We offer an online enrichment program, NDignite Connection, to facilitate high-achieving students' ability to navigate middle and high school, learn about Notre Dame's pre-college programs, and ultimately prepare for the admissions process at highly selective colleges and universities by enhancing self-awareness in respect to their gifts and talents.

How It Works

  1. Apply 6th or 7th grade
  2. Admitted 7th or 8th grade
  3. View Broadcasts 7th-10th grade
  4. Complete Assignments (Online Learning Center) 7th and 8th grade
  5. Engage in Discussions (Notre Dame Virtual Community) 9th and 10th grade
  6. Earn Certificate of Completion 10th grade

7th and 8th Grade Students:
The Online Learning Center Experience

Stem City 3Virtual Online Student Community

As 7th- and 8th-graders, students participate in the Online Learning Center, where they watch a series of OER broadcasts.

Seventh- and 8th-graders also engage each other in online conversation, forming social communities and discussion groups based on common interests. Students are awarded points, tracked in the Online Learning Center leaderboard, based on their program participation and effort. At the end of each semester, the top point leaders are recognized. Broadcasts are hosted by and feature Notre Dame students and include special guests such as Notre Dame faculty, staff, and alumni. Students complete assignments, which include an activity and a reflection, and receive written feedback from current Notre Dame students (called programming assistants).

9th and 10th Grade Students:
The Notre Dame Virtual Community Experience

In 9th and 10th grades, students matriculate into the second phase of the program, the Notre Dame Virtual Community. This is a Facebook-like platform where participants connect with current Notre Dame students (called student ambassadors) and engage in discussions with peers about meaningful topics.

Ninth- and 10th graders watch the same OER broadcasts as 7th- and 8th-graders. However, there are no formal assignments, as in the Online Learning Center, but rather guided discussions on the topics covered. Students engage in heightened discourse with one another and their Notre Dame student ambassadors by identifying and building conversations around subjects of mutual interest. Once they complete the program at the end of 10th grade, students receive a certificate of completion signed by the OER program director and the associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment.

Optional Summer Programming

Summer competitions are made available to all students as additional enrichment opportunities. These contests are not required to receive the NDignite Connection certificate of completion.

Igniting Vision Photography Competition:  Participants capture and submit photos based on an assigned theme. Students provide a title, caption, and written explanation of how their photo connects to the theme. Winners receive a framed copy of their photo, which also gets displayed in the OER office for the program year.

Igniting Ideas Entrepreneurship Competition:  In conjunction with the University of Notre Dame's IDEA Center, this competition invites participants to come up with innovative solutions to real world issues. Students create a plan for a product, service, platform, or system and pitch their idea for a chance to win consultations with Notre Dame IDEA Center business coaches. The coaches work with students to improve their idea and help it become a reality.