University of Notre Dame
College review by Lisa Bleich
Thanks to Hurricane Irene, my family vacation out west got extended with a drive from Chicago back to New Jersey. We took advantage of the 14-hour drive to visit some colleges along the way. Our first stop was the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is a beautiful, pristine, beige brick campus. The gold dome a top the chapel serves as the center point of the campus. Students are athletic, preppy, clean cut and seemed happy and friendly. There is a lot of green space with quad areas running throughout the campus. The graduate schools of business and law are also right on campus, so the undergraduate and graduate students share the same common areas.
Football is huge and many of the boys were sporting shorts and t-shirts with athletic team logos. Girls had on cute sundresses and shorts. The football stadium holds a prominent place on campus and there is a ticket booth right in the student center to purchase tickets to the games.
Notre Dame is a catholic school, which is evident by the statues of Mary and Baby Jesus and crosses on the buildings. However, one pre-med, anthropology major from Baltimore, MD said the catholic influence of ND makes it unique and positive for those who want it, but it is not a big deal for those students who do not want it. Students must take 2 philosophy courses, which is consistent with most Catholic colleges.
The student center was hopping with students and everyone seemed happy. There is a small town right off campus with a Chipotle, Five Guys, Jamba Juice, and similar college geared stores. It’s about 1.5 hours from Chicago, and other than that one main street, there was not much around South Bend, IN.
Notre Dame has the top ranked undergraduate business program, is highly selective and has phenomenal school spirit. It’s a great school for students who want a mid-size, self-contained campus, with excellent academics and sports.
Our next stop was Pittsburgh; we arrived around dinnertime and were impressed by the beauty of the city along the river. We thought we would grab dinner around Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh to get a sense of what those schools were like at night.
We saw a street that was very vibrant with lots of shops and restaurants, but unfortunately we missed the turn off, and we ended up at a tiny hole-in-the wall pizza place about 2 blocks from campus. While there was a steady stream of students walking back to their off-campus apartments, suddenly the area did not seem so exciting. We grabbed the pizza and headed back to the hotel about 5 minutes from the campuses in a very gentrified area.