Tim Konola, HC ’15, and his semester in D.C.

Tim Konola, a junior at the College, serves as a tour guide in the admissions office. He just returned from a semester in Washington, D.C., where he took part in our internship-based semester program.


As a history major, I enjoy writing about my experiences and reflecting upon them later. When I went to Europe several years ago, I documented each of my nine days abroad. Now, I can happily recall those memories whenever I like. This past fall semester I studied “abroad” domestically, this time in Washington, D.C., through the Holy Cross Washington Semester program. Below is a short description of my experience with that program.


Soon after my arrival at Holy Cross, I learned about the Washington semester, which runs each fall and spring through the College’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. I discovered that the program has three components: a semester-long internship, a weekly seminar class, and a 40-50 page independent thesis. All of this work is completed in Washington, D.C., with access to leading political think tanks, library collections, and leaders.


The application process began in the early spring of my sophomore year. It included an application form, two faculty recommendations, an essay describing why I wanted to participate in the program, a sample of my academic writing, and a résumé. I passed in this paperwork and interviewed with Professor DeAngelis, the program’s director. Two weeks later I received a formal acceptance into the D.C. program for the fall of 2013. Only 15 other Holy Cross students were accepted from a competitive application pool. I was ecstatic.


A long summer followed, which began the internship season of my life. From June through August I interned at a local branch of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. At the same time I searched for a suitable fall internship. Dozens of applications, cover letters, and résumés later, I finally secured an internship at The Heritage Foundation, a premier conservative think tank five minutes from Capitol Hill.


For nearly three months this fall I worked at the The Heritage Foundation in the Roe Center for Economic Policy Studies. Four days per week I assisted Roe fellows with their research and compiled a daily list of economic regulation news for the department. I had the opportunity to summarize Federal Registry proposals, write my own blog, and cover two congressional hearings.


I juggled this work with my class assignments and thesis. I must admit that there were times when I felt completely overwhelmed. To achieve a healthier balance, I created a schedule that brought structure and peace to my life: long walks across the Potomac Bridge. Georgetown University’s Library soon became one of my satellite homes as I conducted research for my thesis, and while most Washingtonians complain about the lack of metro accessibility near Georgetown, I enjoyed the long, mandatory walk across the Bridge. These autumn walks gave me time to think about my experience and life in a beautiful silence not often found in the hubbub of the city.


Now that I am back in Massachusetts, I can say that I not only learned more about the American political system but also gained real life experience that I might not have gained otherwise. I made several dear friends, both at work and within the group from Holy Cross. It wasn’t easy to leave campus for an entire semester, but my experience away was inspiring and worthwhile.


The Dark, Mysterious Committee Room

AshleySitting in a dark room … with candy


After almost four months at my new job as Admissions Counselor at Holy Cross, I have learned one thing: to throw all of my expectations out the window.  So when I received my first calendar invite to Committee, I had no idea what to think.  My colleagues had given me a brief overview of the process: the dark room, the projector, the snacks.  But like almost everything in Admissions, nothing is really that clear until you experience it for yourself.


Going into my first committee, I’ll admit … I was nervous.  Naturally, I sat next to the other newbie Admissions staff members(strength in numbers, right?).  Having my reading sheet notes projected in front of my peers made me almost as nervous as applicants are about their credentials being projected in front of the Committee.  After all, I was not far removed from the college search and application process.  Fresh out of college, how was I expected to participate in making life-changing decisions for students only five years younger than myself?  But I guess that is the beauty of our Committee process.  As a new employee, I have more say in shaping the community here than I would at any other entry-level job.  I get to hear all of the unique perspectives of my colleagues and all of our applicants’ amazing stories.  Our Committee process gives every applicant and every staff member a voice.


Going into some of our final Early Decision Committees this week, I am feeling more confident.  The Committee process is becoming clearer to me now.  Instead of nervousness, a sense of excitement comes over me whenever we enter the Committee room.  I am excited to help shape the Holy Cross Class of 2018 … and some candy.


Ashley Johnson
Admissions Counselor

An Admissions Intern’s Perspective

Sam Zurn, a current junior, has spent the fall semester completing an internship in the Admissions Office as part of the College’s Academic Internship Program. Now that his internship is complete, he provided us with some thoughts:


“So what do students actually do on weekends?” the parents ask, tentatively probing the party-life waters, much to their son or daughter’s dismay. It’s a loaded question, but one Holy Cross students working in admissions are accustomed to answering. Some of the parents ask this with a smirk, leading me to believe that they’re recalling some of their own rowdy college weekends, while others seem to be imagining their child trapped in a scene from Animal House.

As students working in admissions, we have all developed our own approach to answering this, though all rooted in honesty. I typically acknowledge the partying, then stress the alternatives to drinking students engage in that are provided by the school.

Recently, however, when the ole reliable question arises, I find myself thinking more about the open houses, the conferences, the college fairs and the high school visits that have comprised some of my weekends this semester.

This year I’ve been working as an intern in the Office of Admissions and as a result, I’ve got to see some exciting new responsibilities in the world of admissions. Working in admissions after college has always intrigued me. Among other reasons, I enjoy the type of person the job attracts and it’s one that requires the interpersonal skills I’ve continued to refine. So, after reaching out to some of the admissions counselors I had worked with in the past, they were able to create a position for me through the Academic Internship Program in which I was enrolled.

From the front desk, to the mailing room, to interview shadowing, I’ve gotten the inside scoop on the many different components that help our admissions office run smoothly. Even outside the office I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.

I remember one of my first days I walked into the office to check in with my supervisor, Diane. She goes, “Would you want to co-present our tour guide program at a New England admissions conference? Because I already signed us up…” Talk about starting off with a bang! But I think we made a pretty good team.

Over the past couple months, the entire admissions team has been wonderfully supportive while showing me the ropes, and I guess that’s why it’s always on my mind when I hear parents ask the question. So what do I actually do on the weekends? Well, I encourage prospective students, I explain our Jesuit identity, I brag about our campus, but most importantly, I spread the Purple Pride.

Our Calling

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiIt is so easy to get lost in all the mundane details of any job, and working in college admissions is no different.  E-mail, spreadsheets, and voicemails  all blur into one long day of tasks.

What’s the point of all this?  Quo vadimus?  — Where are we going?

And then you get the opportunity to call an Early Decision applicant and inform her that the committee has voted to admit her to the class of 2018.


“You’re coming to Holy Cross,” I repeated, as she stammered,  in shock, unable to make sense of the exciting news I was trying to deliver.

I’m going to Holy Cross?” she asked, choking back tears.

And that was it – in that small moment, I found the reason for all those e-mails and spreadsheets – all those days at work. She’s heading to Holy Cross. I’m one of thirteen people helping to assemble the next class of Crusaders.

Where are we going?  #HC2018 – that’s where we’re going.

Follow our progress on Twitter: @HCAdmission