Fall Open House

LaurenThornton.BLOG2It’s that time of year again; Linden Lane is changing colors, the purple sweatshirts are starting to appear…and the Admissions Office is hosting its first Fall Open House of the year!  Attending an Open House at Holy Cross is different from your typical campus visit.  Not only will you have the opportunity to take a tour of our beautiful campus, but you will also be able to explore different areas of academic and athletic interest during our Browsing Session in an entirely informal setting.  After climbing all of the stairs here on Mount St. James, you can attend one of our many panel presentations on such aspects of Holy Cross such as: liberal arts, student life or one of our pre-professional programs.  Finally, you can enjoy a lunch where you can speak with current Holy Cross students, as well as Admissions staff members. What better way to spend a beautiful fall Sunday than at Holy Cross?

See more information about our Fall Open Houses and to register.

Lauren D. Thornton
Admissions Counselor

“Getting in” to college

In between visiting high schools in MA early last week, I found myself browsing the magazine rack at Barnes & Nobles.  In the “Current Events” section, I found a publication which advertised in bold letters on the cover:


I couldn’t help but pick up the magazine and look for the answer.  Alas, it was all a ploy — they never did answer that question.

The title, though, got me to thinking – what’s the point, anyway?   

In this college search process, there is so much focus on “getting in” that very often students and parents lose sight of the point of the college search process.  But what is the point? 

What are students really after? 

I was determined to find out.  At evening receptions in Hartford and Manchester, NH over the last 10 days, I asked the students and parents just that – if you had just one wish in the college search process, what would it be?  I asked them to write their wish down on a piece of paper and submit it anonymously (see picture for a small sampling).   


The results would certainly surprise the publishers of the aforementioned magazine.

Most of the answers had nothing to do with actually “getting in”; the students were much more reflective and their answers were much more personal – finding the right fit, finding happiness and personal discovery.

All of these “wishes” led me to the conclusion that while the media might be obsessed with “getting in”, deep down inside, students still recognize that this process is one enables, nay demands, reflection and personal growth and that is perhaps the most valuable part of the college search process. 

So high school seniors, as application deadlines loom on the near horizon, take a moment between now and then to reflect on it all and answer that question for yourself – what am I really after?

Andrew N Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Pick a name, any name!

LynnHowdy from Texas!  Unlike my colleagues, I’m not writing from the airport but from my hotel room in downtown Houston.  The students I’ve met this week have been both very interesting and quite interested in Holy Cross.   I’ll be spending time in San Antonio and Austin before catching a plane to Nashville. 

The tip that came to mind during my recent visits was this:  As you begin your college search, pick a name and stick with it!  Be sure that you use the same name when you fill out online inquiry forms, cards at a college fair table or high school visit, and sign in sheets when you visit for campus tours.  Why?  First, we’re keeping track of these contacts, and the only way we’ll know you’re the same person is if you use the same name.  This will also prevent you from receiving duplicate mailings from colleges.  Isn’t one Holy Cross view book to add to the giant pile on your desk/floor/closet enough?  The best bet is to use the name that will appear on your application, transcripts etc.  So sorry Frank, but Francis it may have to be.  Many schools may also ask you for your preferred name or nickname, so you don’t have to start answering to "Gertrude" again if you’ve spent years training others to call you Gertie. 

So give your parents a quick scowl if you don’t care for the name they chose for you, and write it on that form anyway.

Lynn Verrecchia
Assistant Director of Admissions

“Visit” your top colleges at college fairs

SuzanneHi everyone, I am checking in from sunny St. Louis, where I am about to board a plane bound for Chicago, Illinois. I’m currently sitting here eating my favorite St. Louis Bread Company sandwich (which many of you probably know as Panera), the Turkey Artichoke Panini, and looking for a spot in my carry-on bag where I can hide my souvenir St. Louis Cardinals World Series t-shirt from the upcoming Cubbies fans in Chi-town.
My comments from this trip include how impressed I have been with the students that I have met at the various school visits and college fairs in St. Louis. Students came fully prepared and armed with questions ranging from writing their college essays to extra-curricular activities to an avid interest in the first year Montserrat program at Holy Cross. I would say that doing a bit of due-diligence (like reading this!) will definitely help you to make the most out of these visits and will help you to focus your thoughts on determining the best college “fit” for you.

As you begin your college search, college fairs serve as “one stop shop” and are a great way to gather lots of information from different colleges all in one evening. Also, the tables are staffed with pretty easy-going Admissions Counselors or local Alumni, who can answer questions that you may have. Where else but at a college fair can you “visit” a college in California and a college in Massachusetts in less than an hour?

It looks as if my plane is about to board and so I will be signing off until I arrive in the Windy City. My trip to St. Louis was good to me and I hope that it was also good to the several students wisely trying to get a leg-up on the admissions process.


Suzanne R. Timmons
Admissions Counselor

College fair tips

KelliGreetings from the road!  I’m sitting in the airport, on the way back from a wonderful visit to Georgia as I type this.   Other than some much needed rain for a day or two, the weather in Atlanta and Augusta was quite nice.  Much of my time during this trip was spent at several big college fairs, so that’s what I want to mention in this post—college fair tips (great minds think alike Pat).

College Fair Tips:

1.  When you approach a college’s table, introduce yourself.  Admissions counselors don’t bite!  If you’re in a hurry we understand you might not have time to chat, but if you have questions don’t be afraid to ask us for answers.

Atlanta3 2.  Bringing pre-printed labels with you will be a huge time (and wrist) saver.  To avoid carpal-tunnel and increase your college fair efficiency, use pre-print sticky labels which you can affix to colleges’ inquiry/mailing list cards.  Make sure the labels include not only your name and mailing address, but also your e-mail address, year of graduation, gender, and high school (with city and state).

3. If you’re with your parents, you should be the one to fill out an inquiry/mailing list card.  There is nothing that says “immature” like you standing around while mom and dad fill out a card with information we know you know.  [If your arm is in a cast, you’re except from this rule.]

4.  Think of a college fair like an exotic market full of free samples.  Resist the temptation to loiter in aisles talking with your classmates and instead spend your time sampling what all the diverse and varied colleges out there have to offer.  College fairs are an excellent opportunity to not just speak with the schools you’re interested in, but also interact with colleges you may no little (or nothing) about.  They might turn out to have many of the things you’re looking for in a university. 

Not only did this trip remind me of college fair pointers I wanted to pass along to you, but it also allowed me a few hours to play tourist.  A friend who lived in Atlanta introduced me to a local fish house called “Six Feet Under.” It overlooks the city’s Oakland Cemetery and has the best alligator bites you’ve ever had.  I also had a chance to visit the Atlanta History Center, which has a fascinatingly large and diverse number of exhibits related to many different facets of the area’s culture and past.  As an “Olympics-junkie” (Yes, I said Olympics-junkie) I went just to see their exhibit on the 1996 centennial summer games (which were hosted by Atlanta) and wasn’t disappointed.  The exhibit has an interactive trivia game you play against others who are currently visiting the exhibit, and a sports lab where you can “jump” as far as Mike Powell’s world record long jump or race sculls head to head against a friend (On second thought, maybe “Olympics-nerd” is a better description).

Atlantahistorycenterolym Olympics Trivia Game

Atlanta2_2   Atlanta History Center Olympics Exhibit

Kelli J. Powell
Assistant Director of Admissions

Tulips, tulips everywhere

Jrichardson_2Goedendag everyone (Good day in Dutch)! 

4:00AM came early this day in Norway; but fortunately, I was not far from the airport .. only a 5 minute taxi ride.  My flight was scheduled for 6:05AM, so I planned to leave plenty of time to get there. 

Today my plans included visiting several schools in and around the first class city of Amsterdam, Netherlands.  As we approached the Schipol airport (by the way, random trivia fact for you: this is the fourth largest airport in the world!), one can see the many fields and canals that make up western Holland.  Holland is a very small country, the size of just Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.  Known for many things over the centuries, including windmills and wooden shoes, Holland is also quite well known for its Tulip production.

Fields and fields of tulips can be seen splashed across the countryside; its truly a beautiful sight to see!  I would also be somewhat misrepresenting the current state of Holland if I were to continue leading you to believe they still operate many of the country’s windmills, and are running around in their wooden shoes; in most cases, neither still happen with any frequency.  Wooden windmills of the past have been replaced with much more modern and efficient models, producing much of the country’s energy.  The wooden shoes, while still readily available in street shops and major retailers, are only worn by some farmers tending to their fields.  Of course, still without luggage, I had the option of purchasing a pair of wooden shoes for the weekend and my return journey to Boston.  I will admit, I tried a pair on (really, just for the experience, and to be able to say I did, but alas, opted for the more comfortable and modern rubber soled shoe).

  Windmill_crop_2 Tulips_crop2

From Schipol I traveled to Amstelveen, just outside Amsterdam proper, to the International School there.  Terrific students from approximately 20 nationalities are enrolled at the school, making for a wonderfully diverse and interesting experience.  From there, I called a taxi which took me approximately 25 minutes to The Hague where I visited the American School of The Hague.  I reconnected with a wonderful young woman I had met earlier in the year, Andrea Koris, who was here on campus to visit earlier this spring and interviewed with me at that time.  She has some familiarity with the College … her father, David, is an alumnus of the College, and older sister, Caitlin, a current student here.  Andrea said she was still thinking hard about her college options, but felt comfortable knowing she had already made some decisions about where she would feel most comfortable, and what the right environment for her would be.  She continues to hold Holy Cross in high regard, and is looking forward to submitting her application this fall for consideration.  My visit with Andrea and her counselor lasted approximately 90 minutes, and she was back to class, and the remainder of her daily activities.

So, ok kids … get out your globes … its time to recap.  We started in Boston and traveled to London.  From London we traveled to Milan, Trieste, and then Duino, Italy.  From Trieste, Italy, we took a three-hopper: Rome – Amsterdam – Bergen, Norway.  Once in Bergen, we traveled by taxi, fast boat, bus, and car, 7 hours to the United World College in Flekke, Norway: amazing!  From Bergen we went back to Amsterdam for Friday and the weekend.  SO, for those keeping score at home, in four days that would make for 5 countries, 10 cities … 7 flights, 7 taxi rides, 4 tube rides, 4 trips via car, 2 trips via boat, 2 via bus, and 1 via train; WHEW!  SO …

Flight fare $$: let’s not discuss that …
Lost luggage $$: more than I care to think about
Students and contacts: PRICELESS.

As I left The Hague, I was inspired and excited by the students and counselors I had met throughout the week.  This was certainly the most exciting and interesting trip I’ve made in my Admissions Career!

Doei, from The Hague, for now.

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission

Ask guidance counselor about college visits

Pmaloney Well, it’s been a long 14 days out here, and I must admit that I am ready to get back to Worcester, Massachusetts this weekend.  Not to say that I didn’t have a wonderful trip…because I did.  After spending last week in California, this past week I spent time in Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington and right now I’m writing from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  I visited lots of schools during the week and met lots of very interesting high school students, some whom might even be reading this!  If so, hello again!  Ha.  Anyway, we visit all of these schools in a effort to meet students interested in Holy Cross and also talk with high school guidance counselors about HC, to help make this process a little more familiar and easier to handle.  Maloney Tip #3 – get to your guidance counselor and check to see if any of the colleges which you are interested in are visiting your school.  I’d love to talk with you!


Have a great weekend!

Patrick Maloney ’02
Assistant Director of Admissions

Fjords and Fields

JrichardsonToday was quite possibly one of the single most interesting days of my entire Admissions career.  Situated on the south western coast of Norway is the country’s second largest city, Bergen.  Slightly smaller than Oslo in the east, Bergen is the major shipping and oil center for all of Norway, much of Scandanavia and western Europe.  Several thousand years ago it served as the country’s capital due to the extent of shipping and trading that happened here.

Three and one half hours to the north of Bergen is another United World College, "Nordic Red Cross", in a tiny village called Flekke (pronounced fleck-eh), population: 214.  This was to be my destination today.  I left my hotel by taxi, bound for stage 2 of my journey: "the fast boat", which would take me two hours up the coast.  We arrived to Rysjedalsvika right on time, where I then boarded a coach bus destined for Flekke, fourty minutes to the north.

Dsc02567 Dsc02570 Dsc02571

United World College – Nordic Red Cross is an amazing place!  Beautifully situated between the mountains, waterfalls, and greener-than-green fields full of sheep, is a school of 200 incredibly bright, talented, and diverse students.  Like my encounters in Duino, Italy, these 200 students have arrived here to the hills of Flekke from 85 different nations around the world!  I spent the day meeting with students from far away places like Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Tajikistan, and Swaziland, just to name a few.  By the end of the day, I knew this was a place to which I would most definitely return.  Students here are enrolled in a two year intensive International Baccalaureate program, and in speaking with them are clearly very passionate about their academics, and the opportunities which they have before them.


By 5:30 this evening I needed to say goodbye to my friends at Nordic, and reboard the bus headed for another beautiful ride on the "fast boat" for my return to Bergen.  I was back to the Thon tonight around  9:30, took in a quick dinner, and am now preparing for bed … I will be departing for world-class Amsterdam, Netherlands at 6:05AM tomorrow morning.  And, oh yeah, still no word on the luggage;  stay tuned.

Ser deg senere for now (see you later in Norwegian).

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission
FACHEX Coordinator

International student interviews

Tucked into the cliffs of Northern Italy’s coast of the Adriatic sea lies a tiny village called Duino; some locals consider it a village of the larger, more bustling Trieste (which you’re much more likely to find on a map).  It is in Duino that I spent my time on this day, September 19.

Well known, and very warmly welcomed by the residents of Duino is the United World College of the Adriatic.

Here, approximately 200 students of 85 different nationalities come together to "become responsible citizens, politically and environmentally aware, committed to the ideals of peace, justice, understanding and cooperation, and to the implementation of these ideals through action and personal example".  (the preceding was taking from the UWC-Adriatic Admissions publication).  Today I interviewed students from Algeria, Kenya, and Albania, just to name a few … all were terrifically engaging, and genuinely interested in making the most of their educational opportunities; exactly the type of students we seek to be included in the student body at Holy Cross.


By 1:30PM however, I was unfortunately done in Duino, and needed to hustle back to the airport to move on to the next stop: Bergen, Norway!  I traveled a little lighter tonight however … for those of you keeping score thus far, and you recall the question I posed in my last post – – no, unfortunately my luggage did not arrive with me to Trieste … and it still hasn’t.  I fear its chasing me around Europe and Scandinavia!  Maybe we’ll be reunited someday, I hope.  In the meantime, I’m a man on a mission – – to identify the best, most interesting students to include in the student body at Holy Cross.  So, for now I say "buon giorno" to my friends in Duino, and I say "good night" to all of you, from The Thon Hotel, Bergen, Norway.


James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission
FACHEX Coordinator

Bleed Purple

Allison 6 mo: purple and white Crusader onesie w/matching bib
18 mo: purple and white Crusader cheerleader outfit
5 yrs: purple and white Crusader sweatsuit
12 yrs: purple and white Crusader basketball t-shirt
17 yrs: purple and white Crusader hoodie
22 yrs: black and white Crusader diploma

I bleed purple.  I always have.  My father, uncles, and aunts began the brainwashing at a young age.  Years of watching football games, attending basketball camps and visiting my sister’s dorm room convinced me that there was only one college for me.  As the application process approached, I took the search seriously and visited many campuses.  These visits, however, only strengthened my love for Holy Cross.  My decision was a no-brainer. 

My time spent on Mt. St. James revolved around student government, reading voraciously, and being a Crusader Superfan.  I sled on Kimball trays, tanned on Wheeler Beach, and climbed the Fenwick tower (not really).  On a daily basis I picked my English professors’ brains, sought help in the Calc Workshop, and repeated Spanish verbs in the MRC.  I attended a retreat, led a retreat and found comfort within the cozy walls of Campion.  I studied at Oxford, studied in my room, and studied in the fish bowl.  I soaked up everything this institution had to offer and still thirsted for more. 

At the end of my four years, I wasn’t quite ready to leave.  It’s been sixteen months since graduation and in that time I’ve spent my days (and many nights) gushing about my experience at HC and meeting potential students, many of whom share my passion. This year I’ll travel to North and South Carolina, Colorado, Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT.  I hope to see you in my travels and would love the chance to tell you about my school!

Allison P. Rose ’06
Admissions Counselor