Jim’s Admissions Advice

jrichardson_2August has arrived, and with it, for many of us, has come the feeling that the end is near.  The end of summer … the end of sleeping late, beach days and pool time … indeed, its back to school!  You might find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone … its back to school for us as well.  As my colleague Amanda wrote not long ago, for us here in Admissions, we’ve been planning our schedules and getting ready to have the rubber meet the road in just a few short weeks.  We’ll be coming to your schools and college fairs before you know it; for many of us, in less than a month!  For some of you reading this in Arizona and Florida, you’re already back; but for many others, you still have a few days or weeks to enjoy!  How should you be spending that time, you ask?  Why, visiting colleges of course … including, I should add, spending some time here at Holy Cross!
Visiting college campuses on your summer break is one of the best investments of your time and resources you can make.  Visiting now, while it has its pros and cons, will be something you will surely appreciate later.  It will make your decision regarding where to apply, and possibly where to enroll should you be admitted, much easier later.  Here at Holy Cross we offer tours of the campus four times each day (M-F, 10AM, 12, 2 and 3PM), and information sessions twice each day (M-F, 11:15AM, and 1:15PM).  Interviewing is another critically important aspect of your summer or fall visit.  We put a lot of stock in personal interviews because, while optional, they provide us a chance to get to know you in a way we wouldn’t have at any other time in the process.  And for you, its a chance to personalize your application and really bring it to life!  If you’re serious about your Holy Cross application and would like to schedule an interview, simply call the office, we would enjoy taking the time to get to know you.
The last thing I would recommend doing before you head back to school is to begin your essay.  If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the essay questions on the application (commonapp.org) and begin drafting your response.  Considering it is the only piece of writing we will have in your application (we don’t ask for graded papers, other writing samples, or require any supplements), its very important that its a good piece of quality writing.  A few (seemingly obvious) tips:

* answer the question.  Answer the question in a complete, yet concise, clear, and direct way. 

*make sure its your own work, and original.  “Recycled” history papers from last year … while they may meet the criteria of ‘topic of your choice’, are a no-no. 

*Proofread – – Proofread – – Proofread.  It speaks for itself.  Essays don’t have to be novels (nor should they be!), but they shouldn’t be two sentences either.  Spend a lot of time on this; its the only piece of writing we will have from you, so please give it the time it deserves.  Doing it now will make your life a lot easier later, I assure you.
Happy summer!  We hope you enjoy what remains of it, we hope to see you here on campus or at your school soon, and we look forward to reading your application!  Good luck!
James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission

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