Posts Tagged ‘admissions travel’

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)

Cheers to our Admissions Ambassadors!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

As my colleague tweeted earlier this month, 50 students will be spending part of their winter break visiting their former high schools as a way to help promote the College!  We in Admissions are so fortunate to have many great volunteers helping us.  Students serve as greeters in the waiting room talking to prospective students and their families; as tour guides trekking across campus with large groups of visitors; and now as ambassadors speaking to college counselors and students at their old high schools.  I wanted to share with you some of the responses that we received from students applying to participate in the admissions ambassador program.  On the maps below I have marked the ambassadors’ home states and countries!

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student from Illinois: In just a few semesters, Holy Cross has challenged me academically and personally, pushing me to discover who I am, reflect upon what I want to be in the world, and search what I can do for those most in need. I have found on Mount St. James a tight-knit community and a supportive, warm environment.

student from Minnesota: Not only has living on the East Coast…been a great learning and cultural experience, but I have also come to appreciate all of the aspects that make a Holy Cross education so worthwhile: small class sizes, diverse subjects, close relationships with professors, undergraduate research, and most importantly, a commitment to cultivating “men and women for and with others.”

student from Texas: Holy Cross has given me opportunities that I never imagined I would have. I will be studying abroad in Argentina in the spring, I participate in psychology research, I made m[y] own student organization, and I have met and dined with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

student from Arkansas: I have loved living in a new part of the country, getting to travel around the Northeast, go to a college that has rigorous academics, play volleyball with my best friends while representing the college, and so much more.

student from Georgia: Since coming to Holy Cross, I have risen through the ranks of The Crusader and will be one of the Co-Editor-in-Chiefs next semester. Also, I have strengthened my spiritual life while serving as the Communion Ministry Coordinator as well as participating in immersion trips. My love for biology has been strengthened through on-campus research investigating diabetes–the skills I acquired…helped me land an internship over the past summer…at Emory University Medical School.

student from Washington: I have been exposed to many different fields in my studies, but all of these challenge you to develop your ability to reason, write, and express yourself.  Furthermore, my experience in the Washington Semester was invaluable.  Not only was I able to apply my classroom knowledge in a professional capacity at the State Department, but I was able to interact with policymakers, United States Senators, and Supreme Court Justices.

student from China: Because I am an international student and an ESL as well, I got extra help on my writing from professors and writer’s workshop. I felt like HC really cares about its students. In this semester, I met with my peer mentor…once a week, my advisor…twice a month,…and [my] class dean once a month. [They] not only cared about my life [at Holy Cross], but also they provided constructive suggestions.

student from Japan: During classes which revolved heavily around student and faculty discussions, from my psych class to even class about Buddhism, there were plenty moments where I was able to offer an unique set of perspectives, just because I grew up in a completely different kind of society with differing tradition, values, and identity. I strongly believe that with the rise of transparency and globalization, willingness to suspend your ideology and values while trying to understand the complete opposite of it is an important skill to have…My time at Holy Cross has been a wonderful one so far, and I’m very proud to be here.

From Worcester to Siberia

Friday, May 16th, 2014

DianeSoboski.BLOG2Earlier this spring, I received an e-mail from our Vice President of Academic Affairs that detailed some extraordinary scientific work that a few recent graduates were doing in conjunction with the Polaris Project, an organization dedicated to studying global climate changes in the Siberian Arctic. Immediately, one of the names caught my eye; Craig Connolly, HC ’13, was acknowledged for being one of the youngest authors and presenters at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco held last December. The title of his presentation, “Organic matter bioavailability and enzyme activities within stream benthic sediments in northeastern Siberia,” left me both impressed and a little bewildered. Additionally, the e-mail included that Craig recently had published a paper in the international journal Wetlands on how “global sea rise and increased saltwater intrusion in tidal rivers influences decomposition of an invasive and widespread macrophyte.”

 

While certainly impressive, I am no stranger to hearing of the outstanding accomplishments of our students. What struck me most was that this student, this particular student, was the first student that I called back in 2009 to congratulate on his acceptance and officially welcome to the College. In fact, Craig (and his twin brother Kevin, who also graduated from Holy Cross) was one of the first students I met on the road at his school only weeks after being hired in the admissions office.  I later interviewed him on campus, read his application, and presented his file to our Committee for review.

 

For the next four years, I’d see Craig around campus at various events, and it made me smile to see how seamlessly he appeared to fit into our community. He wasn’t a volunteer in our office, or one of the many students that I interacted with on a daily basis; he was just another student who came to Holy Cross, did excellent work, and who I watched cross the stage at graduation last year. But to me, Craig will always be that first student who I really felt belonged here and knew would have a positive impact on the Holy Cross campus.

 

I don’t know that he’ll ever read this blog, or even know that I’ve  kept track of him over the years, but it’s stories like these that make me love my job. I’m incredibly proud of Craig and all that he’s accomplished … even if I don’t exactly understand exactly what it is he’s studying in Siberia.

 

Diane Soboski

Associate Director of Admissions

(*Craig will be returning to Siberia this summer as a research assistant with the Woods Hole Research Center before beginning his PhD at the University of Texas in Austin this fall.)

 

A Seasonal Playlist

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Zachary WielgusMy life requires a soundtrack. More often than not, I have something playing in the background. While I’m working in my office, cleaning my apartment, going for a run, writing this blog … there’s something moving through the speakers.

Given that, as I spend many hours in the car getting from place to place during travel season, I have made an unofficial playlist for this time of the admissions year:

 

 

1)  ESPN Radio. The bickering and analysis of Mike & Mike greets me every morning. I drink coffee, listen to sports talk, and wake up on my way to my first stop.

2)  “We Were Us” by Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert. I heard an interview about making this duet while in Columbus, and now I can’t change to the station when it’s on.

3)  “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. I’m not proud of it, but this thing is on all the time.

4)  “Every Little Thing is Gonna Be All Right” by Bob Marley. After answering many, many concerns about the Common App’s glitches from frantic applicants and counselors, this melody has become my go-to advice. Get lost in these words.

5)  “Out of My League” by Fitz and the Tantrums. A lucky find of a Minneapolis independent radio station introduced this song (and band) to me. Their whole album is great!

6)  “Radio” by Darius Rucker. I was lost in Tennessee when I first heard this new single. As a big Darius Rucker fan, it was three minutes of windows-down bliss in an otherwise stressful situation.

7)  “Roar” by Katy Perry. As word of a contest to win a Katy Perry concert by making a video to this tune got ‘round all-girls schools everywhere, I, too, got caught up in her new hook.

8)  “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. After exhausting the country, top 40, and alternative rock stations, I rediscovered my appreciation for Motown. The horns in this song get me pumped for a visit!

9)  “Applause” by Lady Gaga. After a long day with a drive back to the hotel the final task, getting to blast Gaga’s return appropriately matches my mood. I don’t know most of the words, but at that point, it doesn’t matter.

A Day in the Life: On the Road

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Zachary WielgusHey ya’ll!

As anyone who knows me — friends, family, co-workers, recent plane neighbors — I love Tennessee. I love the accent. I love the music. I love the barbeque. Sometimes (read: all the time), I like to pretend I live here as I spend my week visiting Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis. So I figured, this trip is a great way to show what it’s like to be a Holy Cross admissions counselor on the road.

 

En route to Nashville from Chattanooga!

En route to Nashville from Chattanooga!

 

6:27 a.m. Begrudgingly pull myself out of bed. I am not much of a morning person.

7:35 a.m. Arrive at St. Cecilia Academy for their mini-fair. Not 12 hours before, I was standing in their foyer for the Catholic Colleges fair for students in Nashville, but it’s important for all the girls to get a chance to stop by.

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9:10 a.m. Wrap up at St. Cecilia’s and head across the street — literally — to Montgomery Bell Academy for a similar setup.

10:30 a.m. A break from the mini-fair action comes in the form of a traditional visit to Ensworth School. In this format, we announce our visits to students and guidance counselors in hopes of having a conversation for 40 minutes about Holy Cross.

10:34 a.m. Whoa! My body finally realized I had had neither coffee nor breakfast today. That’s about to change…

Ahhh, sweet caffeine

Ahhh, sweet caffeine

10:45 a.m. Pull into Ensworth just in time for my scheduled visit. We admissions counselors get pretty good at maximizing these few minutes in between visits.

11:30 a.m. After a great conversation with Laura Stewart, Ensworth School’s Director of College Counseling, I plug Harpeth Hall into my handy-dandy GPS. Did you know there was a time when admissions counselors used maps to get from place to place? As in, a real road atlas. I would make it to a school visit 4% of the time.

11:56 a.m. With an hour before the Harpeth Hall mini-fair begins, I must invoke the unfortunately common parking lot lurk. It’s just me in my rental car, hopefully away from quizzical eyes, answering e-mails on my phone until I can head inside. There is such a thing as being too early.

1:45 p.m. With the end of a strong visit to Harpeth Hall, it’s time for lunch. Let my obsession with Yelp take over!

2:10 p.m. Today’s lunch spot has been found! (Thanks for a delicious salad and iced tea, Fido.)fido

3:30 p.m. To answer more e-mails, nap, or go for a run? Incredibly, I choose run this afternoon. It’s only a quick four-mile one, but I always enjoy the chance to jog around Centennial Park and catch a glimpse of the Parthenon replica. To be honest, I still don’t know why it’s in Nashville…

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4:18 p.m. OK, OK, time to catch up on e-mail,: reply to inquiring students, continue planning Wednesday’s interview night, and keep all the on-campus commitments humming.

6:41 p.m. The best part about Nashville, of course, is the free live music EVERYWHERE. Hop the hotel shuttle to the main strip on Broadway and pick your destination. It sure beats watching TV or reading a magazine while eating dinner. Hey, this part of the job can get a little lonely!

Just a few of the lights on Broadway

Just a few of the lights on Broadway

10:01 p.m. Well, Father Ryan’s mini-fair begins at 7:15 tomorrow morning, so I better head back to the hotel and get some rest. Bless my heart, but I still need my eight hours!

 

For a list of where all 13 of us will be and when, check out our Visits to Your High School page

 

Admissions Travel Rules

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I think anyone working in admissions would tell you the first days of travel are the hardest.  Now a seasoned pro,  I’ve learned a few tricks I know I’ll be bringing with me on my next trip:

1)      If your GPS tells you it will take 20 minutes to get somewhere, expect it to take 30. And plan ahead for that. The difference between arriving at 8:28 and 8:30 are astronomical on your stress level. Or maybe that’s just me.

2)      Get used to eating breakfast and lunch in the car. It’s rare you get a half hour to just sit in an eatery that just so happens to be conveniently located two blocks from your next school (see: never).

3)      Napkins, napkins, napkins. Drinking coffee or eating a sandwich with delicious spicy mustard while driving a car usually ends in what my aunt describes as “blapping.” A white shirt with a noticeable stain on the front isn’t the greatest first impression.

4)      Bring your running shoes. I sprinted through Charlotte airport to make a connection on my first day. (They closed the doors 90 seconds later.)

5)      But pack a nice outfit on your carry on. (Although I made it to my connecting flight, my suitcase with all my clothes did not. That came six hours later.)

6)      Be adventurous! The restaurant in the hotel is fine for a night, but these are cities I’d likely never be in otherwise. There’s a reason I watched all those episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. This is that reason!

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of travel experiences and blunders. With a season under my belt, though, I think I’m a little bit wiser.

Fall: A Great Time to Make Connections

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Fall is here – school is in full swing, a light jacket is needed, the leaves are changing and we admissions counselors have been busy traveling around the country to high schools and college fairs to meet with you, prospective students, as well as your high school counselors and parents. This is when we get the opportunity to bring Holy Cross to you, let you know about all of the new and exciting things going on here on campus and also give you the opportunity to make a connection with our office in a place you know.

One of my favorite things about working in admissions is the ability to travel to your high schools and college fairs to meet with you and your families because I can learn more about you and your high school and see what your city and town is like firsthand. I remember how stressful the college process can be and having a representative travel to your school and meet with you, I hope, makes things just a little bit easier. I love walking into a room of students from one to twenty-one and being able to answer any questions they have about Holy Cross and the admissions process, in hopes that they learned something new and will think of me later if something else comes to mind big or small.

For those of you who live across the country it is your chance to interact with us counselors in person and make a personal connection. That is what fall travel is about, the ability for you to make a personal contact with an officer like me so that when you have questions along the way you have a connection with the person reading your application.

Julliana Jennings

Assistant Director of Admissions

Multicultural Recruitment

Interviewing Students Throughout the Country

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

During the fall months, as we travel around the country meeting with prospective students at various high schools, we also have the chance to offer interview nights in several cities. Often times, these interview nights will be hosted by an admissions counselor but may include the opportunity for interested students to meet with alumni who now live in their home state.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to meet with several high school students in Milwaukee and Chicago. As admissions counselors, we can learn a lot from your application file – but nothing will tell us more about who you are than an interview. Interviews are a great way to learn more about a candidate – to get a feel for what they’re looking for in a college, what dreams/aspirations they have, and what they’ve been involved with during their high school years. I love meeting with students and learning more about what makes you, you.

If you haven’t already had an interview, I’d encourage you to think about scheduling one. They’re painless, I promise! We just to get to know you better, and to add another dimension to your application.

Signing up has never been easier! If you’re interested in scheduling an interview for one of our off campus interview nights, please fill out our form online and someone from our office will be in touch to assign you a time slot.

We look forward to meeting you!

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

Planning our Admissions Travel

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

amandaSo it’s July and while you’re (we hope) sitting by the pool enjoying your summer break, we’re here in the office thinking about your college applications.  Yes, we’re already planning for next year.  Over the past few weeks we have begun planning our fall travel schedules.  We put a lot of thought into what schools we will be visiting.  We consider where we have visited in past years, where we receive applications from, and also where we would like to build awareness about Holy Cross.  After much deliberating, scheduling and rescheduling,  each counselor will have approximately a seven week itinerary of high schools, community based agencies and college fairs to attend spanning from September to November.  We can’t always visit every school or attend every event we would like but we do our best to fit everything in.  In August,  our schedules will be posted on the web page, so be sure to check that out to see when we’ll be in your area.  We’ll see you on the road this fall!

Amanda Juriansz
Assistant Director of Community Outreach