Information for Prospective Students

The Notre Dame experience will change your life. The staff of the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development will help.

Links of Interest

Firstdestinationicon Web

Here are a few resources that provide insight into how we support students:


Featured Services

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development offers a variety of services to meet the needs of all undergraduate students pursuing any career path. Our centralized model makes it convenient for students to know where to find resources. Here are a few of our programs:

  • Winter Session programming - Learn how we have partnered with alumni, employers, and colleagues on campus to create a variety of offerings during Notre Dame's extended winter break this year.
  • Handshake
  • IrishCompass - Gain access to 14,000+ alumni who have expressed interest in helping students with their career development.
  • Treks (see image below for a link to a photo gallery and more information)


Career Treks

Hs Icon Yellow Lg


Handshake is a centralized resource where students can research employers, search for internships and full-time jobs, network with other students and employers, schedule career counseling appointments, RSVP for events, and much more. We recommend that as a student you utilize this resource in order to benefit from all that is offered. Students with a full Handshake profile are 5 times as likely to be messaged by employers.

For more information, visit our Handshake resource page.

Ic V


IrishCompass is an exclusive, online community which provides an opportunity for Notre Dame students and alumni to facilitate career-related connections. Students can benefit from the system by:

  • Connecting with alumni for career networking, mentorship, and job shadow opportunities. 
  • Asking career-related questions through industry specific discussion forums.
  • Accessing exclusive online resources for career discernment and networking tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in “everything” and having a difficult time choosing a major. What should I do? 

It’s very normal for students to experience difficulty when it comes to choosing a major. Many Notre Dame students enjoy and excel at a number of different subjects.  To help you narrow down your options, we encourage you to explore broadly and engage in self-assessment.  Students should take a wide range of classes in their first year to ascertain what they truly enjoy most.  Students should talk with older students and faculty to learn more about the disciplines that interest them the most.  We encourage you also to take time to reflect on your values, interests, personality, and skills, to gauge how those fit with the subject areas you are studying. Additionally, you can meet with a career counselor who can show you how to research careers and majors through our online resources. Students should also meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss course requirements and curricula.

Does my major determine or limit my career choice?

We believe that your major does not determine your career path. Instead, we encourage you to study what you enjoy, examine your values, interests, and personality, and explore careers related to what you have learned about yourself. Notre Dame alumni from all majors go on to follow a wide range of career paths.  For more information regarding students’ plans following graduation, please review the First Destination Survey Data compiled by the Office of Institutional Research.  

Will I be assigned a dedicated career counselor for all four years?

We do not assign students one career counselor for the duration of their time at Notre Dame. The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development is a centralized career center that supports all students pursuing any career path. As you can imagine, students come to Notre Dame with varying interest in career planning. Some students know by the end of their first semester exactly what career path they want to explore.  Many of our students use their first 2-3 semesters to explore a variety of different career paths.  This is normal and encouraged.  Recognizing the many pressures and obligations you have as a student, we want to meet you where you are. If you are not sure what you want to do with your career or how to navigate your path, we have a team of career counselors who can help with personal exploration related to your skills, interests, and values. Once you narrows down your options, we can help connect you to one of our many industry-focused counselors. Our staff will help you learn about and prepare for your internship and job search within particular career paths. All students receive information about the Center for Career Development in the spring semester through the required Moreau First Year Experience Course. 

How can I best begin my career development journey? 

The following five strategies provide a helpful framework. 

  • Career development is a lifelong and unique process and constantly needs revisiting and revising. For these reasons, The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development is dedicated to meeting students where they are in their career development process.  Rather than taking a “grab and go” career approach, we’d like you to look within to help you determine how to outwardly move forward.  
  • One of the first steps includes helping you as a student know yourself by identifying your V(values), I(interests), P(personality) and S(skills).  Students often meet with Undergraduate Career Services counselors to sort through and make sense of this information.  Students can schedule their appointments online via Handshake.
  • Once you begin to know more about yourself, you can begin exploring various careers by:
    • Conducting informational interviews with alumni and people in the area of you career interest(s);
    • Finding internships within a specific field;
    • Networking at career fairs, employer information sessions, football games - the possibilities are endless!
  • When a student is thinking about pursuing a specific career within a particular industry, our Undergraduate Career Services team has industry specialists designated to help.  It is highly recommended that students schedule an appointment with one of these career counselors.  Again, appointments can be scheduled online through Handshake.
  • It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of the student to take charge of their own career.  It is a unique process and often chaotic but in the end worth the empowering experience.  

What attributes do employers look for? 

NACE (National Association for Colleges and Employers, a professional association) conducts research surveys of employers. According to a 2019 survey, employers seek the following attributes in candidates: communication skills (written & verbal), problem-solving skills, ability to work in a team, initiative, analytical/quantitative skills, strong work ethic, leadership, detail-oriented, technical skills, flexibility/adaptability, computer skills, interpersonal skills (relates well to others), organizational ability, strategic planning skills, tactfulness, creativity, friendly/outgoing personality, entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker, fluency in a foreign language.

Identifying experiences associated with these attributes list is a wonderful way for students to approach a variety of college-aged activities.  

When should I begin to utilize Career Development services? 

There is no specific time students should start using the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, as each student has a unique career development journey.  Every first-year student will engage with career development content and resources during the Moreau First Year Experience course and again through their College as part of the Sophomore Check-up program. We welcome students to visit the center early and often.

Can I take a career “test” to figure out what I want to do? 

Our Undergraduate Career Services staff offers assessments that can aid students in the career discernment process, but there is no "magic test” that will tell students exactly what they should do.  We recommend that students begin with our VIPS (values, interests, personality, and skills) inventories.

It’s possible that our additional assessments - the Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - may be beneficial as well.  The Strong assesses interests (the “what” of career development), while the MBTI assesses personality (the “how” of career development). Students must first meet with a career counselor on the Student Engagement team to determine if these assessments are appropriate. Sometimes for the assessments to be most beneficial, we encourage you to take the time to gain experiences through activities and other career exploration exercises first.

Tell me about student “placement."

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development does not conduct “placement” for students. Career development is a lifelong process a student will need many times throughout their career. In essence, we seek to educate you on how to approach career planning, and equip you with the tools and resources to take ownership in your career development process. As a student, you are responsible for networking, writing your own resume, applying to positions, and conducting your own interviews.  We are here to help you learn these skills to succeed in whatever path you may choose to pursue. 

Often we will show students and parents first destination data as a tool for career exploration and guidance. 

How can I network with alumni?  

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development offers many opportunities to connect with alumni through formal mentorship programs, industry career treks, on-campus networking events, and alumni clubs.  We can also help students build an impactful LinkedIn profile and navigate the alumni directory offered by the Notre Dame Alumni Association.

What can you tell me about Notre Dame students who are interested in attending medical school?  

Many students are interested in learning more about attending medical school. Notre Dame's track record in student admissions to medical school programs is among the best in the nation. To help prepare students for the competitive medical school admissions process, we offer a rigorous academic curriculum, a reputation for a strong undergraduate program, highly motivated students who are well-rounded and make good candidates in the applicant pool. Students have the option of pursuing a few different academic majors in the College of Science and the College of Arts and Letters. Notre Dame's Health Science Advising office and the Pre-Health program in the College of Arts and Letters offer guidance and resources to assist students with preparing for medical school.

Should I have an internship after my first year? 

The short answer to this question is “no”.  The word “internship” can sometimes evoke a sense of anxiety and the feeling from students that “I must have an internship my first summer or I am a lost cause”.  However, the summer after your first year an “internship” is not a necessity.  In many industries, organizations don’t hire first year students - they may only hire interns that are rising juniors and seniors because they have more experience and coursework completed. However, this does not mean that a rising sophomore should sit around doing nothing. We strongly encourage first-year students to do something to gain experience - whether it’s a regular summer job (i.e., retail, life-guarding, customer service, administrative office roles, etc.), research, study abroad, service, or possibly an internship. These activities will allow you to learn more about yourself, gain professional experience, and build your resume - all critical pieces of career development! Students can meet with a career counselor to discuss how to explore summer opportunities as a first-year student.

What services does your department offer? 

The Meruelo Family Center for Career Development provides students with career counseling and career development services, self-assessments, workshops, presentations for academic departments, career fairs, and mock interviews, just to name a few! Upcoming events are listed on our homepage and on Handshake, our career management platform. Students can schedule a career counseling appointment using Handshake or by calling 574-631-5200.

What resources do you offer to help students with finding jobs and internships? 

We offer two primary avenues: Handshake and our many online resources. Handshake is Notre Dame’s online recruiting database with postings for both internship and full-time opportunities. This resource is available to Notre Dame students only. We also have a robust offering of additional tools through the "online resources" section of our website. Here students can access numerous databases for career exploration, job/internship searching, company research, salary information, and current industry/organization issues. We also have a section which contains information and databases specific to a number of industries. On top of this, we encourage students to network and utilize the strong ND alumni connections. Career counselors can guide students through this process and familiarize them with LinkedIn and, in order to help them be most effective in their networking.

What types of employers recruit at ND? 

Every year employers representing several industries/organizations and job functions (for-profit, nonprofit, fellowship, and research) either conduct on-campus interviews or post jobs on Handshake, our career management system. Over 4,000 interviews were conducted in 2019-20 and over 8,000 jobs and internships were posted. 

How do I learn about upcoming career events

A multitude of different ways! Students will receive bi-weekly emails from us with upcoming events. Additionally you can see what’s coming up on our website Events page. Students can find the same information on Handshake. We also market our events individually so make sure you are watching for emails from our staff.

What is Handshake

Handshake is a web-based career management platform. All students have access to the site with their Net ID. First year students will get access to Handshake in August before the beginning of the academic year.