The New Year has officially begun but this year as I welcomed 2009 I did it with a little bit of hesitation. I have spent the past few months hearing about what “reading season” is like in admissions but did not know what to expect. I had my first full day of reading yesterday and am beginning my second one today. I can honestly say that despite the paper cuts, frequent trips for caffeine, and refilling the lead in my mechanical pencils — I am enjoying it. Each of the applications I have read seems to tell me a story and my job is to present that story to our selection committee. Through your counselor and teacher recommendations, interview write-up, high school transcript, personal essays, newspaper clips, and pictures I like trying to get to know each and every one of you. When I pick up an application for the first time I feel as if we are just meeting each other. As I finish the last page in your file I want to feel like I know a lot about you. As I read each application I ask certain questions to myself, like how will you enhance the Holy Cross community? Will you excel academically? Will you bring something different to the campus? Do you already bleed purple? Do you strive to be a man or woman for others? Ideally, I discover the answer to these questions in time. I can admit if I happen to be reading your application, I am guilty of being a bit protective of my Alma Mater. I want to make sure the students that we accept this year will not only thrive and contribute during their college years but will continue to do so after their time on the hill has ended. You may have visited, interviewed, come for a day-visit, attended a football game and online chat. I get it, you are hooked, and you love Holy Cross. But do you also care and love for your family, the community around you, and the greater world. Do you want to make a difference after college and work to live out the Jesuit mission? Holy Cross students are a special type, they definitely have the brains but they most undeniably have the heart. Basically amidst all the numbers (grades, test scores, GPA distribution charts, class rank) I really want to see your heart.