Last week was May 1–the day all high school seniors had to make their college decisions. Our Annie is heading to Notre Dame in August via the Gateway Program. We can’t even begin to say how proud we are of her.
In light of Annie’s decision, I had lots of people reach out and ask why we made a last-minute trip to see Clemson and others wondering what Gateway is at Notre Dame. So here’s the scoop.
Gateway, in the words of a Notre Dame’s admissions officer, is a “conditional acceptance” to Notre Dame. For the last 10 years, Notre Dame’s admissions’ team has accepted 75 students annually from the general admissions pool to be part of what they today call the Gateway Program. (I think prior to Gateway becoming a formal program, there was something similar in place. Today, there is just a little more structure around it.)
Gateway students enroll at Holy Cross College (which is across the street from ND) for their first year of college with a guaranteed transfer agreement to Notre Dame for the start of the their sophomore year.
During their freshmen year, Gateway students take classes at Holy Cross College that are specifically designed to fulfill the requirements for Notre Dame’s curriculum, plus one class at Notre Dame that will be selected with the help of an academic advisor. Because Annie plans to be a biochemistry major, she will take organic chemistry at ND while she’s a Gateway student.
Gateway students are guaranteed to transfer to Notre Dame after their first year, as long as their cumulative GPA is 3.5 or higher, their grades are a B or higher, and they are in good standing with both institutions.
So, Annie will live and study at Holy Cross for her freshman year, while also being included in many of the clubs and social opportunities that are open to students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College. The 75 Gateway students will move mostly as a cohort, taking many of their classes together. One of the many nice things we learned is that the Holy Cross professors want to see these Gateway students succeed. They know the ultimate goal for the Gateway kids is to transfer to ND and they do their best to set the them up for success so that this happens. We were told that only one student in the 10 years of the program didn’t transfer–so the odds are definitely in their favor! It was also reassuring for Annie to see that her future Gateway classmates were just like her–students who had been accepted to other great schools, but for one reason or another didn’t get the direct admit to ND.
When Annie was accepted into Gateway, it was a curve ball she wasn’t expecting. Even though she has only ever talked about going to Notre Dame, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go there this way. That’s why we took another look at some of her other choices, including Clemson–a school she loved and has watched her cousin enjoy the last three years. But almost from the jump at our admitted students’ day at ND, as the current Gateway students were sharing their experiences, Annie saw herself in them. It was almost as if ND had stacked the room with just those kind of kids knowing that Annie was there! The Gateway students become a pretty tight community, as we saw in the crew that is moving on to ND this fall. Each of the Gateway students who spoke said that if given the choice to choose Gateway again or not–in spite of how bad the dining hall food is (ha!)–they would absolutely choose Gateway.
My hope in all of this for Annie was that she would choose what was best for her. Thankfully, she was open and listened and found the answers she needed to hear to lead her to accepting the Gateway offer.
One advantage to being a Gateway student is that you get to choose your roommate (unlike Notre Dame where it’s random your freshman year). Annie has chosen hers and is already excited to get the room decor planning underway. Let’s go!
If you have questions about Gateway, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far. I really think this will be great for our girl.