Happy May Day!

In some parts of the world, May 1 is known as May Day.  It is a time of celebration to honor spring, with dancing around a maypole, spending time outside, and enjoying the company of friends and family.  In my family’s home country of Finland, May Day is celebrated with tippaleipä, or Finnish funnel cake!

peanuts Sima_and_tippaleipä_2

May 1 is an important day for those of us who work in college admissions because it is College Decision Day, or the last day that accepted students have to choose where they will spend the next four years.  With the hashtags #CollegeDecisionDay and #CollegeSigningDay blowing up on Twitter (check out the Obama’s tweet!), it is exciting to see counselors and other school administrators, parents and other family members, and of course students themselves sharing their enthusiasm on social media.

Here at the office we asked accepted students to sign a banner, which we proudly displayed in our office throughout the month of April.  Here it is in all of its glory:


We received signatures from both near and far, including Puerto Rico, Georgia, New York, California, Iowa, and Washington!  It has been an incredible year so far, and we look forward to having all of the members of the Class of 2019 on campus in August!


Image credits:

Peanuts Gang Maypole image from http://snoopn4pnuts.com/flags-and-windsocks/school-flags/peanuts-gang-may-pole-flag-rare–610012/.

Tippaleipä image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sima_and_tippaleip%C3%A4_2.jpg.

Banner image taken by author.

Why I Chose Holy Cross (Part 2)




Here are responses from two more students on why they decided to come to the College of the Holy Cross!

image supplied by author

Natalie: During the college process, I wanted to make sure that I went to a college that shared similar characteristics as my high school — small, Jesuit, full of community, and full of  intellectually curious individuals. Believe it or not, I didn’t have a chance to visit Holy Cross until a month before applications were due (you can only imagine how stressed I was!), but as soon as I stepped onto “The Hill”, I knew that Holy Cross was the place for me. As someone who knew that I wanted to pursue an English major, I was particularly attracted to our notable English Department, which according to USA Today is 9th in the country, and was attracted by potential exposure  to the writing and editing fields, such as writing for The Crusader. I also knew that Holy Cross would help me grow intellectually and spiritually, supporting me to become the independent Latina woman who gives back to her global community.





image supplied by author

Sara: As a Catholic institution, Holy Cross was always on my radar as I began my college application process. I live nearby so I’ve been aware of the school since I was young. At first, I did not like the idea of going to school so close to home; however, when I visited campus, I fell in love with the school. Part of it was certainly the ivy-covered, castle-like buildings, the…small class sizes and the sprawling, immaculately landscaped campus. There was also an indescribable sense of community and camaraderie that ultimately inspired me to apply Early Decision. This Holy Cross community transcends friend groups, personal interests–any typical social boundaries! Everyone feels a sense of unity as fellow Crusaders and I hope to carry that with me following graduation and beyond.


An Over-Due Post on Open House

What a success! Last Sunday we hosted our Accepted Students’ Open House program and had a fantastic day!

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Here were some of the highlights of the program:

– a fair with representatives of student organizations, campus life departments, and sports teams to discuss various on-campus opportunities

– sessions on our Career Planning Services; Preparation for Health Professions; Study Abroad; Preparation for Law; Student-Designed Majors, Minors and other programs; Preparation for Business; Scholars Programs; Summer & Academic Internships; and Library Services

– separate panels for families and admitted students with current Holy Cross students, faculty, and staff

– brief, informal presentations by faculty in various the academic areas

– a Liturgy of Welcome at St. Joseph’s Chapel

The sun shone brightly over Mount Saint James throughout the day; we were so fortunate to host such a fun and informative event and have such great weather.  We also lucked out with several special performances of Holy Cross a Capella groups, the choir, and our Good Time Marching Band.  Coordination of this event required the planning of many staff members, faculty, and students–thank you all so so much!  And thank you to our guests for coming–we hope you had a wonderful time on campus!

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April Events!



Today is April 17th.  It could just be any other Friday, but on Mt. St. James, today is important for a few reasons. First of all, it’s the last work day before our Accepted Students’ Open House on Sunday, April 19th!  Open House is a great opportunity for admitted students and their families to meet other potential Crusaders and current Crusaders, to interact with faculty and administrators, and to experience life at the College.  Although registration has closed, all accepted students and their families are welcome to attend!

Another reason why today, April 17th, is important is because today is Purple Pride Day.  Students in the Purple Key Society are working today to promote school spirit (something Holy Cross students have in incredible amounts).  I hope that you enjoy this fun video showing one student’s journey around campus:

I am so grateful to be part of such a supportive, dynamic, and fun community!  I encourage you to explore the College of the Holy Cross–whether it is in person, on our site, or on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook.  Additionally, we invite admitted students to tweet us pictures of themselves in purple with #HC2019!  Please join the conversation!



What To Do if You Have Been Placed on the Waitlist

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As I have mentioned in earlier posts, this year we received over 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 waitlist.  For the last few weeks our office has received phone calls and emails from prospective students who wanted to know more about how the waitlist 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 the number is lower than that of our target number, then we will be able to go to the waitlist pool.  Please note that students are not ranked on our waitlist, but we definitely look at student contact as a way to determine interest.

I hope that this information helps students and their families better understand our process.  Please do keep in touch with us via Facebook and Twitter; we’d love to hear from you!

(photos by Xiaofeng Wan)

April Showers (of SaderSelfies)…


…bring May flowers (a.k.a. the Class of 2019)!

rain     flower


I am so excited for the month of April!  The days are getting warmer and longer, the snow is finally melting, and 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 (with the help of our Social Media interns) 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 with the hashtag #SaderSelfie.  We kicked off the campaign earlier today if you would like to see our photo!


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

Wednesday, April 8: 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 19: Open House from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 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 19 to Monday, April 20: 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!



Decisions, Decisions

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Over 6,700 prospective students, over 50 days of reading and deliberating files, over 115 inches of snow, and today Committee is OVER.  And what a Committee it was!  13 counselors with different backgrounds, different levels of admissions experience, and different recruitment regions all came together to help shape the Class of 2019.  We are so proud of our applicants this year–the pool included students from sea to shining sea, as well as Canada and Peru, the UK and Nepal, China and Egypt and India and several other countries.  It was so incredible to learn about students from all over the world, as they threw their hats in the ring for a chance to be part of our community.  I am so humbled to work in Admissions here at Holy Cross and get to be a part of this amazing process!

Students’ incredibly hard work certainly did not go unnoticed in this admission cycle.  We tapped our feet to drumming videos; smiled through scenes from plays like Shrek and Legally Blonde; felt shivers run down our spines during vocal performances; enjoyed stunning self-portraits, photographs, still-life paintings, and ceramic pottery; laughed at funny essays (and teared up at tender essays); and of course, we voted.  We chose students who we think challenged themselves in high school and will relish the academic rigors here on Mount Saint James.  We chose students who we believe will enhance our community with their wonderful talents, their varied interests, and their strong drive to not only better themselves but also better the lives of others.  And finally, we chose students who showed us their desire to study at a liberal arts college, and if they could, their desire to study at Holy Cross specifically.  Applicants showed us in all kinds of ways that they wanted to be Crusaders–by visiting campus, interviewing with an admissions counselor or an alumnus/alumna, writing to us, submitting their application response form, sending us supplemental materials, and/or attending a campus event.  Now that this part of the admission cycle is over, we look to the next step: helping admitted students choose Holy Cross!

I would like to end this post with my deepest congratulations to everyone who applied to the College this year.  You are all such incredible people with so much to offer, and it was an extraordinary experience to review your applications.  Working at a small liberal arts college, we had to make some hard decisions, and I wish that we could have taken more students–we saw so many well-qualified students in this pool.  While we could not offer a spot to everyone, we thank you all for applying and wish you all the best in your final semester of high school and in your future studies!

Meeting in Progress…

snow 2  Students walk to class past Beaven Hall during a cold winter day.


Tuesday, February 10th marked the first day of Committee, and it has been off to a great start!  From 9am to 4:30pm until the end of March, my counseling colleagues and I sit together in a room with the shades drawn and the projectors up to make application decisions.  While we drink coffee and eat pretzels, goldfish, fruit snacks, and Twizzlers (total brain food, right?), we look at each student’s application carefully to determine their potential fit at Holy Cross.  We also look at our master list of applicants for this admission cycle and study transcripts, essays, recommendations, test scores, art supplements, and any other admission item that may come our way.  Together, all of these materials help us see if whether or not a student would make a good addition to the College.


2015 has certainly been a great year for us so far–we received over 6,700 applications for about 750 spots!–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 can make a more informed decision on that applicant.

3. Highschoolers today are incredible. I have read so many wonderful, funny, insightful, warm, thoughtful essays this year. I had 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.  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 experiences has been wonderfully inspiring!


Stay warm, keep safe, and I look forward to offering more insight as we continue on in Committee!

Snow Day Fun!

I hope that as you read this you are safe and warm!  We now have a LOT of snow in New England, after what has seemed like months of a non-white winter.  Worcester got hit with a record-breaking 33.5 inches, and apparently more snow is on the way!

Since Holy Cross’ campus shut down on Tuesday, I read applications from home (and shoveled out my car as a reading break!).  As I worked through my virtual pile of files, I could not help but think about how students might be enjoying their day off–the main dining hall, campus center, libraries, and rec center all closed by 7pm on Monday and reopened on Wednesday.  With that in mind, what did students do on Tuesday?  I asked some of our social media interns to send me a picture and tell me how they spent their snow day on Mt. St. James (I believe it was the first in about 7 years!).  Here are their responses:

Natalie Correa, ’17: I spent the day catching up on homework and binge watching Netflix with my roommate!

Maddy Smith, ’17: Played in the snow for a little until I was told to go inside! Then watched a movie and had cocoa!

Mackenzie Horl, ’17: Upon waking up Wednesday morning, many ‘Saders could not wait to venture outside and see how much snow Mt. St. James had received. When the “shelter in place” was lifted….student put on their Bean boots and puffy winter coats to go…conquer the many hills around campus

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I love that the students stayed safe but still enjoyed the winter wonderland that the campus must have become!

Some Advice before the Regular Deadline Deadline Approaches

Winter scenes 2014    Scenic Photos,

As of 1:54PM today, we have 34 hours, 5 minutes, and 21…20…19 seconds until 12:01AM on Thursday, January 15, 2015.  That means applicants have only a few more days to submit their applications to most colleges and universities, including the College of the Holy Cross!  We in the Office of Admissions are so excited for reading season because now is when we get to see applicants in their entirety: their essay(s), their transcripts, their letters of support…all of those pieces that have taken students, their families, and their teachers/coaches/supervisors so many months to put together.  We applaud you for your efforts and look forward to seeing the final result!

Looking for inspiration for this first post of 2015 I went back again to the blog archives and found some great advice from a former colleague that I would like to share with you here.  Without further ado, here are some words of wisdom from last January:

“The anxious tone of recent phone calls and e-mails has me wishing I could stand in front of each and every one of you to look you in the eye, ask you to take a deep breath, and remind you that it will all work out. And with this calmness comes a clear mind and keen eye, eliminating the chance for sloppy mistakes or rushed writing. Yes, every piece of the application is vitally important; however, if your mind is frantic from the stress of attaining perfection by a deadline, you can easily lose your footing as you try to put your best foot forward.  [So] take a walk in the brisk winter air. Eat dinner with your family and talk about something other than college applications. See a movie with your friends. Read a book for fun. Before you know it, the chaos inside your brain will settle, the stress will float away, and the final days before a deadline will feel much more manageable.”

I hope that you will take this advice to heart….I know that I will as I begin to think about all of the application files I need to read!

Another thing to mention: it is not too late to send us supplemental information!  If you would like to send us an additional essay, an update on your activities, or perhaps a paragraph or two on why you love Holy Cross, please do.  We may be reached at admissio@holycross.edu, and we would love to hear from you!