Thoughts on Reading

photo by Thomas Rettig
photo by Thomas Rettig

Happy winter!  As I take a break from reviewing applications, I look out my window and see a blanket of snow (finally!)–reading season is in full swing! Since we have some staff members in our office who are relatively new to the world of admissions, I asked them to write down their thoughts on this part of the cycle.  Here are their responses:

Tom Severo: Reading my first round of applications as a bona fide Holy Cross Admissions Counselor has brought up many emotions in me, including some I did not expect. Sure there’s excitement at the fresh crop of applicants, and pride in seeing the overall quality of the students we attract, but there is also empathy for students who may struggle in one area, but possesses other abilities and attributes that any college would value. I believe the college is becoming more rigorous and selective each passing year. While that is a great thing overall, it can have sad repercussions come decision time, so I’m humbled to be a part of this experience. It’s comforting to know that in the end, every applicant will get seen and voted on by the entire committee. I do not know many schools that operate like that, but it is just one more way in which Holy Cross shows personal attention to its entire community, even those who will ultimately become a part of another institution.

Tom Campbell: One of the things I am pretty infamous for is my winter frugality. In New England, winter seems to be the season that just sucks money from you: car maintenance, the latest Patagonia gear, and an expanded tea collection are all things that society has convinced us we need in order to combat the cold. I try as hard as I can to defy these Northeastern norms with a conviction I can only call religious. For instance, I buy nearly all of my winter weather apparel from the Salvation Army, and I may or may not sneak a few packets of tea from hotel lobbies and the Jiffy Lube waiting area (still trying to think of an ingenious way to keep those car costs down…). I also keep my apartment at a ridiculously low temperature, partly to keep up with my low-cost lifestyle but also to keep my carbon footprint equally as low. So how do I keep warm in my humble igloo? For one, I pretty much live in my fleece onesie and wool socks, and two, I read hundreds of heartwarming applications (emphasis on the warming).

This winter I have read hundreds of amazing applications, many of which have included stories of strength, growth, and triumph. Through recommendations and essays, I’ve been able to catch a glimpse into our applicant’s lives, and understand their future aspirations. When I read about the great service work that our prospective students do, the challenges they’ve faced to get to where they are now, and the experiences that have led them to choosing their career path, I can’t help but get warm fuzzies inside. My first reading season has helped me further see the value of my career. Knowing that Holy Cross is a place where these students can reach their future aspirations and grow even further provides me with a lot of comfort. So even though the air around me might hover just above 60 degrees, the work that I’m doing keeps me from completely freezing up. So to all of you prospective students who have your eye set on Holy Cross, thank you for keeping me warm this winter.

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