an idea of the university’s profile on for instance on test scores by the way again I don’t use class rank data as much anymore to profile school because a lot of us are reporting that less than half of our enrolling class even had a class right everybody had a test score we don’t overuse test scores but we do use them to at times compare clusters of colleges together so if you’re at a top-15 college your profile is typically around fifth 1800 on the SAT or a 3433 a CT that would be your median student that’s the student in the middle of the class has that type of caliber of testing results if you’re in the top 16 to 30 it’s closer to the 1400 to 1450 and the range of 31 to 33 and so forth as you look through so if I had a child who had a 1250 on the SAT had a 27 on the a CT and let’s say was in the top 20 percent of their high school class what cohort of colleges should I be looking at where my student would be a match where they would be comfortable there they would fit within the middle section of the class and I’ll talk about the value of being in the top quarter

middle half or bottom quarter in a little bit and right now this is when you see this normal distribution the colored chart this is going to talk about if you’re in the top 10 percent 25 percent middle what does that mean I’m going to stop now for a second and reflectance on some other truth that I think it’s important for you to understand at the college’s we are here to teach your students but our faculty at the great research institutions are also here to create new knowledge I think the way the world’s advancing is through the academic Enterprise of the research we just had our screen went dead there we go but the academic enterprise of the faculty is a major part of Notre Dame and the other top universities that we’re trying to create knowledge the exciting part for students is they gonna participate in that when I was at Notre Dame the college’s back in the 70s being that involved in research as an undergraduate was not very available it was something that seemingly was reserved more for PhDs today especially at Notre Dame the learning for undergraduates includes research it is a big part of the learning Enterprise at the university not only for the faculty or creating new knowledge but for the students that get to be involved in that excitement and I would suggest to students when you graduate from college you no longer have classes you no longer a multiple-choice test you basically are doing research for the rest of your life on whatever you feel you need to solve for your organization for your community there isn’t a set of classes that teach you this anymore so developing the skills of research are very important so when you’re at a university the top universities are trying to get the top faculty so the top faculty will research at Notre Dame our competition for the top faculty is to make sure that we get faculty that not only are great at research but also at teaching so that they will involve the undergraduates we’re ranked as one of the top teaching undergraduate research universities the United States and we’re very proud of that we’re going to continue supporting that as a priority but faculty want to teach the brightest students also when faculty are teaching a class look at the purple area or the the the blue area the middle 50% what the faculty at Cornell at Ohio Wesleyan at Creighton University at Notre Dame have taught me during my time working at those institutions our faculty want to reach the maximum number of students with the content they provide not only the depth of the content but the speed by which they go through that that they can go through the content more quickly they can teach you more things so the learning Enterprise that the faculty want to put in front of the student is often focused on how much can my kids in my class handle how fast can I go how nuanced can the material be how in-depth can it be so they want to understand from the admission office what is the middle 50% of the class and Rowling’s capability because I’m going to teach I’m gonna pitch my class at that level and then the students that are in the top quarter they may feel that they could go a little faster and deeper I’ll have to enhance my class for them for the students in the bottom quarter I better be ready to provide some additional assistance as a university or as a faculty member in that course in case they’re trying to keep up and they’re not able to keep the speed and the depth as easily as some now the faculty are always saying reduce the standard deviation what that means to me is they don’t want a broad spectrum of student and abilities because they want it clustered as much as possible so that they can do their teaching and learning Enterprise in the most effective way therefore there is a logical reason why admission offices do use academic class performance and national test scores as an indicator for who is best served by being in these classrooms now I’ll talk a little bit later about other attributes that we all care about including the faculty but when you look at this normal distribution if you go to the various guide books or even online – the admission websites of the colleges most of them will show you the middle 50% statistics of their enrolling class hopefully in class performance as well as the national testing so let’s go back to that example of the student with 1250 on the SAT where would my 1250 be at a certain college and let’s say it’s in

the orange area that it would put me in the bottom 10% does that mean I can go to that college because they have students like me sure you can try to go to that College however you better understand what your emotional and your mental approach is going to be to being in the bottom 10% if you have to work harder than everybody else to keep up are you okay with that are you the type of person that you are fine with having over competition you’ll outwork people you’re more organized you’re more dedicated you’re just wiser with your time and more disciplined you’ll get it done you’ll be fine that’s fine but let’s say you’re uncomfortable you feel pushed around that you don’t get to do all the activities that you did in high school you become unhappy I’ve watched students go through this process so as you look at your college choices I think it’s going to be smart to really think through whether you’re going to be the type of student that responds to being in the bottom 10% or you’d prefer to be in the top 10 or 15 or 20 or 30% of class most of us when we went to our colleges were in the middle 50% actually half of us were statistically and that’s by design probably the biggest comfort zone I’m sure will take some questions on that in the second half hour but I hope that this conversation you don’t usually get this in an admissions presentation but I actually think it’s a vital element as you’re considering your colleges to map out where you’d be on that normal distribution now the next thing to talk about are cost if you look at the private colleges most of them range between 50,000 to 70,000 in total annual costs that includes tuition fees room and board books travel incidentals that is a staggering amount of money for almost all households the good news is when I went to Notre Dame back in the 70s Notre Dame gave out financial aid to maybe maybe about a fifth of the families we’re told that there were Notre Dame scholars and that meant if he had financial need Notre Dame would give you some scholarship quite a bit of loan and about one out of five could get some sort of support if they needed it today we meet full need so one of the things we’re proud about at Notre Dame is that while we may charge sixty five thousand indirect charges fifty-seven percent of our students are on financial aid and the average scholarship is around thirty five to thirty seven thousand dollars now that’s the average some are unmoor some are unless and 43% and I was one of the 43% when when my daughter went here my wife’s a Catholic high school teacher I was a Dean at at an Ivy League school at the time and we were told boy you guys make enough that you can pay the whole amount we decided to invest in our daughter senator de notre but it was not easy to pay that but generally just know that Notre Dame in the other schools now are much more available with financial aid and the other schools not in the top 15 or 20 almost every other school has an enterprise that includes a lot of merit money so if you’re at the top of their classes they may pay and invest more in you going there than other students at that university so it can reduce your cost if you go to a state flagship university tuition fees room and board if you’re in state probably going to be of around $30,000 they may reduce out the average nerd Ames student admitted is actually typically admitted into the Honors Program with the full tuition scholarship at their major State University so the price differential between that and Notre Dame is is tremendous about a third of the students we lose that Notre Dame who are admitted but don’t come go and take that deal at the state universities we understand the choice but we’re also pleased to tell you is about three out of four of the students who have that option still pick Notre Dame and come and in part it’s because nerd a has been able to provide competitive financial aid in advance so wanted to talk to you now about some of the search strategies that you might want to think about and I’ve commented on a couple of them already you know the typical student today is probably applying to between 4 & 16 colleges the record we saw last year I think we saw a student apply to 37 colleges don’t do that I’m not sure if that student needs college or therapy after going through

that experience there’s there’s a reasonable number that you ought to pick and I would suggest to you to two to three areas of categories it’s okay to look at schools that you’re not sure you’re going to get into but you are sure that you’d love to go there the reach schools I would say that if you go into the school profile it probably means that your academic profile is well above the bottom quarter of their class maybe somewhere in the middle 50% and if these schools are admitting at a 5% to 20% admit rate it doesn’t mean just because you’re in that stretch that you’re gonna get in it means that you you could have a chance and take the shot you may want to apply to multiple schools like that because you don’t know whether one will pick you and one won’t for whatever reasons but generally just understand that those are reach schools and that you know applying to a top 15 school is not for the faint of heart it is a risk that you’re taking emotionally by applying to these schools but at the same point trust that the colonists are gonna look at your heart they’re gonna look at your mind they’re gonna look at your activities they’re going to do their best to be fair to you but to be fair to everybody else in their pool so reach schools I think are legitimate to look at then I do encourage you to consider reach schools Matt schools typically put you in the top half of the class doesn’t mean you’re gonna get in but it means if you get in you should be pretty comfortable there you should be able to fit their profile and there may even be a priority by that college on getting you into the class and they may offer you even stronger financial aid again the top 15 schools tend not to give essentially merit we give merit to about three percent of our class so it’s just not a large percentage but if you get outside of the top 15 colleges there’s actually quite a bit of merit activity and that might be one thing that you might want to put into your thought process as you build your strategies so that the merit schools are that third category the other thing is visit your top college choices if you need to visit them to decide whether you’re gonna apply fine I find oftentimes the best strategy is if you have limited money in time think about picking your colleges by going to the local college visitation programs they’ll have receptions they’ll be at your fair they might come to your high school get to know the colleges through that study them up on the internet talk to the alumni from your area from those schools if you want to wait till after you get your admissions to go visit your top two or three choices that you’ve been admitted to that is not an unwise way to go because after you’re admitted to a school especially very hard to get into schools you tend to romanticize them less once you’re in so you’ll get maybe a more thoughtful view of do I really like this place after you’re admitted so do plan to go back to your top two or three choices after admitted even if you’ve been there before just because your attitude might change you also like might be a little bit more thorough in what questions you ask now that you’re no longer worried about and distract by will I get add the other thing is develop a list of attributes that you care about just because a school is considered selective or is ranked by some outside agency as being you know top 15 or top 20 or top 30 don’t accept somebody else’s view a thing things think for yourself I’ve always found it odd that the brightest students in America seem to almost think less than anybody else and they seem almost driven by rate ratings to the top colleges and those ratings are fictitious they’re not really number two is not number two number eight is not number eight I would put a neighborhood of colleges together and say okay here’s a group that have these sort of attributes together what do I think about them but build your own criteria and judge the places based upon your own thinking not somebody else’s you of what is good now I’m going to switch from the college search process to talking about Notre Dame Notre Dame’s position among the national universities we’re the only faith-based University in the top 20 our endowment now it’s close to ten billion dollars places places us ninth there’s been a lot of success of Notre Dame graduates but also a lot of Notre Dame families that are not graduates who have adopted Notre Dame believe in this place this has given us more money to build stronger faculty stronger research stronger facilities better financial aid and also to fund our students and faculty and our alumni in this being a force for good in the world Enterprise at Notre Dame is also focused on not just the academics at the

university our graduation rate among all the top universities were in the top five very proud of that 96% of our students graduate also we’re in the top ten for the yield rate so the percentage of admitted students who enroll so no name is off in first choice we’re very proud of that I would tell you that our academic profile puts us in the top eight to 15 I always joke that there’s 15 schools in the top 10 these days we’re in the top 10 but there are 15 schools in that so it depends do you care more about class performance you clear more about leadership and risk-taking entrepreneurial types or test scores so depending on the strategies of the colleges and how they’re using their selectivity Notre Dame is eighth to 15th somewhere in that range we are also ranked seventh dream school by parents so parents tend to trust the nerd I’m Brad Forbes has a rating based upon outcomes so they’ve looked at though the success of graduates and their their relationship with the University and their comments about the university we’re 13th overall among all universities but if you take the national research universities so these are them the Ivy League schools Duke Stanford MIT Johns Hopkins Georgetown Northwestern Chicago Rice they’re they’re few more in there Vanderbilt Washington you and st. Louis but if you take that cluster of schools we’re in viewed for undergraduate education we’re very proud of that we are the third largest so a lot of people say why don’t you become larger we’re actually pretty large at 2040 freshmen only Cornell and Penn are larger that we are among the top 20 private universities we do have a somewhat lower percentage of students at Notre Dame from lower income despite the fact that we meet full need despite the fact that we’ve been increase in our recruitment it used to be a larger gap so we have been growing in first-generation students students of lower income the university has grown quite a bit we need to continue that success and momentum we’ve also had somewhat less international we’re at 5% international as an average for the four classes but last year’s class was 7% international this year will probably be 7% we’re rising that number and we’re very proud of that I will say that the other metric that interest me for Notre Dame is that we’ve looked at in around 2010 we looked at the top Catholics in America by as measured by their national test scores and about a quarter of the top 1% of Catholics we’re looking at Notre Dame so they were applying to Notre Dame about a quarter we’ve moved that in six years from a quarter to over half of those students so we’ve gotten the Notre Dame conversation with top Catholics in America in into a much more active discussion and we’re producing more and more interest to give you an idea of where our admitted students are from they’re from everywhere about 37% of our admits are from the East Coast and the southeast about 34% are from the Midwest in the central Midwest 29% her west-southwest or other countries so Notre Dame is truly one of the most national if not the most national university in the United States our admission trends show that applications are going up I’m gonna let you look at these later I’m gonna go through these quickly but you can see that not only are applications going up but we’ve actually compared to just 2010 we’ve admitted six hundred fewer students this year to actually enroll essentially the same size of class so the yield rate is also going up that gives you an idea of our enrollment size we’ve gone from 94 about 1882 this year about 2040 also our admit rates as applications have gone up you’ve seen a major change in the admit rate it is about 18 percent this year it was 30 percent in 2004 it is getting tougher to get in and there are more students having a real desire to come to Notre Dame I will go through just for the use of time I want to talk a little bit about how we select students and then we’ll get to your questions and answers so I like to use the word admission for for what we do its mission fit so along with the great attributes that we see in the class performance we’re looking at the your intellectual curiosity your drive your sense and commitment or others your sense of yourself are you somebody that’s willing to look at yourself and

be open to formation that’s at Notre Dame something that’s valued so there’s intelligence and there’s wisdom and we really want to work on both those but certainly the wisdom element is important so our admission evaluation is a holistic one where you have an admission expert from that oversees your area that understands your high school and they read your application first there are multiple reads typically for many of the applicants and there’s a discussion by a group on many of the applications before our final decision is made but we look at the rigor of the courses that you take so whatever high school you go to we’re interested if you notice that one metric with 3,600 admits about from almost 20 100 different high schools you don’t have to go to a certain type of high school to be admitted to their name the question is what choices did you make in the environment you were on did you maximize what you could have done are you somebody who likes to learn and engage and use resources are you motivated are you self-motivated are you organized we look at these things so we look at your class performance your transcript we look at your school recommendations we look very carefully at what you write your activities along with your national test scores but it is a holistic review I’m sure we’ll get into more of that later now I’m also asked about alumni children siblings relatives so this year in our applicant pool of 19,500 we had about 1500 alumni children apply we had about a thousand students who were siblings of current or past their name students and we had another 3,000 who had a grandparent aunt or uncle so when you put those together now some of them overlap there might be in two of those categories we had 4200 applicants that had a family tied to Notre Dame if we made that the priority we would never admit anybody again unless they already had somebody at Notre Dame about a quarter of our class our alumni children and about three-quarters are students that get to start their family tradition at Notre Dame so we’re always balancing our loyalty and your loyalty to Notre Dame with a sense of fairness and access to others that’s important the other thing I will just show you is on this chart for later for you to look at is I’ve given you a distribution of the applicant pool at Notre Dame by class performance for those that did give us class performance statistics and also by the testing and you can see the admit rates by groups and I would just tell you that half of the students with the highest test scores so if we admitted just under 36 students if you took the 3600 highest test scores what percentage of those got in about half a little less than half so we don’t overuse test scores to admit the class with class performance is more important than than testing but both are important but so are all those other elements and that’s why the admit rates that you saw in the previous slide include and admit rates you know below if you know we 19% of our applicant pool was in the top 1% we admitted 18% of our applicant pool so you could argue that we could have just stopped at the top 1% we didn’t do that about 1/3 of the students we admitted were not in that category of testing or class performance but they weren’t too far off of that but we felt they were top 1% in activities and service other attributes including special talents volleyball setters defensive tackles sousaphone players I was told by the band we needed more sousaphone players this year so we’re looking for all the elements that add to the nerd end community and I’m just gonna go to the last point before we go to the Q&A and that’s that as you’re looking if you have younger students you might also want to look at our pre-college programs these are summer programs that go on for two weeks the information is on the website as well if you go to pre-college a free call at in ddu we it is too late to apply for this summer our deadline was in January but as you’re looking at for your children for other years you may want to look at these options I’ve been asked if my student goes to pre-college does that give them any advantage in the admission selection process when they apply for the for the four-year undergraduate experience my answer is no it does not so please understand we’re not trying to sell you a summer program with a promise that that’s going to be linked to

admission it should stand by itself as an intellectual and person experience that you might want for your children in addition I would suggest you the advantage of it is your student may be more influenced by going to it to want to come to Notre Dame to understand what it might take to be successful at a school like Notre Dame so whether in the end their ad have an admission advantage it may help them decide whether this is the right place so that’s the information I wanted to give you today and I’ll just leave you with go ahead and keep dressing your children with Notre Dame things it’s great for recruitment this is my 4 year old British granddaughter and she’s in that older now than in that picture but guess where she’ll be applying to college so thank you very much well thank you don that’s a lot of great information really interesting information for all of us and some really good news for sousaphone players so so we appreciate that so for those of you watching live now is the portion of the program where Dawn’s going to be asking your questions remember you can submit your questions now and throughout the remainder of the program using the forum directly below the player where you’re where you’re watching us right now we’re going to try to get to as many of them as we can Don you go all around the country and speak to parents and alumni and prospective students and you speak to them on campus as well what do you find is the biggest misconception about the admissions process broadly today well and I think it’s not just at Notre Dame I think there’s a misconception that you need to know somebody that if I can get the right person to write a recommendation for me that will matter we have a very famous alum that a family got to write for their child and our alum did not know the child they knew the parents and the parent called me when the student did not get in said didn’t you get the letter from this person I said yes I did and they go but I don’t understand you we didn’t get admitted but the person told you that my son was really good I said we got the letter but we do reserve the right to make her own decisions so parents alumni don’t feel pressure to go out and find somebody that you think knows somebody that’s just not the way it works it’s not who you know it’s who you are the other misperception is that we only use one number class performance or test scores or if my student doesn’t get in it’s because you overuse that we use everything we can but at the end of the day we’re balancing a lot of different goals that the university has it is you cannot predict by the numbers who’s going to be admitted when you’re looking at students applying to Notre Dame or the other colleges and university where is it universities where you worked how important is it for the prospective student to express why Notre Dame why they’re passionate about attending Notre Dame is that something you look for is that something it’s important for for students to get across in their application in our holistic evaluation we’re very interested in is how are you going to use Notre Dame’s resources to become the-best-version-of-yourself are you going to be open to the difference of Notre Dame versus other colleges and so if you can when you’re writing about why Notre Dame don’t just talk about why you love the sense of us as a as the top Catholic university in the country in the world which is important to us so talk about that but don’t spend your entire write right up just saying that say it quickly and if you’re a football fan we get that we all are you know you can say those things say my early allegiance to name was based upon those elements my family is highly tied to the university because of those and their own relationships but move off that quickly after stating it and tell us the why what are you going to do by being at Notre Dame that’s going to advantage Notre Dame and how are you going to be advantaged by coming to Notre Dame and there’s no name seem different to you than your other choices tell us why the more you tell us why you think Notre Dame is different for you it’s kind of giving us an idea of how you might be different from others and we’re always looking for those differences to see whether we are adding to the class people that are going to really engage the Reese sources of Notre Dame and the spirit of mission at Notre Dame to be a major force for good in the world how are you going to help and in the way that you can talk about Notre Dame also talk separate from the other Dame what why did you do your activities what are your motivations so don’t just state declaratively I’m this is what I did tell us what was your motivation for doing it why did you do it what did you

learn from it how has that changed you we’re interested in your depth of thinking are you a reflective thinker do you learn from what you do or we have too many kids today in our generation of parents I think we have produced a lot of students that feel that they have to be accomplishment oriented and they’re going for trophies and and test scores and numbers and what we’re more interested is the process that gets you to the result so go beyond the accomplishments and talk about the why you did something and what you learned from it and how it changed you you talked about the mission add mission looking for prospective students who fit Notre Dame’s mission and I’m sure other colleges and universities you know do try to do the same how difficult is that from the materials that are supplied how hard of a challenge is it for you and your colleagues and undergraduate enrollment to identify the students that really do fit Notre Dame’s mission that’s a really good question we ask it everyday of ourselves every time we read an application all the student can do is be their authentic self do their best job of trying to identify their their ideas as to you know I guess I’m trying to if you convey and in your most sincere way who you think you are who you want to become I think we’re gonna feel like you’re we’re really getting it will understand that try not to write cliches try not to take our view book or our website and give back to us what we wrote to you trying to put it into your own words I don’t think any of the college’s we don’t do a good enough job it’s frustrating for us we wish we could get to know you so well that it’s not just reading your essays and reading your recommendations from your teachers and your your coaches and your counselors and your mentors but that’s the best system we have should we have interviews I am very concerned having worked in the corporate world we stopped using interviews as the priority way to even hire people probably you have his interviewer bias so the interviewer may be biased towards a certain type of person when you have 20,000 applications how do you properly interview the students but we are looking at is there a way that we might be able to use interviews down the road is there a way that we may put other elements into the application so it is the main question that we struggle with all I can say is given the system that’s out there Notre Dame uses it more carefully and engages it more than I think most colleges and we’re proud of that at the same point there is a limit to how much we know about a student we also don’t know how they’re going to respond to college so some have done well in high school but in college when their parents aren’t there will they make the right choices on their own if they’ve been over programmed and over shepherd by adults around them and they come and we see this every year there’s a group of students that they’re not as good as we thought they were and there’s a group we turned down that probably go to another school on outperform some of these students so we don’t have a crystal ball but we do our very best well I think we’re ready for our first question from the audience here this question comes in from Anne which is weighted more heavily GPA or standardized test scores oh my degrees are in economics that I did a lot of econometrics and over my 39 years I’ve done a lot of research at five different universities exactly on outcome so if you look at the GPA at College the class performance from high school is about two and a half times more powerful in predicting your success versus another student success based upon the difference of your class performance test scores in high school class performance is more useful the only difficulty you have is when the numbers get so high at Notre Dame for so many of the applicants we’re in a situation where out of 19,000 500 applicants 7,200 of our applicants were in the top 1% in either their national test score their class performance and does it matter to use a test score that’s 50 points difference if you’re both top top top or the same thing with class performance also high schools have had a lot of grade inflation so when I came to to Notre Dame I filled out a survey that students still fell out at all the colleges and back in 1973 15% of the American college freshman said they had an a-minus a or a + average 15% 54% of the students now indicate coming to

college so high schools working with parents have decided to give higher grades and the colleges we often will get a family concept well my son or daughter out of had all A’s yes and at some of these schools more than half the class do and so we look very carefully at the high school at the courses taken we understand the context of the high school the quality of the students at that high school versus the quality students at another high school we give credit for that but I think class performance is more indicative of success than the test score but at this point at Notre Dame and some of these other top colleges students tend to have be high in both and also the students with high test scores there’s a correlation between high test scores that I’ve seen in my career and students who are more active a lot of people assume it’s the opposite the higher the test score the less active the less well-rounded actually I’ve found the opposite if you have a high test score some of you who have high test scores are so fast getting your material done that you have free time what do you do with the free time you do more leadership you do more service you do other things the other student who is not slow but slower than you houses spend more time working on that class assignment reading the material understanding it getting it back out in a productive academic way so actually the kids with higher test scores tend to also disproportionately be more active more leaders so don’t assume that a high test score means limited personal development that’s not almost the opposite very interesting let’s take our next question here from the live audience it’s comes in from Janet how much emphasis is placed on taking honors and AP courses in the admissions process so the question we would ask is if you’re trying to go to a top university we would expect that you were taking the top courses at your high school that would seem to be consistent behavior why would you avoid the top courses in high school but then declare that you’re ready and and you deserve to take a spot at a top university over students that challenge themselves more now what we want to avoid though is an arms race so if a student takes six ApS over their junior senior year or 12 there’s the one that took 12 have a big advantage over the one that took six I think generally once we see that you generally took the strongest curriculum at your high school you don’t have to out point remember when I talked about when the numbers are so high it doesn’t matter anymore how to separate high numbers from highest numbers I would say the same thing is in your course selections take the best courses that you can handle and master don’t feel that you have to take six ApS your junior year in six year senior year that somehow having 12 or 10 will you give you an advantage over somebody with six or eight generally we want to see that you’ve taken as much as you can but don’t blow yourself up it’s active so you might have the grades but you don’t have the activities so it’s balancing go back to the idea of wisdom not just intellect that it’s balancing all that but you should do your very best in school and if you can handle the tougher courses take them if you’re really into physics we assume that your take the stronger math and science courses if you’re really an English person you want to become a novelist you don’t have ap physics and BC calculus we get it we understand so did you take the strongest courses and the things that interest you the most but we don’t want that to become an arms race so there’s a limit to how many ApS or the the IB program or the honors don’t feel you have to outpoint everybody at your school but you should if you’re trying to get into a school like Notre Dame you should take the best curriculum at your high school in general but you just don’t have to exhaust every possible AP or IP course or honors creative students for those of you joining us live just a reminder or if you’ve just joined us Don is taking your questions live now you can submit your questions using the forum directly below the player where you’re watching us we’ve got another question coming in this one’s from Kathy what are the top three things that you would recommend to a student to best increase his or her chances of being admitted to Notre Dame so the first one I’ll say should be an academic point if you’re talking to all your children I think they should read a lot so even young read and not just read what interests them but parents and I did this with my children find things that you think will stimulate their thinking not just on I I was really into sports I read a lot of sports but early on I was lucky that I also got

introduced to some major writers on different types of topics and I just did a lot of extra reading did a lot of extra thinking what you’re trying to do is build the life of the mind think through things don’t just react to things so I think reading would be the first thing I would do is if you have a 8 year old or a 14 year old get them to read more and get them to read thoughtful things not just entertainment material things that will through the political process through science through history whatever and they may have a passion for something it’s okay to tilt the reading towards what your passion is to a point but but read broadly and read deep quality material read people who are very good thinkers and I think especially in this day of media we don’t really have a the type of news services that we used to have so trying to think for yourself rather being spoon-fed popular medium material I think it’s gonna be very important to develop more a sense of discernment and so reading would be the first thing second thing is always do your best in school academically parents I would hold your students don’t tell them they have to have a hundred if they’ve done their best and that’s a B that’s great always just ask them did you do your best and and but don’t phrase it like you don’t believe they have asked them generally you know what do you think your best effort can be I think as parents we should encourage our kids to do their best but embrace whatever their results are and the other thing is embrace if they’re at that twelve fifty with a B+ average embrace the quality of colleges they should go to and find the best ones of that type don’t put the onus on them to hit certain expectations that you or their school or their friends or or other people in your community have develop your own sense of self that would be that the next thing is and that’s hard when I was 15 or 18 and somebody told me build your sense of self I would not have necessarily known exactly how to do that but I would have I think benefited from hearing that and I would have thought through it and say okay your sense of self is going to change especially when you go to college for a lot of reasons part of is the the human mind almost biologically at 18 to 22 is still changing but also the experiences you have by going away studying being on your own being held more accountable responsible the third element is don’t do 30 different activities it’s not the volume of activities it’s the depth of the activity so do one or two things extremely well and get more involved in them if that means being in the stage crew for the theater productions if it means being in a sport the only thing I would tell you don’t be one-dimensional I would probably pick two types of activities so if you’re doing sports do one other thing as well if you’re doing theater do one other thing as well community service is extremely important at Notre Dame I think it creates more of a wareness that you’re not just here for yourself I think you feel better about yourself if you help people you get more of this positive sense that that a purpose and we certainly message that at Notre Dame so in any way that you can go deep into showing that you work well with others and that you’re trying to help others it’s not all about you all the time we have another question coming in this one comes to us from Angela she asks what does Notre Dame consider to be a well-rounded student okay well there’s two answers some of our well-rounded students are well lopsided students so a well lopsided student is certainly valued because they may be particularly into a field of study and one other thing and as long as there’s some balance there we could find that to be attractive but if you want to talk about the classic well-rounded definition I think it’s a student who performs very well in the classroom but does so because they’re truly interested in learning not just saying well if I do well enough I’ll get into these schools or if I do well enough at Notre Dame I’ll get this type of job or I’ll get in to this grad school be more self-directed self-motivated and authentic not trying to impress other people as much as trying to get a sense for what do I want to do today why do I want to do that what do I want to accomplish tomorrow are my activities and my effort in line with with that so I think a well-rounded student is somebody who gives their best effort but when their best effort is then ultimately judged they can live with

that outcome and they don’t over stress over it I think at Notre Dame and at the other top 15 or 20 schools parents students if you want to read a book that I think be helpful read the book excellent sheep it’s about a faculty member who was educated at Columbia taught at Yale he’s no longer at Yale he’s been a speaker here at Notre Dame he’s been a speaker at many places but the book excellent she talks about this need for students and parents to stop evaluating themselves by these external measurements and to come to more of a sense of self and then be happy with that we seem to always be unhappy that we’re not at the place right just above us I’ll meet students who say well I didn’t have a very good SAT score it’s only 1,500 and I always feel badly for that student because they should feel great about that but they know somebody who had 15:40 we’re always in a culture that seems to suggest we should be doing better than we’re doing I would say always do your best always try to get better but don’t beat yourself up over and accept yourself and love yourself at the end of the day that’s what a well-rounded student is to me along with somebody who wants to do more for others than just for themselves we’ve only got a few minutes left but we’ve got time for one more question from the audience this comes in from Amy our daughter is going into her senior year can you provide any last-minute tips for getting ready for the application process the application process I think the greatest stress for a student applying to college is writing the essays I would go back to a comment I made earlier so when you write your essays to the colleges the main point I think you want to get across is to tell them a couple things that you’ve done that prove that you’ll go to their college and use their resources well that you are going to be a contributor to their environment so focus more on what you’re gonna do for the college in your writing than what you think the college will do for you secondly analyze why you did something not just what you did don’t just give us a list of accomplishments so when you’re doing your writings write about why you did it what you learned from it how it changed you it will show that you’re thinking through what you’re doing that’s what colleges want and I guess the last point I’d make on that is have fun in the process I think the college process should be one where you’re assessing how far you’ve come where you want to go I mean not just literally where you want to go as far as college but what sort of person you want to become and what dynamics at what colleges are gonna help you get there I think being an eighteen year old should be celebrated and that while you’re a high school senior your college applicants kind of a schizophrenic year as a result don’t lose yourself and being a college applicant in your senior year use that senior year to enjoy your family to enjoy your friends to continue to learn as a senior what you’re gonna need to do to go to college but don’t lose sight that while you’re applying to the college is it’s just part of the process and try to have fun with it it should be an adventure try to enjoy it with your parents and parents enjoy with your student last point is parents when you take your kids to the colleges and you’re after the tour when you’re getting back in the car my best strategy suggestion to you is don’t be the first one to talk let your student tell you what they thought about the college and the tour guide and the tour and the admission session and whatever else they did on the college if you start talking first trying to identify what you think you saw they will feel like you’re trying to bully them into thinking the way you’re thinking and as we all know with our teenagers they will prove to you that that was bad strategy so my strategy with my children I’m very talkative but I tried very hard when we finished the tours and everything not to say anything until they talked and then they had asked me in my opinion then they would listen to me so that’s the other gift I’m trying to give the parents is don’t run over your children with your own views even though you know this process better than they do probably let them come forward first and then let them ask you your opinion and then then give it hold on unfortunately we’re running at a time here for prospective students and for parents who’ve been watching if they want more resources learning to learn more about the admissions process at Notre Dame where can they go what should they take advantage of so just go online and two areas that you’ll be interested in is go online and look at both the admissions website and the financial aid website you also have the price calculator on the financial aid website

so if you’re trying to get a sense for what sort of age you might get at a place like Notre Dame you can do this at your other colleges as well they should all have if you typed in on Google Notre Dame price calculator or Duke price calculator you should be able to get right to where they would it basically ask you to put in some answers to questions then give you an estimate what sort of aid in total cost you would have same thing with admissions just go on our websites get a identify yourself as a prospective student we’ll start setting you electronic materials we may even send you some paper materials well Don we got so much interesting information from you today you answered so many great questions so thank you so much for taking the time to be here we really appreciate it well thanks and we enjoy reading your students stories as they come in every student has a story to tell and I have to say after 39 years and my staff as well we’re all fascinated by what you’ve done and so keep applying and we’ll do our very best to be fair we know it’s a tough process and thanks to all of you who joined us live or all of you watching later remembered for all of our online learning content our past episodes and upcoming ones you can visit us online at my dot ND edu slash learn or you can visit us on youtube by finding the Notre Dame Alumni Association channel I’m Kevin Brennan with the Notre Dame Alumni Association thanks so much for joining us and go Irish