Archive for December, 2009
An Unexpected GiftThursday, December 24th, 2009
I had a million things to do this weekend. But like most of you living in the Northeast, I woke up to a winter wonderland. Snow was falling, the wind was blowing, and roads had yet to be treated. So the “to do” list was put on hold. Instead, I played. As a family we finished decorating the Christmas tree, giggling at homemade ornaments from pre-school days. My dog and I made snow angels and wrestled in the snow. I happily prepared a very complicated family favorite for dinner without the slightest concern for the time. I could not have asked for a better day.
The list of things to be done remains, but this break in the frenzy of holiday preparations was an important reminder to relax, slow down, and just enjoy the moment.
Wishing you the peace and joy of this holiday season!
Director of Admissions
Application Reading Has Begun!Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
It’s December 15th already. Here in the Holy Cross admissions office that means two things. First, that Christmas music is continuously streaming out of Fr. Markey’s office (even as I type this the sounds of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” are drifting across the hall). Two, travel season is officially over and reading season has begun! So what does reading season mean? Well it means that our 13 admissions counselors are spending the majority of their time reading and summarizing thousands of applications.
We all have our preferences for what time of day we like to read best. There are a few of us who like to read first thing in the morning. One crazy staffer gets up a 5 am to get a head start! But then there are a few of us who like reading in the evening better, sometimes until 2 or 3 in the morning. But whatever the time we prefer to read, we are each reviewing about 40-50 files a day!
It takes a lot of time, but it can be fun. We finally get to see all the hard work you’ve been doing over the past few months. Reading all of your essays and all of those recommendations, we’re hearing your story, one piece of paper at a time.
Assistant Director of Community Outreach
I Can’t Afford Holy CrossWednesday, December 9th, 2009
Did you break out in a sweat, hyperventilate, or struggle to breathe for a second when you first saw the nearly $50,000 price tag for attending Holy Cross? Without a doubt, $50,000 per year is a hefty price to pay for a college education whether it be in this dire economy or in a vibrant economy of several years ago, and some of you may have decided to not apply because of the sticker shock. However, you might be surprised at how affordable Holy Cross can be for you and your family because of our very comprehensive and very generous financial aid package.
There are two major policies that you need to be aware of when it comes to financial aid at Holy Cross. First, we apply a need-blind admissions process when reviewing your application which means that we do not take your family’s financial circumstances into consideration when looking at you for admission into Holy Cross. If you have great credentials, you will be fully considered for admission into Holy Cross regardless of how much money your family has. We do not look at you any differently if your family has a ton of money and can pay $50,000 out of your pocket or if your family is on the opposite end of the spectrum and can’t afford one penny of the $50,000 price tag. Second, we are a school that is fully committed to meeting every family’s demonstrated financial need in order to attend Holy Cross. In essence, if you are admitted into Holy Cross and demonstrate financial need, you can be assured that we will meet that need by 100%.
There are two caveats to that policy. First, the need we determine is based on federal guidelines and looks at your family’s household income and asset values and is not based on what you determine to be your personal financial need. Second, we only consider you for financial aid if you submit all of your paperwork to us on time by February 1st at the latest. There are two important forms that you need to submit to Holy Cross in order to be considered for financial assistance: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile. To access these forms, please visit our financial aid site. In addition, if you come from a single parent household, the CSS Profile will require you to submit the Non-Custodial Parent form that asks for financial information from your non-custodial parent. Also, if your family owns a business or a farm, the CSS Profile will require you to submit a Business/Farm supplement that asks income information from these two sources. If either of these circumstances applies to you, it is very, very important that you submit the additional information that is asked of you. If for some reason, you are not able to get the required information (i.e. your non-custodial parent has never been in the picture), you need to contact the financial aid office immediately to explain your situation and get instructions on how to proceed. If you submit all the required forms in completion to Holy Cross, you will be fully considered for financial assistance from Holy Cross.
With all this said, at the end of the day, you should never let a college’s price tag deter you from applying. Every college has its own way of disseminating financial assistance and scholarship funds and you never know what you may qualify for and ultimately receive for financial assistance. The most expensive schools can sometimes be the most affordable schools because financial aid provides you with enough assistance to lower the price tag. Instead, you should choose a school that has the programs and the atmosphere that is the best fit for you, apply to those schools, complete all the necessary forms for financial assistance and scholarships and then see what you end up receiving in financial assistance. Once you get all your packages, you can sit down and decide what schools are financially viable for you and your family.
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment
Application Deadlines: Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute!Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Every year around this time we take a staff photo which becomes our office holiday card. The card is sent to student volunteers and to guidance counselors we’ve met during our travels. It’s meant as a gesture of thanks for volunteers and one of goodwill toward our high school counterparts. We don Santa hats and Holy Cross gear and enthusiastically grin for the camera. Our smiles show that we love our jobs and that we truly wish those around us a wonderful holiday season.
The behind-the-scenes picture is a bit more harried. Our hectic fall travel season and various in-office responsibilities push the holiday card to the back burner for several weeks. It is typically all but forgotten until one attentive staff member points out that the holidays are in fact around the corner. We scramble to find a day when everyone will be in the office and a time when interviews are not scheduled. We raid the bookstore and scrounge for purple scarves that have not already been scooped up by students and visitors. We cringe at the gloomy skies that insist on threatening rain on picture day, because we know that rescheduling is not an option. We pay for expedited shipping and keep our eyes fixed on the mailbox. We stay late to print labels and address envelopes. We send the card out with hours to spare. Then, and only then, do we sit back and enjoy the picture ourselves.
In the end, our students and colleagues see only the final product. They smile at our gesture and pin our photo to their bulletin boards. They appreciate what we have done. The frantic nature of picture day does not show. Only we know that making this picture happen was a race to the finish.
Last minute application filers deal with similar stresses. The computer suddenly crashes; a teacher assigns a major project; a family emergency crops up. That essay is due tomorrow and suddenly the conditions are not ideal. Just as we learn (and relearn) every year, the applicant learns that a looming deadline leaves little room for error. Though your final product is meant for others, the process is for you. Aim for more than just a strong outcome–try to allow for a positive experience along the way.
Assistant Director of Admissions