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)