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Complete Guide to the Notre Dame Summer Scholars

Complete Guide to the Notre Dame Summer Scholars

If you want to learn how to excel in group work and make a tangible, sustainable impact on your community, you should apply for the Notre Dame Summer Scholars pre college summer program! The Notre Dame Summer Scholars cultivates a tight-knit community through service opportunities, and hones leadership and teamwork skills through a focus on collaborative group projects. Let’s dive deeper into learning more about the Notre Dame Summer Scholars Program!
1. What is Notre Dame Summer Scholars?

The Notre Dame Summer Scholars is a competitive on-campus two-week-long pre-college summer program hosted by the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Rising junior and senior high school students take a college-level academic course and earn one transferable college credit. Students and their small teams get to work closely with the highly attentive and renowned Notre Dame faculty to receive in-depth, personal 1:1 instruction and feedback. From world politics and social justice, to entrepreneurship and creative AI, to climate change and global health, Notre Dame Summer Scholars offers an expansive array of courses filtered into two Sessions. These college-level courses delve into topics far deeper than your typical hobby-based summer programs. Students tackle complex real-world problems in classes like Climate Change: Fighting for the Future of Our Planet, Confronting Poverty: Bringing Service to Justice, Global Health: Science, Medicine, and the Social Determinants of Health, Restorative Justice: A Social Movement to Transform the U.S. Criminal Justice System, and Them and US: Climate, Conflict, Inequality, and Migration. And, on top of these exceptional course offerings, students also develop critical leadership, conflict resolution, and global literacy skills.

For the upcoming 2024 season, Session I lasts from June 8th to June 22nd, and Session II lasts from June 29th to July 13th. Applications are already open, and close on February 20th, 2024.

Pre-College Summer Programs
2. Why Should You Apply for the Notre Dame Summer Scholars?

Unique to the University of Notre Dame Summer Scholars is its International Leadership, Enrichment, and Development Program (iLED), which is a part of Notre Dame Summer Scholars. On top of their selected course, students participate in workshops on various types of leadership and problem solving, intercultural communication and cultural competence, entrepreneurship, and innovation, as well as interactive discussions with Notre Dame faculty from many different departments– including Undergraduate Admissions.

The University of Notre Dame’s specialty is its dedication to nurturing a strong sense of responsibility and open-mindedness in its students. The Notre Dame Summer Scholars program distinguishes itself through its community service activities and commitment to not just accepting, but celebrating students’ different backgrounds. Whether you’re a natural leader or a supportive team player, whether you aspire to be an outspoken social justice activist speaking on an international platform or a weekend volunteer at your local community center, Notre Dame Summer Scholars is the best program for those who are passionate about serving and uplifting their communities.

As a Catholic institution, Notre Dame offers optional affiliated Mass and prayer services, but also actively encourages students to explore other faiths and doctrines from around the world—once again showing their commitment to diversity and acceptance.

Every day, students attend classes, lead discussions, broaden their perspectives with guest lectures, collaborate outside of class in group projects, conduct research, and contribute to community service causes of their choice. It would not be a Notre Dame summer program without service opportunities. Students participate in volunteer work at animal shelters, food drives, and/or the community garden, or even get direct experience working with children. Notre Dame Summer Scholars students leave the Notre Dame campus with a renewed sense of responsibility to give back to their own communities and make meaningful impacts in the world.

With a strong sense of community comes many social activities that bond Notre Dame Summer Scholars students together. All Notre Dame summer program participants take part in ice skating, open mic night, Bookstore Basketball, trivia, Capture the Flag, talent show, bonfire, scavenger hunt, movie nights, and countless other social activities. Students build friendships with their peers in other courses of the same session, creating an all-inclusive and tight-knit community.

Additionally, all students stay in the Notre Dame dorms with one other roommate and their respective residential section. Each section is led by Resident Counselors (RCs), who are current Notre Dame undergraduate students. Not only will students bond with their dormmates and learn more about realistic college life from their RCs, but they’ll also learn to live independently and cooperate with a roommate whom they’ve never met before.

3. How competitive and prestigious is Notre Dame Summer Scholars?

Notre Dame Summer Scholars’ acceptance rate from the 2020 season was around 26% (according to student sources) and is well-known as a top recommended prestigious summer program for high schoolers. Applying students must submit a high school transcript, counselor report, and high school teacher recommendation letter along with their online application. Admitted students hail from across the world, but are all high-performing students with strong grades and commitment to their extracurriculars. Notre Dame Summer Scholars looks for students aged 16 and above who are “self-motivated, self-disciplined, and demonstrate a high level of maturity” (read more on Eligibility and Application Requirements). If the University of Notre Dame is one of your top choices for college, then this summer program is for you! Historically, around 50% (according to student sources) of past Notre Dame Summer Scholars students later attended the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame Summer Scholars is not for students casually looking to enjoy their summer pursuing a hobby. With its intense admissions process, Notre Dame’s precollege is an academically rigorous program reserved only for high-caliber students.

However, some factors to beware of are the program’s cost (with very limited financial aid resources and scholarships) and its correlation to competitiveness and prestige. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

  • $60 Application Fee
  • $300 Enrollment Fee
  • $4,425 Tuition/Room and Board Balance

Some people may judge a program’s prestige based on its price in an inverse relationship due to the question of accessibility—the higher the price, the lower the competition/the lower the prestige. Oftentimes, the best of the best summer programs are fully funded by the University and free of charge/at a low cost to admitted students. Those types of programs are extremely selective, with acceptance rates in the single digits, and consequently would provide a more impressive badge of achievement on your college application. By this criteria, Notre Dame Summer Scholars is less prestigious compared to Notre Dame Leadership Seminars.

4. What is Notre Dame Leadership Seminars?

Notre Dame Leadership Seminars is the most competitive pre-college summer program offered by the University of Notre Dame. This 10-day, University-funded, on-campus intensive only accepts 100 truly outstanding students each year. Admitted students have demonstrated their exceptional leadership skills by making a significant impact on their respective communities. Students are also in the top 10% of their class, with SAT scores averaging 1400 and ACT scores no lower than 31.

Notre Dame Leadership Seminars cultivate future world leaders by teaching students how to think, lead, and serve, dissect complex current world issues, change the world, and take responsibility for their influential actions. For the 2024 season, this summer program will be held from July 20th to July 31st. Tuition, housing, and meals are fully funded, so students only need to pay a $60 Application Fee, $150 Enrollment Fee, and travel expenses. Whether you’re tackling sustainability and climate issues or social and economic inequities, Notre Dame Leadership Seminars has a course to fit your interests. This program is competitive beyond compare, so you’ll not only walk away with a transferable college credit, but also with a universally acknowledged, prestigious accomplishment to really impress your future college admissions officers.

5. Spend your summer with Aralia Education

Prepare for the Notre Dame pre-college programs, both Summer Scholars and Leadership Seminars, with Aralia Education! Aralia Education courses are taught by experienced educators who are well-equipped to advance your academic development and set you up for admission into the competitive Notre Dame pre-college summer programs.

Try Aralia’s International Relations course to learn how to conduct research in the social sciences and analyze critical world issues. These skills will help you prepare for Notre Dame Summer Scholars classes like World Politics and Power: An Introduction to International Relations, Public Policymaking: A Primer, and Law.

Aralia’s courses in Business Research or Economics Research are highly customizable depending on your area of interest. Your business or economics research projects would be very helpful in preparing for Notre Dame Summer Scholars programs in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Immersion, and Marketing: For the Common Good.

No matter which of Notre Dame’s summer programs you want to apply for, Aralia has a class in your subject of choice that will subsequently get you ahead of the game!


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