The Light at the End of the (Admissions) Tunnel

Two projector screens light up the dark room. These extended computer displays can be seen as portals into the lives of our applicants, much like eyes are looked at as windows into the human soul.

I’ve spent the better part of the last four weeks in the admissions committee room with twelve of my colleagues. With our decision release date of March 17th, we still have a couple of weeks left to go.

Day by day, some things have changed while others have remained the same. At any given time, a fly on the wall could observe a counselor sitting down or standing up, switching seats or swapping snacks. Our applications have rolled up The Hill from down the street and from out of state; some applications have even been out of this world! As each new candidate comes into focus, counselors take time to walk around in the file for a while. We seek out A’s and advanced classes, as well as interviews, instances of interest, and additional information. I can honestly say that it’s been an inspiring and entertaining journey getting to know thousands of Holy Cross hopefuls over these past few weeks.

When it comes to making decisions, we operate by majority rule. Some verdicts are unanimous, while others are split. The committee is composed of a baker’s dozen of higher education professionals who hail from distinct places and who embrace diverse viewpoints. The thirteen counselors who make up the College of the Holy Cross Admissions Committee can be thought of like the thirteen different kinds of cards in a deck (two through ace). We hold different values and each one is a crucial component of the whole. The multifariousness of both our committee members and our applicant pool makes participating in the game of admissions a unique challenge and joy.

As the overhead lights dim and the projector lights brighten on this day, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the (admissions) tunnel, and I’m sure that you are too. Thank you to all of our applicants this year – it’s been a pleasure to read your stories and to learn about your lives. May good fortune find you on March 17th!


by Tom McHugh

How the Center for Career Development Helped Me



When I first came into college, there were many things I was nervous about. Would I make friends? Would I get along with my roommate? What if I get homesick? Am I actually prepared to take these college level courses? I ended up making friends, getting homesick a couple of times, passing all of my classes and rooming with the same person for three years. However, there was a part of my life that I was mainly preparing for throughout my time here: finding a job. As a senior, the thought of finding a job has a lot more pressure and meaning behind it than it did when I was a first year student worrying about a roommate. However, now that this has become an upcoming reality for me, I need to take the steps to ensure that I would graduate with a job. To me, finding a job I was happy with would be the icing on the cake of my Holy Cross experience. So I took to the Center for Career Development (CCD) to get some help.

I began going to the CCD when I was a first year student. The career counselors were and continue to be some of the friendliest faces I know on this campus. As soon as you walk in, you are kindly greeted and asked what the purpose of your visit is. During my first year, the office’s Alumni Job Shadowing Program provided me with the opportunity to shadow two alums at their own jobs, allowing me to realize that I no longer wanted to pursue Psychology and instead was interested in Marketing. Once I had an idea of what field I wanted to go into, it became easier for me to focus on jobs particularly associated with Marketing. During my sophomore year, I began to schedule various appointments with Julie Draczynski, who specifically focuses on Marketing amongst other industries. Her specialized knowledge allowed me to gain valuable advice such as how to format my resume in a way that would specifically attract Marketing employers. I learned how to write cover letters and was able to receive feedback on each and every one of them. All I had to do was email a Career Counselor or stop by the office. The availability and  quickness of the counselors in this office has been one of the most helpful things- as a Holy Cross student who has multiple jobs on campus and is involved, I don’t necessarily have the time to wait in an office for 45 minutes before I am actually helped. The CCD does a great job of making sure every student is helped out in an efficient manner which is extremely helpful.

During my junior year, I went abroad and once I came back to campus, I was hit with a wave of anxiety as I realized that I needed to find an internship for the summer. I can say with all honesty, if it were not for the CCD, I would not have had an internship. Once I arrived on campus, I was on Crusader Connections daily, looking for internships that sounded appealing to me. I applied for Cosmopolitan magazine, Time Inc., HGTV and more. I was taught how to use the Career Advisory Network, a database filled with the contact information of alums from every industry who are interested in speaking to current Holy Cross students. This was a great way for me to build connections that I still maintain today. I ended up securing an internship working for a non-profit organization called Sanctuary for Families. If it were not for the CCD, I would not have been able to accept this internship because it was unpaid, which was something I could not afford to have. However, as I mentioned before, the CCD really saved me. Even before I began applying for internships, I was encouraged to apply for the Crusader Internship Fund- a program in money has been donated to provide students with funding in case they obtain an unpaid internship. I ended up receiving the funding and once I secured an internship, I was all set. Because I already had funding in my back pocket, the unpaid aspect of my internship was not a problem. I ended up meeting amazing people, learning so much and enjoying my summer because of my internship.

As a senior, I am now working at the CCD as one of the Marketing Peer Career Assistants. Not only am I building skills for my own career, I am also helping other students by reviewing cover letters and resumes during Drop-In hours. My experience involved with the CCD throughout my time at Holy Cross has provided me with such valuable insight into what I need to do to improve my chances of obtaining a job by the time I graduate. Although I currently do not have a job, I know that I have the support of the CCD to help me in every way possible when the time comes to begin applying. I feel more prepared because of the knowledge I gained through them- I receive monthly newsletters giving me information about job openings within my industry, I have access to Crusader Connections and the Career Advisory Network, I know how to write a cover letter and have Career counselors to help me revise it. All of these tools are open to every student showing how much of a wonderful resource the Career center is. As a current Peer Career Assistant, I hope to continue embodying the greatness of the center and help other students in the same way I was helped throughout my time at Holy Cross.


written by Nerelly C. ’18


Hi! My name is Gabby and I am one of the Social Media Interns in the Office of Admissions at the College of the Holy Cross. The study period for finals week ends today, so I wanted to write about finals at Holy Cross from a student’s perspective and provide tips for prospective students on how to survive (and thrive!) during finals week.

My first tip for finals week is to take detailed notes throughout the semester. Whether you’re taking a biology or a political science course, your notes will be one of your main studying resources when it comes time to prepare for finals week! If you miss class, ask a classmate if you can borrow their notes. In my experience, my notes have been crucial to being successful during when studying for exams.


Sleep. I know, this is certainly not easy when you have four exams to study for, but sleep is so important for being successful during finals week! Sleeping gives your brain a chance to rests and recharge, helping you remember more, feel better, and giving you the energy you need to crush your exams. Caffeine is helpful, but getting those 8 hours of shut-eye each night will make the difference.


Be active! Go for a walk around campus. Hit one of the on-campus gyms. Getting up and moving will make you feel so much healthier and less stressed during finals week, when students are sitting at their desks for long periods of time without moving around. Not to mention, exercise is known to have so many health benefits, from keeping you younger to helping your memory!


Go to office hours. Questions on a specific topic you learned in class? Want to know what your professor expects you to know for your exam? Want to vent? Head to your professors’ office hours. These are beneficial because they show your professor that you care about your performance in class, are driven to succeed, and are asking questions, which professors love.


Finals week is far from easy, but these tips can help you stay stress-free and focused. Use them and you’ll survive and thrive!

Fuenteovejuna: The Arts at Holy Cross

Hi! My name is Gabby and I am one of the Social Media Interns in the Office of Admissions at the College of the Holy Cross. In November, Joanna (the other Social Media Intern!) and I went to see Lope De Vega’s Fuenteovejuna, a Golden Age Spanish play set during the Spanish Civil War. The Theatre and Spanish Departments worked together to present a bilingual version of the play, which is typically only presented in Spanish!

Fuenteovejuna was the first play I’ve ever been to at Holy Cross, and it definitely won’t be my last! With dynamic student actors and musicians, beautiful costumes and props, and meaningful content, Fuenteovejuna was an amazing show. It was presented in the Fenwick Theater, which is located on the second floor of O’Kane Hall.

One of the best parts of going to theatrical performances at Holy Cross is seeing your friends do something they love- whether it’s Midnight Theater (individual acts put on late at night) or the Spring Musical! I saw so many students in Fuenteovejuna that I didn’t even know acted! It was so exciting to see what Holy Cross students are capable of outside of the classroom!

I highly recommend that students and their families participate in the arts at Holy Cross. Although I’m not an incredibly artsy person (I draw stick figures!), the arts are a crucial part of the liberal arts education Holy Cross provides, and they add great substance and detail to the Holy Cross experience.


Learn more about the Department of Theatre and Fuenteovejuna here:

Early Decision: My Experience


Hi guys! My name is Gabby and I am one of the Social Media Interns in the Office of Admissions. The deadline for Early Decision is quickly approaching (December 15th — ONE MONTH AWAY!), so I thought I’d write about my experience and share some tips for applying Early Decision to Holy Cross!

Don’t stress. I remember how nervous and stressed out I was about applying Early Decision to Holy Cross, not to mention about the college admissions process in general. Eat healthily, sleep well, and study hard — but don’t overwork yourself!

Keep deadlines in mind. Make sure that you ask your teachers for letters of recommendation early! If you ask them too late, they may not write them in time to submit for the deadline!

Keep in touch with Holy Cross! One thing I noticed during my ED application process was how much Holy Cross appreciated and enjoyed me keeping in touch with them through Open House, tours, information sessions, and my admissions interview. I think that my interest in Holy Cross helped me to stand out among other applicants during the process.

Get excited! Once your application is done and submitted (finally!), you should feel a weight lift off of your shoulders. The college application process is certainly not easy, so give yourself props. No matter the outcome, you should be proud of yourself for applying ED to Holy Cross!


I hope these tips help you to prepare and submit your application to Holy Cross. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I hope it will be one of yours, too. If you have any questions about the process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the office!



Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and Visits, Fairs, Interviews and Information Sessions


I’m back on The Hill after an exciting fall season spent on the road! Mount St. James sure is a sight for sore eyes this time of year.

My first travel season as an Admissions Counselor for the College of the Holy Cross sent me farther and farther west throughout the months of September and October. I originally set out in familiar areas like Albany, NY and Amherst, MA. As the fall went on, however, I had the opportunity to visit personally unchartered regions like the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. I met a number of incredible high school students along the way and I began forging professional relationships with some brilliant college counselors as well. I want to share some highlights of my journey with you and tell you about what I was doing while my “Out of Office” email reply was on…

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting high school guidance offices as much as the next admission counselor, but there’s just something special about those classroom information sessions! I am always thrilled when a college counselor asks if I would be willing to speak in front of a class full of their students. I’ve found that these sessions allow high schoolers the ability to ask questions in the presence of their peers – questions that many individuals might not have thought to ask just yet! And classroom information sessions provide unique opportunities for me to reach new audiences who may not have heard of Holy Cross before.

Moving from large presentations to individualized conversations, let’s talk about interviews. A quick word of advice to high school seniors – if you are applying to schools that offer admission interviews, sign up for one! This is the best way to tell your story, highlight your passion points, and showcase your curiosity about a school. These 30 minutes of discussion can add vibrancy to a student’s file and make an application spring to life. I encourage all prospective Holy Cross applicants to come to Worcester and to explore our campus for themselves, but I also understand that life is busy and that a trip like this can be a major financial undertaking. For applicants who are unable to make it to campus for an interview, we offer alumni/off-campus interviews.  During my travels far and wide, I try to accommodate as many individual interviews as I possibly can. We are eager to speak with you and learn about what makes you, you!

Another tidbit that I find worth sharing is to always remember why you are doing things. Be purposeful with how you spend your time; we are much more interested to hear about the meaning behind your experiences rather than the sheer amount of different ways that you stay busy. I prefer to speak with applicants who have passion for the lives that they lead, rather than prospective students who are spreading themselves thin with over-involvement. Life as a high school student can be hectic and pressurized, but make sure to take time to reflect and think about the value of your experiences. This will help you to articulate why you chose to do things throughout high school and to recognize the lessons that you took out of your studies and activities. Reflection might also allow you to realize that you have taken on too much and that you need to step away from one of your responsibilities in order to enjoy life more! Take stock often and declutter your life where you see fit…health and well-being will follow.

Admittedly, fall travel season is a busy time in the life of a college admissions counselor, which makes it more important than ever to find moments to pause, breath, and reflect (everyone is well aware of our uncanny ability to blabber on, after all!). One such moment presented itself during my travels this year. As I crossed state lines on my drive from Western Massachusetts to New York State, I was thinking about my grandma who was very sick at the time. I pulled over at Immaculate Conception Church in New Lebanon, NY and had the chance to light a candle and say a prayer for her health and for a speedy recovery at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. When I returned to my car, my mom had just sent a message to our family group chat asking for prayers. I was able to send along this picture and say that I was way ahead of her.

This was a simple, beautiful, and seemingly providential moment during my first travel season for Holy Cross that will stay with me. It was also a healthy reminder that while we all have jobs to do and goals in mind, everyone carries different weights around with them, and kindness is paramount in every interaction that we have with others.

My fall travels invigorated my passion for this school and instilled meaning in the work that I set out to do each day. I am happy to be back at the college now, able to settle back into my duties in the office and interact with our current students on campus. I am excitedly gearing up for my first reading season here at Holy Cross, where we will work to build an incoming class of zealous young adults from a variety of backgrounds. I strive to embody our Jesuit mission of being a human being for and with others, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know if I can help guide you through your college admissions process in any way!

A few addendums – Despite this being my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, I was overjoyed to learn that Seattle Preparatory School had named their gymnasium after me! In full disclosure, my middle name does not start with a “C”, but I figure that this must just be a typo.

Note to readers: When I see a student on campus who I met with during my travels, I get very excited. So no pressure – but if we have the chance to chat about Holy Cross while I am out on the road, please come visit for a campus tour. I promise, it will make my day!

Note to self: when driving from place to place in Chicago and Seattle, leave 30 minutes before you think you need to. The traffic is no joke!


written by Tom McHugh



The Interview


Hi guys! My name is Joanna and I am one of the Social Media Interns in the Admissions Office here at Holy Cross! Being involved with the office for my three years at Holy Cross, I’ve seen so many prospective students sit in the waiting room and stress over their application interview. I hope this isn’t you, but if it is, hopefully reading this post will alleviate some of your worries!


Looking back on it, my interview was actually my favorite part of the whole application process, and I wish had someone telling me exactly what I’m about to tell you. So, below are 6 quick tips to help you make the most of your interview!


Don’t stress! The interview isn’t a stressful process. Sure we all get nervous, and some nerves are good to keep you on your toes, but when it’s not necessary, it’s not necessary!

Relax! The most important thing to remember is that the interview is a conversation. Of course it’s a professional one and you want to make a good impression, but your interviewer is not going to quiz you on Holy Cross facts, and they’re not going to test you on your knowledge of the institution. They’re just looking to learn more about you!

Be Yourself! Your interviewer is trying to get to know you. They want to find out in what ways you can contribute to the Holy Cross community. After all, a Jesuit education does not only focus on care of the whole body, but also of a community.

Shake hands, make eye contact! I know you’ve probably heard this a thousand times from parents, but confidence is key here. The interview is most likely your only face-to-face part of your application. It is most likely the only time an admissions counselor can actually SEE how serious you are about the application process. So, approach it with confidence. If you make it evident that you are serious about your application process, the admissions counselor will think the same.

Be passionate about something! Interviewers LOVE when you have something to talk about! It not only allows them to get to know more about you, but it also makes the interview more fun because you are talking about something you love!

Come with questions! At the end of your interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. And, you should! Questions show you are interested in the school and are another way of showing you want to be here!


Best of luck!


For more information on how to schedule an interview, interview deadlines and more, please visit our website:





Autumn on Mount St. James


From crisp fall weather to apple cider in Kimball Dining Hall, autumn is my favorite season on Mount St. James! Below I’ll tell you about some of my favorite parts of the season at Holy Cross:


Kimball Dining Hall’s Fall Fest

Every autumn, Kimball hosts “Harvest Fest,” an event where all of the dining facilities on campus serve fall-themed foods and drinks such as apple cider, cider donuts, pumpkin spice lattés, caramel apples, and more. I LOVE apple cider, which is one of the main reasons why I love fall on the Hill so much!! 



Halloween is a super fun (and spooky) time to be a Holy Cross student. We are the only college that I know of that has a cemetery on campus (for Jesuits) which creates a spooky ambiance. One tradition I enjoy is the Healy Haunted House. My residence hall, Healy, plans this interactive event for all students to attend! I’m one of the Co-Presidents of Healy, so I had a lot of responsibility for planning the Haunted House. It was definitely a success!


Family Weekend

Family Weekend is a great way for students to decompress from the hustle and bustle of the semester with their families and friends.  This year was particularly special for me because my grandparents visited from my hometown: Brockton, MA. There were plenty of events that were planned we had a lot to choose from. When they first arrived, we went to the Hogan Campus Center and they got adorable purple “HC Grandparents” pins! We later ate lunch in Kimball and my grandmother loved the soft serve vanilla ice cream. After lunch, we went to the Holy Cross football game versus Georgetown—and we won!


Overall, fall is a fun, spooky, and exciting time to be on Mount St. James. Not to mention, our campus is incredibly beautiful during this season!!


written by Gabby Caceres ’20

HC for a Cure


Curious as to what clubs and organizations our students are involved with on campus? Learn more about what tour guide, Meltem Eracar ’19, does as a member of Holy Cross for a Cure.


Holy Cross for a Cure is a student-run organization whose main goal is to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Our club mainly focuses on raising awareness through athletic events. If we want students or the public to know more about HC for a Cure, join the organization or donate through purchasing one of our t-shirts, then this is most easily done at sporting games where there are usually many people attending. Other times, we have mini competitions that are hosted at games to help get students, parents, and all spectators involved while also spreading the word about our club. My involvement is typical to almost everyone else’s in the club, I volunteer a few hours of my time during each of our events, which are usually hosted a handful of times throughout the year.

The reason why I joined HC for a Cure is because I was involved with something similar during my time in high school. Every fall, all athletes at my high school would participate in a program called “Play for the Cure”, which is very similar to “HC for a Cure”. Our athletes, including myself, would bake various desserts and on this specific day, would sell them to students and parents attending the games. Through this event, we raised awareness and money for the Dana-Farber organization and other organizations who are in need. The reason that this event was so special to me was because my volleyball coach at the time had a mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She really appreciated the time and effort that our high school put in for such a great cause. It really helped to bring the coaches and students together. When I heard that there was an entire club at Holy Cross devoted to this kind of fundraising throughout the school year, I knew that I had to join in order to help make a difference for anyone who has been affected by cancer.


July for Juniors Tip #11: Relax

All of this college application stuff can take its toll on your physical, emotional, and psychological health. Remember to take some time for you. Go for a run, watch a movie, or spend time with friends and family.  It’s okay…you can tell your parents I told you to do this, and I am a bona fide Admissions Counselor who reads applications and votes on application decisions. At Holy Cross, we believe that a relaxed applicant is a confident applicant. This is not the crossroads of your life, even though it may seem that way at times. You are not defined by where you get accepted (or rejected…or waitlisted). You can always transfer, go to graduate school, take a gap year, or better…..become successful despite not getting into your top pick, and end up putting your alma mater on the map as a result. What truly defines you as a person is not what cards you are dealt, but how you play them. You will play yours most efficiently if you are able to roll with the punches and take everything in stride. Keeping the college search in perspective is probably the most important piece of that!