Meet our Tour Guides for Summer 2016!


Hi, my name is Emily Sullivan! I am a rising junior from Sudbury, Massachusetts. I am an International Studies major specializing in Middle Eastern studies and International Law and Global Governance, and I have a dual minor in French and Education. On campus (besides volunteering in Admissions), I am heavily involved in SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development). Through SPUD, I volunteer at the Nativity School of Worcester, where I tutor and assist the Reading Specialist.  This summer I am working as a tour guide before I head to Tours, France where I will be spending six weeks studying French at the Institut de Touraine.  Next fall, I will be taking part in the College’s Washington Semester Program where I will be interning in the city, taking a course on Public Policy, and writing a 40-50 page thesis. For the spring semester, I will be heading back to France and studying at the Université de Strasbourg!





FlaviaHi! My name is Flavia Sula, and I’m a rising senior in the Class of 2017. I’m an English major in the College Honors Program, and I studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland for the entirety of my junior year. This summer, I’ll be guiding tours here at Holy Cross, and spending quality time in my hometown of Worcester, MA! For the upcoming academic year, I will be working on an independent thesis, which will focus on medieval gender portrayals in Game of Thrones. Besides working in the Admissions Office, I have led student retreats through the Chaplain’s Office, and been a summer orientation leader for the Class of 2018.







JoannaMy name is Joanna Aramini, and I am a rising sophomore from Westborough, Massachusetts. I am an Art History major and am planning on double majoring with Sociology. In addition to volunteering in admissions, I am involved in the College Choir and SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development), in which I am a mentor to a local Worcester elementary student. While I’m not studying in the library or involved in extracurriculars, I love playing intramural volleyball, painting, and playing the piano. This summer, I am working as a tour guide at Holy Cross three days a week, while also holding an internship at the Worcester Art Museum. I will be heading back to campus early in the fall for SPUD training, in which I will be a Co-Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club next year. At the end of my sophomore year, I am planning to study in Rome through our Maymester program.





JoeHi, my name is Joe Aramini, a rising sophomore from Westborough, Massachusetts. I am History major with a classical Archaeology minor. In addition to guiding tours, on campus I volunteer at the Boys and Girls club through SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development), I am a midshipman in the NROTC battalion, and next fall I will be a resident assistant. This summer I am excited to be giving tours in June, July and August until reporting for resident assistant training. At the end of sophomore year I would like to do a Maymester in Rome and then get a spot on the Archaeological dig in Poggio del Molino.







KaileyHi, my name is Kailey Verni, 2016 grad from the College, double major in English and Philosophy. My hobbies include hiking, practicing yoga and reading. I am from East Setauket, NY. This summer I plan to work in the Admissions Office and finish my yoga teacher training certification. This August I will begin my year as a JV in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Los Angeles, California and will return in the Fall of 2017 to begin my first year of law school at Suffolk University in Boston.









MitchHi, my name is Mitchell Axelson and I am a rising junior from Holden, Massachusetts. I am an econ major and participate in the pre-business program. Besides volunteering for admissions, I am a resident assistant and play club tennis. I will be giving tours throughout the month of June before working as the site leader at Camp Tenacity ( a free program for Worcester children that provides tennis instruction and help with reading skills). Next year I will be on campus during the fall semester before spending the spring semester in the first year of the New York Semester Internship program, which is modeled after our popular Washington DC Semester.








Hi, my name is Sara McLean and I am a rising senior from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania and an Architectural Studies Major.  Upon my first visit to Holy Cross, I felt the sense of community and knew that I was called to be a part of it.  Many of my experiences through the Chaplain’s Office have helped me to make Holy Cross a second home and find the community that I felt when I visited. I have been a part of the Women’s Spirituality Group, Magis, and traveled to Beards Fork, WV and Narrows, VA, as a part of the Spring Break Immersion Program.  I am also a part of Gateways Summer and Fall Orientations, Agape Latte, Relay for Life Planning Committee, and Student Programming for Urban Development, as a volunteer at the Nativity School of Worcester.  In my free time, I love to cook, bake, and explore new places and  I have a passion for design and often watch HGTV and the Food Network!  This June, I was a part of the Summer Gateways Orientation Team, and I will be working as a Summer Tour Guide in Admissions throughout July.




Hi! My name is Joe Cataldo and I am a rising Junior from North Andover, Massachusetts. I am a Political Science major with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. Besides giving tours, I am also a head greeter for Liturgical Ministry. I am also involved with retreats and spring break immersion trips through Campion House and participate in various intramurals. Additionally, I volunteer  through SPUD (Student Programs for Urban Development) at Friendly House which is an after school program for generally elementary school kids. I got back from a Maymester in late June. My Maymester was called Memory and the Holocaust in Central Europe in which we traveled to LIthuania, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany to see how the Holocaust is memorialized and remembered in these different places. I will be working as a tour guide for the month of July and part of August, until I head down to DC to participate in the Washington Semester. In DC, I will be interning at the National Fisheries Institute, taking a class in public policy, and writing a 40-50 page thesis.I am so excited to be back at Holy Cross and eager to spread my Purple Pride!

June for Juniors, Part 2: Visit visit visit!

photo by Thomas Rettig
photo by Thomas Rettig

It’s another beautiful summer day, so you know what that means…it is the next installment of June for Juniors! If you did not read last week’s post, you may catch up here. In a nutshell, we in the Admissions Office at Holy Cross thought it might be helpful to post some tips on the blog for rising seniors.  We recognize that juniors are narrowing their college lists and thinking about where they might want to apply in the fall, so this month we will post articles every Tuesday with helpful information for college-bound students.

Tom Severo, an Admissions Counselor and Holy Cross grad, wrote some really thoughtful tips that I am pleased to share with you here. And now, Kirsten and I present June for Juniors, part 2!

The second thing on our list for prospective college students is, in many ways, more important than the first item. This is because you may not know what you are looking for in a college until you have seen a few up close in personal. You don’t know what you don’t know, and visiting is a great way to expose yourself to all the things a college has (or does not have) to offer. Sometimes visiting colleges may be easier than expected. Maybe you are on your way to the beach and you pass by a college campus…take a look! You never know what may happen: you may like it, but if you do not, it will give you context for the types of schools that would be a better fit.

So, sign up for a tour, go to an info session, listen to the questions other people ask, and think about whether they are important to you. Maybe even use a few of those questions for your next tour at a different school (we won’t tell!). Here at Holy Cross, we offer July Advisory Days (JAD) during which you can learn about what to do to ensure a successful interview as well as how to start cultivating your personal statement.

Visiting campus is a huge part of what is known as demonstrated interest, which is something colleges (Holy Cross especially) take quite seriously. So take the time, if you are able, to see schools and learn more about what they could offer you! We will be here, ready to show you our campus and tell you more about our community.

June for Juniors, Part 1: What do you want?


photo by Thomas Rettig

Happy June! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and for Holy Cross students, it is officially summer! After some spring travel and our conference for the New England Association of College Admission Counseling, we are back in the office and excited for what the months ahead will bring.

As we shift our focus from the Class of 2020 to the Class of 2021, my colleague Kirsten and I thought it might be helpful to post some tips on the blog for rising seniors.  We recognize that juniors are narrowing their colleges lists and thinking about where they might want to apply in the fall, so this month we will post articles with helpful information for students as they begin their college application process. Our colleague, Tom Severo, wrote some really thoughtful tips that I am pleased to share with you here. Without further ado, Kirsten and I present June for Juniors!

What qualities do you want in a school? How far away from home would you like to be? Do you want to commute and live at home or would you like to be 3,000mi away? What types of activities would you like to continue in college or try? Think about all of the lifestyle habits you would like to keep or try and make sure those activities are included in your search process. Would you like to live on campus or commute? Keep in mind of the opportunities outside of campus as well. How will this school help me with internship/job/alumni networking opportunities? You have a lot to ponder but it’s best to start somewhere. Here are some points to consider:

    1. Size, distance from home
    2. Career opportunities
    3. Athletic opportunities
    4. Academic opportunities
    5. Campus life
    6. Study abroad opportunities
    7. Service opportunities
    8. Tradition
    9. History
    10. Alumni network
    11. Research opportunities
    12. Clubs/organizations
    13. Off-campus life
    14. Religious affiliation
    15. Arts

Why I Chose Holy Cross (Part 4)

This is the last part of our “Why I Chose Holy Cross” series! Thank you to all who participated, and I hope you have a lovely weekend! We wish our admitted students all the best as they make their decisions!

Lynn Verrecchia: To start, it made sense on paper. The size, location, distance from home, academic programs, and study abroad opportunities made it a “match.” So, Holy Cross made it onto my “to visit” list. I can’t say I enjoyed visiting colleges. While I was excited by the new opportunities college life represented, I was nervous to leave my “small pond” and really struggled with the notion of leaving my family and friends behind. I toured a variety of schools and spent most of those visits too distracted and anxious to take in much valuable information. My excitement to panic ratio solidly registered at 10:90. The minute I set foot on the Holy Cross campus, that all changed. 10:90 flip flopped to 90:10, with excitement trumping panic in an instant. Something just clicked. It’s not that it felt safe or reminded me of my high school–it didn’t. But even on that first visit, I just knew it was a place that could, and would, feel like home. Many of the students I interview describe a similar feeling of “just knowing” when they drive up Linden Lane for the first time. They’ll often start their statement with, “this might sound silly, but…” And I smile, nod, and implore them to continue with this familiar tale. After graduating from the College, I had about 2 1/2 years of admission experience when I learned of an opportunity to work in Admissions at Holy Cross. The chance to do something I loved professionally at a place that meant so much to me personally, was more than I had ever hoped for.


IMG_6412Kirsten-Gail Vanhorne: Why did I choose Holy Cross nearly five years ago? Definitely for similar reasons to that of current students and alumni: tight-knit community, challenging academics, great professors, beautiful campus, “the feeling,” and that personalized experience. The decision to attend Holy Cross, as important a decision as it was, seemed rather simple. I believe that once you know, you know….and I knew. At that point, the campus had already begun to feel like home, and I was already envisioning myself as a student. I imagined learning from great intellectual minds, serving as a leader on campus, and taking part in many different social activities. Throughout my college search, I knew I wanted to be challenged academically, but I also knew that I wanted an environment where I could grow, learn, and be involved in service. In my mind, Holy Cross stood out as a place where the education gained and the opportunities available couldn’t compare to anywhere else.

Four years went by faster than I anticipated, and I did my best to get everything I could out of them. I joined clubs with which I was unfamiliar; I studied abroad in the culturally rich country of Peru; I took classes that I had never heard of; I spent five days in silence reflecting on my faith and God’s love; I got out of my comfort zone. When you think about it, that’s what college is supposed to be: challenging yourself, gaining independence, trying new things, and exploring the world around you.
I chose Holy Cross because I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered both inside and outside of the gates. I knew I was making the right decision five years ago and if I could, I would make it again.


P.S. Kirsten’s sign reads: I chose Holy Cross for the many opportunities offered both inside and outside of the gates!


Why I Chose Holy Cross (Part 3)

With a little more than a week until the National Enrollment Deadline, I wanted to share more of my colleagues’ stories on how they decided to attend the College of the Holy Cross. Here is what Tom had to say:

ts 4.22.16

I was looking at Catholic schools, and I knew I wanted a small liberal arts college, but I was also drawn in by the big Division-1 sports program. I had been familiar with Holy Cross’s academic reputation and had seen the campus at various soccer and basketball clinics I attended throughout my youth. The more I visited and got to know the culture, and feel the deep care and concern that everyone expresses for one another, the more I became convinced that Holy Cross was the school for me. I had a great experience in my undergrad years. I have many fond memories on the Hill, and seeing the familiar sights of campus always puts me in a good mood. I knew it would be a welcoming and accepting environment, and I thought it would give me the opportunity to give back to an institution that has given me so much. (Also, I dig that we can use the gym on our lunch break.)


Why I Chose Holy Cross (Part 2)


Happy Friday! The sun is shining, the campus is abuzz with activities for Purple Pride day (please go here for a video from last year), and we are gearing up for Open House this Sunday! I asked Thomas Campbell, Class of 2014, how he decided to attend Holy Cross, and here is what he wrote:

I’m not going to lie, the delicious pumpkin bread served at the Class of 2014 Accepted Students’ Open House sealed the deal for me. I admired Holy Cross’ bold defiance of seasonal norms by serving a traditional autumn staple at a spring event.

In all seriousness, that attitude of pushing boundaries and defying norms is something that immediately captivated me about Holy Cross – one that transcends much more than delicious baked goods. As a prospective student, I found the admissions process so personal and unique, and the values of Holy Cross completely aligned with my own. And all across the board, Holy Cross is constantly taking up new initiatives to remedy injustice and address the inequalities present in our modern society, and in my opinion, that is what makes Jesuit education so great. I was honored to be accepted into a community that cares about the world at large so deeply.



Holy Cross’ appreciation for the individual and respect for differences were a large part of why I applied to work for Admissions after my service year with JVC Northwest. From our new scholarship program for undocumented students to the new policy work around gender-inclusive housing on campus, I am proud to represent a college that brings these justice issues to light, all for the sake of what is genuinely right.

Why I Chose Holy Cross (Part 1)


Happy Friday, everyone! In Admissions, we are fortunate to have great volunteers who help us in all kinds of ways: they greet campus visitors  and take them around on tours, participate in online chats with Holy Cross hopefuls, and even interview applicants! I greatly appreciate how willing current students are to get involved with our office–in my mind, it is just another example of how Holy Cross students seek to be men and women for others!

To offer some perspective on why students decide to attend Holy Cross, I asked our social media interns to explain how they got here. Their responses, in my opinion, warranted their own posts on the blog. Here is what Mackenzie to say:

Holy Cross has always been a familiar place to me. Both my father and older sister came to Holy Cross, so I was a frequent visitor to Mount Saint James as a child. I was hesitant to tour the college and seriously consider it as a potential school for me, because I feared that attending Holy Cross would make me a mere shadow of my older sister. However, the opportunity to receive a liberal arts education, the friendliness of the students and the endless opportunities to live and learn among men and women who aspire to move mountains sealed the deal for me. My initial fear of living in my sister’s shadow never amounted to much. At Holy Cross, the opportunities are endless, whether it is volunteering in the Worcester community, being a member of the Student Government Association, or working as an editor on the school newspaper…I have found my niche in the SPUD volunteer program and [work to] promote social justice and live in solidarity with others…The friendships I have fostered among my peers and the relationships I have with my professors are to be afforded to the college’s intimate atmosphere and small size.  It is these relationships and conversations that have enabled me to become a more well-rounded and articulate person…Holy Cross has taught me how to be an independent woman, yet also a woman for others. Holy Cross is not just an institution of learning, rather it is a place where words become actions, and even one person can make a difference.


Please stay tuned for more responses over the coming weeks!

April Showers (of Sader Selfies)…



…bring May Flowers (AKA the Class of 2020!).

I am so excited for the month of April!  Campus feels bustling, as admitted students have been visiting campus, calling the office, and writing on Facebook!  Now that admission decisions have been made available online and mailed to students’ homes, seniors are working to figure out where they will spend the next four years.  To help them make that choice, we in the Admissions Office will be tweeting fun facts and interesting information about the College throughout the month.  We also encourage students (both admitted and current) to tweet us a picture of themselves wearing Holy Cross gear or holding up their acceptance letter/”I’m In!” card with the hashtag #HolyCross2020.

For students who want to get more involved in other events this month, here are some handy dates to know:

Wednesday, April 6: Online Chat from 7 to 10 p.m. ET — This event is a great way for accepted students to talk to one another, as well as chat with admission counselors and current students!

Sunday, April 17: Open House from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET — Please come to the Hill to get a glimpse of the academic and social life at Holy Cross!  Activities will include a student life fair with representatives from clubs and sports teams; information sessions on topics such as career planning, our pre-health program, and internships; and current student panels for admitted students and families.

Sunday, April 17 to Monday, April 18: Overnight Program — After the Open House, accepted students are invited to stay on campus for the night and then attend morning classes the following day.

Friday, May 1: the national enrollment deadline — The day when seniors need to send in their deposits!

For students who want even more, we have a beautiful virtual tour, as well as a number of other great videos on our YouTube page.  And please, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, where you will also find our Admitted Students group!

Cheers to spring!


(photos by Thomas Rettig)

Placed on the Wait List? Here’s What To Do


photos by Thomas Rettig
                                                                                   photo by Thomas Rettig

Happy spring!  Last Saturday our office released admissions decisions online, and earlier this week we mailed out our notifications. We are so proud of our applications from all over the world!  In total, we received around 6,700 applications for ultimately about 750 spots.  That means that we had more qualified candidates than we had room to offer, and many great students were given a spot on the wait list.  For the last few weeks our office has received phone calls and emails from prospective students who wanted to know more about how the wait list works, so I wanted to take this opportunity to address their questions:

1. The first thing that students should do is log into their Holy Cross account (please go here to do so) and formally accept their spot on the waitlist.  This will change their status in our system and let us know that  they are still interested.

2. Students should consider sending us (via email) an update as to what they have been doing since they submitted their application back in January.  Did you change your classes? Have you earned some improved grades? Did you start a new activity or job? We would love to hear what’s new!

3. To keep their options open, waitlisted students should send their deposit to another institution by May 1.

4. After the national enrollment deadline of May 1, we will know what our numbers are in terms of admitted students accepting our offer of acceptance. If it is determined that spaces are available, students on the wait list will be reevaluated by the Admissions Committee. The overall academic and personal record will be considered, as will the level of interest the student has expressed in attending Holy Cross. 

I hope that this information helps students and their families better understand our process.  Please do keep in touch with us via phone (508-793-2443), email (, Facebook, and Twitter; we would love to hear from you!

Making Decisions in Committee


So sorry for the radio silence–we have been incredibly busy focusing our on applicant pool!  Since mid-February, our counseling staff have been reviewing applications and shaping the Class of 2020.  From 9am to 4:30pm, my counseling colleagues and I sit together in a room with the shades drawn and the projector screens up to make decisions on applicants hopeful to be part of the Holy Cross community.  While we drink coffee and eat a variety of snacks, we look at each student’s application carefully to determine their potential fit at the College.  We also look at our master list of applicants for this year, as well as study transcripts, Common App essays, teacher and counselor recommendations, SAT/ACT/AP/TOEFL test scores, a variety of types of art supplements, and any other admission items that may come our way!


2016 has certainly been a great year for us so far, and I have learned some things that I wanted to share with prospective students and their families:


1. Contact is so important!  We in the Admissions Office really do appreciate hearing from applicants, whether it’s during a visit to Mt. St. James or from a simple email. We want to admit students who want to be a part of the Crusader community, so please do reach out to us!

2. Please don’t hesitate to share your writing. Reading application essays is a treat for me and my colleagues.  When a student sends us an additional statement, selection of poems, article, or research paper, we get really excited!  Seeing multiple examples of an applicant’s writing is a great way to get a sense of the person as a student.  At Holy Cross, students are expected to do a lot of writing, so if we can see samples now, we are able to make a more informed decision on that applicant.

3. High school students today are incredible. I have read so many wonderful, funny, insightful, warm, thoughtful essays. I have looked over so many  extensive lists of school activities, service opportunities, trips abroad, professional internships and jobs, numerous awards, amazing athletic triumphs, and stellar performances.  It is clear to me in reviewing applications that students give so much of their time to hone their crafts, to pursue their personal passions, and to give back to their communities.  Reading about their diverse experiences has been wonderfully inspiring!