Archive for the ‘Tran Kim-Senior’ Category

Tran’s Summer Admissions Tips – Part One

Monday, June 14th, 2010

If you’re just starting the college admissions process, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things that you need to do.   Luckily, you have nearly three months to get yourself together and organized for the application process that awaits you in the fall.  Here are some things that you can do to maximize your summer leading into the college application process to better position yourself for a fall filled with less stress.

Tip #1: Visit as many different colleges as possible.

If you have no clue as to what kind of school you want to attend, visit a large variety from technical schools to large schools to small schools to art schools.  See how they feel to you when you set foot on their campuses, and from there you will get a better sense of what is right for you.  Don’t judge a school only by the materials you read.  These materials are marketing materials to stimulate your interest in the school so they’re all going to look good based on the brochures you get.  It’s in your best interest to set foot on these campuses to get a sense of what the place is like behind the brochure.  If you already know that you want a certain kind of school, then visit several different ones in that category.  So if you want a small liberal arts school, visit one near a city, another one that’s in a rural location, and so forth.  There are over 4,000 schools and we are all different from another in some way.  Here is a great worksheet from US News to help you document each institution you visit.

Good luck, and check back for more advice in the coming months!

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Why Holy Cross? Community, Balance, Location

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

TranKim-Senior.BLOG2In case you are still debating whether or not Holy Cross is for you, I want to offer some of my personal and professional thoughts on why Holy Cross is so special and why you should apply. 

The community that exists at Holy Cross is incredibly supportive, nurturing and close-knit.  It is a place where students look out for each other, where faculty members take time to help each student succeed and where administrators take the time to get to know and care for each student.  You cannot get lost here as a student unless you are purposely trying to hide.  Struggle is inherent to the college experience, but regardless of the challenges they face during their time on the hill, students at Holy Cross have always been able to find the support they need to overcome any adversity and succeed.    

Second, you have the best of both worlds at Holy Cross, the excitement of a large school setting and the intimacy of a small school setting.  Because we offer a Division I athletic program, you will find incredible support for athletics and a strong network of fans for our various sports teams.  As I often say to students, you have the feel and energy of a bigger school at Holy Cross even though we are a community of less than 3,000.  It’s a place where you can count on students to proudly don their Holy Cross gear at football games or paint themselves purple to attend a basketball game.  At the same time, you can always count on receiving the best of what a small school can offer you:  one-on-one attention in the academic arena.  In the classroom, you are treated as an individual and as an intellectual.  Professors will not just talk at you but they will talk to you, and you can always expect to have a collaborative relationship with faculty members.

 A third reason is our location in WorcesterWorcester is the second largest city in the New England region and is an incredible environment for higher learning.  It is rich in culture and industry with residents from all over the world and industries that range from medicine to education to business.  There is a little bit of something for everyone. Such an environment is uncommon for a small liberal arts school, most of which are located in more rural environments.  In Worcester, it is easy to find good food, good shopping and good entertainment among other things. 

I could give you a plethora of other reasons to attend Holy Cross but there’s not enough time.  I hope that these thoughts give you a few more things to consider as you make your enrollment decision.  And of course, I hope to see you on campus this coming fall!

 

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Visiting Holy Cross in February

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

TranKim-Senior.BLOG2When it comes to the college application process, it’s never too early to start.  At this point as a junior or younger in high school, you may not know exactly what you want in a college,  and that’s perfectly OK.  You should treat this period as your window shopping stage where you’re simply going out and checking out a whole bunch of different things to see what you absolutely do NOT like and what you kind of like or really like.  The college tour is the best way to window shop for colleges.  It’s quick and gives you a great overview of what the college is all about.  From there you can hopefully get a sense of whether you prefer a big school or a smaller school;  a school right in the city or one in a more remote area.  You should check out all the schools you can so that you can get a better sense of what type of school best matches who you are.

With that said, I invite you to come visit Holy Cross to see if we might be good match for you.  Now is a great time to start visiting our campus and taking tours because it’s the down season for college visitors so you’ll be getting some personal one-on-one time with our tour guides.  Even if you and your family members are the only group to come for a tour, a tour guide will take you out and show you around.  Students are also on campus at this time so you get to see what the vibe is like and get a better sense of the Holy Cross culture.  Summer is a wonderful time to see college campuses as well, but you won’t be able to see many students during that time.  February break  (Feb 15th -19th) is coming up in a couple of weeks so be sure to set some aside to start scouting for colleges.  We are open for tours and information sessions all week long.   I should warn you that we do get busier than usual during this week because so many students do take advantage of that break so you won’t be able to get the one-on-one experience as much.  But the advantage of that is you’ll get to be in wonderful company with many other prospective students about to embark on the same and hopefully exciting journey as you.  Who knows, you might even meet a future classmate!

Just as a reminder, tours are available every day in the spring (exceptions are noted on the admissions website) at 10 AM, 12 noon, 2 PM and 3 PM and during the week of February 15-19, information sessions will be available at 11:15.  If we can help you with your travel plans, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 508-793-2443.  Don’t forget your walking shoes!

 

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

I Can’t Afford Holy Cross

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

TranKim-Senior.BLOG2Did you break out in a sweat, hyperventilate, or struggle to breathe for a second when you first saw the nearly $50,000 price tag for attending Holy Cross?  Without a doubt, $50,000 per year is a hefty price to pay for a college education whether it be in this dire economy or in a vibrant economy of several years ago, and some of you may have decided to not apply because of the sticker shock.  However, you might be surprised at how affordable Holy Cross can be for you and your family because of our very comprehensive and very generous financial aid package. 

 There are two major policies that you need to be aware of when it comes to financial aid at Holy Cross.  First, we apply a need-blind admissions process when reviewing your application which means that we do not take your family’s financial circumstances into consideration when looking at you for admission into Holy Cross.  If you have great credentials, you will be fully considered for admission into Holy Cross regardless of how much money your family has.  We do not look at you any differently if your family has a ton of money and can pay $50,000 out of your pocket or if your family is on the opposite end of the spectrum and can’t afford one penny of the $50,000 price tag.  Second, we are a school that is fully committed to meeting every family’s demonstrated financial need in order to attend Holy Cross.  In essence, if you are admitted into Holy Cross and demonstrate financial need, you can be assured that we will meet that need by 100%. 

 There are two caveats to that policy.  First, the need we determine is based on federal guidelines and looks at your family’s household income and asset values and is not based on what you determine to be your personal financial need.  Second, we only consider you for financial aid if you submit all of your paperwork to us on time by February 1st at the latest.  There are two important forms that you need to submit to Holy Cross in order to be considered for financial assistance:  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile.  To access these forms, please visit our financial aid site.   In addition, if you come from a single parent household, the CSS Profile will require you to submit the Non-Custodial Parent form that asks for financial information from your non-custodial parent.  Also, if your family owns a business or a farm, the CSS Profile will require you to submit a Business/Farm supplement that asks  income information from these two sources.  If either of these circumstances applies to you, it is very, very important that you submit the additional information that is asked of you.  If for some reason, you are not able to get the required information (i.e. your non-custodial parent has never been in the picture), you need to contact the financial aid office immediately to explain your situation and get instructions on how to proceed.  If you submit all the required forms in completion to Holy Cross, you will be fully considered for financial assistance from Holy Cross. 

With all this said, at the end of the day, you should never let a college’s price tag deter you from applying.  Every college has its own way of disseminating financial assistance and scholarship funds and you never know what you may qualify for and ultimately receive for financial assistance.  The most expensive schools can sometimes be the most affordable schools because financial aid provides you with enough assistance to lower the price tag.  Instead, you should choose a school that has the programs and the atmosphere that is the best fit for you, apply to those schools, complete all the necessary forms for financial assistance and scholarships and then see what you end up receiving in financial assistance.  Once you get all your packages, you can sit down and decide what schools are financially viable for you and your family.

 

Tran Kim-Senior

Assistant Director of Admissions

Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

The Do’s of the Application Process

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

tranThis list is the culmination of my own experiences as an admissions officer as well as of my colleagues in this office and other admissions offices.  As you go through them, you may have a lot of “duh” moments and most of these are very much common sense but it’s usually the most obvious things that are the least visible to us.  With that said, I hope this list is useful to you as you focus in on the application process.

  • Meet all deadlines for Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision.  Not meeting a deadline reflects badly on your ability to be responsible and may make an institution feel like you aren’t that interested.  It may also reduce your chances of getting in because the class is getting filled and you may be too late to get a spot.  If you have an extraordinary circumstances, you should let an admissions officer know in writing or by phone so that we can take that into consideration. 
  • File your financial aid paperwork early and by the deadline at the latest.  Holy Cross requires both the FAFSA and the the CSS Profile forms to be considered for financial aid.  The FAFSA form is not available until January 1st but you and one of your parents can go ahead and file for a FAFSA Pin Number that will serve as your signatures on the forms.  The longer you wait, the bigger the risk that you may not get as strong a package and if you submit late, the chances of getting financial aid are even slimmer.
  • Pay close attention to what each school requires you to submit or strongly recommends you send in regards to standardized testing, essays, letters of recommendation, etc.  While strongly recommends doesn’t mean require in the sense that you are disqualified from admission, it does means that you may be placing yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t do what it is that is being strongly recommended.
  • Ask teachers early for letters of recommendations.  The earlier you ask, the more time they can put into it and produce a well written letter on your behalf.  It’s important to keep in mind that you will not be the only student who is seeking that student out for a letter of recommendation. 
  • Follow up with all counselors and teachers to make sure that they have submitted your paperwork on time and be sure to also send a thank you to them for doing so.
  • Proofread your essays very carefully before you submit.  I would encourage you to print out your application if you’re filing it online because what you see is mostly likely what we’ll see when we click on print so you want to make sure that it’s formatted to what you want it to look like.
  • Demonstrate your interest in a college institution before you apply.  A lot of students visit the schools that they get into and from there will make a decision as to where to attend without knowing that many admissions offices take applicants’ demonstrated interest into consideration as a way to determine whether or not the student would enroll if admitted.  Just like you all want us to like you and admit you, we want to be liked by you all as well and be admitted in essence.
  • Create a professional email address and check that email frequently.  Silly or suggestive email addresses, while comical for us to read, are not professional and do not reflect well on you.  It’s also important that you don’t use your parents’ email addresses as your own and we can typically tell when this is happening.  We like to see students take the lead in the application process because it shows that you’re ready for the independent environment that is a part of the college experience.

 

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

“Why I love Holy Cross”

Friday, April 24th, 2009

tranThere are so many wonderful qualities to Holy Cross that it’s hard to just focus on one…but that is my assignment for this entry.  Of all the characteristics that define Holy Cross, the one that impresses me the most is our active commitment  to social justice and service.  Having been at two other small liberal arts institutions prior to coming to Holy Cross, I have seen three different versions of the small, undergraduate liberal arts experience,  and the main differentiation for me is the call to service that stems from our Jesuit mission.  Helping those in need is something that is personally and professionally important to me and I always felt somewhat alone in my commitment to social issues but when I came here, I was pleasantly blown away by the strength of Holy Cross’s commitment to serving the greater community.  Students, faculty and staff truly believe in the Jesuit mission to serve others and because of our mission, there is a certain tone of caring and compassion on campus that I just haven’t seen anywhere else.  I find myself constantly inspired and challenged to find more meaningful ways to help and serve because of the environment here at Holy Cross.

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Multiculturalism at Holy Cross

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Tran
During my four years in admissions, I have always played a hand in multicultural recruitment and have observed that diversity in colleges is an area that is increasingly receiving a lot of attention.  In terms of figures, Holy Cross is on par with many of our peer institutions in the area of racial diversity with about 17% ALANA (African American, Latino American, Asian American and Native American) students in the general student body and about 21% in the current freshman class.  As an Asian-American myself, I tend to look at racial diversity in whatever environment I am in very closely and I have come to realize that I can’t look only at percentages alone.  The reality is that there simply are not many ALANA students on college campuses and not many ALANA professionals in the working world (though I do think the situation is improving incrementally) so looking for institutions where 50% of the student body is ALANA for example is futile because you’ll be hard pressed to find an institution that has those kind of numbers, especially private institutions.

What I think is more important to focus on when looking at the issue of diversity on college campuses is the climate surrounding the issue of diversity.  What infrastructure is in place to nurture multicultural education?  What student organizations exist to focus on a variety of cultures and provide students associated with those cultures a home base while providing students who are not associated with that culture a learning opportunity?  How does the administration and faculty support and nurture multicultural learning?  Though I have not been at many institutions, I have observed campus life on two other small liberal arts institutions prior to Holy Cross and can say that I have been most impressed by the infrastructure that is in place at Holy Cross.  To date, we have 12 student organizations that identify as Multicultural Student Organizations (MSO’s) and focus on issues that range from a variety of cultural backgrounds such as Hispanic, Asian and Caribbean cultures to LGBTQ issues to women’s affairs.  Furthermore, there is a well thought out support system in place to make sure that these organizations have the support and resources they need to be successful on campus.  The Office of Multicultural Education at Holy Cross also plays an instrumental role in providing multicultural awareness on campus.  The office educates, promotes and serves to empower the campus community on issues of diversity, multiculturalism and the value of human differences through classes, workshops, training sessions peer education and consultations.  At Holy Cross, we also require all students to take a cross cultural studies course as one of their core requirements to stimulate critical reflection on issues involved in encountering other cultures and to “help students think systemically about the fundamental assumptions underlying cultural differences.”   Some of these courses Introduction to Comparative Politics, Writing Madness in Africa, and Introduction to Islam.  And these are only the official structures that are in place.  There are a number of informal ways that different members and offices in the community strive to promote diversity on campus that you won’t find mentioned in our catalog or on our website.

Though much of what I have written focuses on cultural and racial diversity, we at Holy Cross also value diversity in the area of spiritual views, political beliefs, sexual orientation, geography and thought.  We as admissions professionals work hard to create an incoming class that is diverse on a variety of levels and see one representation of this in the over 80 different student organizations on campus.  And ultimately at the end of the day, we are all different from each other even if we are of the same race, ethnicity, religious faith, etc and the challenge we place before students is the task of fleshing out those differences, embracing them and learning from them.

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Introduction: Tran Kim-Senior

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Tran
Hello everyone!  While I did not have the thrill of experiencing life at Holy Cross as an undergraduate student myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here as an admissions officer.  Now in my second year in the Holy Cross admissions office, I am a bit more familiar with Holy Cross than I was at this point last year.  Holy Cross is truly a unique college institution that really values the development of the whole person and does an incredible job to that end.  What stands out to me the most about the atmosphere here is the strong and extremely close-knit community that exists here between students, staff and faculty members.  Friends and support are two things that are easy to come by here.  In the office, I coordinate the recruitment of ALANA students (Asian American, Latino American, African-American and Native American) and am traveling to parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, parts of New York City and the state of Virginia.

I was born originally in Cambodia and came to the United States, specifically Richmond, Virginia, when I was eight years old.  I have lived in northeastern Connecticut for nearly four years now and when I’m not working, I spend most, if not all, of my time with my husband and baby, Amaya.  If I am lucky to have free time outside of these two major commitments in my life, I like shop, read and catch up on current events.  I look forward to meeting you through my recruitment travels and when you come to campus.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Choosing the College For You

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Tran After months of waiting and waiting for a response from colleges, you couldn’t wait for this month to arrive when the admissions decisions come out.  But now you realize that you have another daunting task ahead of you.  The tables have now turned and you’re the ones making the admissions decision and determining who will get in, if you will (hopefully this means a bit more sympathy for us and the hard decisions we’ve had to make).

Some of you will know immediately where you’ll go.  Others of you may at least know where you will not go.  But many of you, I’m guessing, are completely overwhelmed with the decision ahead.  I mean this is where you’ll be spending the next four years of your life, and sure, transferring is always an option but who wants to go through the admissions cycle again?  If you thought it was hard this time around, believe me when I tell you that it’s even harder the second time around, i.e. fewer spaces available, even less money for financial aid, etc.  So this is it.

Though it is somewhat a huge commitment you’re making, it’s not as scary as it seems.  Let me try to put some perspective on it.  I equate this decision to marriage.  We all have our vision of what the ideal partner is but all know in the back of our minds, that we all seldom end up with someone who matches every criteria on that list of credentials that we want.  Marriage isn’t about finding a perfect match (even those who say they have the perfect partner will admit that there are less than perfect days).  Likewise, finding the college for you isn’t about finding the perfect fit but about finding the best fit.  You can’t have it all unfortunately so it’s about figuring out what matters most to you, what you absolutely can’t do without.  So for example, if size is the most important thing to you, then narrow down your school options by that.  If location is the most important criteria for you, then narrow down the list that way and so forth.  Prioritize your criteria and start narrowing down your options in rounds.  So if size is the most important thing, cross off schools that don’t fit the bill in the first round.  If location is the next most important thing, then cross off other schools that don’t fit the bill.  Hopefully that’ll give you a smaller list of schools for you to take a closer look into and decide.

But remember that at the end of the day, you’ll be happy and successful wherever you go.  It’s all a matter of what you do while you’re there.  People who go to highly selective schools don’t automatically end up being successful.  They have to work hard to become successful.  Likewise, students who attend less selective schools don’t end up less successful either.  So don’t let that be a deciding factor for you.  Happy deciding and good luck!

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

A New Year and A New Reading Season

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Tran Many of you are probably breathing sighs of relief right now as you finalize and finally submit your applications for college.  For us in the office, we’re just getting warmed up as the applications fly into our reading bins.  At this point in the year, we start to buckle down at home and in the office shedding our heels and ties so if you swing by, don’t be surprised to see us romping about in jeans and sneakers.  And if we’re at home, most of us are probably decked out in our favorite bathrobes and slippers.  Because we read using a pencil, many of us, if not all, have finally chosen our season’s pencils that promise never ending writing comfort for the next two months but ultimately fall a bit short because the nature of this task that lies ahead dictates inevitable writing calluses at some point.  But no matter how tedious and sometimes unkind the task is, I have to admit that it’s one of my favorite parts of the job and I speculate that many of my colleagues would agree. I learn about different facets of young peoples’ lives that are funny, entertaining, whimsical, inspiring and sometimes sad.    I get to meet interesting and unique individuals from all over the country and even from various parts of the world, all without ever leaving my chair.

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment