First-Year Sorting Ceremony
A South Dining Hall celebration of your transition from your first year to your future college home.Join the Fun
Freshman Night @ the Snite
Drop by the Snite Musuem of Art for a special reception and mini-tour.Visit Your Museum
Schedule Adjustment Day
Schedule changes are made on the day before classes start each semester.Find Out How
Official Welcome and Academic Orientation
All first-year students are required to attend the formal start of Orientation.Find Out More
A weekend-long program designed to help you make Notre Dame your new home.Learn More
The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival
A world-class production of Shakespeare’s portrayal of England’s most famous villain, Richard III.Enjoy the Show
Where Do You Study?
Student Government’s First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) has some suggestions.Find Your Spot
The First Year Challenge
Engage in 21st-century community and economic development.Learn More
All first-year students are required to complete an online tutorial before arriving on campus.Find Out How
What's Your Plan?
Two meal plan options are part of the Notre Dame Housing Fee.Pick a Plan
Students of every interest have experienced their First Year of Studies in a way that has set the course for their future.
Meet some of them here.
Utilize your first year advisor! I absolutely loved Elly Brenner and found her to be both a great resource and a friendly face throughout the first few months. Also, visit the CSC in Geddes as soon as you can. ND has countless opportunities beyond the campus and they’re more than willing to help you achieve your wildest ambitions – from serving with orphans in Honduras, to studying American culture at Disneyland. Just make sure you take advantage of your time here and leave Notre Dame a better person with unforgettable memories; such as, midnight trips to Recker’s or island-hopping escapades on the Greek islands.
Always remember that nothing is permanent. You can change your classes and intended major as much as you want until you find yourself studying what you are passionate about. Do not be intimidated or scared of your advisor. They are truly there to help you succeed. Things may seem extremely overwhelming and hopeless at first. Give yourself time to settle into a routine and realize that if you look around there are so many great people ready to help you with your ambitions. Homesickness is and unfortunate factor for most first year students. I was probably one of the worst, and I can tell you that it gets so much better. Hang in there, seek out the help you need. You are attending one of the best universities in the world! Take advantage of every opportunity!
Don’t ever hesitate to reach out to anyone on campus—be it a professor, a rector, or a peer—because it will almost always result in something positive. Being timid will only result in eventual regret.
Try everything! Having opened myself up to a variety of new opportunities, I feel my horizons have been expanded and I am better prepared to select my concentration and major. There is a lot that Notre Dame has to offer its students, and if you take the time to pursue these opportunities, the payoff will be beneficial.
If you’re from warm weather, get a big coat! On a more serious note, try to go to the Grotto once every one or two weeks. I currently go about every two weeks, but I’m trying to go more often. It’s a great place to reflect on the past week, the upcoming week, or anything else where you just want a quiet and prayerful place with candles. Also, set aside time each week to do something carefree and fun. Every Thursday night, I go with my friends to Legends Restaurant to play team trivia. Sometimes we make Top 5, sometimes we come in dead last. It doesn’t matter, though, the fun is in getting together on a weeknight to show off our bizarre knowledge!
First of all, meet as many people as you can. You never know who you will meet. Second, look to join at least three clubs or other activities, even if you don’t stick with all of them. Try to continue participating in at least one of them through your time here.
Take advantage of all the opportunities available through FYS. Coming into my first year, I was intimidated by many of professors because they were so distinguished. Participating in a Den Dialogue discussion allowed me to get to know a professor informally, which definitely eased my intimidation. It was a great opportunity to meet a professor whose class I will be taking in the future and hear a scholar’s opinion on an issue that interested me. I was nervous before I went, but I’m so glad I decided to participate in this program.
Don’t be afraid to try new things! You’re no longer expected to do everything you did in high school, and there are SO many clubs at Notre Dame. Sign up for something new that you always wanted to do, but never got around to getting involved with, or just something that sounds interesting- but be careful not to sign up for too many things at the activity fair, your inbox will get very full very fast!
As a first year student, I wish I would have utilized more opportunities for interactive learning, such as Father Jenkin’s office hours, Den Dialogues, miscellaneous lectures, concerts, debates, performances, etc. in order to further enrich my learning experience here at ND. Notre Dame facilitates and encourages various means for learning outside of the classroom setting, and I wish that I would have utilized more of these opportunities as a first-year student in order to foster my love for learning at an earlier stage of my intellectual development.
Commit, but don’t over-commit. Find two or three things you are sincerely passionate about and get really involved in those things, you will get a lot more out of going deep than going wide. Going into a club, organization, or activity with the intention to spend time and energy on it gives you a lot of freedom to care as much as you want, and also to meet and develop friendships with people who are not freshmen, not in your dorm, and not in your major. Those relationships will grow you and stretch you personally and academically. Also, wear bright colors in the middle of winter. It will make you a happier person.
Inform yourself early about all of the opportunities available to you. Make use of the First-Year-of-Studies offices in the Coleman-Morse center to be a more informed First-Year student. There might be an FYS course or two that is especially appealing to you. In fact, I signed up for four FYS courses throughout my first year. They are a perfect way to prepare to think more like a college student. Many of them also feel relevant because they usually address contemporary issues.
One of the most important things that you need to do is to start building relationships not only with other students, but also with faculty. This means going to office hours and talking to your professors, even if at first you want to ease yourself into familiarity by just reviewing your work with the professor. I had very rewarding experiences by getting to know some of my professors outside of the classroom. You never know if that professor is working on a project that perfectly matches your interests, or if they can help guide you to resources that you would most benefit from.
Really take some time to sit and reflect upon your interests. Find ways to satisfy your interests with all of the resources that are available at Notre Dame, whether through interesting courses or clubs. College is a period of personal development, and it would be best to use that period to know yourself more. Be active in your pursuit of education.
Do not let yourself lose track of your ultimate goals. If you do not really have well-defined goals yet, you still need to dedicate a good portion of your time thinking about what you might like to achieve in your college experience at Notre Dame. You can never think too early about your goals.
I would advise all first year students to not be afraid to try something that they have never done before. I joined the sailing team my first semester and it was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Even though I had never sailed before, the experienced members of the team were more than willing to help and to teach me the sport. In addition to learning a new skill, I made some great friends and had some very fun times at practices and regattas. I would encourage everyone to try something that they have never done before – whether it be a new sport, a class in something that sounds interesting, or any of the millions of clubs on campus. There are so many opportunities at Notre Dame, from becoming belay certified at the rock climbing wall to attending a festival that celebrates the Chinese New Year, there is something for everyone’s interests. Try out something new – you won’t regret it!
One of the best things I did was develop a relationship with my counselor. He was so helpful and opened the door to resources I didn’t really know about. As a First-Year student, it is hard to sift through all the opportunities (classes, clubs, sports, extracurricular activities, etc.) that are available at ND. But, your counselor is a great person to ask about what to take, where to find help, and how to develop a great four year plan. I really appreciated his help and friendship.