2016 Applications Hit Another New Record High

While overall applications have increased at Notre Dame from 14,521 in 2010 to 19,490 in 2016—a 34% increase, the number of applicants whose academic credentials in 2010 placed them in the top 15% of that applicant pool is now double—a 100% increase. Read more.

Enrollment size of the first-year class places us as third largest among the top 20 most selective private research universities

We will enroll 2,040 first-year students for fall 2106. Future enrollment goals will place Notre Dame tied with Northwestern for the third largest first-year class among the nation’s most selective twenty private national research universities. Cornell enrolls about 3,200 first-year students and Penn enrolls about 2,400. The average first-year enrollment of the next 16 universities is 1,470—Notre Dame is 39% larger than these schools.

Catholic representation at Notre Dame is the highest among the most selective Catholic universities

Among the top Catholic universities in the United States, the typical Catholic student percentage ranges from 47% to 70%. Notre Dame is at 81% Catholic.

Among all Catholic high school seniors with test scores in the top 1% of the nation (1500-1600 SAT or 33-36 ACT) about 30% of these students applied to Notre Dame in 2010. This year over 50% of the Catholic high school seniors with these national exam results have applied to Notre Dame—an impressive rise in market share over the past six years.

Recruitment and communications philosophy and strategy

In recent years, many universities have reported dramatic increases in applications. In part, some universities have become more aggressive in communicating and marketing to prospective students about their institutions; systematically recruiting students whose profiles do not suggest they have a realistic opportunity for admission.

Notre Dame has avoided this approach. Validation of this strategy is the 34% overall gain in applications coupled with a 100% gain (over the past six years) for the highest ability applicants that had at minimum a 50% chance for admission.

During the reorganizing of the Enrollment Division in 2010, a stronger marketing and communications effort was implemented with a more sophisticated and strategic approach to recruitment, financial aid, and scholarships, including a broad scope to include more socio-economically diverse prospects on a national and global scale. Our communications strategy is centered on conveying our mission to prospective students and parents that Notre Dame is not a “generic top 15” national research university, but rather a unique community of scholars—where a student’s personal and spiritual formation is critical to their overall development and success.

Focus has been placed on increasing the narrative surrounding the quality of our academics, the faculty, and the success of our alumni. We have also strengthened our association with premier high schools in the nation and across the world and dramatically improved outreach to community-based organizations to help identify and cultivate relationships with low income, high ability students.

Quick admissions stats for the 2016 fall first-year class

  • 19,490 first-year applications received, 7% increase from previous year
  • 17% increase in the top segment of the applicant pool for students with academic credentials that placed them in the top quintile of our applicant pool
  • 3,500 to 3,600 students expected to be admitted
  • 56% yield rate in 2015 (percentage of admitted students that enroll) set a new record at Notre Dame, one of the highest yield rates among the nation’s top 10 most selective universities
  • 2,040 expected first-year enrolling students for Fall 2016
  • 150 new transfer students for the fall of 2016—including over 40 from our Notre Dame-Holy Cross College Gateway Program