Admission: Not Impossible

odyssey odyssey 2

 Today was one of the first days in a long time when I opened my calendar and saw that I did not have a single appointment.  No interviews to conduct, no information sessions to host, no orientation luncheons on which to gorge!  The month of August has been an incredibly busy time for all of us in admissions at Fenwick Hall, as we prepare for the arrival of the Class of 2019 and switch gears to focus on the Class of 2020.

Next Tuesday is September 1st, and I feel as though so much still needs to be completed in order to get ready for the new admissions cycle.  I am very excited to jump into the recruitment season, so I wanted to give you a preview of what’s to come:

Perspectives: From Saturday, November 7th through Monday, November 9th we are hosting prospective students on campus for our annual Perspectives Program!  This opportunity is open to culturally aware high school seniors, and it’s a great way to learn more about the Holy Cross student experience.  We plan all kinds of fun activities for participants as well as provide room and board, free of charge to participants.  The last day to apply is Monday, October 5th at 5PM EST.  Please click the link for the online application.

– Travel: Throughout the months of September and October, admissions representatives from Holy Cross will be travelling all over the country to visit high schools and attend college fairs.  We seek to share information about what makes Holy Cross special, as well as meet prospective students in their home areas!  Please stay tuned for our office travel schedule, which will be made available on the site in September.

Open House: Two Sundays in the fall (October 4th and November 8th), we invite prospective students and their families to visit campus and explore all that the College of the Holy Cross has to offer.  Guests may pre-register by clicking on the link or sign up the day of the event.  We provide a light breakfast and lunch, as well as tours, info sessions, panels, and more!

Day Visits: High school seniors will be matched with a current Holy Cross student host and have the chance to shadow him/her to see what’s it’s like to be a Crusader!  Registration will open later in September.

Interviews: As we discuss in the blog, we highly encourage prospective students to interview with Holy Cross.  Thus we offer opportunities both on- and off-campus for high school seniors to meet with us and share their high school experiences.  Please request an interview at least two weeks ahead of time; we look forward to meeting you!

Of course, please do follow us on Twitter and Facebook with more updates about these and other events.  Happy Fall!

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(photography for Tom Rettig)

Photographed on August 7, 2015.  Summer

Photographed by Thomas Rettig on August 7, 2015

It’s mid-August already?!  Where have I been?  The summer humidity seems to be easing off, the students are starting to move back onto campus for athletic training, and soon I will have to dust off my suitcase and hit the road for fall recruitment travel.*  As I make my own travel checklist (book flights, reserve rental cars and hotel rooms, plan high schools, find alumni volunteers for interview programs, package and ship out materials), I cannot also help but think about the checklist that seniors are probably making as they gear up for their last year of high school.  I thought that I would offer a few suggestions here:

– go to the Common App website.  Applying to colleges involves some paperwork, and August feels like a good time to get at least some of it out of the way before classes, practices, meetings, and homework take up much of your time.

– start to make a list of teachers who you would ask to write a letter of recommendation for you.  You want to be able to choose a teacher who knows you not only as a student but also as a person.  At Holy Cross we review applications very thoroughly, so please be sure you are thoughtful in choosing your teachers for recommendations.  Additionally, have a list of a few teachers in case a teacher you ask is not able to write a letter for you.

– polish up your essay.  Before you have to start writing essays for class, it’s good to have a solid draft of your Common App essay now.  Once school starts again you are not going to have as much time to work on it, and you definitely want others to read it and offer feedback.  The Huffington Post has some interesting articles about the college essay if you seek additional insights!

– schedule a visit to campus!  For rising seniors we offer full-day visit opportunities, which are a great way to experience the academic and social experience of Holy Cross.  We also have Open Houses, an overnight program for students from diverse backgrounds, and of course, lots of chances to have an interview!

As we approach the fall, I cannot say how excited I am for the next admissions cycle.  We wish applicants all the best and look forward to meeting the future members of the Holy Cross Class of 2020!

*About fall recruitment travel–please stay tuned, as we plan to post our staff travel calendar on the Holy Cross website later this month!

writing    writing 2

After a fun-filled month of rooting for the Red Sox at Fenway, reading novels on sandy beaches, enduring frigid AC conditions while watching summer blockbusters, and savoring finger-licking barbecue, it’s the end of July.  While we still have a whole other month of summer, today marks the end of our July Advisory Day Program.  For those not on Twitter, July Advisory Days occured every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  On these days we offered a short session on how to plan for the college interview and how to write the Common App college essay.

Although we received an incredible number of visitors this month, I recognize that some interested students are not able to visit campus during the summer, so I wanted to mention some of the takeaways of the essay part of the program.  Below is some essay-writing advice that I hope you find helpful:

1. Although the Regular Decision deadline to apply is January 15th and it may seem as though you have loads of time to write, start now!  Tomorrow (August 1st) is the day the Common App goes live–did you mark your calendars?–so please do create an account and check out the questions.  August is a great month to explore topics, perhaps get a few words down on paper, and get your creative gears in motion!

2. Know that the first essay you write may not be the essay you submit.  It might be.  But it probably won’t…and that’s okay!  You will likely have a number of great topics from which to choose, and you should absolutely consider writing a few different essays.  In this way, you will have options before deciding on the one that you think best demonstrates your writing abilities and tells us more about who you are.  Furthermore, please be sure to ask people you trust (including friends, family, and teachers/advisers) to look over your writing and offer constructive criticism.  They should be people who will be able to give you the honest feedback you need, as well as help you catch any errors in grammar or syntax.

3. Be sure you are sharing your story.  I can’t tell you how many wonderfully-written essays I have read that talk about applicants’ loving family members, supportive friends, or amazing mentors…but then the essays don’t have enough about the writer him/herself.  Remember that you are the one applying, and thus you are the person we want to get to know!  As difficult as it can be at times to turn your focus inward, please write about who you are.  The essay is the one part of your application that is completely within your control, so please make it count.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer!

(photos by Thomas Rettig)

 

campus 1 Fenwick 1

 

It doesn’t take more than a quick peek at the weather forecast to see that it is definitely still summer.  Even though I am currently planning my fall travel (flights! hotels! high school visits! college fairs!) and casting my thoughts to the months ahead, we admission counselors in the office are keeping busy with summer activities as well.

One summer activity of note is our July Advisory Day Program.  If you have not been following us on Twitter, July Advisory Days occurs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this month.  On these afternoons, we offer tours and info sessions as always but also add a short session on how to plan for the college interview and how to write the Common App college essay–not to mention we serve cookies from the dining hall as an afternoon pick-me-up.

With only two JADs left in the season, it has been a busy month!  For those who are not able to visit campus and attend the program, I wanted to mention a few highlights about the interview portion of JAD.  Later this week I will discuss some of the takeaways of the essay part of the program!

1. Plan ahead–some institutions offer interviews, others do not. It is worth a quick look on the college’s website to see their policy. If it is an option, why not take that opportunity to distinguish yourself as an applicant?  Furthermore, do your homework.  Look into the school a little and think of some questions that you might want to ask your interviewer.  It will show that you are serious about applying.

2. Be mindful of time, attire, and your overall demeanor.  The interview is the chance to give the admissions office an impression of who you are and how you might fit into the campus community.  Try to arrive early, dress to impress (leave the t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops for another day), and be the friendly, polite, excited applicant that you are.  We are happy to meet you and want to see you put your best foot forward!

3. Remember that although it is an evaluative interview here at Holy Cross, it is also a conversation between two people.  We in admissions want to know more about you, so we are not going to throw any curve balls at you or try to put you on the spot.  Really, the interview serves as a way for us to add a face and personality to your application, and as such, we just want to hear your story.

I hope this helps! Please stay tuned for the post on the Common App essay coming up later this week.

(photos by Xiaofeng Wan)

 

Capture Capture 2

It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon, and as I sit to type this, I cannot help but look out the window at the lovely green grass, the somewhat-cloudy-but-still-pretty-clear blue skies, and the bright leaves softly rustling in the big trees.  Thank goodness it’s almost the weekend–I plan to spend some time outside and enjoy this wonderful New England weather!

For me, summer is such a great time to catch up on books.  It feels so nice to jump into a story while relaxing at the beach or hanging out in the park, so I try to take advantage as often as I can.  As a student, I always enjoyed receiving the list of books that I had to complete by the end of August.  In middle school, I would even help my cousin with his reading requirements: he promised me that I would be able to read to him a chapter of Harry Potter if I read to him a chapter of his summer reading.  What a great deal!

Now, one of my favorite questions to ask during interviews is, “So what are you reading?”  It interests me to see which classic stories will be covered and which contemporary tomes are being added to the list.  Just today a student told me that she was enjoying Wuthering Heights, and another student earlier this week mentioned how much he liked Catcher in the Rye.

As I’ve already finished my book club’s pick for July, Papertowns, I thought it might be worthwhile to see what other good options might be out there.  First I came across this list on our new site called HC 100 Books.  Apparently back in the ’80s a group of faculty members chose books that they considered great classics (you can read the list here).  After skimming the list, it surprised me to find that I have only read three!

Other choices for summer reading: works by Holy Cross alumni.  Billy Collins ’63 served as the US Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003 and the New York Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006.  Some of his books include Aimless Love, The Trouble with Poetry, and Nine Horses.  Another Holy Cross alumnus, Edward P. Jones, graduated in 1972 and wrote All Aunt Hagar’s Children and Lost in the City.  Jones went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004 with his novel, The Known World.

Between the 97 classics by historic authors and the award-winning works by these notable Crusaders, it looks as though I have my work cut out for me this summer!

 

 

Did you know that Worcester is the second-largest city in New England?  Of its 185,000 residents, students make up about one-fifth of the population, with 38,000 students attending 12 institutions of higher education.  I learned this during a bus tour led by members of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.  It was a beautiful summer day, and our hour-long tour included a drive past Worcester Technical High School, WPI, the Worcester Art Museum, and several parks, including Elm Park.

As a staff member who does not live in Worcester, I was delighted to learn more!  In fact, several of my colleagues told me some of their favorite things about the Woo, which we plan to add in our waiting room for visitors.  For now, read on for Lynn and Ashley’s favorite places to eat:

1. Sweet (72 Shrewsbury St) is one of Ashley’s favorite places to go for pastries…she said, “The dosants are amazing–and were invented way before the Cronut!”

2. Another popular pastry shop is Culpepper’s (500 Cambridge St # 3).  Lynn told us, “Culpepper’s is right down the hill from campus and [has] more bakery options than you could ever try! I recommend the yellow cookies (butter cookies drizzled with chocolate).”

3. Lynn also loves the Roasted Red (pizza) at Corner Grille (806 Pleasant St): “[It] has a delicious, thin crust and high quality ingredients. Friendly service too!”

4. For a more southern feel, Ashley suggests Smokestack Urban BBQ (139 Green St), as “you can never go wrong with their fried pickles!”

Bon appetit, and please come explore Worcester!

 

Happy June, everyone!  It has been quiet here in Fenwick Hall these past few weeks, especially with the semester ending and our seniors graduating (congratulations, Class of 2019!!!).  Before we leave for the NEACAC conference at Roger Williams University, however, I wanted to take a moment to introduce our student admissions workers for the summer.  Without further ado, here they are!

 

Heidi Boland

heidi I am a rising senior here at the College of the Holy Cross. I am originally from Wellesley, Massachusetts where I graduated from Wellesley High School in 2012. Upon entering Holy Cross I began my pre-med studies and the requirements for my biology major. In addition I joined the club soccer team, and in further years have also been a part of intramural softball, admissions outreach, volunteering at a high school in Worcester, working in the photography dark room, and have recently completed a marathon! My junior year I spent abroad in Costa Rica doing a global health program and also in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews. I have chosen to be a tour guide and part of the admissions team at Holy Cross because of the love that I have for this school and everyone who works and attends. I want to share this passion with everyone who visits to make sure that they know that Holy Cross is such an incredible school to attend.

 

 

 

Kat Resker

KatI’m a rising junior here at Holy Cross. I live about 25 minutes from campus in Grafton, MA however I am a full time Holy Cross student! On campus I work and volunteer in the Admissions and the Post Office, I am part of the choir, and I am also a member of a community service group called SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development). I have recently declared as a Political Science and Italian double major. Joined by seven other Holy Cross students, I will be spending my entire junior year in Bologna, Italy studying at L’Università di Bologna! One of my highlights on the Hill was undoubtedly spring break of my freshman year when I spent a week in El Paso, Texas on an immersion trip hosted by our Chaplain’s Office.

 

 

 

Flavia Sula

FullSizeRender-4I am a rising junior here at Holy Cross. I’ve lived in Worcester, MA for fifteen years, but I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. I am an English major, with a Women’s and Gender Studies concentration. On campus, I’ve been involved in various things: tour guide in Admissions, work-study student in the Study Abroad office, Summer Orientation Leader with the Gateways program, Escape Retreat Team Leader with the Chaplain’s Office, and the College Honors Program. What I’m most excited about next year is having the opportunity to study and live in Trinity College, Dublin, under the supervision and guidance of Holy Cross’ study abroad program. Therefore, I’m happy to spend as much time at Holy Cross for the summer, sharing my experiences and memories with prospective students, before leaving this wonderful place for an entire academic year.

 

 

 

 

 

We offer tours four times a day, Monday through Friday; for more information, please go to our Tours & Information Sessions page.  Hope to see you on campus soon!

In some parts of the world, May 1 is known as May Day.  It is a time of celebration to honor spring, with dancing around a maypole, spending time outside, and enjoying the company of friends and family.  In my family’s home country of Finland, May Day is celebrated with tippaleipä, or Finnish funnel cake!

peanuts Sima_and_tippaleipä_2

May 1 is an important day for those of us who work in college admissions because it is College Decision Day, or the last day that accepted students have to choose where they will spend the next four years.  With the hashtags #CollegeDecisionDay and #CollegeSigningDay blowing up on Twitter (check out the Obama’s tweet!), it is exciting to see counselors and other school administrators, parents and other family members, and of course students themselves sharing their enthusiasm on social media.

Here at the office we asked accepted students to sign a banner, which we proudly displayed in our office throughout the month of April.  Here it is in all of its glory:

banner

We received signatures from both near and far, including Puerto Rico, Georgia, New York, California, Iowa, and Washington!  It has been an incredible year so far, and we look forward to having all of the members of the Class of 2019 on campus in August!

 

Image credits:

Peanuts Gang Maypole image from http://snoopn4pnuts.com/flags-and-windsocks/school-flags/peanuts-gang-may-pole-flag-rare–610012/.

Tippaleipä image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sima_and_tippaleip%C3%A4_2.jpg.

Banner image taken by author.

 

 

 

Here are responses from two more students on why they decided to come to the College of the Holy Cross!

natNatalie: During the college process, I wanted to make sure that I went to a college that shared similar characteristics as my high school — small, Jesuit, full of community, and full of  intellectually curious individuals. Believe it or not, I didn’t have a chance to visit Holy Cross until a month before applications were due (you can only imagine how stressed I was!), but as soon as I stepped onto “The Hill”, I knew that Holy Cross was the place for me. As someone who knew that I wanted to pursue an English major, I was particularly attracted to our notable English Department, which according to USA Today is 9th in the country, and was attracted by potential exposure  to the writing and editing fields, such as writing for The Crusader. I also knew that Holy Cross would help me grow intellectually and spiritually, supporting me to become the independent Latina woman who gives back to her global community.

 

 

 

 

saraSara: As a Catholic institution, Holy Cross was always on my radar as I began my college application process. I live nearby so I’ve been aware of the school since I was young. At first, I did not like the idea of going to school so close to home; however, when I visited campus, I fell in love with the school. Part of it was certainly the ivy-covered, castle-like buildings, the…small class sizes and the sprawling, immaculately landscaped campus. There was also an indescribable sense of community and camaraderie that ultimately inspired me to apply Early Decision. This Holy Cross community transcends friend groups, personal interests–any typical social boundaries! Everyone feels a sense of unity as fellow Crusaders and I hope to carry that with me following graduation and beyond.

 

 

Since the May 1 National Enrollment Deadline is this Friday, I asked some of my social media interns to write about their decision to attend the College of the Holy Cross.  Here is what Mackenzie to say:

mackenzie

Holy Cross has always been a familiar place to me. Both my father and older sister came to Holy Cross, so I was a frequent visitor to Mount Saint James as a child. I was hesitant to tour the college and seriously consider it as a potential school for me, because I feared that attending Holy Cross would make me a mere shadow of my older sister. However, the opportunity to receive a liberal arts education, the friendliness of the students and the endless opportunities to live and learn among men and women who aspire to move mountains sealed the deal for me. My initial fear of living in my sister’s shadow never amounted to much. At Holy Cross, the opportunities are endless, whether it is volunteering in the Worcester community, being a member of the Student Government Association, or working as an editor on the school newspaper…I have found my niche in the SPUD volunteer program and [work to] promote social justice and live in solidarity with others…The friendships I have fostered among my peers and the relationships I have with my professors are to be afforded to the college’s intimate atmosphere and small size.  It is these relationships and conversations that have enabled me to become a more well-rounded and articulate person…Holy Cross has taught me how to be an independent woman, yet also a woman for others. Holy Cross is not just an institution of learning, rather it is a place where words become actions, and even one person can make a difference.

Please stay tuned for more responses!

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