The Future is Now for Campus Tours

 

A few weeks ago, we began offering campus tours and like many colleges, our tours look a bit different from the past.  We’re keeping tour groups intentionally small and spending as much time outside as possible.   In addition, just this week, Holy Cross was featured in an article by Inside Higher Education about the future of the campus tour.  

What an exciting moment it was to once again welcome prospective students and their families to our campus. As excited as our guests have been, our tour guides have been equally as excited to show off their school, their campus and to talk about their experience as a Holy Cross student.  

There was so much excitement, in fact, that all the available tours for the summer quickly booked.  Recently, we’ve been able to add more tour spaces and there’s now availability throughout the rest of the summer.

With the return of visitors, I am reminded of a blog entry I wrote 13 years ago about campus tours as some of it bears repeating.  On college campuses, too often we see a family pour out of their car, run to catch the tour, the information session and then sprint back to the car to make it to the next campus for the next tour and information session.

I’m here today to call upon everyone just to slow down.

Seriously – slow down.

 

Billy Collins ‘63 (U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003) said the following about education:

 

Although teaching and learning themselves have been motorized by the hyper-pace of information, it is good to remember that the true tempo of education has always involved a deceleration. . . .  a shift from the urgencies and demands of the world to the more leisurely pace of discussion, the cadence of study and reflection, the seeming stop-time of engrossed thought.

 

When visiting colleges this summer, instead of sprinting from car to tour to info session to car, I want to encourage families to simply slow down.  Schedule your visits so there’s enough time to linger, to truly experience a college campus.  

The most valuable insight from a college visit often comes when you’re not looking for it – a door held for you when you least expect it; the friendly smile from a professor who passes you on the sidewalk; or a conversation between students you overhear at the campus coffee shop.  You’ll only notice these if your pace is leisurely and you just might experience the best part of education – the deliberate and delightful deceleration.

 

~Drew Carter | Deputy Director of Admission

 

Three Lessons of College Admissions

 

As I wrap up my first year post-graduation, and working for the College there are a number of lessons I have learned about the College Admissions process. Lessons I wish I would have been privy to all those years ago when I was applying for Colleges. I have summed up three lessons I have learned while working in college admissions. I hope these lessons are helpful to you as you navigate the College Admissions process, regardless of where you might be in that process: 

 

Applications get read and re-read and sometimes re-re-read 

Holy Cross uses a holistic approach to admission. We value every aspect of an applicant’s background, and we read every part of the application to ensure we understand the whole picture. Our reading and committee processes are extensive and dedicated to ensuring that we get to know each and every applicant. In short, we care about getting to know you and will read every part of your application multiple times. We are thoughtful and intentional about every decision we make! 

 

Your admissions counselor wants to get to know you! 

One thing I wish I would have taken advantage of as an applicant is getting to know my regional admissions counselor. As an admissions counselor I love connecting with students and answering their questions! Your admissions counselor is incredibly knowledgeable and can serve as a great resource to you at any point in the admissions process. Please do not be shy about connecting with your counselor! 

 

Engagement matters 

At Holy Cross we value demonstrated interest. We appreciate it when applicants have engaged with us in some way shape or form during the admissions process. Engagement can mean attending a virtual tour and information session, or sending an admissions counselor an email! Engagement opportunities are not only ways for you to demonstrate interest, but they are also avenues to learn more about the College of the Holy Cross. I encourage you all to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about Holy Cross. It  is important to research every school you apply to! You should gather all the necessary information you need to ensure you are applying to schools that are a fit for you! 

I hope this information is helpful to you as you navigate through the admissions process! I wish you the best, and encourage you to enjoy every step of the process!

 

Best,  

Alyssa Martinez | Assistant Director of Admission

Montserrat

 

Looking back at my first year as a student at Holy Cross, I credit much of my amazing experience to the Montserrat program. From my incredible professor to my peers that would quickly become my friends, Montserrat served as reassurance that Holy Cross was where I wanted to be.

Last year, I was lucky enough to have been placed into Professor Ryan’s seminar in the Divine cluster, called “Identity, Diversity and Community.” My classmates all lived in the same dorm as me, so it was a relief to be able to meet other students right away and see familiar faces around campus. A majority of my current friend group came to be through our Montserrat, since the class size is small, which allowed us all to easily get to know one another. I also had the opportunity to get to know my professor, and between a whole year of being her student and attending office hours, I was able to form a strong bond with her that made my adjustment to college all the more comfortable. My Montserrat seminar also included what is called a Community Based Learning component, an opportunity in numerous Montserrat seminars that allows first year students to volunteer in the city of Worcester. Through my CBL, I had the chance to volunteer with a kindergarten class at a local elementary school, which was such a fun experience. Not only did we get to engage with Worcester, but we also reflected on our volunteer experiences which changed my perspective of community service for the better.

The Montserrat program offers six different clusters to first year students, each cluster having various seminars. These classes all provide unique experiences for students with an abundance of benefits. Each class lasts for the entire first year with each semester focusing on a different theme. For the most part, these classes are also taught by the same professor. The consistency in schedule, classmates, and professors allows students to become comfortable on campus through academic and social aspects. The welcoming atmosphere established by Montserrat ensures a smooth transition to college life for first year students as well as the opportunity to bond with faculty members, which may be intimidating to most upon entering college. Having a class limited to only first years as well as students that live in the same dorm buildings is also vital for contributing to this atmosphere and strengthening social connections among peers. The seminars themselves also offer great benefits for students. The material taught enables students to expand beyond standard curriculum and learn about topics that would not be otherwise covered. For example, my two seminar themes were “Exploring Difference” and “Modifying Technology” in which I was able to learn about disabilities in society as well as ethics of genetic engineering. Both of these themes offer curriculum outside of core subjects, which offered a unique perspective on worldly concerns that could be carried on throughout the college experience. The seminars consist of real-world applications that not only contribute to the well-roundedness of a liberal arts student, but also change how first years see the community around them.

Community is a substantial component of the Montserrat program. The CBL opportunities offered by some seminars reinforces the aspect of community between Holy Cross students and the citizens of Worcester. Many students choose to continue their volunteer work with their community partner throughout their Holy Cross careers from having a positive experience through Montserrat. The program also establishes a sense of community on campus through cluster events. These events include performances, presentations, or activities relevant to the theme of the entire cluster that students attend. Cluster events bring together all students of various seminars under that one cluster, allowing students to meet many more peers that they are also living with. This unifies first year students in a way that they become a community on campus, furthering the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere the Montserrat program strives to achieve.

The Montserrat program here at Holy Cross aims to introduce first year students to life as a college student and serves as a unique component of the school. I, along with many other Holy Cross students, am the student I am today academically and socially because of the foundations built by Montserrat.

~Lindsay R. ’23

 

STEM Resources at HC

 

My name is Madeline Richard, I am a sophomore biology major on the pre-health track. I knew in high school that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field, and I knew there were a number of ways I could succeed in doing so. I chose the biology major because of my positive experience in introductory classes during my first and second years at Holy Cross.

There were many factors that contributed to this positive experience including my interactions with my peers and professors as well as utilizing college resources. Some programs that I would like to highlight today are my participation in Bio Buddies and Chem PAL (Peer Assisted Learning).

I used Bio Buddies as a resource during my freshman year. It is a biology help session available 3 days a week in the evenings, usually from 6-10pm. The students who run Bio Buddies have taken a numerous amount of biology courses, so you can go to them for introductory or upper-level biology courses. Not only were they helpful in answering questions I had about my course material, they were helpful in giving advice about the biology major. They told me about their experiences with different professors, their lab experience, and the bucket list of biology courses that I should take as an upperclassman.

I also utilized the Chem PAL  resource while taking the introductory chemistry sequence. Chem PAL is a little more formal in the sense that there was a specific worksheet we completed, and it was directed by the PAL for only your specific class. We met twice a week for an hour to review what we had learned in lecture so far that week. It was a great way to see more practice problems and interact with classmates. This resource was one I utilized while virtual learning. The benefits were enhanced over ZOOM because we were able to collaborate in smaller groups over the course material.

Both Bio Buddies and Chem PAL were resources that helped me decide to continue to pursue a STEM major. Along with my professors and my peers, these resources provided a great support system that I knew I needed with such a rigorous major.

Favorite Coffee Shops and Local Places to Eat in Worcester

 

Worcester is known for its fantastic restaurants and you will not be disappointed by the selection that they have to offer for every occasion! Worcester’s offerings extend far beyond Shrewsbury street – keep reading for my (along with many other student’s) favorite local spots. 

 

Coffee/ Cafes 

Acoustic Java 

My roommates and I frequent Acoustic Java almost every morning. With their fun rustic environment and an extensive menu of coffees, matcha, and iced teas, you won’t be disappointed. 

Bonus points: There are 2 locations in Worcester and one of them is a short walk/ a quick 2-minute drive from campus – so convenient! 

 

Nu Cafe 

Nu Cafe is a crowd pleaser and most student’s go-to off-campus spot. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this cafe is great for all times of the day. They have great baked goods too! 

 

Other Great Cafes/ Coffee Places: 

Birchtree Bread Co – Great local bakery/ cafe for breakfast or lunch 

InHouse – Coffee and Bagels 

Bagel Time – Need I say more? 

 

Dinner Spots 

Tavern in the Square 

This spot is actually in Shrewsbury, but it’s well worth the trip! They have specifically fantastic brunch and dinner menus and their sport-bar vibe is laid back and fun. 

 

Volturno

This Italian spot is an amazing place to go for the best, pizza, pasta, and salad. Although they offer takeout, I highly recommend dining in. Their warm ambiance makes you want to stay for hours! 

 

Baba Sushi 

My roommates and I always get takeout from this little sushi place and it has quickly become one of our favorites! You can’t go wrong here, but if you need a recommendation, go for the spicy tuna roll! 

 

Other Dinner Spots 

Basil n Spice 

Great Thai food! 

 

Pasta Mani 

Cute Italian spot located in the Worcester Public Market

 

Maddi’s Cookery And TapHouse 

Another great all-around spot, from brunch to dinner!

 

Sweets  

Queens Cups 

They have an amazing assortment of cupcakes! 

 

Glazy Susan

Every donut you could ever want lives here! 

 

Special Occasions

These places are great for a birthday, parent’s weekend, or just whenever you’re feeling a little extra fancy! 

 

Via 

Upscale Italian cuisine 

 

Dead Horse Hill 

Rustic-chic New American dining

 

Sole Proprietor 

Seafood, Sushi & Raw Bar 

 

111 Chop House 

Steak House 

 

Bocado Tapas Wine Bar 

Fashionable tapas & wine bar with a comfortable feel 

 

Chashu Ramen + Izakaya

Upscale modern Asian fare offering ramen and tapas 

 

Other

Worcester Public Market 

A great spot with local vendors offering everything from pantry items, to sweet treats, to sit-down dinners. 

 

Maker to Main 

This amazing spot carries local groceries and craft beverages. With all products from within Massachusetts and New England, Maker to Main’s mission is to strengthen the local community through food. 

 

As you can see, there is so much more to Worcester’s foodie scene than Shrewsbury Street (although it’s always an amazing staple). This collection of restaurants will take you from day to night, whether you’re feeling casual or fancy – Worcester truly has it all when it comes to restaurants.

My Junior Year Away Experience

During my junior year, I had the opportunity to take advantage of both Holy Cross’ study abroad program and the NYC Semester-Away Program. For those who are not familiar, the study abroad program is one that is quite popular among Holy Cross students. It gives them the opportunity to study in a different country for either a semester or a year – I chose to study in Melbourne, Australia. Although I did not spend 2 semesters there, Holy Cross’ program is unique from that of other Colleges because they offer that year-long option, allowing students to completely immerse themselves in another culture for an entire academic year if they wish. The New York Semester is another unique opportunity that Holy Cross offers to students. The program is made up of three major, integrated components: a weekly seminar on leadership; an internship chosen from a vast range of fields; and a capstone project designed to further engage students with real-world problems pertaining to the subject matter of their internship. Students receive a full semester academic credit for the program. 

In addition to giving students the opportunity to see different parts of the world and becoming culturally immersed for a semester, studying abroad presents the ability to take unique classes that Holy Cross might not offer. When I was abroad, I took a really interesting course called Food for a Healthy Planet, which was essentially a nutrition class. It was unlike any class that HC offers and it was one of my favorite classes I’ve ever taken (although I do love all of my classes here!). I was also able to travel quite a bit in Australia – I explored much of Eastern Australia including Sydney, the Whitsunday Islands, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, and the Great Barrier Reef. Out of all those places, my favorite was definitely Byron Bay – its chill, beachy, coastal surf town vibe is unique from any other place I’ve been and I definitely want to return someday. 

The food and culture was another fun experience while abroad. Australia – particularly Melbourne – is known for its cafe culture. They have so many unique coffee shops and delicious breakfast spots boasting every type of latte you could ever imagine along with beautifully presented plates of pancakes, avocado toast, smoothie bowls, eggs, etc. Truly nobody does brunch as well as the Australians. Living in Melbourne, the city was incredibly walkable and I either took the tram (their version of the subway…but cleaner) or walked everywhere that I needed to go. The people were incredibly welcoming and warm as well – oftentimes in other countries the locals can give a cold shoulder to Americans but this was not at all the case in Australia. As a whole, the program broadened my scope of the world, presented me with new experiences, and gave me a whole new kind of independence. 

In New York, I was quite busy balancing my internship, my class, my capstone, and my social life. Yet, I loved the business of my life and how there was always somewhere to go and something to do in the city. Although there was a disruption last spring, the New York Semester was truly the best decision I’ve ever made. It was by far my favorite part of junior year. I got my internship at Hearst applying via Handshake (Holy Cross’ job site). I really loved my time there, the business of the city, and I met such great people and gained so much valuable experience in the (sadly) shortened 2 months I was in NYC. After COVID sent us home, I continued my internship and seminar class virtually. I also kept plugging away at my capstone, which I wrote about how marketing in the fashion and beauty industry has changed since the 70s until now. Picking a topic that I am so interested in personally kept me motivated – I would not have wanted to write a 35-page paper and given a presentation to my teachers, colleagues, mentors, and peers about something that I wasn’t passionate about! Rather, I actually enjoyed it. Overall, the New York Semester taught me so much in such a short amount of time and I now have a much better sense of what I want to do after graduation and where I want to live (hint: New York). 

My experience participating in both of these programs was quite different from anything I’ve experienced thus far and I can honestly say that my junior year was one of the best years of my life. Moving around so much was definitely more of an adjustment than I anticipated – specifically being so far from home in Australia – but I’m so happy that I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and engage in such life-changing adventures. 

 

~Katherine Barrette ’21

Applying to College During a Pandemic

The latin phrase virtute et numine is the inspiration for the phrase “by grit and grace.”  I am reminded of that sentiment because a few weeks ago, we passed the six month mark – 180 days since my co-workers and I left the Office of Admission and started working remotely and Holy Cross students left campus and started remote learning.  On an almost daily basis, we are challenged in ways that we never expected and for which we could not prepare.  

Over these six months, in conversations over Zoom with high school students, we in the Admission Office have been hearing stories of canceled standardized test dates, the challenges of remote, hybrid and in-person learning and all of the resulting stress and anxiety that has been added to the college application process.  We are simultaneously inspired by these students’ stories of perseverance and saddened by the heightened anxiety that they are experiencing.  In response, we have created the following website and video to help address the most common questions and concerns about applying to college during this unforeseen pandemic.

We will get through the next six months the same way we got through the last six months – by demonstrating compassion for each other, and, most of all, by grit and grace.

 

~Andrew Carter

Sr. Associate Director of Admission

 

A Reflection on Senior Fall 2020

With COVID- 19 still at the forefront of all of our lives, my senior year is looking drastically different than I could have ever imagined. Classes are completely online and campus is practically eerie. Even the Hoval, where students would normally be outside enjoying the beautiful September weather is completely empty. Although nothing is predictable or familiar right now, I have found some silver linings to the current situation. I am living off-campus in a house with my friends (which we signed on sophomore year), so I feel lucky that I’m still able to be together with my close friends. We’ve been able to spend a ton of quality time together and having a change of scenery from being home all spring/summer has been nice. Life is definitely less busy now than it was before COVID, and many fall Holy Cross traditions such as tailgates and sports events understandably need to be postponed until the virus is under control. If anything, I would say that new traditions are being born out of this time. My friends and I have begun going on walks more and spending time cooking dinner together most nights – things that might not have happened if we were still tied to our usual busy schedules. 

Something that I have found to be pivotal this semester is still staying involved in activities in any way possible. I am happy to still be remotely involved with Social Media Interning – having a schedule and an activity outside of my classes makes daily life seem much more normal.  Sitting at the same desk in front of my computer all day can also get mundane, so I try to change up my working spaces by sitting outside on my porch or doing work at the kitchen table. Campus facilities like the Dinand Library will also be open to some students soon (as long as they comply with regular testing and safety measures), so being able to go there and be on campus to some capacity is an exciting prospect. 

In terms of classes, my professors have been doing an incredible job making the most out of remote learning and being sympathetic to our situation at the current time. They put such a great effort into making Zoom classes as engaging and discussion-based as possible – their care for the students is definitely noticeable and I feel lucky to attend a school where the staff offers such a great support system. The greater administration as a whole has also been extremely proactive about testing measures and keeping COVID at bay for the few students who are on/ around campus, which is great. 

Obviously, this year hasn’t been anything like what I expected my senior year to be, and I miss the “normal” Holy Cross life. Yet, considering the circumstances, it has been far better than I’ve expected and I’m hopeful for what’s to come.

~Katherine Barrette ’21

Junior Year During COVID-19

Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Lake, and I am a junior Psychology major at the College working as a Social Media intern in the Admissions Office this year. I am from Fair Haven, New Jersey, where I will be attending my classes virtually this semester. This fall is different from what I had imagined, but I am looking forward to what this semester has to offer.

As I begin my online classes, I have reflected a lot on what the transition to online was like in the spring compared to now. The transition from in-person class to online classes last year was an abrupt and difficult adjustment, with many bumps in the road as we as a community completely changed the way in which we learn and interact with one another. Holy Cross gave students and professors one week without class to adjust syllabi, become familiar with programs like Zoom and Google Meet, and in general get used to teaching and learning from our homes. This transition was done in a way my friends and I have called “organized chaos,” as we had to adjust each step of the way as the world around us changed. Now, as I attend classes in a fully virtual format this semester, this transition is less daunting than last year, as I do have some Zoom experience under my belt heading into my third year on the Hill. My professors have prepared syllabi knowing we would be remote for the entirety of the semester, barring any interruptions, like what happened last March. This semester is unlike any other academic year I have ever experienced, but is one that I feel more prepared for than I initially thought.

Being a college student during this time is challenging, frustrating, and at times isolating. College students are in a unique position within the new COVID world, as expectations for the school year are evolving everyday nationwide, and there is a strong feeling of uncertainty within each day, regardless if students are on-campus or in dispersion, like Holy Cross. Now more than ever, I feel being a college student requires flexibility and adaptability, as well as the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice. I have come to realize that being a COVID college student requires a “expect the unexpected” mindset, focusing more on the short-term rather than the long-term. However, in spite of the challenges that arise from being a college student during the COVID crisis, I do feel that I have grown academically and I gained valuable life skills. I feel that college students as a whole have been able to persevere through the tough times and unpredictability of today’s world in creative and innovative ways to make the most of their experiences both socially and academically.

I have a newfound appreciation and gratitude for my Holy Cross community in this time away from campus and in dispersion from my classmates and friends. The College has worked to continue offering extracurricular opportunities to students, as well as maintain a sense of unity and normalcy in what can only be classified as abnormal times. My friends and I still read The Spire, the College paper, each Friday as it continues to put out virtual editions each week. Currently, I am serving as a SPUD Community Organizer, and my team and I have been able to find new ways to engage in my weekly service in Worcester through SPUD in the remote setting. I got to participate in the Communitas Retreat run through the Chaplains’ Office last spring (the first virtual retreat put on by the office) and maintain my connections with the Chaplains in this time apart. This summer, I also got to co-lead a small group as part of the Horizons Retreat for the Class of 2024, also organized by the Chaplains’ Office, to welcome the incoming freshman class in a way the College has never done before. Getting to keep my extracurricular involvement in Holy Cross without being physically on campus is something that has reminded me how strong the HC community is, regardless if we are together on campus or spread across the country. These resources provided by the College have supported me and helped me feel like a true Holy Cross student, even as I attend classes from my bedroom. 

This year, I am looking forward to working with the Admissions Office to create social media content for the Class of 2025, as social media has a newfound importance in the COVID world. I am also looking forward to working as a SPUD Community Organizer to help recruit and connect students to service in Worcester, even if they may not physically be in the city or on campus. I am also looking forward to becoming part of the Soul Squad groups, offered by the Chaplains’ Office so I can connect with other Holy Cross students in moments of reflection. Although this time is incredibly difficult, I look forward to strengthening my connections with the Holy Cross community.

~Michaela Lake ’22

Why I Chose Holy Cross and to become a Senior Interviewer

   

One role that I have on campus is as a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admission. The reason why I wanted to become a Senior Interviewer and even come to Holy Cross in the first place are intertwined. Let me rewind to my senior spring in high school, in the midst of the decision-making process. I will be honest; I really did not know where I wanted to attend college. After countless college visits, all of the schools seemed to blend together, except for one – Holy Cross. Even still, the main reason that Holy Cross stood out to me was because my older sister attended the school, and I couldn’t decide if that was a good or bad thing at the time. However, there was a significant turning point in my college search that made Holy Cross stand out in a way which made me think it was the school for me.

 

The shift happened when I went on campus for my interview with the Admission Office. I was interviewed by a Senior Interviewer, one who made the interview feel more like a conversation, rather than a high stress situation. I remember leaving the interview thinking, “Was that REALLY an interview?” The interviewer made me feel so comfortable and at home, which opened my eyes and made me realize that those feelings spread beyond that office nestled in Fenwick. As I was walking around campus right after that interview, I realized that the Senior Interviewer reminded me of so many other Holy Cross students in the best way. Their friendly demeanor, their willingness to smile and hold the door open for me, even if I was quite some ways back, was apparent. They all looked happy to be on the Hill and to be part of the Crusader Community and I thought that was something I wanted to be a part of.

 

 As time passed and the deadline loomed, I started to think less and less about my decision and put more stock into how I felt, and I felt that Holy Cross was the place for me. It was thanks to the Senior Interviewer and all of the other friendly faces who make up the Holy Cross community that made me realize that Holy Cross was the place that I wanted to call home for the next four years. As a senior now with my days as a student dwindling down, I can say that they were some of the best of my life.  

 

 

Mike Peplowski ’20

 

Hey folks! My name is Mike Peplowski and I am a senior History major from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Outside of the classroom I spend my time with organizations such as Working for Worcester, a student-run nonprofit, and programs such as Spring Break Immersion, to name a few. I am also on the Club Soccer team and love hanging out with my friends at Memorial Plaza (when it’s warm enough!).