Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Our Stellar Senior Interviewers

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Hello, all! Tom Campbell here, one of the three new Admissions Counselors in the office. I’m here to talk with you about everyone’s favorite topic: aging.

While I have not yet earned the status of senior citizen, at times I certainly feel like one.  As I walk up and down the notorious Holy Cross hills (only a year after graduating from the College, no less) an unfamiliar stiffness can catch me off guard.  My age also belies my old-soul musical tastes–just take a look at my Spotify profile, which boasts far more Fleetwood Mac than Fetty Wap.  At least I use Spotify and not Limewire, right?

So in order to keep me young and hip, cue the other seniors in our Admissions office: our senior interviewers.

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photo, author’s own

Not only do these star students effortlessly balance their academics, post-grad planning, extracurricular activities, and admissions office commitments, but they also keep our staff connected with all of the exciting happenings both on and off campus. From traditions such as Senior Ball to new activities such as Unity Week and Agape Latte, our senior interviewers constantly remind all of us about the amazing things that Holy Cross students do, and how dedicated they are to the Crusader community. We are so fortunate that an amazing group of seniors is willing to work in our office and share their experiences with prospective students. Their excitement for the school is tangible, and their participation in our office is just another testament to the level of pride that our students have for the College.

If you come to campus for an interview and meet with a senior interviewer, be sure to ask them questions about their campus involvement, their transition from high school to college, and their favorite Holy Cross memories. After all, Holy Cross is all about asking more, and who better to ask than a current student?

So while growing old might seem daunting to some, take some comfort knowing that some things never change with age. For members of the Holy Cross community, a lasting love for Mount St. James would be a prime example of this. I’m sure seniors and senior citizens alike can agree on that point!

Fetty vs. Fleetwood, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game…

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)

 

Thoughts on Today

Monday, December 1st, 2014

wan xwan 3 in color

 

Today feels like an important day.  It is Monday, which marks the beginning of a new week: new to-do lists to make, new appointments and meetings to attend, new weekly goals to set.  It is also the first day of December, which means only two weeks left until the Early Decision pool is closed (on December 15!).  Fall seems to be wrapping up for the year, and winter approaches.  With the new season comes more application reading, more decision-making, and more future Crusaders!

During this time of year, our office fields a lot of calls about applications, and I thought that it might be helpful to address some students’ and families’ questions here.  Below are my thoughts on what to know:

1. We offer some helpful application tips here.  When it comes to applications, every material a student sends us is reviewed and every application is read by two different counselors (we try to read by region).  Our staff collectively looks at each file during committee and every staff member’s opinion matters in the final vote.

2. The high school transcript is the most important item in the student’s file.  We contextualize each student within their high school and note the various course offerings and the individual student’s level of rigor at their particular school.  Students at Holy Cross will be challenged academically, so we admit students who have pushed themselves in high school (whether that’s taking honors, accelerated, AP, or IB classes).  Senior grades are important, but we do look at the overall high school performance.

3. The essay is, for many readers, the favorite part of the application.  We read about all kinds of high and lows in school, such as adventures abroad in new and exciting destinations, or setbacks and how students bounce back from disappointment.  Although it is only a few paragraphs, the essay is completely under the control of the student and an opportunity to speak directly to college counselors.  For those students who have not written their essay yet (not to worry, you still have plenty of time!), please keep this in mind and try to think of a creative way to tell the reader an interesting personal story.

4.  We do track student interaction.  By this I mean that we add emails to students’ files, we look at whether or not the student has visited campus for a tour or stopped by a college fair to say hello, and we highly recommend interviews.  The Office will be closed December 24 through 26, and on December 31 and January 1, but please do come in sometime this month if you are able!

Have a fantastic week, and please do feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

(photos by Xiaofeng Wan)

Interviews at Holy Cross

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

 

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The leaves on the trees have changed color and are now dropping.  The days seem a little cooler, a bit mistier, and definitely shorter.  Fall feels as though it may be moving out the way for winter, and here in the admissions office we are starting to transition as well.  For many of us, recruitment travel has come to a close (it will be over soon for those still on the road!), and we are beginning to shift our attention from college fairs and high school visits to senior year transcripts, essays, and other important application materials as we enter reading season!

Although the deadline to apply through Early Decision is not until December 15th, we have already received a number of applications.  I for one am very excited to begin reading, and one piece of the application I personally enjoy reviewing is the interview write-up.  After an admissions staff member, senior interviewer, or alumni volunteer meets with a prospective student for an interview, their thoughts and impressions are added to the student’s file.  The write-up is later looked over by two different counselors during the reading season.

For us in admissions, the interview a great opportunity to see a glimpse of the student beyond their transcript and to get a sense of their potential fit at the College of the Holy Cross.  For the students, the interview is a great opportunity for them to offer us information that we might not otherwise glean from their application alone.

If you have not yet scheduled an interview, you still have plenty of time!  The deadline for off-campus interview requests is December 1st and for on-campus interviews is December 19th.  Please go here for more information.

Additionally, the Office of Admissions is especially grateful for our lovely Senior Interviewers and alumni volunteers who take the time to meet with prospective students and their families throughout the fall and across the country.  Thank you!

 

(photos taken by Xiaofeng Wan and Kerri Falkenham)

“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.

 

Put the “y-o-u” in Essay

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Kate Stewart
By the time you’re ready to actually apply to college, many of the pieces of your college application already are the way they are. You’ve taken the classes you’ve taken, you’ve earned the grades you’ve earned, you’ve been involved in activities that have been important to you, and your counselor and teachers have been reflecting on their relationships with you and starting to write their letters of recommendation. Essentially, your college application has been a work in progress for the past few years and at this point much of it is already– to a certain extent– out of your hands.

Sure, you might take the SATs one more time to see if your scores improve (though we’re test-optional at Holy Cross). You’ll continue working hard through senior year to keep your grades up (because we will see them). And hopefully, you’ve contacted us to set up a personal interview (we HIGHLY recommend this).

But one piece that’s still completely in your control and ready to be molded by you is your college essay.

This is great power, and it’s exciting! Consider the college essay an opportunity, and take full advantage of it. This is your chance to share something unique about yourself and to give us a glimpse into one aspect of your life that we wouldn’t otherwise have been fully privy to. We know you aced AP Calc and we know you’re captain of the soccer team and we know your teachers love you … but such is the case for many of our other applicants, too. So now let’s get personal. What wouldn’t we discover or understand about you just from reading your application? Let us in.

If you keep putting off the writing or are filled with dread every time you think about it, ask yourself why this is. Chances are, if you’re having difficulty getting started or making progress, your topic might not be as meaningful to you as you thought. Don’t write what you think we want to hear, write what matters to you. Start a couple of drafts on different topics, walk away, see which one you look forward to returning to the most, and stick with that one. A great personal essay often comes from a place of passion, pride, pain, amusement, nostalgia, curiosity, confusion, desire, joy, love. Write about what makes you tick, what gets you up in the morning, what brings tears to your eyes. Write about experiences that have changed you, relationships that have bettered you, accomplishments that have truly mattered to you, moments that have stayed with you, challenges you’ve overcome. Write about who you are and who you want to be.

The point is, write about YOU. You’ll notice that all five of the essay prompts on the Common Application direct you to write about yourself. So even though we are looking to evaluate the strength and style of your writing, please don’t send us the English paper you just got an A+ on. Boring! Make sure that the people who know you best would be able to read your essay and know it’s yours. Also make sure that if those people are helping you proofread and edit, don’t let their opinions influence you to the point that you end up losing “you” in the essay.

Finally, help make it easier on us admissions counselors by crafting a piece that’s interesting to read! Inject your voice, your personality, your creativity, and in some cases, your humor. A few comments we often make when we’re reading college essays:

  • “Show, don’t tell!” Illustrate the who, what, when, where, and why with details, examples, anecdotes, even dialogue.
  •  “Too thesaurus-heavy!” Don’t use words that are outside of your normal vocabulary. It will sound forced and unnatural.
  •  “Get rid of the first paragraph!” Don’t feel the need to have a formal introduction and conclusion with three neat topic paragraphs sandwiched in between. You have a limited number of words to use, so please just jump right in there and grab our attention.

Believe me when I say that we here on the admissions staff at Holy Cross love and appreciate the college essay. We look forward to getting to know you.

Back-to-school shopping list

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

I had the bright idea of going to Target this weekend. Roughly three minutes in to my Sunday errand, I realized that it was — for most — the last weekend before school came back in session. This meant only one thing:

Back-to-school shopping.

I’ll admit, between a mile-long walk from my parking space and lines that put any Disney coaster to shame, I got a little nostalgic. The rush for new binders, the “no Trapper Keepers” warning from teachers….I fondly remembered those waning days of summer spent in a Target loading up on school supplies to ring in a new year.

Now, on this side of the desk, my job has far less to do with No. 2 pencils than it does reminding seniors that there is still plenty to do in their autumn. Given that, here are important things to add to your college process list:

1) Start your applications. Yesterday. While even the earliest of deadlines loom two months away, you will thank yourself for starting — and hopefully finishing — your applications before Halloween. There’s a new Common App to figure out, many essay prompts and short answer requirements to write, and resumes to fill. Each one takes longer than you think, and all pieces should be submitted with care. Save yourself the stress and cross this off before November.

2) Don’t be a stranger. Many schools, including Holy Cross, pay attention to demonstrated interest. So, look into visiting opportunities that transcend the normal campus tour. Campus-wide Open House dates. Our visits to your high schools. The all-important interview (hint, hint). We like that you’ve seen the campus. Now, stay in touch by doing those added extras that can really help come decision time.

2a) If up to this point you ARE a stranger: introduce yourself! Actually stepping foot on campus not only bolsters your demonstrated interest folder but also allows you to get a true feel for the campus. You will never know which schools you like or dislike until you see the grounds and the facilities and students up close.

3) Keep your foot on the accelerator. There’s a lot happening senior year. Your schedule is likely the toughest it’s ever been. You’ve risen to leadership opportunities in your extracurriculars. You have to worry about college apps and standardized tests. Oh, right, and you’re trying to enjoy your final year of high school. It’s a heck of a juggling act! That being said, your first marking period grades — and often your performance through your midterms — is a vital component to the admissions process. We want to see that you’re continuing to challenge yourself, but we also want to see that you’re rising to that challenge. Don’t let senioritis sink your ship.

4) Befriend your guidance counselor. S/he should be helping you make your list, keep you informed of important dates, proofread your essays, and remind you to breathe a little. The better you know your guidance counselor, the more you know about your entire college process.

5) Try to enjoy these four months! Like I said, it is a lot to handle. But the searching and writing and visiting should all be at least a little fun, right? After all, you are trying to decide which place to call your home for four years. It’s a daunting task, but it should be an enjoyable one, too. We think this video helps.

If you have this entire list checked off by the time our calendar turns to 2014, you can bet that you will be resting easy, and that I’m going to enjoy reading your application.

Zach Wielgus
Assistant Director of Admissions

Oops, I Missed the Interview Opportunity

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

With all that’s going on in your senior year and the stress of college applications, you might not have noticed that Holy Cross offered an opportunity for a personal interview (or you may have  called and discovered that you missed the deadline!)

Don’t fret too much! If for some reason you weren’t able to interview at Holy Cross, we’d still like for you to take the opportunity to tell us a little more about yourself. What might we have learned in an interview?  What do you love about Holy Cross?  Recently won an award, became captain of the basketball team, or completed a spectacular service project? We want to hear about it. Write us an e-mail and share everything you would have talked about in an interview. Reconnect with an Admissions Counselor you met on the road or at an information session. When we sit down and open up a file, a lot of the information we have comes from other people (teachers, guidance counselors, etc.) This process is about you and we want to hear your voice as much as possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nicole Zervos ‘09
Assistant 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

I’m About to Apply – What Else Can I Do?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Fall is a time that flies by for Admissions Counselors.  Personally, I can’t believe that it’s already November. In the Admissions Office, we’re getting ready to start reading applications, especially those who have applied for Early Decision (deadline December 15th). As you get ready to hit the “submit” button on the Common Application, I wanted to share a few tips to help make your application the best that it can be:

If you haven’t already, schedule an interview .  Interviews are not required, but are highly recommended as part of our application process. They’re painless, we promise! We just want to have a conversation with you and learn about all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished in high school.

Keep up those senior grades! We know how easy it is to fall prey to “senioritis,” but remember that continuing to do well in senior year is important to us.

Proofread that essay. Make sure to use both proofreaders (Mom, Dad, siblings, friends, etc.),  and proofreaders with perspective (English teachers, Guidance Counselors).

• Feel free to send us any supplemental materials- artwork, music, writing samples, resumes, etc. We like to know about all of your talents, both in and out of the classroom.

Not ready to submit an application to Holy Cross just yet? Don’t worry. There is still time to learn all about HC and our admissions process. Join us at our Open House this Sunday,  November 14th.

Nicole Zervos ‘09

Admissions Counselor