Archive for March, 2009

End of Winter Marks End Of Admissions Committee

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

suzanneFrom the previous weeks’ blog entries you have read about our committee process. You’ve learned about the dozens of cups of coffee we drink, the reading sheet we use and the cozy room that we inhabit. As our committee process winds down and we close the computer screen on another admit cycle, I find myself reflecting on the things I’ll miss the most. Below are five of the things I’ll miss most about the past six weeks.

1. The fresh brewed Dunkin Donuts coffee that inevitably is always sitting in the committee room when I arrive, thanks to a sweet Holy Cross housekeeper and a generous colleague.
2. The sight of counselors’ hands being raised as one more applicant gets admitted into the class of 2013.
3. Watching as the stack of applications from a day of work are carried downstairs and into the hands of our support staff members who then make sure that the correct letter gets printed and sent to you.
4. Hearing my colleagues’ thoughts on a student and realizing how undeniably cool it is (once again) that we spend this much time evaluating our applicants.
5. Watching our class grow with every decision we make and realizing that your varied interests and talents will affect Holy Cross for years to come.

I’ll miss committee and all that it represents in our process. Whether you get the large envelope or small one, or whether you choose to accept our offer or find another place to call home, we thank you. Thank you for your efforts in high school, for taking the time to send the “perfect” essay, for finding a teacher who could write on your behalf, for taking a tour, sending an email, or having an interview. We thank you for your efforts and wish you every success.

Suzanne R. Timmons
Assistant Director of Admissions

Admissions Director: Selection Process Nears End

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

AnnmcdermottOnce again, the twelve members of the Admissions Committee will gather in an impossibly small room, coffee in hand, to discuss and debate the remaining applicants for the Class of 2013.  We are almost done.

As I reflect back over the past few weeks, I am struck by the overall quality of this pool of applicants.  It is truly amazing, and I admit a bit humbling, to see what you have managed to accomplish in just a few short years.  My staff and I have enjoyed “meeting’ you and learning about your journey through high school.  We applauded your academic successes, cheered with you as your achieved victory on the field, laughed along with you at the comedy of high school, and yes, cried at the losses many of you have suffered.

Thank you for sharing your personal stories with us.  You have achieved so much already, and I am certain that the best is yet to come!

Ann McDermott
Director of Admissions

How Do We Make Our Admissions Decisions?: An Insider’s Guide to the Committee Process

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

JuliaMonday morning, 9:00 AM:  Company in.  Twelve admissions counselors.  Twelve cups of coffee.  Our mission?  To decide who gets in.

With so many remarkable candidates, just how do we decide?  While some contend we could simply throw the applications into the air, grab a few thousand at random, and hope for the best, the Holy Cross admissions process is a democratic one, where all applications are voted on;  majority wins.

As today’s committee fly on the wall, I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on our unique process.  So follow me, behind the closed doors.

Every day, for nine hours a day, for about 5 weeks, we gather together, in the cozy space pictured below:

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Back when we were reading all of your applications, we were also summarizing everything in your file, onto what we call a “reading sheet” – a crucial piece of paper that houses a breakdown of your transcript, bits from your recommendations, quotes from the letter from your mom, impressions gathered from your interview, an evaluation of your essay, notes on the academic curriculum offered at your high school, a listing of your test scores (if you decided to submit them), bits about your extra-curriculars,  awards,  jobs,  etc.

During committee, the reading sheets are projected onto the wall, one at a time, for all committee members to see.  Everything in your file finds a place onto your reading sheet, and thusly, everything in your file is evaluated by twelve sets of eyes, before a decision is made.  IMG_3593

With your reading sheet projected onto the wall, we do, in fact, talk about you. We talk about your achievements, your personality, your background, your goals, your successes, and your failures.   Conversations can last anywhere from two minutes to twenty – depending on the case.   If there are any questions, we rummage through the file and fill in the blanks.   We might re-read the essay.  We might double-check the transcript.   We examine your school profile.   If necessary, we call your guidance counselor.  We check again.  And again.   And again.  We might even call your mom. (I kid).  The point is, when it comes to assessing your candidacy, there are no stones left unturned

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When we are ready, it’s decision time.  “Anyone want to Accept?”  Hands are raised. And counted.  Majority wins.  And this is how it works, each and every time.

Why do we do it this way? While admissions-sponsored snacks  (important decisions require sustenance) and the option to dress down are obvious perks, we make our admissions decisions as a committee because we feel that a democratic voting process is the fairest way to handle such an overwhelming and often times subjective task.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because you have worked very hard on your application, and we believe your hard work affords you reciprocity.   We want you to have faith in the fact that your application is in the hands of people that will stop at nothing to make the fairest decisions possible.

And with that, it’s time to get back to work.

Julia Sanders

Admissions Counselor