Admission: Not Impossible

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

March 18th, 2009 jsanders

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

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

  1. Paola says:

    Hello, my name is Paola and I want to know what is the gpa you need to get into Holy Cross?

  2. Admissions says:

    Hi Paola,

    There is no GPA cut-off at Holy Cross. Typically, we like to see A’s and B’s in the most challenging classes offered at your school (Honors, AP’s, IB’s, Advanced, etc.)

    Hope that helps!

    If you have additional questions, feel free to contact admissions.

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