Archive for July, 2015

Last Day of JAD

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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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)

Last Week of JAD!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

 

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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)

 

Summer Reading Ideas

Friday, July 10th, 2015

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!