Purple IS Green: Environmental Sustainability at Holy Cross

SuzanneTimmons.BLOG2I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had students ask me about the Environmental Studies major at Holy Cross. On these occasions, I typically can easily rattle off the number of majors we have on campus and the requirements of the program. Today though, I learned some even more important facts and statistics about the way in which Holy Cross is pursuing environmental sustainability. Listed below are a few things that I took away from this professional development opportunity:


  • Holy Cross has adopted a green building policy, with the intent of meeting LEED silver certification standards with all new major construction and renovations.


  • The College manages an active composting program (using leaves, hedge clippings, etc.) that generates approximately 700 yards of compost for use in the College’s flower/plant beds. Additionally, the College has purchased and employs mulching mowers for the 100+ acres of lawns.


  • Kimball Main Dining Hall went “trayless” in March 2009. It is expected that 25 to 50 percent less food will be wasted, and up to a half gallon of water will be saved per tray not washed, saving 900 gallons of water a day.


  • Beginning in the spring of 2009, the College began growing vegetables and fruits in a community garden adjacent to the Hart football practice fields. Faculty, staff, and students are involved in this collaborative project.


So, if you are considering Holy Cross and wonder if we plan to “go green”, the answer is, we already have! For updates on our sustainability, keep an eye on our sustainability website.


Suzanne Timmons

Assistant Director of Admissions

Open House Feedback

LaurenThornton.BLOG2In the midst of travel season, I awoke with a start at 2:00 AM.  A bright red light was flashing in my room and an alarm was blaring in the most annoying way possible.  Suddenly, I realized that it was the fire alarm going off and quickly grabbed some shoes, my rental car’s keys and evacuated my hotel room.  There was indeed a fire in my hotel during the early hours of that October morning and I spent the better part of my coveted sleeping time sitting in one of the hotel’s many ballrooms.  During those groggy three hours between two o’clock and five o’clock in the morning, I met two other women who just happened to be college admissions counselors as well.  After comparing notes from “the road” and discussing our various travel territories and office responsibilities, I walked back to my now second hotel room (water damage soaked my first) with some fresh ideas about how to improve how I coordinate my respective programs here at Holy Cross.  Needless to say, those three hours were not spent in vain and I was fortunate to come away with a new set of goals for doing my job better than ever before.

We in the Office of Admissions here at Holy Cross are always trying to improve what we do for our prospective students.  Thus, we wholeheartedly appreciate your feedback after attending the numerous events that we host both on- and off-campus.  If you were able to attend either of our Fall Open Houses during these past couple of weeks, please take a moment to fill out this survey.  By taking a small amount of time out of your day to provide us with this invaluable feedback, we can ensure that our admissions programs will be new and improved for future groups of prospective students.  Until that night in that hotel ballroom, I did not realize what you could learn and how I could change what I do in only a matter of minutes.

Lauren Thornton

Admissions Counselor

Civility: The Etiquette of Holy Cross

alyssa-t[1] brightenedThe summer before I entered Holy Cross, my Class Dean suggested all future Crusaders read Civility by Stephen Carter.  My parents bought it for me at the bookstore during Gateways and it sat on my shelf all summer.  Two days before I moved into Mulledy Hall I reluctantly read it and, (to my surprise) loved it.  During my four years on “the hill,” I was pleased to find that random acts of kindness existed and the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others” lived strong…..and it still does.

Yesterday, I contemplated what my most distinct memory of the 2009 travel season was and as a result I reflected on several months on the road.  One might think it was interviewing bright minds or meeting fabulous students, counselors, secretaries and teachers who all brightened my days on the road.  Undoubtedly, my interactions with those people were some of my favorite memories but definitely not the most distinct.  The day that truly sets itself apart was a lunch that managed to make me feel completely alone.

I had an hour break between high school visits so I decided to get some soup at Panera.  As I placed the bowl down on the table the massive platter went flying and landed all over me. From my hair down to my shoes, I was covered.  It was there, in a crowded restaurant, I became truly amazed with the lack of civility in today’s society.  To my amazement not one person came over and offered a helping hand.  Sadly, that day served as a tragic realization that civility sometimes fails to exist in our society.

Standing there embarrassed and smelling of vegetable broth I had a flashback to my first year at the Cross.  I was in Kimball, enjoying a meal with my friends, when a girl slipped on a wet tile and went flying.  The throngs of students that rushed to her side would have made Stephen Carter proud.  I truly believe civility is commonplace at Holy Cross and I find myself constantly amazed by positive student actions.  Sadly enough in the “real world” it is increasingly more difficult to find.

After all, my clumsy arm did ruin my cream pants but it was the pure example of fading civility which managed to destroy my entire day.

Alyssa Trometter

Admissions Counselor

How do I Know if Admissions has Received all of my Application Materials?

DianeSoboski.BLOG2You’ve filled out the Common Application and submitted it online, double and triple checking to make sure that you’ve attached your essay upload. You’ve filled out the paper work at your guidance office requesting that they send along your transcript and recommendation letters to Holy Cross (in Massachusetts, not Indiana). You’re positive that everything has been sent to us. We have it, right? You think we have it. You hope we have it. How do you know if we have it?

There’s no need to stay up nights worrying about whether or not we have your materials, you can now check the status of your application materials online! Simply go to our online checklist, click “register”, put in your personal information and you will be provided with a glimpse into our database. More specifically, you’ll see your application checklist as it appears in our records.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to tell exactly what (if anything) is still missing. A list of required application materials will appear along with notation of whether or not each item has been received.

***One caution – It takes some time for us to receive your materials in the mail, open our mail, sort our mail, and input the pieces of your application into our system.

DO NOT PANIC if you do not see all of your materials listed. You may be positive that you sent in that Verification Form, you know that you put the right postage on it, it should have been here, it’s not listed, you may check compulsively – it WILL eventually appear. Give it some time, and if after 10-14 days you still don’t see your materials appear, feel free to call our office and we’ll tell you whether or not we think you need to submit the missing piece again.

We wish you all the best of luck as you finish up those college applications over the next few months. You’re in the home stretch of your application season, and we can’t wait to begin ours!


Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

What Can I do with a Liberal Arts Degree?

NicoleZervos.BLOG2With the economy the way it is right now, you might be concerned about your future. Even though you’re just starting the process of applying to college, you can’t help but think, “Where will I be in four years?” or “What will I be able to do with a liberal arts degree?” As an undergraduate Sociology major, I have to admit, I (as well as my parents) often had the same fears. So what does Holy Cross offer to students to help them make the most of their liberal arts experience? Take a look at the Summer Internship Program.  As a rising junior or senior, you have the opportunity to intern at corporations, non-profits, hospitals, banks, law firms, advertising companies, etc. all over the country. Summer internships are paid; they are often set up by alumni or parents and are frequently designated specifically for Holy Cross students. They are excellent places to connect the writing, analytical, and communication skills that you’ll learn in your liberal arts courses to the “real world.” I did my summer internship at AICUM (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts), an organization that works with private colleges in the state of Massachusetts. I was a research and policy intern; throughout the course of 3 months, I did research on the use and value of the SAT in the Admissions process and ended up writing a 50 page report. It was partly through this internship that I became interested in working in higher education, and ultimately ended up as an Admissions Counselor.

Don’t see an internship that appeals to you? Not to worry, the Career Planning Office would be more than happy to help you in your search for an internship, summer job, or even career after graduation. They will work with you to help perfect your resume and cover letter. There are also many alumni career panels throughout the year, where alumni come back to Holy Cross to talk about their careers and how they got from Holy Cross to where they are now.  Check out our alumni success stories.

The liberal arts education you receive at Holy Cross won’t prepare you for any one specific career; what it will do is provide you with the foundation and skills you will need to be successful in any field you should choose to pursue.

Nicole Zervos ’09

Admissions Counselor

Do Non-Catholics Feel Comfortable at Holy Cross?


Just last Friday, I attended Shabbat dinner here on campus alongside five Holy Cross faculty members, and seven Holy Cross students. Rabbi Norman Cohen ’72 , led the service, and two  students prepared a traditional Jewish meal, including a fantastic matzah ball soup, and a beautiful loaf of Challah. It was a wonderful night of reflecting on our respective Holy Cross experiences, and getting to know each other. The night further solidified my love for Holy Cross, and its open-minded appreciation for diversity.

Growing up in Worcester’s Jewish community, I never thought that I could feel comfortable at Holy Cross. Now, having worked here for a little over two years, I can tell you that at no point have I ever been made to feel excluded, judged, or like an “other,” for not being Catholic. On the contrary, working here has helped me to more fully recognize how much we all have in common. The Jesuit sentiment of being “men and women for others” is very similar to the Jewish tradition of giving Tzedakah, or charitable donations.  The words Tzedakah comes from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness, (all words we rely on heavily at Holy Cross).

Though the majority of students at Holy Cross are Catholic, our community is enriched by Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Protestant, Orthodox, Coptic, Hindu and non-practicing faculty and students. While we do have a religion requirement among our common area requirements, it can be fulfilled with classes like Comparative World Religions, Ancient and Medieval Hinduism, and Zen Buddhism.

Shabbat dinner is just one example of the opportunities Holy Cross provides its non-Catholic students.  Earlier this year, our Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture hosted a Zen Meditation and Social Justice Forum, and every Sunday, an interdenominational Christian service  is held on campus. Finally, the Chaplain’s office will drive any student to any of the wide array of worshipping communities in the city of Worcester.

Come for a visit, and hopefully you’ll find that Holy Cross is a  comfortable place for you to explore your own faith, and the faiths of others.

Julia Sanders

Admissions Counselor

Common App Essay Advice

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiYou’ve filled in all the empty spaces; you’ve identified siblings, parents, CEEB code, guidance counselor fax number and now you’re hovering above the “SUBMIT” button. You’ve checked it two, three, four different times but you still get the sense that it’s not quite ready. Like a cake without frosting, your Common Application is still not ready for consumption. So for the nth time, you go back to check your essay – one last time, you promise yourself.

You meticulously check for spelling mistakes.


You review the 11 comma rules and check your essay again.

Looks good.

Yet, you’re still not ready to click “SUBMIT”.

Stuck in that position?

Here’s some advice for you:

Review the beginning of your essay – the first two or three sentences. Have you effectively captured your reader’s attention or have you simply begun telling your story? Have you grabbed your reader by the lapels and given them a good shake or have you quietly snuck into the room like a late arrival to the opera? Not sure?

Here’s what you should do – pick up a copy of People magazine and take a look at their articles (yes, there are articles). Actually, don’t read any article in its entirety – just read the first 2-3 sentences. Their articles aren’t brilliant or unbelievably well-written but the writers for People magazine do an outstanding job of grabbing their readers’ attention at the beginning of an article. And while admissions counselors do not read applications while standing in line at the grocery store, it is equally important for you to catch their attention at the beginning of your essay.

So get some inspiration from People magazine and spruce up your first 2-3 sentences. Remember, lapels are on our jackets for a reason. Give them a good shake.

Andrew Carter

Associate Director of Admissions

Early Decision Versus Regular Decision

AnnMcDermott.BLOG2During my travels last week I received a number of questions about Early Decision…who should apply, what is the process, are there benefits to applying ED?  If you have had similar questions, please read on!

By applying Early Decision you are stating that Holy Cross is far and away your first choice for college. There should be no doubt in your mind that this is absolutely the place you want to be.  The process is binding, which means that if admitted to Holy Cross, you will withdraw all other applications and enroll here.  This is a serious commitment, so the decision to apply ED should not be made casually.

Unlike Regular Decision, Early Decision files are reviewed on a rolling basis, beginning November 1.  Once an application is complete, the application will be read by two members of the Admissions staff, and then presented to the full Admissions Committee. Students are notified of the decision as soon as they are made.  Therefore, the earlier you apply and complete you application, the earlier you will receive your decision. The deadline for applying ED is December 15.

If you plan on applying for Financial Aid, you will want to submit the CSS Profile at the same time you submit your application for admission.   Our financial aid policies for ED are exactly the same as for Regular Decision.  We are need-blind in the application process, which means that we do not consider the level of financial need in making our admissions decisions. We also meet full demonstrated need for all admitted students.  Financial aid for Early Decision is packaged in exactly the same way as in Regular Decision. However, if you and your parents are interested in comparing aid packages from other colleges, then applying Regular Decision would be the better course of action.

So what are the advantages of applying Early Decision? An Early Decision application demonstrates your commitment to and excitement about attending Holy Cross. Because the applicant pool is smaller, we have more time to evaluate your candidacy.  We respect the commitment you are making to Holy Cross, and value the fact that you are committed to attending the College.  Both of these factors are given serious consideration as part of our decision making process. Also, an Early Decision acceptance alleviates the stress of the college search during the remainder of your senior year!

Ann McDermott
Director of Admissions