Archive for December, 2014

Cheers to our Admissions Ambassadors!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

As my colleague tweeted earlier this month, 50 students will be spending part of their winter break visiting their former high schools as a way to help promote the College!  We in Admissions are so fortunate to have many great volunteers helping us.  Students serve as greeters in the waiting room talking to prospective students and their families; as tour guides trekking across campus with large groups of visitors; and now as ambassadors speaking to college counselors and students at their old high schools.  I wanted to share with you some of the responses that we received from students applying to participate in the admissions ambassador program.  On the maps below I have marked the ambassadors’ home states and countries!

map

 

Capture

student from Illinois: In just a few semesters, Holy Cross has challenged me academically and personally, pushing me to discover who I am, reflect upon what I want to be in the world, and search what I can do for those most in need. I have found on Mount St. James a tight-knit community and a supportive, warm environment.

student from Minnesota: Not only has living on the East Coast…been a great learning and cultural experience, but I have also come to appreciate all of the aspects that make a Holy Cross education so worthwhile: small class sizes, diverse subjects, close relationships with professors, undergraduate research, and most importantly, a commitment to cultivating “men and women for and with others.”

student from Texas: Holy Cross has given me opportunities that I never imagined I would have. I will be studying abroad in Argentina in the spring, I participate in psychology research, I made m[y] own student organization, and I have met and dined with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

student from Arkansas: I have loved living in a new part of the country, getting to travel around the Northeast, go to a college that has rigorous academics, play volleyball with my best friends while representing the college, and so much more.

student from Georgia: Since coming to Holy Cross, I have risen through the ranks of The Crusader and will be one of the Co-Editor-in-Chiefs next semester. Also, I have strengthened my spiritual life while serving as the Communion Ministry Coordinator as well as participating in immersion trips. My love for biology has been strengthened through on-campus research investigating diabetes–the skills I acquired…helped me land an internship over the past summer…at Emory University Medical School.

student from Washington: I have been exposed to many different fields in my studies, but all of these challenge you to develop your ability to reason, write, and express yourself.  Furthermore, my experience in the Washington Semester was invaluable.  Not only was I able to apply my classroom knowledge in a professional capacity at the State Department, but I was able to interact with policymakers, United States Senators, and Supreme Court Justices.

student from China: Because I am an international student and an ESL as well, I got extra help on my writing from professors and writer’s workshop. I felt like HC really cares about its students. In this semester, I met with my peer mentor…once a week, my advisor…twice a month,…and [my] class dean once a month. [They] not only cared about my life [at Holy Cross], but also they provided constructive suggestions.

student from Japan: During classes which revolved heavily around student and faculty discussions, from my psych class to even class about Buddhism, there were plenty moments where I was able to offer an unique set of perspectives, just because I grew up in a completely different kind of society with differing tradition, values, and identity. I strongly believe that with the rise of transparency and globalization, willingness to suspend your ideology and values while trying to understand the complete opposite of it is an important skill to have…My time at Holy Cross has been a wonderful one so far, and I’m very proud to be here.

Mid-December Reminders

Friday, December 12th, 2014

In thinking about what to write for the blog this week, I looked for inspiration in our blog archives (which, if you have not checked out yet, is a treasure trove of interesting stories and helpful admission tips!).  I came across a post that one of my colleagues, Lynn, wrote about our annual holiday card and important deadlines.  I couldn’t help but smile: five years later I find myself in the same spot!  I am helping with the office’s annual holiday card this year, which seems to be a similar process to what Lynn described back in 2009.  We’ve been working hard to find a time that works for everyone in Admissions; choose a festive, picturesque spot for the shoot (which is hard because we have a lot of great options! For examples, please see our photo blog, our YouTube page, and our Instagram account.); arrange for one of the campus photographers to capture a fun shot of us; and gather the list of recipients for the card.  I look forward to the finished product!

Reading Lynn’s post made me happy because it reminded me of the cyclical nature of admissions, which is just one of the aspects of my job that I love!  Her post also reminded me that we are now at the point in the year when we are thinking about deadlines:

– our Early Decision deadline is this Monday, December 15th

– our last on-campus interview date is next Friday, December 19th

– our last tour is at the end of the month on Tuesday, December 30th at 3pm

– our Regular Decision deadline is Thursday, January 15th!

I hope this helps you as you plan your end-of-the-year activities and cross items off of your to-do list.  Be safe, keep warm, and good luck!

Oh, and if you would like to see some of the holiday photos from years past, here are the ones I could find:

2007:

2007

2008:

2008

2011:

2011

 

Thoughts on Today

Monday, December 1st, 2014

wan xwan 3 in color

 

Today feels like an important day.  It is Monday, which marks the beginning of a new week: new to-do lists to make, new appointments and meetings to attend, new weekly goals to set.  It is also the first day of December, which means only two weeks left until the Early Decision pool is closed (on December 15!).  Fall seems to be wrapping up for the year, and winter approaches.  With the new season comes more application reading, more decision-making, and more future Crusaders!

During this time of year, our office fields a lot of calls about applications, and I thought that it might be helpful to address some students’ and families’ questions here.  Below are my thoughts on what to know:

1. We offer some helpful application tips here.  When it comes to applications, every material a student sends us is reviewed and every application is read by two different counselors (we try to read by region).  Our staff collectively looks at each file during committee and every staff member’s opinion matters in the final vote.

2. The high school transcript is the most important item in the student’s file.  We contextualize each student within their high school and note the various course offerings and the individual student’s level of rigor at their particular school.  Students at Holy Cross will be challenged academically, so we admit students who have pushed themselves in high school (whether that’s taking honors, accelerated, AP, or IB classes).  Senior grades are important, but we do look at the overall high school performance.

3. The essay is, for many readers, the favorite part of the application.  We read about all kinds of high and lows in school, such as adventures abroad in new and exciting destinations, or setbacks and how students bounce back from disappointment.  Although it is only a few paragraphs, the essay is completely under the control of the student and an opportunity to speak directly to college counselors.  For those students who have not written their essay yet (not to worry, you still have plenty of time!), please keep this in mind and try to think of a creative way to tell the reader an interesting personal story.

4.  We do track student interaction.  By this I mean that we add emails to students’ files, we look at whether or not the student has visited campus for a tour or stopped by a college fair to say hello, and we highly recommend interviews.  The Office will be closed December 24 through 26, and on December 31 and January 1, but please do come in sometime this month if you are able!

Have a fantastic week, and please do feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

(photos by Xiaofeng Wan)