Archive for the ‘Sarah Gale’ Category

Time to Hit the Old Dusty Trail

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Capture 2 Capture

Happy Fall!  Classes have resumed, Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, and tomorrow I head out on my first recruitment trip for the Class of 2020.  While some of my colleagues have already begun their travels, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little more about what we in Holy Cross Admissions do while we’re out on the road.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my colleagues and I will be travelling all over the country to share information with prospective students and their families about what makes Holy Cross special.  We try to visit at least four high schools a day as well as attend college fairs and host alumni interview programs in order to meet future applicants.  As such, travel season is a great time for us to explain our approach to admissions while seeing prospective students in their home areas.

To get the most out of the recruitment season, here are some tips:

– if possible, make labels with your name, high school, class year, email address, home address, and phone number.  It will save you a lot of time when you’re meeting admissions reps at college fairs or during high school visits!

– try not to wear any college paraphernalia if you know that you’re going to meet an admission counselor.  While a college sweatshirt may be comfortable, it can also be a little distracting if I’m trying to talk to a student about Holy Cross and they’re sporting gear from [INSERT OTHER COLLEGE NAME HERE].  On that note, please be mindful of your clothing choices in general the day of a visit from a rep or a college fair–these are wonderful opportunities to make a strong first impression!

– come talk to us!  My colleagues and I travel thousands of miles to visit schools.  It takes us a lot of time, effort, and coordination to plan our travel, but we go through it all because we really want to interact with our applicants.  At Holy Cross we take a very holistic approach to admissions, so it means a lot to us to be able to speak with prospective students.  We call this demonstrated interest, and it plays an important role in our decision-making process.

– lastly but still importantly…please offer us recommendations for dinner or lunch!  Travel is such an incredible part of our work for many reasons, but certainly one is that we get the chance to experience other parts of the country and the world.  In my opinion, sampling local food and drink is such a lovely little perk!

I hope this helps you as you embark on the next step in the college application process.  Enjoy the season!

(photography by Tom Rettig)

Almost-End-of-Summer Checklist

Friday, August 14th, 2015
Photographed on August 7, 2015.  Summer

Photographed by Thomas Rettig on August 7, 2015

It’s mid-August already?!  Where have I been?  The summer humidity seems to be easing off, the students are starting to move back onto campus for athletic training, and soon I will have to dust off my suitcase and hit the road for fall recruitment travel.*  As I make my own travel checklist (book flights, reserve rental cars and hotel rooms, plan high schools, find alumni volunteers for interview programs, package and ship out materials), I cannot also help but think about the checklist that seniors are probably making as they gear up for their last year of high school.  I thought that I would offer a few suggestions here:

– go to the Common App website.  Applying to colleges involves some paperwork, and August feels like a good time to get at least some of it out of the way before classes, practices, meetings, and homework take up much of your time.

– start to make a list of teachers who you would ask to write a letter of recommendation for you.  You want to be able to choose a teacher who knows you not only as a student but also as a person.  At Holy Cross we review applications very thoroughly, so please be sure you are thoughtful in choosing your teachers for recommendations.  Additionally, have a list of a few teachers in case a teacher you ask is not able to write a letter for you.

– polish up your essay.  Before you have to start writing essays for class, it’s good to have a solid draft of your Common App essay now.  Once school starts again you are not going to have as much time to work on it, and you definitely want others to read it and offer feedback.  The Huffington Post has some interesting articles about the college essay if you seek additional insights!

– schedule a visit to campus!  For rising seniors we offer full-day visit opportunities, which are a great way to experience the academic and social experience of Holy Cross.  We also have Open Houses, an overnight program for students from diverse backgrounds, and of course, lots of chances to have an interview!

As we approach the fall, I cannot say how excited I am for the next admissions cycle.  We wish applicants all the best and look forward to meeting the future members of the Holy Cross Class of 2020!

*About fall recruitment travel–please stay tuned, as we plan to post our staff travel calendar on the Holy Cross website later this month!

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)

 

Say Hello to our Summer Tour Guides!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Happy June, everyone!  It has been quiet here in Fenwick Hall these past few weeks, especially with the semester ending and our seniors graduating (congratulations, Class of 2019!!!).  Before we leave for the NEACAC conference at Roger Williams University, however, I wanted to take a moment to introduce our student admissions workers for the summer.  Without further ado, here they are!

 

Heidi Boland

heidi I am a rising senior here at the College of the Holy Cross. I am originally from Wellesley, Massachusetts where I graduated from Wellesley High School in 2012. Upon entering Holy Cross I began my pre-med studies and the requirements for my biology major. In addition I joined the club soccer team, and in further years have also been a part of intramural softball, admissions outreach, volunteering at a high school in Worcester, working in the photography dark room, and have recently completed a marathon! My junior year I spent abroad in Costa Rica doing a global health program and also in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews. I have chosen to be a tour guide and part of the admissions team at Holy Cross because of the love that I have for this school and everyone who works and attends. I want to share this passion with everyone who visits to make sure that they know that Holy Cross is such an incredible school to attend.

 

 

 

Kat Resker

KatI’m a rising junior here at Holy Cross. I live about 25 minutes from campus in Grafton, MA however I am a full time Holy Cross student! On campus I work and volunteer in the Admissions and the Post Office, I am part of the choir, and I am also a member of a community service group called SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development). I have recently declared as a Political Science and Italian double major. Joined by seven other Holy Cross students, I will be spending my entire junior year in Bologna, Italy studying at L’Università di Bologna! One of my highlights on the Hill was undoubtedly spring break of my freshman year when I spent a week in El Paso, Texas on an immersion trip hosted by our Chaplain’s Office.

 

 

 

Flavia Sula

FullSizeRender-4I am a rising junior here at Holy Cross. I’ve lived in Worcester, MA for fifteen years, but I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. I am an English major, with a Women’s and Gender Studies concentration. On campus, I’ve been involved in various things: tour guide in Admissions, work-study student in the Study Abroad office, Summer Orientation Leader with the Gateways program, Escape Retreat Team Leader with the Chaplain’s Office, and the College Honors Program. What I’m most excited about next year is having the opportunity to study and live in Trinity College, Dublin, under the supervision and guidance of Holy Cross’ study abroad program. Therefore, I’m happy to spend as much time at Holy Cross for the summer, sharing my experiences and memories with prospective students, before leaving this wonderful place for an entire academic year.

 

 

 

 

 

We offer tours four times a day, Monday through Friday; for more information, please go to our Tours & Information Sessions page.  Hope to see you on campus soon!

 

(photography given to Admissions by the authors)

Happy May Day!

Friday, May 1st, 2015

In some parts of the world, May 1 is known as May Day.  It is a time of celebration to honor spring, with dancing around a maypole, spending time outside, and enjoying the company of friends and family.  In my family’s home country of Finland, May Day is celebrated with tippaleipä, or Finnish funnel cake!

peanuts Sima_and_tippaleipä_2

May 1 is an important day for those of us who work in college admissions because it is College Decision Day, or the last day that accepted students have to choose where they will spend the next four years.  With the hashtags #CollegeDecisionDay and #CollegeSigningDay blowing up on Twitter (check out the Obama’s tweet!), it is exciting to see counselors and other school administrators, parents and other family members, and of course students themselves sharing their enthusiasm on social media.

Here at the office we asked accepted students to sign a banner, which we proudly displayed in our office throughout the month of April.  Here it is in all of its glory:

banner

We received signatures from both near and far, including Puerto Rico, Georgia, New York, California, Iowa, and Washington!  It has been an incredible year so far, and we look forward to having all of the members of the Class of 2019 on campus in August!

 

Image credits:

Peanuts Gang Maypole image from http://snoopn4pnuts.com/flags-and-windsocks/school-flags/peanuts-gang-may-pole-flag-rare–610012/.

Tippaleipä image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sima_and_tippaleip%C3%A4_2.jpg.

Banner image taken by author.

An Over-Due Post on Open House

Friday, April 24th, 2015

What a success! Last Sunday we hosted our Accepted Students’ Open House program and had a fantastic day!

OH 6 OH 7

Here were some of the highlights of the program:

– a fair with representatives of student organizations, campus life departments, and sports teams to discuss various on-campus opportunities

– sessions on our Career Planning Services; Preparation for Health Professions; Study Abroad; Preparation for Law; Student-Designed Majors, Minors and other programs; Preparation for Business; Scholars Programs; Summer & Academic Internships; and Library Services

– separate panels for families and admitted students with current Holy Cross students, faculty, and staff

– brief, informal presentations by faculty in various the academic areas

– a Liturgy of Welcome at St. Joseph’s Chapel

The sun shone brightly over Mount Saint James throughout the day; we were so fortunate to host such a fun and informative event and have such great weather.  We also lucked out with several special performances of Holy Cross a Capella groups, the choir, and our Good Time Marching Band.  Coordination of this event required the planning of many staff members, faculty, and students–thank you all so so much!  And thank you to our guests for coming–we hope you had a wonderful time on campus!

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April Events!

Friday, April 17th, 2015

 

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Today is April 17th.  It could just be any other Friday, but on Mt. St. James, today is important for a few reasons. First of all, it’s the last work day before our Accepted Students’ Open House on Sunday, April 19th!  Open House is a great opportunity for admitted students and their families to meet other potential Crusaders and current Crusaders, to interact with faculty and administrators, and to experience life at the College.  Although registration has closed, all accepted students and their families are welcome to attend!

Another reason why today, April 17th, is important is because today is Purple Pride Day.  Students in the Purple Key Society are working today to promote school spirit (something Holy Cross students have in incredible amounts).  I hope that you enjoy this fun video showing one student’s journey around campus:

I am so grateful to be part of such a supportive, dynamic, and fun community!  I encourage you to explore the College of the Holy Cross–whether it is in person, on our site, or on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook.  Additionally, we invite admitted students to tweet us pictures of themselves in purple with #HC2019!  Please join the conversation!

 

 

April Showers (of SaderSelfies)…

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

 

…bring May flowers (a.k.a. the Class of 2019)!

rain     flower

 

I am so excited for the month of April!  The days are getting warmer and longer, the snow is finally melting, and admitted students have been visiting campus, calling the office, and writing on Facebook!  Now that admission decisions have been made available online and mailed to students’ homes, seniors are working to figure out where they will spend the next four years.  To help them make that choice, we in the Admissions Office (with the help of our Social Media interns) will be tweeting fun facts and interesting information about the College throughout the month.  We also encourage students (both admitted and current) to tweet us a picture of themselves wearing Holy Cross gear or holding up their acceptance letter with the hashtag #SaderSelfie.  We kicked off the campaign earlier today if you would like to see our photo!

 

For students who want to get more involved in other events this month, here are some handy dates to know:

Wednesday, April 8: Online Chat from 7 to 10 p.m. ET — This event is a great way for accepted students to talk to one another, as well as chat with admission counselors and current students!

Sunday, April 19: Open House from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET — Please come to the Hill to get a glimpse of the academic and social life at Holy Cross!  Activities will include a student life fair with representatives from clubs and sports teams; information sessions on topics such as career planning, our pre-health program, and internships; and current student panels for admitted students and families.

Sunday, April 19 to Monday, April 20: Overnight Program — After the Open House, accepted students are invited to stay on campus for the night and then attend morning classes the following day.

Friday, May 1: the national enrollment deadline — The day when seniors need to send in their deposits!

 

For students who want even more, we have a beautiful virtual tour, as well as a number of other great videos on our YouTube page.  And please, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, where you will also find our Admitted Students group!

Cheers to spring!

 

 

Decisions, Decisions

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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Over 6,700 prospective students, over 50 days of reading and deliberating files, over 115 inches of snow, and today Committee is OVER.  And what a Committee it was!  13 counselors with different backgrounds, different levels of admissions experience, and different recruitment regions all came together to help shape the Class of 2019.  We are so proud of our applicants this year–the pool included students from sea to shining sea, as well as Canada and Peru, the UK and Nepal, China and Egypt and India and several other countries.  It was so incredible to learn about students from all over the world, as they threw their hats in the ring for a chance to be part of our community.  I am so humbled to work in Admissions here at Holy Cross and get to be a part of this amazing process!

Students’ incredibly hard work certainly did not go unnoticed in this admission cycle.  We tapped our feet to drumming videos; smiled through scenes from plays like Shrek and Legally Blonde; felt shivers run down our spines during vocal performances; enjoyed stunning self-portraits, photographs, still-life paintings, and ceramic pottery; laughed at funny essays (and teared up at tender essays); and of course, we voted.  We chose students who we think challenged themselves in high school and will relish the academic rigors here on Mount Saint James.  We chose students who we believe will enhance our community with their wonderful talents, their varied interests, and their strong drive to not only better themselves but also better the lives of others.  And finally, we chose students who showed us their desire to study at a liberal arts college, and if they could, their desire to study at Holy Cross specifically.  Applicants showed us in all kinds of ways that they wanted to be Crusaders–by visiting campus, interviewing with an admissions counselor or an alumnus/alumna, writing to us, submitting their application response form, sending us supplemental materials, and/or attending a campus event.  Now that this part of the admission cycle is over, we look to the next step: helping admitted students choose Holy Cross!

I would like to end this post with my deepest congratulations to everyone who applied to the College this year.  You are all such incredible people with so much to offer, and it was an extraordinary experience to review your applications.  Working at a small liberal arts college, we had to make some hard decisions, and I wish that we could have taken more students–we saw so many well-qualified students in this pool.  While we could not offer a spot to everyone, we thank you all for applying and wish you all the best in your final semester of high school and in your future studies!