Archive for the ‘Andrew Carter’ Category

Three Words: Please Read This (by Drew Carter)

Monday, October 6th, 2014

I recently saw an article in a magazine entitled, “Three Words to Live By,” which illustrated the fact that the best advice is short – three words, in fact. The author provided lots of three-word sayings to live by, such as floss every day, keep your word, bring her flowers, etc.

This got me to thinking about the college application process. Students are given so much advice but, do they remember any of it? Does any of it resonate? Would it help if the advice was doled out in shorter, easier-to-digest packets?

Perhaps it would.

So, here is my top ten pieces of three-word advice on the Common Application essay:

1. Love your topic

2. Write with joy

3. Trust your voice

4. Consider your audience

5. Develop a hook

6. Use paragraph breaks

7. Check your punctuation

8. Avoid the thesaurus

9. Submit on time

10. Thank your proofreaders

Want more essay advice? Follow us on Twitter: @HCAdmission

Why Holy Cross? The smiles and thank you’s.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

As many members of the admissions staff write their biggest answer to “Why Holy Cross,” it just so happened two Associate Directors of Admissions — Andrew Carter and Lynn Verrecchia — separately chose topics that blend quite well together: the general personality and affect of the student body.

 

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiRecently at a college fair, I was asked a most intriguing question by a current high school junior – “What’s your  favorite thing about Holy Cross students?”

This is a great question – a departure from the usual questions about average GPA’s, average class size and overall student enrollment.

After a brief moment of thought, my answer was simple – Holy Cross students say “thank you.”

And it’s not just that they say “thank you,” but that they have a reason to say “thank you.”

This is a campus that values door holding.  And not just door holding for the delivery man carrying a stack of boxes – but door holding for anyone, any time.

The Jesuit principle of “Cura Personalis” encourages all of us to consider and to care for the entire person and while that influences the way we teach and learn and think about our world, it also reminds us that we are not alone – we are not alone in this world, in this moment or in this doorway.

And that is what I’m reminded of every day when I walk around this campus – Holy Cross students know they are not alone and while there might now always be someone to hold the door for, they always pause and check.

And for that pause, that awareness, I say, “thank you.”

Andrew Carter

Associate Director of Admissions

 

 

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Why HC? For the smiles.

When I first visited Holy Cross as a prospective student, one thing stood out to me. Everyone was smiling–at one another, to themselves, and at me. I as looking for a sign that this was the right place for me. What I read in those smiles was that HC students like one another, are content with themselves, and are eager to welcome newcomers.

As a student, I certainly found myself smiling–and being smiled at–a lot. As an alumnus, I find myself grinning on the highway when in traffic behind a car sporting a Holy Cross sticker and in line at the grocery store behind someone wearing a Holy Cross sweatshirt. I’ve made fast friends with other parents simply because of a shared affinity for our alma mater. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than hearing my 3-year-old carefully spell out H-O-L-Y-C-R-O-S-S!

Holy Cross–it can even make you smile in traffic. That’s why.

Lynn Verrecchia ’01

Associate Director of Admissions

Our Calling

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiIt is so easy to get lost in all the mundane details of any job, and working in college admissions is no different.  E-mail, spreadsheets, and voicemails  all blur into one long day of tasks.

What’s the point of all this?  Quo vadimus?  — Where are we going?

And then you get the opportunity to call an Early Decision applicant and inform her that the committee has voted to admit her to the class of 2018.

>>WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

“You’re coming to Holy Cross,” I repeated, as she stammered,  in shock, unable to make sense of the exciting news I was trying to deliver.

I’m going to Holy Cross?” she asked, choking back tears.

And that was it – in that small moment, I found the reason for all those e-mails and spreadsheets – all those days at work. She’s heading to Holy Cross. I’m one of thirteen people helping to assemble the next class of Crusaders.

Where are we going?  #HC2018 – that’s where we’re going.

Follow our progress on Twitter: @HCAdmission

A “Hill” of a Nice Campus

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiBut what about the hill?

I am asked this question all the time.  All.  The.  Time.

I meet students who have researched Holy Cross, love the academic offerings, admire the culture and tradition and can’t wait to be a part of student life . . . “but what about all those stairs?”

 

I’ve offered so many responses to this question over the years:

–          What stairs?

–          You know, you do get to go down them sometimes, too . . .

–          Oh, it’s not THAT bad.

–          Have you heard about all our elevators?

 

Recently, though, I’ve thought more and more about it.

We love our college – not in spite of the hill but, in part, because of our hill.  Anyone who has witnessed a fall sunset from the Hart Center on top of the hill would never complain about the view they get from this hill.  Anyone who has endured a muggy spring day in May would never complain about the cool, spring breeze afforded to us on this hill.  Anyone who has gone sledding and finished their run just steps away from the hot chocolate in Kimball Dining Hall would never complain about the hill.

So, in the future, when applicants ask me about the hill, I now know how I’ll respond.

“I know.  It’s pretty great, isn’t it?”

Fat Squirrels … and four other important tour tips

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wi
The Top 5 Things to Look for on a Campus Tour:

1) Grass and flowers. 

Let’s face it – you’re not buying a skillet, you’re choosing a place to live for four years.  Don’t you want it to look nice?  No, it’s not the most important thing, but it is something.  And something counts.

2) College gear. 

Don’t worry about whether students are smiling or not (do you smile when walking to a calculus exam?), notice whether or not students are wearing clothing or gear with their school’s name on it.  No one flies the flag for a school they dislike.

3) People holding doors. 

When someone holds a door for you, it is a sign that they understand that they are not alone in this world – they realize you exist, they acknowledge it and they’re going to try and make your day just a tiny bit better.  That’s the kind of place you want to spend four years.  Now return the favor.

4) Fat squirrels.  

Want to ride the subway to class in college?  Great – ignore this step.  But if you have ever pictured yourself in college hanging out on a quad and walking to class across a grassy, green vista then you want to see squirrels on your tour.  If you see squirrels, then there trees and grass on that campus.  If they are fat, then there’s lots of trees.  And no coyotes.  And that’s something, too.  And something counts.

5) Stairs. 

Seriously, no one dreams of going to college and falling out of shape.  Going up and down stairs will keep you fit. And remember —  where there are stairs, at the top, there’s always a great view.  Stairs equals healthy, fit people enjoying gorgeous views.  Sounds like a great place to go to college.

May the Fat Lady sing

Monday, September 16th, 2013

I love opera.

There. I said it.

I. Love. Opera.

I love the pageantry. I love the exaggerated emotions. I love how ambitious the productions are.

Loving opera does not make me cool nor garner me much attention (other than the quizzical looks from friends and family). But I do love watching it, listening to it, reading about it and talking about it. If I were applying to college today, I just might write my essay about my reaction to Figaro’s swagger or the sparkle in Carmen’s eye or how I feel hearing Violetta’s pained plea, “Amami, Alfredo, amami quant’io t’amo!” (Love me, Alfredo, love me as I love you!)

But when composing their essays, most students choose to write about topics that they think admissions counselors want them to write about; truth is, we hope for great essays and typically the best essays are on topics that the student loved writing about – for me, it just might be opera.

There are no right or wrong topics to choose for your essay – there are only the topics you want to write about and the topics you think you should write about.

So when the moment comes to choose a topic, seize the moment – choose a topic you want to write about, tell your story, sing your song and you might just have us yelling, “Encore!”

Andrew Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

A Role for Parents in the Process

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Everyone in the college admissions world has heard the tales of the overbearing parent.  One person may report the story of the mother who, following her son’s admissions interview, imitated his sloppy handwriting in a thank you note that she herself penned; another within earshot will quickly jump in, trumping that tale with the story of the father who actually placed a phone call to an admissions officer and imitated his son’s voice on the phone in order to demonstrate interest.

These tales, whether true or not, are swapped and traded like baseball cards.

What I don’t hear much of is the story of the reticent teenager, the late-blooming high school student who needed a nudge, a pep-talk, a push or even an outright shove to finally engage in the college search and application process.  Some sailors actually need a Captain Bligh to motivate and instill discipline so that they may eventually reach their desired destination and some applicants need their parents to kick-start their campaign, to encourage their participation in a way that may not always be pleasing to their teenage sensibility.

As long as that nudge creates momentum and not imbalance, as long as that “motivation” is filled with love, as long as the parent’s guiding hand doesn’t overreach, then there most certainly is a role (perhaps even a big role) for parents in this process.  But, take that role too far, or occupy it for too long and parents may learn Captain Bligh’s lesson, that mutinies don’t just happen on board the Bounty.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Why Holy Cross? Excellence and Purpose

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

It is said that the nightingale bird never sings alone – that they always wait to hear another nightingale sing before they begin their song.

In that spirit, I’ll be the nightingale of the Admissions Office; let me explain why I love Holy Cross, let me sing my Crusader song and let me inspire my co-workers to do the same.

I love Holy Cross for so many reasons but today, it is because of our valedictorians.

Our very first valedictorian in 1849 was from Georgia and our 165th valedictorian in 2011 came from St. John’s Newfoundland in Canada.  He, upon graduating in 1849, went on to become the first African-American Roman Catholic priest and the country’s first African-American Catholic bishop.  She, in 2011, has gone onto pursue a career in humanitarian relief efforts and peace studies.

Two people from opposite ends of North America with very different upbringings — separated by gender, race and over 160 years but united by a school with a purpose.

I love Holy Cross because here you find students from all over the world who want a school that emphasizes open inquiry, inspires high achievement and is committed to developing the whole person.  They want academic excellence with a purpose.

That is why I love Holy Cross.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

The Calm Before the Storm

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Now, all that’s left to do is to wait.

All the decisions have been made on first year applications and the decision letters will be released through the mail in 24 hours.  For the first time in 180 days, there are no transcripts waiting to be evaluated, no essays waiting to be read and no applications waiting for a vote by the committee.  The silence is eerie.

Like bakers who arrive in the middle of night, for the past six weeks, we’ve been doing all our work in private – very precise measuring, some skillful adding, delicate mixing, artful shaping and now, waiting.

To those students who will receive disappointing news from us, know that we appreciate your interest in Holy Cross and that we take our decision making responsibility very seriously.  It is the most important and the most difficult part of our job.

To those students who will receive good news in the mail from us – congratulations.   You’ve impressed us with your record as committed students, passionate volunteers, standout athletes and even better people.  You’ll be faced with a decision soon – we hope you’ll come visit.  We’ll be waiting for you.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Copernican Principle

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Until Copernicus and Galileo proved differently in the 1500’s, the Earth was believed to hold a special place at the center of the universe.  But then through research and scientific calculations, it was proven to be, in the words of the PBS show Nova, a “tiny speck in an unremarkable location.”  Scientists call this the Copernican Principle.

When you work in college admissions, it is easy to stay within your own bubble and to think that your own school is the center of the universe.

But, the truth is, there is (or should be) a Copernican Principle of college admissions.

Here at Holy Cross, we are but one school out of thousands in this country – one star in a nighttime sky full of stars that all shine in unique ways.  And while anyone who has taken our campus tour and navigated all of our stairs knows full well that this is not an “unremarkable location,” we do think it’s important to keep perspective in this process.

You’re torn between so many good options for college?  Of course – we understand.

Holy Cross is your favorite school?  Great – we’re glad you think so.

You found another school that matches you better?  Wonderful – we support you.

Our staff of thirteen admissions counselors believes wholeheartedly in this place, our mission and our students.  We wear purple and we make it look good.

But, at the same time, we understand that there are so many other wonderful colleges and universities out there and we invite you, we encourage you to explore and research and do the necessary legwork until you find your tiny speck, your star, your home for the next four years.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions