Posts Tagged ‘interview tips’

Last Week of JAD!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

 

campus 1 Fenwick 1

 

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)

 

“Interview” is Not a Four-Letter Word

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

It is actually nine.  Whether  we are meeting students on the road or on campus,  we seem to hear the same question over and over again: “What can I do to increase my chances of acceptance?”

Our answer?  “INTERVIEW!”

Though interviews are considered by many high school students to be superficial, self-indulgent monologues professing one’s greatness to an intimidating potential employer for personal gain,  it would be more appropriate to title Holy Cross Interviews as “Conversations,” because that is essentially what they are: two people in a room chatting about anything and everything.

The interview is not the time to determine if a student is a credible candidate; it is a time to put a name with a face and get to know each candidate on a more personal level.  It is not about proving yourself to our office, it is about adding more information to your own application.  Twenty to thirty minutes of conversation can add volumes of information to your application that is impossible to convey on paper through the Common Application, your letters of recommendation, your college essay, or your SAT scores (should you choose to send them).  Read more about scheduling an interview on- or off-campus,   and schedule one before we run out of spots.

 

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

Contagious Symptoms!

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Before you run for the hills or close out of this web browser, I should let you know that what I’ve got, you want.  I have a bad case of the College Interview Bug (or CIB for short).  Symptoms of CIB include:

1.        An irresistible urge to discover any or all colleges/universities in which you are interested which offer an Admissions Interview. You will stay up late at night to search these colleges’ websites.  You will call up Admissions Offices during your lunch break at your summer job to inquire about the details of the interview.  You won’t be able to help yourself until you have nailed down each college and university; it will just feel right.  CIB will take control of your motor functions and bring you on tours, plop you down in information sessions, and brag about your accomplishments during interviews.  It will have your body running on auto-pilot.

2.       An insatiable desire to speak with Admissions representatives like myself. You will sign up for those interview slots and count the seconds until you are able to present yourself in all your glory to the Admissions office at X University and/or Y College.  You cannot fathom waiting any longer to converse with these representatives because you need to tell them how your summer is going and how excited you are for a busy Senior year.

3.       A lingering thirst for continued interaction with representatives even after the interview. You will insist on keeping those representatives at your top college/university choices informed on your activities throughout Senior year.  Yes, Senior year will be busy, but you will toss and turn in bed at night until you shoot off a quick email once every month to touch base with those Admissions representatives.

The thought of catching CIB might sound unappealing upon reading this blog, but CIB is a pandemic.  It seems that current Juniors (soon to be Seniors) are most susceptible to CIB.   Like Hay-Fever, CIB appears mostly in the summer and it is communicable by word of mouth.  Don’t be afraid to pass it on to others as CIB forms a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with each host.  Like I said from the get-go, you want what I’ve got.

Dan Weagle ’08
Admissions  Counselor

Still Haven’t Scheduled an Interview?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

AmandaJuriansz.BLOG2Well what are you waiting for?!  There are still lots of opportunities to have a personal interview through the admissions office.  Holy Cross offers interviews until December 30th.  Early decision candidates- your interview deadline is November 25th.  So get on the phone and give us a call!  On-campus interviews are offered every weekday 9-4 p.m.

If you’re traveling from outside the northeast and can’t get to Holy Cross, off-campus alumni interviews are available.  All you need to do is submit your common application and then fill out the alumni interviews request form on our Web site.

An interview is the best way to show your interest in a school and also the best way for the admissions committee to get to know you in a personal way.  Transcripts and recommendations are nice, but nothing beats an interview when we’re trying to get a clear picture of what you’re all about.  So if you’re wondering “what can I do to make my application stand out?” here’s your answer:  schedule and interview!

Amanda Juriansz
Assistant Director of Community Outreach

off campus alumni interviews

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

lynnBelieve it or not, I don’t care for the picture of me that accompanies my blogs.  The photographer said “don’t smile”, so I didn’t.  The result is a slightly confused-looking version of my better self.  I try not to look at it when I view my blogs, but it’s hard to ignore that unhappy face.  It’s not that the picture is more important than (or even as important as) the words beside it, but I just can’t reconcile that mean-looking person with the friendly words she writes.
 
I’ve felt this way before.  I interview hundreds of students each year.  The conversation I have with a student matters so much more than the look on their face or the outfit they wear.  But a confused/mean/bored face can be a distraction from a really nice story.  So no matter what anyone tells you…show me that smile.
 
Still waiting for photo make-up day…

 

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

Yet Another Benefit of Interviewing

Monday, June 1st, 2009

JuliaSanders I just finished up my first interview of the new season.   I must admit, prior to the interview, the rainy day was making me feel a little “blah.”   But there’s just something about a nice conversation with someone that makes me smile.   She didn’t have to do any magic tricks or back flips, or cure cancer, or bring me cookies (my favorite is chocolate chip with walnuts). (And no, you are not supposed to bring me cookies). (Unless you reeeeallly want to).  All she had to do was show up, and have a conversation.  She told me about her interests in service, law, and art;  we talked about the new Star Trek movie;  and we reminisced about how beautiful western Massachusetts can be when there aren’t so many tourists around.

She did a great job, and she made my day just a little brighter.

So what should you take away from this?  That in addition to helping you get into college, and giving you insider information on whichever colleges you’re considering,    interviewing makes admissions folks smile, and that never hurts.

Julia Sanders
Admissions Counselor

On-campus interviews are available now through December. To arrange an on-campus interview, please call the Admissions Office at 1-800-442-2421.  For more information, please see our Web site.

How Do We Make Our Admissions Decisions?: An Insider’s Guide to the Committee Process

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

JuliaMonday morning, 9:00 AM:  Company in.  Twelve admissions counselors.  Twelve cups of coffee.  Our mission?  To decide who gets in.

With so many remarkable candidates, just how do we decide?  While some contend we could simply throw the applications into the air, grab a few thousand at random, and hope for the best, the Holy Cross admissions process is a democratic one, where all applications are voted on;  majority wins.

As today’s committee fly on the wall, I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on our unique process.  So follow me, behind the closed doors.

Every day, for nine hours a day, for about 5 weeks, we gather together, in the cozy space pictured below:

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Back when we were reading all of your applications, we were also summarizing everything in your file, onto what we call a “reading sheet” – a crucial piece of paper that houses a breakdown of your transcript, bits from your recommendations, quotes from the letter from your mom, impressions gathered from your interview, an evaluation of your essay, notes on the academic curriculum offered at your high school, a listing of your test scores (if you decided to submit them), bits about your extra-curriculars,  awards,  jobs,  etc.

During committee, the reading sheets are projected onto the wall, one at a time, for all committee members to see.  Everything in your file finds a place onto your reading sheet, and thusly, everything in your file is evaluated by twelve sets of eyes, before a decision is made.  IMG_3593

With your reading sheet projected onto the wall, we do, in fact, talk about you. We talk about your achievements, your personality, your background, your goals, your successes, and your failures.   Conversations can last anywhere from two minutes to twenty – depending on the case.   If there are any questions, we rummage through the file and fill in the blanks.   We might re-read the essay.  We might double-check the transcript.   We examine your school profile.   If necessary, we call your guidance counselor.  We check again.  And again.   And again.  We might even call your mom. (I kid).  The point is, when it comes to assessing your candidacy, there are no stones left unturned

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When we are ready, it’s decision time.  “Anyone want to Accept?”  Hands are raised. And counted.  Majority wins.  And this is how it works, each and every time.

Why do we do it this way? While admissions-sponsored snacks  (important decisions require sustenance) and the option to dress down are obvious perks, we make our admissions decisions as a committee because we feel that a democratic voting process is the fairest way to handle such an overwhelming and often times subjective task.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because you have worked very hard on your application, and we believe your hard work affords you reciprocity.   We want you to have faith in the fact that your application is in the hands of people that will stop at nothing to make the fairest decisions possible.

And with that, it’s time to get back to work.

Julia Sanders

Admissions Counselor

I Want an Interview… and I Can’t Get One.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Lynn
Two months ago I wrote a blog about the importance of the interview.  Many of you got the message.  You probably got the same message if you attended an information session on campus or if you met a Holy Cross representative at your school this fall.  You nodded, you understood, you made a mental note — and then you missed the deadline.  Or you called our office recently and found out that we are booked solid through the end of the month.  What now?  Remember not just that we told you to have an interview, but what we said about why.  We want to know you, and our full schedule does not change that fact.  But unfortunately, that fact does not change our full schedule.  So you may not be able to have an interview after all, but you can still help us to know you better.  Some students choose to submit a letter or e-mail “filling in the blanks” that may exist in the absence of an interview.  Such letters can provide additional information about accomplishments, interests and passions.  They can answer some of the questions an interviewer might ask.

If you write it, we’ll read it.  So start filling in those blanks.

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

The Power of Words – Interviews and Essays

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Drew
This weekend, I was watching one of my favorite movies, V for Vendetta, and I was struck by one particular quote from the protagonist V and its connection to the college process:

“. . . words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”

I’m sure you’re thinking – how is he going to make this quote relevant to an admissions blog?  Well, words do retain their power and for current high school seniors, there are two areas are most important right now:

Interviews: There’s still a chance to interview here on campus at Holy Cross.  Tell us what you think; tell us what you know; tell us what you hope to be and where you hope to be.  For your words to have power, we need to hear them.  We want to hear them.
Interviews are strongly recommended as part of the application process here at Holy Cross. Check out the Admissions site for more information about scheduling an interview.

Application Essay: It’s so very easy for students to see the application essay as a homework assignment for which they do not receive credit.  But another way to look at it is this – it is your power in the process.  You can write about anything you want and your reader (the admissions counselor) is so excited to read what you want to write.  So don’t spend another minute thinking about what you should write; write what you want to write and write it with confidence.  Have confidence in your words and in your writing.  For your words to have power, for your words to offer the means to meaning, they must come through unfettered by the constraints of expectation.

We’re here and we’re waiting.  Now let us hear your words.

Andrew N Carter
Associate Director of Admissions