New Design, Materials Help Us Better Tell Our Story

AnnMcDermott.BLOG2If you are reading this blog, you have likely noticed that the main pages of the Holy Cross web site have an exciting new look and feel. This is the first phase of a two part redesign. Look for the second and final phase in spring of 2015.

But that is not all that is new! On August 18, the College will launch a brand new logo and visual identity that will be used campuswide. Working collaboratively, offices across the College joined together to develop a new graphic identity that is both recognizable and distinctive. From banners to business cards to publications and PowerPoint presentations, the new Holy Cross look will be both clear and consistent, and will help to better uniquely convey our story.

But I have to admit that what I am most excited about is our new suite of Admissions publications! They are in the process of being printed but should be available shortly. I hope you agree that they are worth the wait.

Ann McDermott ’79

Director of Admissions

“Interview” is Not a Four-Letter Word

It is actually nine.  Whether  we are meeting students on the road or on campus,  we seem to hear the same question over and over again: “What can I do to increase my chances of acceptance?”

Our answer?  “INTERVIEW!”

Though interviews are considered by many high school students to be superficial, self-indulgent monologues professing one’s greatness to an intimidating potential employer for personal gain,  it would be more appropriate to title Holy Cross Interviews as “Conversations,” because that is essentially what they are: two people in a room chatting about anything and everything.

The interview is not the time to determine if a student is a credible candidate; it is a time to put a name with a face and get to know each candidate on a more personal level.  It is not about proving yourself to our office, it is about adding more information to your own application.  Twenty to thirty minutes of conversation can add volumes of information to your application that is impossible to convey on paper through the Common Application, your letters of recommendation, your college essay, or your SAT scores (should you choose to send them).  Read more about scheduling an interview on- or off-campus,   and schedule one before we run out of spots.


Summer Visit Opportunities

Zachary WielgusSummer is an interesting time for us here in Admissions. With the stress of application reading and the selection process behind us,  summer is a great opportunity for admissions officers to plan travel, take some vacation days, and admire the gorgeous trees and flowers blooming all over campus.

But we haven’t forgotten about you, high school juniors, who are just starting your college search. Once you’ve had some time to relax, think about making some college visits.

Summer is an excellent opportunity to visit Holy Cross. Come for a tour and information session. You’ll hear directly from students as they guide you around campus and from an Admissions Counselor about the college process. If you happen to be here in the next few weeks you might want to take advantage of our July Advisory Days, where you’ll receive insider tips on interviewing and writing your college essay. It might be nice to get all of this done before your hectic senior year starts up (where you’ll likely be juggling AP classes, soccer practice, band rehearsal, community service, etc.). For tips during the week, follow us on Twitter @HCAdmission, where we will be posting visit tips during June.

We will be here and looking forward to your visit!

Zach Wielgus

Assistant Director of Admissions

I’m on the Wait List! Now What?


This time of year is an exciting and hectic one. That being said, not every applicant is able to receive good news. If you were offered a spot on the wait list, we hope this can be of help.

Below are three tips to help you stay sane during the wait list process:

• Deposit elsewhere. Even if you can’t imagine yourself anywhere else, it is important to accept an offer of admissions and to deposit at another institution. Get excited about this school and remember that getting into college is a big deal. Be proud of yourself for reaching this major educational milestone!

• Reach out to someone in our office via phone or email and stay in touch with that person. Updating us on your continued interest in Holy Cross as well as keeping us informed of your high school progress are appropriate ways to pursue the wait list.

• Stay calm. We most likely will not have any information about the wait list until after the first week in May. Please understand that we cannot give you any information about the probability of coming off the wait list until we know how many of our admitted students will enroll at Holy Cross. Once we have a better idea of our incoming class we will be able to communicate that with you.

We understand that this is a difficult process to go through, and we thank you for your continued interest in Holy Cross.

Holy Cross Admissions

Dan Keeps Committee Fun

I admit it:  I am a dork, a dweeb, a geek, a nerd.   I am all of these things.  I exhibit these dorky qualities every day during Committee, our seven and a half hours each day behind closed doors.  I find a way to amuse myself when each new high school, hometown, or applicant’s name appears on the projector. I believe it is important to clear my thoughts and put myself in a positive mindset before viewing and discussing each applicant. I employ all of the following mental techniques in order to get myself excited to explore each and every applicant:

1. Create a rhyme using the applicant’s last name – i.e.  “Daniel Weagle owns five beagles.”

2. Read the applicant’s name/school/hometown in an Irish brogue, French inflection, Southern drawl, robot voice or any other way that will cause me to smile (it’s really not too difficult to get me to smile).

3. Question whether an applicant is related to a celebrity with the same last name (one of my favorites).

4. Find a pun within a schools’ name – i.e. “What do you call a fantastic feline? A Magnificat!” (Thanks, Ohio, for your help.)

5. Start off each break with a new impression. Me doing Will Ferrell doing Harey Carey is the current crowd favorite.

I suspect that each Holy Cross counselor has his or her unique method of mentally preparing for the discussion of every applicant; my method just infuses a split second of silliness into the otherwise overwhelmingly serious process of selecting the Holy Cross class of 2018.


Daniel Weagle ’08

Assistant Director of Community Outreach

Committee Has Begun!

After a frenzied few months of application reading, we’re back and ready to blog even more.  Miss us? We missed you, too.


For the next five weeks, the HC admissions committee will be selecting the next class of Crusaders.  Decisions won’t be posted online until sometime after March 15 (we like to remain secretive), so to alleviate your anxiety, we’ll do our best to keep you updated on what’s going on behind the closed doors.


What to expect?  Play-by-play, hard-nosed reporting, pictures, color commentary, food reviews, and historical re-enactment.  What not to?  Answers to the question, “Did I get in?”


First up – the change in the office, and where 12 of us will be  spending the next month:

The conference room, turned into the new waiting room…

New waiting room


…because we’ve turned the original waiting room into our closed-door Committee Room.


Stay tuned for more open doors.

Julia Sanders
Senior Assistant  Director of Admissions

The Reading Season Routine

Nancy NelsenAs I sat down to read applications recently, I suddenly had a flashback to my days in college and graduate school. There was something oddly familiar about the set-up at my desk. I was surrounded by the same must-have items that I needed to write a long paper, including a huge cup of coffee, a bottle of water, a pillow behind my back for comfort, a mellow mix of tunes playing on my iPod, and most importantly, atomic fire ball hard candy. Whether I’m gearing up to write a 20-page paper or reviewing admissions applications, having the aforementioned items seem essential to me when tackling a project of this magnitude.


Though I’m no longer a student, the task of reading such a large volume of applications is reminiscent of the feelings I had when faced with a big paper in school. I love the challenge, and I love the adrenaline rush.

Perhaps what I love most about reading applications is having the opportunity to learn about so many fascinating and talented students. After reviewing transcripts and doing calculations, I get to sit back and read hundreds of thought-provoking essays. Students’ college applications give me a glimpse into their world. I’m constantly learning about different cultures and experiences, as well as personal challenges and triumphs.

While I’m moved by stories about life-altering events, I’m equally impressed with lighthearted essays. My excitement surrounding an essay isn’t always related to the student’s choice of topic. Rather, I find it stimulating to read a piece where the author really lets his or her personality shine through the essay.

Reflecting on the last few weeks of reading files,  I can assure you  there  have definitely been some long days, but thankfully, since I stuck with  my college routine, I didn’t  have to pull any all-nighters!


Nancy Nelsen

Assistant Director for Multicultural Recruitment

Meet a Counselor

I joined the Holy Cross Admissions Office as the Assistant Director of      Admissions in mid-August. If you ask me what the most exciting thing I’ve done for the summer or what I am most thankful for when Thanksgiving comes close, joining Holy Cross will be the definite answer. I found Holy Cross to be a very supportive, welcoming, and inclusive community for both students and staff. Coming from a different cultural background, I haven’t had one moment where I felt nostalgic, and I have grown to see Holy Cross as my home away from home. I feel so lucky to be a part of the very hard-working, engaging, extremely helpful and energetic admissions team. In addition, the great emphasis on providing a world-class undergraduate education from its strong Jesuit tradition makes Holy Cross the perfect place for me to work.

So, I am originally from Beijing and I moved to the U.S. for graduate school two years ago in 2011. I received my bachelor’s in English from China Foreign Affairs University. To call it a university might be an exaggeration, as it takes only five minutes to walk around the whole campus, but it is one of the most selective colleges in China, very much like Holy Cross on this level. After college, I worked as a national English radio broadcaster on China Radio International in 2010. At the same time, I was teaching TOEFL and Business English to university students and corporate employees who were going abroad for school and work.  However, I soon realized my passion was in education, so I applied to graduate schools in the US. My graduate research focused on global higher education and international student recruitment, which I intend to help Holy Cross as it continues to broaden its scope for excellent students both in America and around the world.

Specifically at Holy Cross, I am also working on international initiatives in China and Hong Kong. It was great to meet with a few first-year Chinese students at the Odyssey Luncheon before the semester started. They were extremely bright, smart and driven. I am excited to bring more talented students from around the world to join Holy Cross next year and the years to come.

The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Rev. Anthony Kuzniewski, S.J., a man I am proud to call a friend, a mentor, and my former history professor, once enlightened me as to the values of a liberal arts education through a vivid vignette.

On a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens,   I was reminded of Fr. Kuzniewski’s vignette and thought I would attempt to pass it along to anyone who is willing to read on.  I will note that there is no substitute for the way “Fr. K” (as his students affectionately call him) communicates the message:

Two educated individuals set out on a walk to their respective cabins in the woods on a misty morning.  The first individual sets out on the well-worn path and quickly spots his cabin in the distance.  He lowers his head to shield his eyes from the cold mist and barrels toward the front door knowing that a warm fire, dry clothes, and an afternoon of leisure (consisting of video games, Netflix, and naps) await him.

The second individual (educated in the liberal arts) sets out on the same path several minutes later.  While he is walking, he notices and identifies fresh white-tailed deer tracks stretching across the path.  His understanding is further developed when he notices that the leaves of the goldenrod that frame the path have been nibbled and several willow bushes along the direction of the tracks have been stripped of their buds from knee height to eye level.  Peeking past the vegetation and down the banking, he spots a deer bowing her head to drink from a brook that has provided the soothing soundtrack to his morning walk.  He makes a mental note to research the flow of the brook when he reaches the cabin.  He has a strong suspicion that it may contribute to a nearby river which powered his town’s namesake textile mill during the Industrial Revolution.  The man eventually makes his way back to the path and arrives at the cabin where he is greeted by the same warm fire and dry clothes as the first individual.

Both men reached their goal of shelter and sustenance, but their paths, while technically the same, were fundamentally different.  An education founded in the liberal arts nourishes inquisitive, open minds that embrace challenge, seek a deeper understanding of life (both its blessings and problems), and find value not only in knowledge, but also in the path to knowledge.

To summarize with an over-used cliché:  For a student educated in the liberal arts, it an essential part of everyday life to “stop and smell the roses,” and that is just what I did at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Dan Weagle ‘08
Assistant Director of Admissions

A Role for Parents in the Process

Everyone in the college admissions world has heard the tales of the overbearing parent.  One person may report the story of the mother who, following her son’s admissions interview, imitated his sloppy handwriting in a thank you note that she herself penned; another within earshot will quickly jump in, trumping that tale with the story of the father who actually placed a phone call to an admissions officer and imitated his son’s voice on the phone in order to demonstrate interest.

These tales, whether true or not, are swapped and traded like baseball cards.

What I don’t hear much of is the story of the reticent teenager, the late-blooming high school student who needed a nudge, a pep-talk, a push or even an outright shove to finally engage in the college search and application process.  Some sailors actually need a Captain Bligh to motivate and instill discipline so that they may eventually reach their desired destination and some applicants need their parents to kick-start their campaign, to encourage their participation in a way that may not always be pleasing to their teenage sensibility.

As long as that nudge creates momentum and not imbalance, as long as that “motivation” is filled with love, as long as the parent’s guiding hand doesn’t overreach, then there most certainly is a role (perhaps even a big role) for parents in this process.  But, take that role too far, or occupy it for too long and parents may learn Captain Bligh’s lesson, that mutinies don’t just happen on board the Bounty.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions