3 University of Notre Dame Essay Examples by Accepted Students


The University of Notre Dame is a highly selective school, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share essays real students have submitted to the University of Notre Dame. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).


Read our University of Notre Dame essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.


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Example 1


Prompt: A Notre Dame education is not just for you, but also for those who will benefit from the impact you make. Who do you aspire to serve after you graduate? (200 words)


I was ten years old when I first heard the word Alzheimer’s. While my Mom explained that Grammy would progressively lose several of her mental functions, my head spun as I tried to process my new reality. I grew up 2,000 miles apart from Grammy, and after her diagnosis, our lengthy phone calls turned into meaningless exchanges as she forgot who I was. I was fifteen when Grammy passed away, but my heart mourned the person I lost five years earlier, the side of my grandmother that disease had stripped away.


I aspire to honor Grammy’s legacy by serving elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. At Notre Dame, I would like to work under Dr. Suhail Alam to develop therapies for treating neurodegenerative disease using epigenetic pathways. In this role, I will tie my personal connection with neurodegenerative disease to my research skills from the USC Biomechanics Research Lab, working towards a cure to serve both current and future Alzheimer’s patients. Once I graduate, I hope to build on this foundation as a physician. By working directly to treat Alzheimer’s patients and continuing with medical research, I will serve all those who have been personally affected by neurodegenerative disease.


Example 2


Prompt: A Notre Dame education is not just for you, but also for those who will benefit from the impact you make. Who do you aspire to serve after you graduate? (200 words)


I could sense my student—Aanya’s—interest evaporate as I stumbled. My virtual whiteboard was filled with abstract art, trying to pass off as math notations. Although I was initially reluctant to let her use Khan Academy, its quality and technical sophistication blew me away. Moreover, after Aanya mastered the basics online, we explored exciting higher-order problems and she developed enduring insights.


The economist in me spotted the opportunity to divide labor. Imagine the power of a great teacher reaching millions of students across the world through a single video. This allows physical teachers to support students who need more help individually. Especially in underfunded schools with teacher shortages, pre-recorded lessons would be a cost-effective solution.


However, implementing blended pedagogy is impossible through one discipline. The pandemic exposed an alarming digital divide, and there’s a desperate need to procure laptops and provide internet access. To raise capital and gain expertise to execute these projects, I’d use resources at Mendoza for nonprofit management. I want to take political science classes because without understanding political hurdles, these grand dreams would be stillborn. 


After I graduate, my most far-flung-dream is to start a school, innovative in pedagogy and audacious in striving to improve social mobility.


Example 3


Prompt: Notre Dame has a rich history deeply rooted in tradition. Share how a favorite tradition from your life has impacted who you are today.


Although I despised them at the time, technology restrictions in Boarding school gave birth to a tradition close to my heart. With nothing else to do, our suitemates would gather together after “lights-out” and just talk. Sometimes it’d be consoling a friend over a bad break-up or a serious debate on the merits of Latin honors. Whatever the topic, these conversations were always compassionate, spirited, and a source of familial support.


This camaraderie also made studying profoundly different, as learning and fun stopped being antithetical ideas. Nights reserved for calculus were always punctuated by ping-pong sessions, but we never sabotaged each other in a futile race to the top. We were a collaborative family, where instead of selfish opportunity costs, we were driven by brotherly love. No accolade could beat this feeling of finding home, away from home. 


At Notre Dame, to build that sense of family, I want to create a discussion group—Night Owls—to gather at night and ponder both the grandiose and whimsical philosophical questions over hot chocolate. Think of these events as modern versions of the infamous Greek Symposia, just without the booze. This combination of conversation, family, and intellectual inquiry is what I want from college. It doesn’t sound very prudential, but it’s surely poetic.


More Free Essay Resources


How to Write the University of Notre Dame Essays: See our in-depth guide of each supplemental essay prompt for the University of Notre Dame. 


All of Our Essay Guides: Don’t miss our essay guides for all of the top schools.


How to Write the Common App Essays: Learn how to write a strong Common App essay for each of the prompts, with examples.


Free CollegeVine Peer Essay Review: Submit your essay and get feedback from another student. Editing other students’ essays will also help you improve your own writing skills!



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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.

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