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