Schools like Notre Dame?

As a parent to a current junior at ND, and a daughter that graduated from there in '11, I am now faced with my youngest,a junior in high school looking at colleges and wondering what other schools might be similar to ND? Notre Dame is such a special school-not just for academics or sports, but for that special “something” that is so hard to define. What other schools are like ND in that way? We live in the Mid-west, but location is not really a factor. Would really love to know.

Are you looking for Catholic schools with good academics/sports/spirit? Maybe Villanova, BC, Marquette, Georgetown?

Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), Rice and Southern Methodist University (SMU). They are all similar to ND. Very friendly collaborative environment and absolutely stunning campuses just like ND. I would say the towns are more urban than ND if that’s a factor.

One school that we didn’t check out but perhaps should have was Wake Forest. I also think Washington and Lee, minus the D1 sports is great, the honor code, nice students is very special. Whitman in Washington State is in a gorgeous location and fosters a collaborative wonderful environment. Colgate in Hamilton NY is another gem. I think it has D1 sports?

Thanks all! Your suggestions are great, my only concern being that a lot of them are nearly as tough to get into as ND…which could pose a problem. My youngest is a good student, (but not the highest level) with loads of EC’s but ACT is only a 30. Really looking for that special touch…somewhere…

I think part of the Notre Dame charm is that there is truly nowhere else quite like it. There are plenty of beautiful universities, plenty of Catholic universities, and plenty of prestigious universities but none if any bring everything together in such a nice package like Notre Dame.

Still, I’d echo the suggestions of the people above. Marquette, Xavier, Georgetown, WashU.

Thanks~he is looking at Xavier, Dayton and St. Louis. Looked at Marquette already. Then there is the big departure of going to a Big 10 school, like MSU, Wisconsin or Iowa… thoughts?

Xavier is pretty urban, and there may be more commuters than he’d like, but it’s a great school. My D (also at ND) has friends at Dayton and they love it.

As long as your daughter doesn’t think of engineering, Indiana University should be a good choice. Especially, if she is interested in B school.

Hi! Boston College and Villanova seem to be popular among students that like ND.

I also wanted to add, since you are looking for colleges that aren’t necessarily as competitive to get into, that while my son was applying (he is currently at ND), one of the schools that he liked the “feel” of was Miami of Ohio. At the time we were searching out schools that he could be assured admittance, and that he thought he would enjoy attending.I wouldn’t say that it is really “like” Notre Dame, but the campus is beautiful, they have a really nice Honors program, have good scholarships for ACT scores, and the student body seemed friendly and outgoing (probably a little homogenous for some…and the Greek scene is fairly large-30% I think. We know several students there, some Greek, some not). Good luck-there are so many great schools out there, I am sure your daughter will find some she likes!

Irishcali: Is there an aspect that you specially prize at Notre Dame? Two schools that aren’t Catholic that have a lot of school spirit and top D1 football are TCU and Baylor. Baylor has an honors program, maybe your S would qualify? I have a friend with a D there, and loves it.

If your S wouldn’t mind an awesome basketball team instead, a lot of school spirit plus a Catholic education, I think you might want to check out Gonzaga. We know a LOT of kids there, and they love it. Spokane is a gorgeous clean city, Gonzaga grads do very well, from what I understand. You might check out possibilities for merit money.

Hi Irishcali-
I don’t know why I didn’t state the obvious (probably because I only have boys, so it was never on our radar), but if you are looking for a school with the same atmosphere as ND, but is not quite as selective to get into, what about St. Marys? My son at ND has lots and lots of friends that attend SMC.In fact, he has a good friend from HS that applied to ND but was waitlisted. She initially decided to go somewhere else, and, at first, was resistant to the idea of St. Marys. However, in the final hours, she realized that what she really loved was the ND atmosphere and ended up at SMC. She really likes it. She has some classes on the ND campus, some at St. Marys. The student section at football games is made up of St. Mary’s, Holy Cross and ND, as well as the marching band, and most clubs. My son has friends from all 3 schools, so it may be worth looking into if you haven’t already.

Thanks all~not sure if I mislead somehow, but my current student is a boy, so SMC won’t work, sadly. (I actually went to SMC myself! I think it would be a perfect solution, but woops! don’t think they’ll take my son!) I’m loving the comments and the help. After having my oldest, a daughter go to ND and now a son there as well, I am just so biased to the experience… As of now, my son is looking at: SLU, Dayton, Miami of O, Xavier, TCU, MSU, (not sure about this one!), and Marquette… Not sure he would get into BC or Villanova…

What about Fordham? Villanova is also not as competitive, but competitive enough, and Wake Forest is a really nice school. Also, my son looked at William and Mary, which we both liked a lot. Santa Clara is also a great school and in a beautiful location! Miami of Ohio, as already mentioned, is a great school, as well as Dayton and X - and I’ve had friends at Creighton that loved it! The thing is to find a school he likes a lot, and the rest will take care of itself!

How about University of Portland?

Boston College or William & Mary. They both have a lot of traditions and school pride. Both have strong sports programs.