New Cats FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the weather like?

The weather in South Bend is pretty unpredictable. The early fall is usually pretty hot and humid, so bring your shorts! But you’ll definitely need sweaters and a jacket by the end of September, so don’t plan on leaving all of your winter clothes at home until Fall Break. It rains more often than you’d think, and you’ll be walking to class, so be sure to have a rain jacket or rain boots. The winter gets cold, so insulated snow boots are good to have. Snow starts in November and might not stop until May. A long(thigh/knee length) parka is almost a uniform during the winter . Springtime is hard to plan for because it can be hot and sunny or rainy and cold. Remember, a “warm” sweater or jacket in California might not cut it in the Bend.

What if I need money?

You can open an account in South Bend. The Notre Dame Federal Credit Union has a branch conveniently located in the basement of LaFortune. If you just need fast cash, there are several ATMs spread over campus, and NDFCU can cash personal checks for students.

Football? How do you get tickets? What are games like?

Here Come the Irish !!! Football Saturdays are one of the greatest traditions at Notre Dame. Whether you live and breathe ND football or have no knowledge of the sport you can enjoy game day. Season tickets will be available for sale shortly before you arrive in South Bend in the fall and distributed electronically via email before the first game. You will get an email about it with a link to purchase your tickets for the season. Game day brings in 80,000 fans, alumni, and family with tons of food, fun, and activities!

What meal plans are available?

You have two choices: the 21-meal plan or the Flex 14. The 21-meal plan is three meals a day; so for you early risers who need breakfast to function, this might be the plan for you. Those of you who would rather sleep those extra 30 minutes might opt for the Flex 14. It provides…you guessed it…fourteen meals, which you can divide among the week however you like, and then $410 in flex points each semester, which can be used at all of the cafés around campus: Au Bon Pain (ABP), Starbucks, SmashBurger, the Huddle Mart (the convenience store in LaFun), etc, are included. The points can also be used at Reckers, the 24-hour eating area located behind South Dining Hall, and at Einstein’s in the Bookstore (which is right next to Ryan). Majority of people on campus chose the Flex 14 because it works the best with most students schedules. Some days it is hard to make time to go sit down and eat three times a day, so having the ability to use flex points to get a quick snack is a great option. 

What if I get sick?

When a couple of aspirin won’t do the trick, you can go to St. Liam’s, the Student Health Center. It’s right behind the Dome, between Keenan Hall and Lewis Hall. It’s open 24 hours a day, but it’s best to call in for an appointment if you have a cold or other minor illness.

Where should I go with questions about my classes?

In addition to your First Year of Studies Advisor, upperclassmen are a great source of information! Remember, we’ve been through it all.

What does my advisor do?

Your advisor can help you with just about anything. If you’re having trouble with a class, a professor, a project, or anything academic-related, they are there to help. They’re also available just to talk if you need it. If you decide you want to change your major, or don’t have a class you really need, your advisor is a great help. Ask sooner rather than later. They also assign a student advisor to meet with you and answer any questions you might have.

Is there any shopping in South Bend?

Yes! The ND bookstore is a student favorite and can pretty much outfit you for the whole year (there are enough t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants to fill a whole wardrobe)! In addition to the main bookstore next to Ryan, there’s a satellite one on Eddy Street, just a short 5 minute walk from Ryan! But, if you want something that doesn’t have the leprechaun on it, there are a bunch of other options:

The University Park Mall has 124 stores and a bunch of other places to eat as well. They’ve got Forever 21, the Apple Store, J. Crew, Ann Taylor LOFT, AT&T, Sprint, Barnes and Noble, Bath and Body Works, and many more. You can check out their website here!

There are also places to shop in Mishawaka, like Old Navy and Kohl’s. Chances are, if you like a national store, there’s one pretty close to here! And on Eddy Street, Urban Outfitters is only a five minute walk!

What even are college dances?

We’re glad you asked! At Notre Dame, each hall normally has one formal dance and one themed dance. In Ryan, we have our formal in the Fall, and our theme dance, named the Ryan Roar, in the spring. Past themes for our more casual theme dances have ranged from Denim on Denim to Glitter to Thrift Shop to Holidays. Other halls sometimes refer to a theme dance as an “SYR,” or “set up your roommate.”  The tradition was to set your roommate up with a date, but now you’re more than welcome to find one on your own, go with girl friends, or  dance it out your fellow ‘Cats! It’s fun any way! Formals will sometimes have a theme, but you don’t need to dress to it if you don’t want to. We’d suggest bringing one or two of your favorite dresses from high school to wear to formals (long or short!)—and remember, you can always dress-swap! Yay for community living!

Are there printers around campus or do I need to bring my own?

There are black and white printers in each of the residence halls so you really do not need your own printer unless you’d like one. Notre Dame gives you a printing quota of $10 for the year that can be used to print from any of the halls, Library, Debartolo, CoMo, Lafortune and many other printers. Your personal computer can easily be hooked up to print to many of the printers around campus. OIT can help you with this when you arrive on campus!

How will I get around?

One of the most popular ways to get around is to take an Uber. This is a great option if you don’t have a car, and there are many Uber drivers in South Bend. As a rule of thumb, be sure to always take an Uber with at least one other person. Zipcar also operates on Notre Dame’s campus. You can learn more about them here ( The South Bend bus service, Transpo, will take you to the mall or downtown (this is free with your Notre Dame ID Card). You can check that out here ( Cabs are also available but try to have more than two people so it’s cheaper.

If you plan to fly out of Chicago during the year, Coach USA makes the trip to both Midway and O’Hare every two hours. The estimated arrival times are posted on their website (, and it’s $75 dollars round-trip. The bus picks up by the bookstore or security entrance gate, which is really close to Ryan.

If you want to get to Chicago (for shopping or the airport) the South Shore Railroad leaves from Michiana Regional Airport. Providing passenger service to the Loop in downtown Chicago three times a day, the South Shore ride lasts about two hours and costs about $26 dollars round trip.

First years can’t have cars on campus first semester, but if you’re in good academic standing, you can have one for second semester; you’ll just have to pay for the parking permit.

What if…?

We know that you’re going to have way more questions than just these. Just ASK. Approach any upperclassman; they’re more than happy to help.

If you have any other questions throughout the summer, please feel free to comment below or contact any Cats on the site.


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