“Ask a Priest: What If I Don’t Get Accepted Into Notre Dame?”

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Q: It has been my dream to attend the University of Notre Dame for a long time, and application season is coming closer and closer. I have tried my hardest and have very good grades and test scores, but I fear it is inadequate for this prestigious of a school. I pray every night, but I constantly stress about being denied. I feel it is a long shot, but I truly believe my attendance at Notre Dame will not only benefit myself, but help me become successful enough to help others. I would love the opportunity to incorporate my Catholic religion and beliefs into my education. Do you have any advice for me? If not, please keep me in your prayers. -J.R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to hear that you want to incorporate your Catholic faith into your education. Ideally, we should connect all the dots in our life, so that nothing gets bracketed off from our faith.

I don’t have any special advice to offer. It sounds as if you have done your best. Now is a moment to leave things in God’s hands.

It might be helpful, however, to note a few things. First, whether or not you are accepted at Notre Dame, you are still a beloved son of God. You have a mission in life, and part of that mission is sharing your faith with others. So try to keep things in perspective in advance. You won’t be a greater or lesser person because of the response you get from the university.

Second, long-term progress in life depends a lot on ongoing efforts. In other words, getting into Notre Dame won’t be a guarantee of success throughout life, just as going to another school wouldn’t be a recipe for mediocrity. You can learn a lot at any school if you are highly motivated.

My suggestion would be to keep your eye on the ball, that is, on the most important things in life: your prayer life, sacramental life, life of charity and good works, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Those are the kinds of things that don’t depend on an admissions office.

In fact, you might do well not to put your happiness and serenity in the hands of human persons. Invest, first and foremost, in your relationship with Christ. To nourish that relationship, consider doing one or more of the online retreats at RC Spirituality and using The Better Part in your prayer life.

No matter what happens, remember that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

I hope some of this helps. Count on being included in one of my Mass intentions.

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