From Worcester to Siberia

DianeSoboski.BLOG2Earlier this spring, I received an e-mail from our Vice President of Academic Affairs that detailed some extraordinary scientific work that a few recent graduates were doing in conjunction with the Polaris Project, an organization dedicated to studying global climate changes in the Siberian Arctic. Immediately, one of the names caught my eye; Craig Connolly, HC ’13, was acknowledged for being one of the youngest authors and presenters at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco held last December. The title of his presentation, “Organic matter bioavailability and enzyme activities within stream benthic sediments in northeastern Siberia,” left me both impressed and a little bewildered. Additionally, the e-mail included that Craig recently had published a paper in the international journal Wetlands on how “global sea rise and increased saltwater intrusion in tidal rivers influences decomposition of an invasive and widespread macrophyte.”


While certainly impressive, I am no stranger to hearing of the outstanding accomplishments of our students. What struck me most was that this student, this particular student, was the first student that I called back in 2009 to congratulate on his acceptance and officially welcome to the College. In fact, Craig (and his twin brother Kevin, who also graduated from Holy Cross) was one of the first students I met on the road at his school only weeks after being hired in the admissions office.  I later interviewed him on campus, read his application, and presented his file to our Committee for review.


For the next four years, I’d see Craig around campus at various events, and it made me smile to see how seamlessly he appeared to fit into our community. He wasn’t a volunteer in our office, or one of the many students that I interacted with on a daily basis; he was just another student who came to Holy Cross, did excellent work, and who I watched cross the stage at graduation last year. But to me, Craig will always be that first student who I really felt belonged here and knew would have a positive impact on the Holy Cross campus.


I don’t know that he’ll ever read this blog, or even know that I’ve  kept track of him over the years, but it’s stories like these that make me love my job. I’m incredibly proud of Craig and all that he’s accomplished … even if I don’t exactly understand exactly what it is he’s studying in Siberia.


Diane Soboski

Associate Director of Admissions

(*Craig will be returning to Siberia this summer as a research assistant with the Woods Hole Research Center before beginning his PhD at the University of Texas in Austin this fall.)


So…What do you do all day on the road?

This time of year, when admissions counselors are spending more time in rental cars than in their own homes , that is the question I most often get from my friends, family or even prospective students. So here you go: the deep, dark secrets of what we do on the road will be revealed.  Every day is an adventure and certainly different from the next, but here’s a snapshot of my life on the road – just a typical Wednesday during travel season!

6:00am – Alarm goes off. I take a minute to orient myself to where I am, oh right – Omaha. Time to get moving!

7:45am – Arrive at my first high school visit a few minutes early and am greeted by the marching band practicing in the parking lot – I’m awake now!

8:00am – 1st High School visit of the day; here I speak with a great senior who has clearly done research on Holy Cross and has some terriffic questions. She’s looking for a small, liberal arts college in the north east – which is great, because we fit that bill!

8:45am – Leave that school and hurry over to the next, thank God for GPS!

9:00am – Arrive at my second school of the day to discover that no students have signed up to meet with me; spent time chatting with the guidance counselors about Holy Cross and what we can do to attract more kids from Nebraska.

9:45am – Have arrived a bit early for my next visit so I take a few minutes to catch up on a few things.  A quick call to check in with the office, respond to an e-mail from our Public Affairs office giving the okay for a message to be send out, and finally call back my dentist’s office about rescheduling that cleaning (got to take care of the teeth!) – and now I’m ready to head into school #3!

10:15am – Met with a great group of girls (all girls, Catholic school) – mix of juniors and seniors who asked important questions about campus culture, social life, academic opportunities, etc.

11:30am – Arrive at their all boys counterpart school and am lead to a conference room. We got a great student from here so I’m expecting to see some interest, and I do! Speak with a few different students and confirm an interview or two for later this evening.

12:30pm – Time to head to my last visit of the day! (Stomach is starting to growl)

1:00pm – Visit #5 of the day is a bit different from the rest, more of a fair format. There are a few schools here and students are free to walk around and speak to different college reps – it’s a great chance to meet with multiple kids and get the Holy Cross name out there!

2:00pm – Done with visits for the day so I head off to a lunch spot that a guidance counselor recommended. I’ll catch my breath, and make some notes on my days visits to help with next year’s planning.

3:15pm – Finally back at my hotel – time to check e-mail, hit the gym and relax for a bit.

6:00pm – Time to head down to the lobby where I’ll meet the first of two students who are interviewing tonight. These students signed up online for one of our off campus interviews – knowing I’d be in the area, they’re taking advantage of the chance to meet with me and tell me more about themselves.

7:30pm – Done with interviews, heading back up to my room where I’ll order room service and type up some notes on the candidates I’ve interviewed waiting for my dinner to arrive.

8:15pm – Dinner arrives!

9:00pm – Spend a few minutes organizing my notes for tomorrow, making sure that I know where I need to be and that I have my materials all packed and ready to go.

10:00pm – Lights out! Time to rest up so I can do it all again tomorrow!

Diane Soboski

Senior Assistant Director of Admissions

Notes from Committee

The other day, our receptionist Mary poked her head into our committee room where we were all sitting in the dark reviewing applications.  Twelve sets of eyes eagerly looked over to see who she would be calling out for a phone call.

Was it the counselor from Minnesota that I was hoping to speak with about an applicant? Or the catering company for Lauren regarding our upcoming counselor tour? The community based organization that was looking to set up a tour this spring with Amanda?

As Mary said, “Excuse me, Father Markey, I have Bob Cousy on the phone for you”, the rest of the staff realized that none of our calls (as exciting as they may be) would live up to hearing from an NBA Hall of Famer. Just another day in the Holy Cross Admissions Committee room…

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admission

Connect With Holy Cross From the Comfort of Your Home

Have you ever wondered what the freshman dorms are like at Holy Cross? Or what the favorite meals are from Kimball? Or what classes and research experiences are available to biology majors?

These are all great questions to ask a current student during one of our upcoming online chats!  (Next up is tomorrow night’s, from 7-10 PM EST).

Throughout the year, we offer several opportunities for prospective students, parents, and guidance counselors to connect with current students and admissions staff online. The chats are open forum, so you can ask your own questions or just sign on to see what others are talking about.  It’s a great way to learn more about the school and the application process without having to leave your living room.

Registering for a chat is easy! Simply visit our chat web site, click on “Register for Chat Event” (it’s in black at the top of the page), fill in your information, and you’re off and running! The chat screen will pop up and you’ll be greeted by many friendly Holy Cross representatives who are available to answer your questions.

We look forward to chatting with you!

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admission

Interviewing Students Throughout the Country

During the fall months, as we travel around the country meeting with prospective students at various high schools, we also have the chance to offer interview nights in several cities. Often times, these interview nights will be hosted by an admissions counselor but may include the opportunity for interested students to meet with alumni who now live in their home state.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to meet with several high school students in Milwaukee and Chicago. As admissions counselors, we can learn a lot from your application file – but nothing will tell us more about who you are than an interview. Interviews are a great way to learn more about a candidate – to get a feel for what they’re looking for in a college, what dreams/aspirations they have, and what they’ve been involved with during their high school years. I love meeting with students and learning more about what makes you, you.

If you haven’t already had an interview, I’d encourage you to think about scheduling one. They’re painless, I promise! We just to get to know you better, and to add another dimension to your application.

Signing up has never been easier! If you’re interested in scheduling an interview for one of our off campus interview nights, please fill out our form online and someone from our office will be in touch to assign you a time slot.

We look forward to meeting you!

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

May on the Hill

DianeSoboski.BLOG2May is an interesting time of the year on a college campus. As we’re getting ready to bid farewell to the graduating seniors and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors, we’re also excited about welcoming in our newest class that will be arriving at the end of the summer.  

The students have been busy celebrating at Spring Weekend, studying for finals, and packing up their dorm rooms to head home for the summer. There has been lots of activity on campus!

Here in the admissions office, we’re splitting our time between reviewing the past year and gearing up for the next recruitment cycle. As you walk around the office, you’ll find counselors looking over final numbers and comments from the events that we’ve hosted this year. You’ll also find counselors pouring over lists of prospects, reviewing application data, and trying to determine where they’ll be visiting in the fall. All of this reflection and preparation is done to ensure that we will do the best we can to meet the recruitment needs of the incoming class.

So in the spirit of May, I’d like to say:

  • Best of luck to our graduating seniors! (Especially those of you who have donated plenty of your time over the years to volunteer in our office).
  • Welcome to the Class of 2014! We can’t wait to see on you on campus in the fall!
  • Lastly, to those just beginning their college search, we’ll be seeing you soon!


Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

Thank You For Applying!

DianeSoboski.BLOG2I sat down a few weeks ago, cup of tea in hand, glanced out the window at the snow coming down, and began to read files. As I moved through the stack of applications on the table before me, I encountered several notes and emails thanking the admissions staff for interviews, visits,  and advice on the application process. Also in the files were hundreds of pages of letters, essays, and descriptions of amazing accomplishments that our applicants have decided to share with us. For that, I thank you!

It’s easy to look at a stack of 60 applications and feel overwhelmed by the volume of the work that lies ahead. But when you crack open that first folder and begin reading about that individual student , allow the materials in the folder to come to life, and introduce you to an amazing applicant – the task ahead no longer seems like work.  It’s fun!

I love learning about the time you “accidentally” tripped your brother and chipped his tooth, or the time you overcame your fears and sang in front of a full auditorium for the first time. Many of you have shared stories of obstacles you’ve overcome, and how you’ve come out a better person because of them.  We laugh along with you, we cry along with you, and we do celebrate all of your accomplishments along with you.

During this busy reading season, thank you for making me wake, stretch and want to head right for that stack of applications!


Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

How do I Know if Admissions has Received all of my Application Materials?

DianeSoboski.BLOG2You’ve filled out the Common Application and submitted it online, double and triple checking to make sure that you’ve attached your essay upload. You’ve filled out the paper work at your guidance office requesting that they send along your transcript and recommendation letters to Holy Cross (in Massachusetts, not Indiana). You’re positive that everything has been sent to us. We have it, right? You think we have it. You hope we have it. How do you know if we have it?

There’s no need to stay up nights worrying about whether or not we have your materials, you can now check the status of your application materials online! Simply go to our online checklist, click “register”, put in your personal information and you will be provided with a glimpse into our database. More specifically, you’ll see your application checklist as it appears in our records.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to tell exactly what (if anything) is still missing. A list of required application materials will appear along with notation of whether or not each item has been received.

***One caution – It takes some time for us to receive your materials in the mail, open our mail, sort our mail, and input the pieces of your application into our system.

DO NOT PANIC if you do not see all of your materials listed. You may be positive that you sent in that Verification Form, you know that you put the right postage on it, it should have been here, it’s not listed, you may check compulsively – it WILL eventually appear. Give it some time, and if after 10-14 days you still don’t see your materials appear, feel free to call our office and we’ll tell you whether or not we think you need to submit the missing piece again.

We wish you all the best of luck as you finish up those college applications over the next few months. You’re in the home stretch of your application season, and we can’t wait to begin ours!


Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

Coming Soon to a City Near You!

diane-sIt’s that time of year again! The warm temperatures are dropping, students are heading back to school, and admissions counselors are packing up their bags and getting ready to hit the road to meet prospective students all over the country.  I often think about how similar the fall season is for high school students and admissions staff. As you all are putting together binders for your classes, meeting new teachers, and mapping out the fastest route from gym to History, we’re doing very similar tasks. I just recently put together my travel binder for the season, I’ll be meeting new guidance counselors that I’ll be working with this year, and I too am trying to plan the quickest way to get from one school to another so that I can meet as many of you as possible in my travels this fall.

We can’t get to every high school, but we do our best to span a large part of the country. You can see what schools we’ve already committed to visiting this year on our Web site. Again, just as your schedule will be changing over the next few weeks while you struggle to fit in every class and extra-curricular you want to do, we too are continuously changing schedules to try to accommodate as many schools as we can. Please check with your guidance department as the date of our visit approaches,  and make sure that our schedules are aligned.

We know this is a busy time, but remember as you run from one class to another, hoping to sneak in before the bell, that somewhere there is an admissions counselor scrambling to get to their next visit on time and hoping that their GPS will hold a signal long enough to get them there. Best of luck as you begin your new school year; and we look forward to meeting you!

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions

Visiting Holy Cross This Summer

diane-sHey, Juniors: What are you doing this summer?

We know you’re busy finishing up the school year. You probably have papers to write, exams to study for, and final projects to wrap up. It’s a hectic time of year, but as your thoughts turn to warm summer days, you have more to look forward to than just hitting the beach. We’ll be inviting you to visit us!

Summer is a great time to come and visit the admissions office here at Holy Cross. In addition to our regularly scheduled tours, information sessions (check website for details), and interviews (simply call the office a few weeks ahead of time to schedule), we’ll be holding our July Advisory Days (or JAD) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday beginning on July 6th.

JAD is a great program and one that is not to be missed. Many schools will be offering to give you a tour of the campus and informational session on the college. Here at Holy Cross, we like to take your visit one step further by providing you with some general information on two topics that we’ve heard time and time again, cause students stress: the college essay and the admissions interview.

There’s no reason to fear either of these tasks and we’re here to provide you with some admissions insight about how to survive the college application process with minimal stress (and hopefully optimal results). So come join us for a visit this summer. We look forward to meeting you!

*For more information on the JAD Program, please visit our Web site:

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admissions