Junipero Serra High School Co-ed Catholic College Preparatory

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Serra senior Thalia Amezcua accepted to Notre Dame from most qualified applicant pool in ND history

Gardena, CA, April 13, 2014: Serra High School senior Thalia Amezcua has been accepted to the University of Notre Dame among the strongest applicants in that school's history. In a report posted to The Observer, the student-run newspaper for Notre Dame and St. Mary's, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment Don Bishop calls this year's applicants “a more qualified pool than ever before."

Bishop continues, "We had 17,897 [applications], and what was more interesting than just that number was there was about a 15 percent increase in the highest ability applicants, and by highest ability they would rate in the top two percent of the nation in accomplishment by national testing standards, by class performance." According to the article, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions tries to meet a freshmen enrollment goal of 2,000 freshmen. Because of the increase in highly qualified applicants this year, the Office of Admissions can be more selective in choosing among the nation’s brightest high school seniors, like Thalia.

“We were about 20 percent more selective this year,” Bishop said in the article. “We had 6,300 applicants out of that 17,897 … that were in the top one percent in the nation in either their high school class performance and/or their national testing, many of them both.

“Less than half of those students gained admission. So when you have that sort of talent, you have to look at other factors.”

According to Bishop, the applicant pool forced admissions counselors to consider factors beyond a student’s test scores to create the most “well-rounded” class. For Thalia, that includes participation on the Serra swim team, joining the Ambassador Team, and helping to lead on-campus retreats. Thalia’s rigorous courseload, which includes dual-college credit courses from El Camino, pushed her over the edge among many candidates. That, and her warm personality and exuberance made her an ideal candidate. Says Bishop, “You just meet one or two of these students, and you just feel good again. I’m really excited about this class in so many ways.”