Notre Dame High School offers a distinctive Catholic, college-preparatory education for young women and has been located in the heart of downtown San Jose since 1851. Our school considers female applicants who would benefit from an all-girls environment that promotes academic, personal and spiritual leadership.
Notre Dame High School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of education policies, admission policies, scholarships, loan programs, athletic or other school-administered programs.
Notre Dame does not have a program for international students and does not consider international applicants for admission to our school.
Eighth grade applicants for the Class of 2026 will receive decision notification emails ater 5pm on Friday, March 18, 2022.
As part of the application process, each applicant will submit three digital portfolios:
- Academic Portfolio to demonstrate academic readiness and strengths.
- Personal Portfolio that provides insight into the student's character, interests and values.
- Family Portfolio that recognizes families as partners in their daughter's education.
Please attend our events during the fall to learn more about the application process and the Notre Dame experience.
At this time, classes are fully enrolled and we are not accepting applications.
Notre Dame considers transfer applicants for 9th, 10th , and 11th grade.
Transfer Student Requirements:
- A's and B's on transcripts
- Letter of recommendation from a math teacher
- Letter of recommendation from an English teacher
- Graded writing sample
Notre Dame’s commitment to promoting equity and student wellness begins in a family's experience of the admissions process. Research has evidenced biases within standardized testing as well as the overwhelming anxiety that it causes students. Ultimately, a standardized test score is not an accurate measure of student academic ability or potential. In this particular year, there are also valid questions about access to take the test. Therefore, the High School Placement Test is not a required component of the application process.
Notre Dame has a test optional admissions process, which allows students the choice to take the HSPT or to submit an academic sample of work that they feel demonstrates their ability and potential. Students may still opt to take the test and submit the results to Notre Dame. We will share more information with families in our remote presentations this fall.
Applicants for the incoming freshman class will submit two letters or recommendation:
- Academic letter of recommendation
To be completed by a middle school teacher, principal or academic team that can speak to the applicants academic strengths, areas of growth and potential.
- Character letter of recommendation
To be completed by a non-family member who can provide insight into the applicant's character, interests and values.
Requesting a letter
After submitting the application cover sheet, the application portal will allow students to digitally request a letter of recommendation from a teacher using a personalized window.
Students may print and request a letter of recommendation in hard copy by using these PDF forms:
Forms will be vailable in the fall
Submitting a letter
When a student sends an email request for a letter of recommendation from you, please use the personalized link in the email to send the letter directly into her school admin file. You wil have the option to complete the form online or upload a PDF form. Once you submit the recommendation, this required item will be marked as received on the student's application portal.
Please send recommendation forms digitally to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to:
Notre Dame High School
596 South Second Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Recommendation forms received by an alternative method may not be marked as received on the application portal.
Thank you for your interest in Notre Dame High School! The following are responses to frequently asked questions from applicants.
When should I start the application process?
Students applying to enter as freshmen should submit their application between October and December
Transfer students typically apply between April and June for the fall term, however transferring to Notre Dame is subject to available openings. Interested students should contact Ms. Susana Garcia, Vice Principle of Enrollment, to inquire about the possibility of transferring.
Why can't I select Notre Dame as an option on Ravenna?
Each school uses their own systems to support the admissions process. Notre Dame currently uses an outstanding product through SchoolAdmin for both the admissions of incoming students and the enrollment of returning students. This decision was made to benefit the overall needs of our learning community.
Notre Dame uses the same form for the letter of recommendation as the other high schools in the diocese of San Jose and aligns with the same admissions deadlines.
Why are there three portfolios in the application process at Notre Dame?
Learning portfolios are an increasingly common practice in education. Portfolios are a way for students to gather a variety of items that showcase who they are and what they can do. Similarly, the online portfolios are a collection of items that demonstrate who the students are academically, personally and as part of a family. You can also think of the portfolios as sections of the online application.
The academic portfolio includes:
- Middle school transcripts and test scores
- An academic letter of recommendation
- An example of academic strength and potential - whether that is the results of the High School Placement Test or a high-level example of student academic work
The personal portfolio includes:
- Student essays
- A character letter of recommendation
- An interview with a member of the admissions team
The family portfolio includes:
- Demographic information
- A parent statement
- The $75 application fee
Why are 6th grade transcripts required?
Under current COVID conditions, the High Schools in the Diocese of San Jose are requesting the 6th, 7th and 8th grade transcripts.
While this is a change from previous years, the rationale behind the request is so that we have more data by which we can access the growth of the applicant. For many students and schools, the Spring semester of 2020 involved disrupted learning and assessment. It is reasonable to forecast that the Fall semester of 2020 will be, for many schools, a transition time as well.
*We are not looking at the 6th grade report in isolation, but as a starting point to track student growth from 6th grade through the first semester of the 8th grade year.
Can I submit more than the required number of recommendation letters?
To complete the application, a student needs to submit one academic letter of recommendation and one character letter of recommendation.
Regarding the academic letter of recommendation,
- for eighth graders, the letter should be from a middle school representative (teacher, counselor or principal) who can speak to the applicant as a student
- for transfer students, a letter of recommendation is required from an English teacher as well as from a Math teacher
Regarding the character letter of recommendation, the letter should be completed by a non-family member who can provide insight into the applicant's character, interests and values.
Should a student wish to submit supplementary letters of recommendation, the application portal will allow students to digitally request an additional letters of recommendation in the Optional section of the checklist.
Does Notre Dame require an interview as part of the application process?
Getting to know our applicants is important to the admissions team! All applicants will schedule an interview with a member of the admissions team. The interview is considered part of the personal portfolio of the application.
Should I take the High School Placement Test?
Whether a student decides to submit HSPT scores to Notre Dame for the academic portfolio is a choice for the student and family to make. Some students test very well and may feel that the test results will showcase that strength. Some students may be applying to the other high schools and choose to use the test for the admissions process at more than one school.
Notre Dame, along with the other Catholic High Schools in the Diocese of San Jose that use the High School Placement Test as part of the admissions process, will be administering the test. Student are encouraged to register to take the test through their first choice high school. Students wishing to test through Notre Dame will register through the application portal.
When will I get my High School Placement Test results?
When taking the test, students designate which schools they would like to receive the results. The high schools receive those results directly from the Scholastic Testing Service and use the results as one academic indicator when considering applicants.
Notre Dame sends a summary of results by postal mail to families with the admissions decisions in March.
What would I submit instead of High School Placement Test results?
For students who choose not to take the HSPT as part of the application process to Notre Dame, a quality, comprehensive academic project should be submitted instead. Students should identify work that they feel showcases their academic strengths and potential. The only requirement is that it is the student’s original work and that it can be uploaded digitally to the online application. For more information, view the Academic Showcase of Work Resource Guide.
Can an applicant submit both an academic sample and take the High School Placement Test?
At this time, applicants are given the choice and must make the choice. There is not the option to both take the High School Placement Test and submit an academic sample. Both are good choices and each applicant should choose which option is best for her.
When will I know if I have been accepted?
Notre Dame sends admissions decisions to applicants by email in March. For the Class of 2026, the notification will be on Friday, March 18, 2022 after 5pm. Additionally, a letter formalizing the admissions decision is sent by postal mail.
Will applying for tuition assistance affect my admission?
No. We are committed to admitting mission-aligned young women who will be academically successful at Notre Dame.
- The application process and decisions for admission to the school are managed by the admissions department.
- The application process and offer of tuition assistance are managed by the business office. Please visit the tuition assistance page for information regarding process and deadlines.
* Once the application cover sheet is submitted and fee paid, the application portal checklist should update within 24 hours and provide access to the complete application and required forms.
Applications are closed and will reopen in the fall.
Thank you for your interest in Notre Dame High School!
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