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How to Write the Notre Dame Supplemental Essays

Notre Dame requires students to write two supplemental essays. Each essay must be answered in 200 words or less.

Notre Dame is a Catholic university, founded by members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, with a mission to educate the hearts and minds of students. What excites you about attending Notre Dame?

This prompt asks you to answer the classic question “Why Notre Dame?” With only 200 words, focus on the details and resources about Notre Dame that most excite you. Start by researching extracurriculars, academic programs, unique resources, and professors and mention how you’ll take full advantage of these resources to fulfill Notre Dame’s mission of holistic education.

Choose one of the following prompts:

People in the Notre Dame community come from many different places, backgrounds, and walks of life. How is where you’re from a part of who you are?

In answering this essay, consider the communities you are a part of and how they have shaped you. Select one that is deeply meaningful to you and has shaped who you are as a person. In crafting your response, aim to highlight the ways in which you have contributed to your community as well as what parts of your unique community identity you’ll bring to Notre Dame.

Tell us about a time when you advocated for something you believe in.

In this essay, the admissions team is looking for a glimpse into what motivates you to take action. This could be an issue, cause, person, place, idea, or anything that you feel a strong sense of connection to. While not stated explicitly in the question, you’ll also want to include why this topic is important to you and what motivates you to fight for it. A true passion should be evident in your writing!

If you were given unlimited resources to help solve one problem in your community, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?

One of Notre Dame’s more creative prompts, here the admissions committee seeks to learn more about your background, passions, and problem solving skills. When selecting your cause, make sure to address why this problem is important to you. Feel free to be creative in your solution (you do have unlimited resources after all!), but make sure to logically outline how your proposed solution would solve the problem.

What is the greatest compliment you have ever been given? Why was it meaningful to you?

This is no time to be humble! Think of a time you felt genuinely moved by a compliment. The admissions committee wants to learn more about what you value through your response. Do you have a passion for community service and were complimented on your dedication to others? Do you aspire to become a research scientist and were praised by a mentor for your meticulous attention to detail? Or maybe you value friendship and received a compliment on your ability to connect with others through humor? No matter what your compliment was, make sure to thoroughly address why it was meaningful to you!