What is ASCEND?

A Scholarly Community Entering Notre Dame (ASCEND) is an online summer program designed to assess and refresh qualitative skills for incoming students. ASCEND helps students to prepare to join the Notre Dame family without leaving their homes or giving up research opportunities, valuable summer jobs, or other pursuits. Its foundation is built upon peer relationships to ease the transition to Notre Dame and provide you with access to a supportive community of peers and mentors before you ever set foot on campus! 

What will I learn in ASCEND?

There will be some familiar mathematics topics for sure, like functions and rate of change, but also maybe a few newer techniques like the dot product.  Overall, our goal is help you assess yourself and give you a college perspective on these topics.  Equally important, however, is learning about the Notre Dame experience.  You will have access to upperclassmen mentors, who can give you insight into what it's like to be a Notre Dame student.  Additionally, this program will give you an opportunity to interact with Notre Dame math faculty members before you even step on campus, some of whom you will like likely have as an professor. 

How is the program structured? 

Every week you will be watching videos that will introduce a different topic. These topics may be something you’ve seen before or they may be brand new. After the video, you will practice what you saw by doing some problems online. Afterwards, we will meet in small groups to work on group-oriented challenge problems. Not to worry though! We will also provide a lot of support. Our network of coaches are excited to meet with you and guide you through the program.

Where does ASCEND meet? Do I need to travel?

ASCEND participants and coaches meet online! From the kickoff event all the way to the last module, you will be meeting with your coaches and peers online in the tools and platforms Notre Dame provides to you. There is no travel involved, and you can complete this program right from your kitchen table, favorite spot at the library, or wherever you have internet access! 

When does the class meet? 

Your ASCEND coach will schedule your meeting time when it is most convenient for your group. So please look for the email to set up your meeting time.

Will I receive academic credit for ASCEND?

This program is designed to help you self assess and have some fun, so there is no academic credit (or grades!) associated with the program.

What are the technical requirements?

Internet access and a computer or tablet with a webcam.  See the Technology tab for more information.

When does ASCEND start and end?

We will start informally in mid-June, but things will heat up around the last week of June when we ask you to take a self-diagnostic test. The real fun begins the first week of July when we unveil the first piece of math content. Your last meeting will be the last week of July, but after that you will have a week to take a self-evaluation. ASCEND students can expect to devote between five and ten hours a week to the program while it is underway.

How much does ASCEND cost?

ASCEND is free—you just need a computer and internet access to engage with your professor and peers! 


Other Questions

I'm sure you have lots of questions, but one step at a time. To get started, you will need to watch a few instructional videos and complete a few practice problems before your first Zoom meeting with your coach. Let's get going by clicking on the course link to begin your ASCEND program. If you have specific questions, please feel free to email the director of the program, Dr. Brian Mulholland.



We also wanted to provide a few resources before you begin your journey. These resources support you in having the best possible experiences at Notre Dame.

Math Resources

Student Life


Director of ASCEND Program

Brian Mulholland
Director of ASCEND Program