Multiculturalism at Holy Cross

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

Test Scores: To Submit or Not to Submit

Some of the most common questions I get asked from students, parents and counselors are the following:  “At what point should a student decide to not submit testing?”  Or “When will submitting testing help my chances?” In reality this decision is entirely up to you.  If you feel your testing says something about you and your abilities, feel free to send them along. We will look at them in conjunction with your transcript, your recommendations, essay and interview (if you have had one) and make our assessment.  If, on the other hand, you feel that your test scores do not represent you well, then do not hesitate to withhold them. We will not make any assumptions about your testing, and will focus our attention on your transcript and the other accompanying credentials that are contained in your application.

Holy Cross has always placed far greater weight on the academic experience of a candidate as demonstrated through the high school transcript then on a single test or combination of tests.  Our experience has shown that the rigor of a student’s program and overall academic performance can best illustrate commitment, motivation, and willingness to take on challenges.  Our process credits students who have achieved at a very high level in the classroom, with far less importance placed on testing.

So, submit or not to submit?  The choice is yours!

Ann McDermott
Director of Admissions

Open House

Well, the Red Sox didn’t make it … and the Patriots  play tonight, not Sunday.  The Bruins  and Celtics  are off this weekend, so what else do you have to be available for!?  How about … a trip to


Have you been to campus yet?  Whether you’ve been here yet or not, you might consider carving out some time in your schedule this weekend to come to the second, and last, of our two fall Open House programs.  Come kick the tires one final time before applications are due – – Open House is only half of Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. … and you’ll be home in time for the 4:00 p.m. kickoff and dinner!

There are many things you can do on an Open House date that you wouldn’t be able to do on any other given visit on your own – – you can spend some time in the browsing session visiting with academic departments, speaking to coaches, and gathering information on other areas of interest; you can attend an Admissions or Financial Aid Information Session (or both!) that will focus on the process and what you need to do to apply; you can speak with Faculty or attend presentations on specific programs like premed or prelaw; you’ll have opportunities to take a tour of the campus if you’d like to see the facilities and hear all about the history of the College … and of course, there will be many chances to meet and interact with current Holy Cross students who are making themselves available to share their experiences with you as well!

Come to Open House if you can … you’ll be glad you did!

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission
FACHEX Coordinator

The Power of Words – Interviews and Essays

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

Don’t worry, there’s still time to find your dream school

As a recent graduate of Holy Cross and one of the newest admissions counselors, can I really admit that Holy Cross was not at the top of
my college visit list? I guess it’s safe
to say I can. The truth is I had never
even heard of Holy Cross until October of my senior year of high school. It had popped up on one of my online Princeton Review searches as a college I
would most likely love — but I honestly didn’t take a second look. Why? The
name scared me. I was worried Holy Cross
would turn me into a nun. That’s just
the plain, candid truth. But as the fall
approached I started to panic. I had
visited twelve schools and none of them had “clicked” with me.

I felt like I was never going to find a college I absolutely
loved. After all I had attended tours
and info sessions at colleges in North
Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona and California. My parents were patient throughout the whole
process but I could tell they were at the end of their rope with planning
college visit trips disguised as family vacations. Since I felt like I was out of options I
decided to send away for information from Holy Cross. One Saturday night at 12 a.m. (Junior Driver’s License typical curfew
time) I returned from my friend’s house to find the Holy Cross “What Am I Doing
Here?” booklet on my bed. I opened it up
and started to read….and read. I was
intrigued. So intrigued I jumped out of
bed, ran downstairs and woke my parents up.
I remember sitting on their bed telling them that Holy Cross was where I
wanted to go and where I was meant to be.
Since I had said this twelve other times, they were rightfully skeptical. The next day we scheduled my November Day Visit
to campus.

One of the reasons November is my favorite month at Holy
Cross is because it is the month I fell in love with my Alma Mater and the
month I realized that there was still time for me to apply. The moment I stepped onto campus that crisp
November day in 2003 I knew I had found my school. I got the feeling I had been searching for
all along. Simply put, there is just something
about Holy Cross in the fall. As a
prospective student I had not yet fallen in love with autumn at Holy Cross
because of Halloween on campus, Thanksgiving Dinner at Kimball, or apple picking
trips to orchards planned through Student Programs. Those things indeed came later and only
affirmed my love for this special season on the hill. At first I simply fell in love with the students,
the architecture, and of course the changing leaves with their crisp browns and
rich maroons. Finally, I had found the
place I knew I belonged and I never looked back.

So as a high school senior reaching the month of November I
urge you to take a deep breathe and realize that there is still time for you to
discover Holy Cross….and what if you already have? I hope the feeling I just described resonates
within each one of you.

Alyssa Trometter
Admissions Counselor