A Student Review of University of Notre Dame

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Kenny is a St. Louis tutor specializing in Algebra tutoring, Calculus tutoring, History tutoring, and a number of other areas. He is currently a junior at University of Notre Dame majoring in Economics and Math. See what he had to share about University of Notre Dame:

VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike?

Kenny: The University of Notre Dame campus is very beautiful. It is about an hour east of Chicago, and it is quite safe. The school’s campus police swiftly handle any criminal incidents. Because the alumni and administration want to maintain a safe and friendly environment, the campus is only accessible via one main road. Buses, however, are available to take students to and from Midway and O’Hare Airports in Chicago. There is also an Amtrak station close by, as well as a regional airport approximately 10 minutes from campus. Many students own bikes, and they use them during the fall and spring months to more quickly access areas of campus that are far from their dorms.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Kenny: Most professors hold office hours at last three times per week, and they are often available even when they do not have posted office hours. The same is true of teaching assistants. The professors are very personable, and they are quick to respond to any difficulties you may have. The academic advisers are intelligent, engaged, and quick to respond to student needs. The First Year of Studies advisers are particularly helpful in leading each freshman to the best course of study for them.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Kenny: University of Notre Dame dorm life is very active. Students are interested in their hallmates, and you are likely to make many friends wherever you live. In other words, because the school has no fraternities, dorm communities often become tight-knit families. Rectors (headmasters) and resident assistants are, without fail, great leaders who make a vigorous effort to be involved (but not overly so) with the on-campus life of each dorm resident. The University of Notre Dame has several dining options, and its dining halls are among the best in the nation. One of them even looks like Hogwarts. The most incredible aspect of the University of Notre Dame, however, is the school’s unique ability to unite strong athletics and academics with an inspired Catholic faith. No other school can offer this combination the way that University of Notre Dame does.

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Kenny: The Mendoza College of Business has been ranked #1 for undergraduate study in the country. However, all schools (and all departments within the schools) are well represented and supported by University of Notre Dame administrators, alumni, and faculty. I studied Economics and Mathematics because I have always had a very analytical mind, and I love both Abstract and Applied Math. My professors and classmates inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in Economics.

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Kenny: Due to its reputation as a strong Catholic institution, Greek life is literally nonexistent at University of Notre Dame. Nonetheless, and perhaps due to this unique attribute, meeting other freshmen and upperclassmen who share similar interests, goals, and values is very easy (and enjoyable). I can confidently recall having made 10 close friends within my first two weeks of college.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus? 

Kenny: The Career Center, Student Activities Office, and University Health Services are all very helpful. The University of Notre Dame hosts over 300 student-led organizations, and the Mental Health Center is a great resource for students who find themselves struggling to adjust to college life. The Career Center ensures that students have the opportunity to accept internships and jobs from such companies as Pfizer, JPMorgan, John Deere, and the American Enterprise Institute. However, the Career Center also ensures that students who wish to pursue advanced degrees have all the necessary resources to do so.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Kenny: The University of Notre Dame’s study areas are many and varied. Students can choose to study in one of their dorm’s lounges, the bookstore, the LaFortune Student Center, the Hesburgh Library (which boasts 3.39 million volumes and 14 stories), or one of the several other libraries around campus. Each of these study spaces offers something different – some are busy, some are very quiet, some are best for group projects, and others are best for an intense final review before that Econometrics exam you almost “forgot” to study for.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Kenny: The campus of the University of Notre Dame offers everything that many students desire. As a result, some students may never feel a need to leave. However, when they do want to relieve stress, South Bend has several friendly bars, a fun nightclub, a minor league baseball team, and many opportunities for service. While some students spend their evenings in prayer and reflection with a few of their closest friends, others attend events off-campus. The University Park Mall and the Eddy Street Commons host several retail outlets, local restaurants, and a few evening happy hours close to campus. For many, the 57 chapels or Grand Basilica offer a refuge from the busy week of studying and extracurricular activity that almost all University of Notre Dame students undertake. The school can be as exciting or as conservative as you desire. In short, the University of Notre Dame community is incredibly well rounded and offers much for everyone.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Kenny: University of Notre Dame’s student body (including graduate students) is approximately 12,000 people. Around 8,000 of these students are undergraduates, a size that allows many students to know each other well without imposing on one another’s personal space. I was very pleased with my typical class sizes. I often shared the class with enough students to form study groups, but I also developed a strong personal relationship with many of my professors.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Kenny: My favorite class as a student at University of Notre Dame was Econometrics. Though many students have claimed this to be the most difficult course in the Economics major, I emerged from the class more determined to attend graduate school than ever before. My professor, the department chair, was a very difficult instructor. He was also one of the brightest, most inspiring men I have ever had the opportunity to know.

Check out Kenny’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.