September Checklist

  • Before Fall Break


    Meet with your First Year advisor at least once before Fall Break. Learn More

  • Before Fall Break

    Peer Advisor

    Talk with a well-informed upper-level student about ND.


If you are here, you are a high-achieving high school student with a record of success. Becoming a college student, though, represents a significant change in academic culture and your life as a student will be very different at Notre Dame. Now is a good time to consider how ready you are for this change and what you might do to meet the challenge.

In high school, you were most likely in class for six hours a day, five days a week, and you probably studied two to three hours a night, meaning that about two-thirds of your academic time was spent in the classroom under the direct supervision of an instructor. At Notre Dame, you will be in class about 15 hours a week and your professors will expect you to put in at least two hours of independent work for every hour you spend in class. That means that your academic situation will soon be reversed, with only one-third of your time spent with an instructor and with significantly less direct supervision of your learning. Testing tends to be less frequent in college than in high school and you will have more long-term assignments. All professors maintain office hours and are available to assist you, but you must be able to tell them what help you need, making academic self-management crucial to maintaining success. Be proactive — talk with your First Year advisor about the First Year of Studies’ Program in Academic Excellence to learn more about how effective college-level learning strategies might help you. You should also talk to your advisor about resources like the Learning Resource Center, the Writing Center, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, and the First Year Experience Librarian — these programs provide assistance tailored to the needs of first-year students.

Along with good self-management, an attitude of curiosity and a willingness to explore are all-important to becoming a highly successful college student. Perhaps in high school you had little choice about the subjects you took, but Notre Dame’s schools and colleges offer you a veritable intellectual candy store of subjects to choose from within the framework of your University requirements. All of these courses, many of them not part of a high school curriculum, build skills and interests that will serve you well no matter what you choose to do once you leave the University. You may be surprised by what you find if you use your options within your First Year Requirements as opportunities to try something new. Remember, there is not always a one-to-one correspondence between majors and careers. You should consult your First Year advisor as you consider what your future might be after you complete your first year at Notre Dame and leave the First Year of Studies for your next academic home, the School of Architecture, the College of Arts and Letters, the Mendoza College of Business, the College of Engineering, or the College of Science.

Fall semester advising appointment

In the month of September, you should schedule an individual appointment with your First Year advisor that will take place before Fall Break in mid-October.

Make an appointment to see your First Year advisor before Fall Break.

As a student in the First Year of Studies, you have been assigned an academic advisor who will assist you in planning your academic program, provide information about the University’s resources and college life. Life as a Notre Dame student is very demanding. A good working partnership with a First Year advisor is a key factor in making a successful transition to our scholarly community.

Over the next nine months, your First Year advisor will work closely with you to ensure that you have a coherent educational plan for your four years at the University. Your advisor will also help you define your aspirations and values and learn how to use your skills and abilities to achieve them.

You can schedule your advising appointments on your advisor’s online calendar at

Peer Advising

The Peer Advising program provides you with the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with a reliable and well-informed upper-level student. Your peer advisor will help you adjust to Notre Dame by listening to your challenges and concerns, answering your questions about academics and campus life, and informing you about campus resources.

Absences from class

Official University excuses for absences are granted only by the Office of Student Affairs for absences due to participation in approved University-organized activities, personal illness, or death in the immediate family. The penalty for excessive unexcused absences is determined by the professor of the course and is announced by the professor at the beginning of the semester. Although the First Year of Studies cannot provide an official University excuse, if you expect to miss or have missed several classes for a good reason, you should notify your rector, your First Year advisor, and your professors so that appropriate arrangements can be made to complete the missed work.

You should never miss a scheduled class unless it is absolutely necessary. Attendance in most classes is mandatory.