University of Notre Dame

First Year Milestones

These are milestones that you must achieve for a successful first year at Notre Dame. Your First Year advisor is your primary resource for reaching these milestones in your first-year journey.

First Semester

1. Connect with Our Community

First-year students need to use Notre Dame’s online communication and information systems to meet their academic responsibilities and become a part of the Notre Dame community.

At the start of your first semester, you should be able to access and use insideND, your Notre Dame Gmail account, Sakai and the Notre Dame and First Year of Studies websites. These resources will help you meet academic deadlines, find learning and enrichment opportunities, communicate with your advisors and other faculty members, and track your academic progress.

2. Have a Vision

First-year students identify their academic aspirations and challenges early in their college career and actively plan for success.

You will meet with your First Year advisor by midterm of your first semester to discuss what you hope to achieve at Notre Dame and begin to develop a plan that will help you get the most from your undergraduate education. Your advisor can also help with issues that may arise as you make the sometimes-difficult transition to college life.

3. Manage Your Learning

First-year students strive for learning strategies that optimize their academic performance.

By midterm of your first semester, you must assess the effectiveness of your current learning strategies and find resources that will help you address any areas of need that you may find. Work with your First Year Advisor to build an approach to your studies that will maximize your academic achievement.

4. Navigate the System

First-year students need to acquire a basic understanding of the University’s structure and curriculum and know where to go for academic assistance and support.

By the end of your first semester, make sure you know the difference between the University, its colleges and schools, and departments within colleges. You should also know the difference between University, college, and major requirements. The online Bulletin of Information and departmental websites will help you learn more about majors and programs. Ask your First Year advisor about Notre Dame’s extensive resources for academic support, student research, and community service.

5. Plan Your Studies

First-year students build schedules and register online for classes that further their intellectual interests and meet their academic requirements.

By the end of your first semester, you should be able to use insideND to build your own schedule and register for classes online. Your First Year advisor will hold group meetings and individual sessions to prepare you to meet this requirement.

Second Semester

6. Evaluate Your Progress

First-year students document their progress toward their academic goals.

At the beginning of your second semester, you will document your progress toward the goals that you and your advisor set at the beginning of the academic year. Your advisor will help you choose from a variety of self-assessment activities to evaluate your progress.

7. Broaden Your Horizons

First-year students get involved in the intellectual, artistic, social, and volunteer opportunities that are available to them outside the classroom.

Learning is not confined to the classroom or to a formal undergraduate education. By the beginning of your second semester, you should have discovered skills and interests that you want to explore or develop further through fine arts performances, exhibits, public readings, lectures, research, volunteer activities, clubs, or electives.

8. Reflect on Your Experiences

All first-year students complete a college declaration form, choosing a college and, possibly, a major based on what they have learned through their first-year experience.

By midterm of the second semester, based on your evaluation of your progress toward your academic goals, you should be able to choose a college with reasonable certainty. Make an appointment with your First Year advisor to discuss what you’ve learned from your first-year experience and complete a college declaration form summarizing why you have chosen a particular college.

9. Plan for the Future

Successful first-year students create a plan for their studies in their future college, connect with departmental and college advisors, and begin to consider career options.

By the end of the second semester, you will make an informed choice of college and, if appropriate, major. Your new college advisor will help you build a schedule online for the sophomore fall semester based on your intellectual interests, academic requirements, and professional goals.