Tell us your stories in essays & interviews

JuliaHi! I’m Julia and I’m the newest addition to the Admissions staff.  Holy Cross is a beautiful place filled with warm and brilliant people, and though you might think Admissions folks are scary, after working here for a few weeks I can assure you we don’t go around scratching our beards and glaring at each other through thick bifocals.  Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone sneer. Not even once. 

I am very excited to meet you and hear your stories.  What are you passionate about?  What makes you come alive?  Think about it, just a little (or a lot – depending on your mood),  and then come tell me about it while I’m on the road in New Hampshire, Northern and Southern California, upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, and Washington D.C.   Do you really love Tater Tots, Italy, Jane Austen, or the Patriots?  Have you been on a mission to Central America, or to Bridge club with your grandma? Have you had any great falls lately?  We all have stories…they’re what make us human.  Cultivating your stories will make your essay writing and interviewing experiences that much easier, and that much more fun.  So please, don’t be afraid to try a few of them out on us. 

I grew up here in the great city of Worcester (In fact, Pat and I just discovered we were in the same nursery school class).  After college I took my Cultural Anthropology degree out to Los Angeles to try my hand at Television and Film Production.  The majority of my time was spent casting Documentary and Reality shows, and as fun and exciting as that was, I had a persistent itch to do something a little more helpful.   I ended up moving back to my beautiful hometown, and am thrilled to have joined the Holy Cross Admissions team. 

My friends say I’m a bit of a spaz, but I prefer to call it young at heart.  I am passionate about travel, photography, cooking, The Office, live music, and New England sports teams. 

Once again, we’re all looking forward to hearing about what makes you, uniquely you.

Julia Sanders
Admissions Counselor

Tubes, Trains, and Taxis .. oh my!

What a beautiful day in London!  Bright skies, but cool 50-60 degree temps were the recipe for the day; perfect weather for buzzing around the Queen’s city.

The day started by leaving the Thistle Hotel, bags slung over shoulder, optimistic for the day.  I headed back for Heathrow, knowing I could connect with the Tube (as they affectionately refer to the underground here) there … and, honestly, hoping I would either be able to check my baggage for my flight to Italy tonight, or find a locker to store this behemoth in.  Storage .. its definitely the way to go.  I tried checking it, but the agents will only allow you to check baggage within a two hour timeframe prior to your departure (good reference information for all you travelers out there!).  So, I paid my 6.5 pound storage fee, and off to the tube I went.

London Tube Map (.pdf)

Packed in like sardines, everyone was going somewhere.  I, for one, was headed for the American School in London where I was certain I would be meeting with several very interested students.  Just over an hour later on the Piccidilly line, and a change at Green Park to the Jubilee line, and I was there.  Counselors and students both anxiously awaited to hear more about this small, liberal arts, highly regarded college in central Massachusetts they had only previously heard of.  One student, Will, had already been to campus in February, and although we were buried in snow at the time, he said he still loved what he saw saying, "what a great campus!  I had been to several other really nice places .. including some other Patriot League Colleges .. but none were as nice as Holy Cross!".  We spent some more time together, and when the questions had been exhausted, the students headed back to class, inspired to do more research on Holy Cross, and learn even more about what it was that makes us different.

Throughout the remainder of the day I spent more time in the tube, more time riding into the country on the train, and visiting with more students from other schools, hailing from a variety of countries, interested in possibly coming to Worcester for their next four years!  Interests ranged from Political Science, to history, to Pre-Med, to Soccer … each student was unique, each had different interests, and each had conjured up their own individual thoughts about what they wanted their college experience to be.  Certainly, you’ll do the same on your journey through the colleges and universities you visit along the way.

As my visits concluded for the day, I hailed a taxi back to Heathrow to collect my stored luggage, and wait for my flight to Trieste, Italy.  Luggage checked; flight delayed several hours.  Ultimately, the flight, and my connecting flight in Milan all worked out (a close call in Milan, but I made it!) …. but did my luggage make it?  Tune in next time to find out ……..

Ciao for now … from Trieste, Italy, on the Bulgaria border – – this is that Jim guy, signing off.

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission
FACHEX Coordinator


JrichardsonSeptember 17, 2007

4:30AM EST – I wake to the easy sounds of James Taylor coming through the radio.  My first thought of the day: snooze.

4:39 AM EST – I wake, for the second time, to the soft volume of the radio.  The James Taylor show has now left the nightstand, replaced by a female artist unknown to me (my wife clearly has selected this radio station).  My second thought of the day: snooze … but I know I cannot succumb to the temptation of the comforter and warmth of the pillow … I have a flight to catch!

4:41 AM EST – My feet hit the floor for the first time on this day, for this journey, with thoughts of the Thistle Hotel, the “tube”, and double-decker buses!  Destination: London … I’m ready.  Diversity of all kinds is something Holy Cross cherishes, and so this trip is all about bringing some additional international flair to campus.  I’ll be visiting with students from many different countries this week (more on that later), but the first step is to make it to Boston’s Logan International Airport on time for my 9AM flight.

5:13 AM EST – Packed, dressed, and ready to go, I sneak quietly into Olivia’s room (my 20-month old “Crusader”) for one last glimpse of my sleeping beauty.  Breathing heavy in her fleece pj’s, I know she’s warm and comfortable in dreamland somewhere – – a place for which, I admit, at the time I’m slightly jealous.

5:35 AM EST – I confirm I have the essentials … luggage: check.  Itinerary: check.  Tickets: check.  Passport: check.  iPod: full.  I collect one last kiss from my wife, and off I go, into the darkness of I-95 headed for Boston.

5:41 AM EST: Dunkin’ Donuts: check.

8:33 AM EST:  After navigating my way to a long-term parking lot that was so far away from anything remotely resembling an airport terminal it felt like Revere, MA, and making my way through 40 minutes of check-in, I board American Airlines flight 156.  Making my way to to seat 41F (in the center seat, of the center section of the Boeing 777 (my least favorite seat)), I check out those seated around me.  Next to me … a motley crew of four heavily tattooed, more than slightly disheveled men in their early 30’s, clearly rockers.  I would later come to learn the name of their band, as told to the flight attendant, is “The Darkness”; presumeably not producing the genre of music my wife would choose to wake up to.  Directly behind me, a child, screaming as if her molars were being extracted on the spot.  This continued for at least 70% of the flight.  Headphones: check.  Volume: MAX.  The incessant screaming was also somewhat tempered by the passengers in row 40, seats E and F – – a young mother in her early 30’s with a beautifully well-behaved child very reminiscent of my own little Olivia! She was a gem, and made me already miss Olivia more than I can describe here.  We played periodic games of peek-a-boo between the seats, waved back and forth, and took naps for most of the way across the North Atlantic.  If nothing else, it helped ease the molar extraction happening behind me.

8:13 PM London / 3:13 PM Worcester: We’ve “hopped the pond” as they say, and arrive safely at London’s Heathrow International Airport.  Next stop: The Thistle Hotel.

9:05 PM London / 4:05 PM Worcester: WHEW … after hopping the “H4 Hotel Hoppa”, I arrive nearly 12 hours later to my home away from home, nearly 4,000 miles from Worcester: the Thistle Hotel.   ‘night … blog you tomorrow.

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission
FACHEX Coordinator

Creating ‘Your List’

Amanda Starting the college search can be a daunting task.  I know, I’ve been there, twice!  It helps a lot if you can pick 2 or 3 features that colleges possess that are important to you (ex. urban/rural, pre-med program, swim team).  Identifying a few of these things narrows the field tremendously.  To continue narrowing the field attend a few college fairs.  Talk to the representatives from schools on your radar.  What they have to say may help you make the decision to continue to pursue that school or cross it off your list.  The more contacts you make the better informed your decisions will be and the more colleges will be aware of your interest.

Amanda Juriansz
Assistant Director of Community Outreach

Introducing Tran Kim-Senior

Tran Like many of you out there reading this blog, I am also learning about Holy Cross but as a staff member instead of as a prospective applicant.  I came on board to the Holy Cross admissions team a little over a month ago and have loved my time here so far.  Prior to HC, I worked for two years in the admissions office at Connecticut College and before that, I was studying hard as a an undergraduate at Washington and Lee.  Though I’ve spent the majority of my life here in the states, growing up in Richmond, VA, I was originally born in Cambodia and am half Cambodian and half Vietnamese.

Outside of admissions, much of my time these days is spent preparing for a baby that I’m expecting in early January.  So things like reading up on taking care of a baby, shopping for baby, etc…that’s what I spend much of my time out of the office doing these days.  However, I did, still do, and plan to have a life outside of my baby as well and in my free time, I enjoy listening to music.  I have genres that range from jazz to R&B to hip hop on my Ipod but on a daily basis tend to steer towards soul and jazz.  Aside from listening to music, I also sing on occasion and perform when I can in various functions at the Pomfret School, a boarding school in northeastern CT where I live and my husband works.  I also perform frequently in the comfort of my own home.  Outside of that, I also enjoy spending time with my husband, watching movies and TV shows (my favorites are the Cosby Show, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and How Do I Look), shopping, reading, attending cultural events among a variety of things. 

So that’s me in a jiffy.  I look forward to meeting many of you on my travels, in my office, or via email and telephone calls.  I wish you all the best of luck as you wrap up your high school experience and prepare for the next chapter of your lives. 

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment

Meet Admissions staff at college fairs!

Pmaloney Hey all, it’s me again, except this time I’m writing from sunny California, only a short 3,000 miles from Worcester, Mass.  I’m on a counselor tour with 17 other Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States.  Trips like this are great because I really enjoy meeting counselors from other Jesuit founded institutions, and even better it’s a great way to meet students!  We travel from San Francisco to Sacramento to San Diego to Los Angeles hosting college fairs for high school students.  I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of a crazy schedule for one week, but talking with kids who have visited HC or are interested in learning more about the College make it all worth it.  Maloney Tip #2 – if your school is hosting a college fair, or you know of a college fair that will be in your area – GO!  It’s a great way for you to get information about a lot of different colleges – and remember not to be shy about filing out an inquiry card to get more information from the institution!

In the little bit of free time that I did have, I was able to sneak away and check out some California landmarks.  Check out the picture below.


Also, I received a call from my sister while I’ve been out here saying that I am now officially an uncle!  She just had her first baby, a boy, named Ryan.  I am super excited about it (as is my entire family).  Can’t wait to meet him!

Patrick Maloney ’02
Assistant Director of Admissions

College application advice: visit campus & have an interview

Jrichardson Hi everyone!  Thanks for checking out the new Admissions blog!  This is a great way for you to learn more about us and our travels throughout the process.  Our collective goal is to also offer you some useful advice we hope will ease some of the inevitable anxiety which always seems to surround this process.  Check in often – – we hope to be posting a lot of entries!

So .. who’s that Jim guy anyway?  I was born and raised in Southbury, Connecticut, attended public schools for the duration of my upbringing, and then headed off to Rhode Island to College in 1988.  I returned to Connecticut briefly after graduating in 1992, but by 1995 I had headed back to Rhode Island to begin my Admissions career.  By now, its safe to presume I’m an Admissions ‘lifer’.  I’ve been visiting high schools, reading applications, doing interviews, and helping students and families through their respective process ever since.  I joined the Admissions staff at Holy Cross in the fall of 1999, and have served the College as the Associate Director of Admission for the last 3 years.  I currently live in Lincoln, Rhode Island with my wife and daughter. Although my daughter is only 20 months old and just now beginning to speak, we’ve been practicing – – "Go Crusaders!".

If you haven’t yet been to visit campus, I would highly encourage you to come to Worcester to see it!  We have a very beautiful 174 acre hillside campus which has won two first-place prizes for ‘best landscaped campus in the nation’.  While on campus, we hope you feel the strong sense of community we all cherish so much.  Spend a few hours there … have lunch … speak to students and staff … have an Admissions interview … all will be important experiences for you to have.

Thank you for your continued interest in the College of the Holy Cross.  We’ll look forward to many opportunities to meet you throughout your college search and selection process; best of luck!

James Richardson
Associate Director of Admissions

Personalize the application process

Drew So you’re ten year’s old – you’re sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by stacks of unopened library books on a topic that you were supposed to have started researching weeks ago and now, here you are, the evening before your report is due and you are overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.  In her book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott describes her brother’s experience with a 4th grade report on birds this way:

“. . . he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.”

If you spend too much time with your nose in the guide books, the college search process, much like the 4th grade report, can become absolutely overwhelming in its size and scope.  Our goal in the Admissions Office and particularly in this blog, is to help humanize the process and to encourage you to “just take it bird by bird”. 

So to follow my co-workers’ example let me tell you a bit about myself.    

I was raised throughout the Midwest and New England and now reside in the great city of Worcester (once known as “The Shredded Wheat Capital of the World”).  I’ve worked here in the Admissions Office at Holy Cross for three years now and in my free time I enjoy fighting crime, spreading world peace, singing duets and searching for the best American-made doughnuts (not necessarily in that order).  This fall, I will continue my search in parts of MA, CT and upstate NY; in between doughnut shops, I hope to find time to visit high schools, meet with students and make this process just a bit more human.

Andrew N Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Ask us your application questions!

Suzanne Hi everyone!

My name is Suzanne Timmons and I am an Admissions Counselor here in the Admissions Office at Holy Cross. In July of 2006 I was fortunate enough to join the Admissions Staff and my experience here has been everything I hoped it would be. I could not be more pleased with the opportunity that Holy Cross has given me to work with both great colleagues and talented prospective students.

Outside of my life in admissions, I love heading back to my hometown of Norwell, Massachusetts to spend time with my family. Recently, we’ve welcomed a new addition to the Timmons clan, a yellow Labrador Retriever named Lulu. When I do make it home for a visit, my family gives me the honor of making sure that Lulu gets some much needed exercise. Having a burly puppy around the house has forced me to get back into the sport of running (one of my favorite high school and college sports) and on select Saturdays you may just find me hitting the pavement with Lulu in tow. We typically finish up our Saturday runs by heading to the nearest Dunkin Donuts where I can have my fix of Hazelnut iced coffee (yes, I am addicted) and where Lulu can indulge in one plain munchkin (I guess it’s not a secret anymore) 🙂

Speaking of hitting the pavement, in less than a week I will be heading out of Worcester to visit with students like you! My travel territories include St. Louis, Maryland, Virginia, the Chicago suburbs and portions of Massachusetts.

As you continue with your college search, don’t be nervous of the unfamiliar. You should know that we recognize how hard you work on applications and essays, and we are here to work just as hard for you. Please take advantage by asking as many questions and gathering as much information as possible. We’ll definitely get you an answer, and if nothing more, point you to our fun website. We specialize in helping you find out as much as you can to know if this is the undeniable school for you. Good luck and I look forward to working with you during your college application process!

Suzanne R. Timmons
Admissions Counselor

Hello from an Admissions counselor at Holy Cross!

Lynn Hello everyone!  We’re excited to begin our new blog, and hope that you will check back frequently to hear what’s going on in the world of Holy Cross Admissions. 

My name is Lynn Verrecchia.  I grew up in Port Chester, NY and first came to Holy Cross as a student 1997.  I chose Holy Cross for many of the same reasons I hear students mention today, including our close-knit community and focus on creating well-rounded individuals. 

I began my admissions career in 2002, and returned to Holy Cross in my current role just over three years ago.  I love having the opportunity to talk with students about a college that has played such an important role in my own life.  I work with over 65 student volunteers in our tour guide program.  Some of you may have already attended a tour at Holy Cross, and I hope that you found our students to be as friendly, genuine and helpful as I have.

I recently purchased my first home with my husband, a fellow Holy Cross grad, in Somerville, MA.  Much of our time is now spent in Lowe’s or on the Home Depot website.  True loves of my life include foreign language, travel, cookies and Alton Brown.

My recruitment territories include Texas, Tennessee, Maine, and parts of Massachusetts.  I hope to see many of you "on the road", and others on campus this fall!  I truly believe in the importance of finding the right "fit" in a college.  Happy searching!

Lynn Verrecchia
Assistant Director of Admissions