Archive for the ‘Admissions Staff’ Category

Early Decision: My Experience

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017


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

Monday, November 13th, 2017


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

Monday, November 6th, 2017


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

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017


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

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017


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

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

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!

July for Juniors Tip #8: Reach out

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017


Reaching out to teachers and counselors for letters of recommendation or advice early helps both you and them.  Teachers and counselors get busy during the year and it would advantageous to ask them ahead of time.

At least two letters of recommendation are application requirements for most schools. These letters are important and can help us learn a lot about applicants that we wouldn’t otherwise have known: “Cecil had a rough junior year because we implemented a new social studies curriculum, and we noticed grades drop for many of the students. Still, he remained in the top 10% of his class.” Or, “Kelly stopped playing soccer last fall because she has been volunteering with student council and spends 10 hours after school each week planning and organizing activities for their annual holiday bazaar.”

There’s nothing worse than a flat letter of recommendation. “Mike was always on time and prepared for class.” Yawn. Is this the best praise you can get from your teachers? We expect you to be on time and prepared. Show us how you went above and beyond expectations. This means asking a teacher who really KNOWS you and can vouch for all the hard work you put in both in and outside of the classroom. Really put some thought into your selection. Maybe spend some time with that person before the letter is written to give him/her/them a better sense of who you are as a student and a person. You want their words to be glowing! Also, please remember to ask for a recommendation early. You want to make sure to give them enough time to write the letter– your teachers, counselors, and coaches are all very busy people!

July for Juniors Tip #4: Show interest

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

In the application process, it’s important to indicate your interest in the school(s) to which you are applying. Get (and keep) in contact with the colleges you are interested in. Contact can be in person, through a formal or informal visit to the school (be sure to sign-in with the office), via phone or email.

If we see that applicants have been in contact with us then we are going to have a better sense of their interest in the College. Psychology and propinquity theory are at work here…even on a subconscious level.

So get in our heads…for the right reasons, and stay informed of new developments at the school as well as possible updates to the application process that we may announce. It’s easy to do and the returns are well worth it!

July for Juniors Tip #3: Deadlines

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Summer is a great time to research important dates and information regarding admissions (such as application deadlines, financial aid requirements, and/or test optional policies). Make sure you are aware of all of these key pieces of information–particularly deadlines–as they will likely be different for each of the schools to which you are applying.

For example, does a school on your list recommend interviewing? At the College of the Holy Cross, we love it when students interview! It gives us a chance to get to know our applicants better, and it gives them a chance to get to know us as well. Try to schedule an interview early on in the process to ensure you get an appointment that fits in with your schedule. 

Additionally, is your school test optional? Think carefully about whether or not your testing reflects positively on your application. If your test scores reflect your academic ability, then please do feel free to send them. Know that at Holy Cross, we do not require that applicants submit test scores, nor do we penalize students who choose not to submit test scores.

Finally, if you are ever unsure about any piece of information, definitely reach out to the Admissions Office at the school to which you are applying (email is great!). It will guarantee you have the correct information, and it will show more demonstrated interest on your part. Win-win!


Friday, July 7th, 2017



Visit, visit, visit! 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 tourgo 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.