Aside from being asked about the size of the student body here at Holy Cross, what majors and minors we offer, what Worcester is like, and what the admissions committee is looking for in applicants, the next most common question I get from prospective students and their families is, “Did you go to Holy Cross?”
And more often than not, they seem surprised to hear that I did not, in fact, go to Holy Cross. But I get it. It’s a reasonable assumption. Five of the thirteen admissions counselors on our staff graduated from HC, and they carry their Purple Pride with them wherever they go. Who better than loyal alumni to rave about the college they attended and to want to promote it to prospective students? Who better to describe campus traditions, relationships with professors, and student life than people who have experienced all of this firsthand?
So why promote a school with which I have no prior affiliation? First, while I had an unforgettable four years at my alma mater, my experience there was so valuable precisely because it was the right place for ME. Do I think that everyone should go where I went? Nope. Do I think that everyone belongs at Holy Cross? Again, the answer is no. College choice is all about finding the right FIT for a student, and one of the most interesting parts of my job is being a part of that “fit” conversation. Early on in the admissions process, I meet students at high schools, college fairs, and Open Houses, as they’re collecting information about the different colleges they’re considering and trying to get a sense of what schools are in their “range” and where they could potentially picture themselves. Then, when I conduct interviews and read applications, it’s my turn to figure out which students are the best match for Holy Cross. Who will thrive and be successful here? Who will be a unique addition to the student body and make significant contributions to the campus community?
Second, I truly believe in this place and its mission. It’s hard not to be inspired when you see that the Jesuit motto of “men and women for others” is not just a catchphrase here but a way of life. Students at Holy Cross tend to care just as much about trying to make life better for other people as they do about their own education. In all of their pursuits, they are challenged and encouraged to develop themselves not just intellectually, but morally as well. While they are preparing for tremendously successful careers, they are at the same time molding themselves to be good citizens and ethical people. The largest, most popular club at Holy Cross, comprising nearly 25% of our student body, is devoted to weekly outreach and service in the Worcester community. In addition, one out of every ten students spend their Spring Break traveling to places like Kenya to live in solidarity with economically disadvantaged populations and reflect on issues of social justice, or to the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. to help rebuild homes and buildings destroyed by natural disasters. Being surrounded by these passionate and committed individuals, I am constantly reminded to think outside of myself and see the greater picture.
So no, I did not go to Holy Cross. But it doesn’t mean that I’m any less proud to work here than my Crusader colleagues. And I might even, just a tiny little bit, “bleed purple.”