Eight Reasons to Log on to One of HC’s Online Chats

1.  Show your interest in HC without having to climb the hills

2.  Ask the question you were too embarrassed to ask during your campus tour or information session

3.  Hear about the “real” HC from current students

4.  Perfect your speed reading skills–our chats move fast!

5.  Get the inside scoop on the admission process from admission counselors

6.  Socialize with other prospective students.  You may be classmates someday!

7.  Work on becoming a master typist.  Those college essays won’t type themselves!

8.  Have your parents think you’re hard at work on your homework when you’re really having a great time with us

Our next online chat for prospective students is Wednesday August 11 from 7pm-10pm EST

Lynn Verrecchia

Associate Director of Admissions

What is Montserrat?

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Holy Cross’ first year program, Montserrat, has been the subject of many questions from students and parents over the past few years. The conversation usually begins, “I read about that program, Mont….?” Though many struggle with the pronunciation (sound it out-it’s easier than it looks!), most are intrigued by its goals and excited to participate.

For those of you who have never heard of Montserrat, or those of you who are excited about it but still don’t completely understand what it is, this blog’s for you.

Learning: Your Montserrat seminar

-the Montserrat seminar is one of your four courses during your freshman year

-it’s a year-long course (other courses are semester-long)

-there will be only first-year students in the class (you may have upperclassmen in other courses)

-classes are small and discussion-based

-students select their top choices (from nearly fifty seminars) and are placed in one of those classes

-some seminars are team-taught by two or more professors

-sample seminars from 2009-2010: The Structure of the Mind, Violence & Non-Violence and Literature & Science

Living: Residence hall life

-first year students are housed in three residence halls

-students are grouped together by cluster (groups of seminars) ensuring that all students in your seminar will also live in your residence hall

-students participate in programming like banquet dinners, documentary screenings, and author talks

Doing: Getting involved in the campus community and beyond

Past students have:

-conducted a memoir-writing workshop to help local high school students find their voices

-organized a student panel discussion about racial and ethnic relations on college campuses

-interviewed Southeast Asian-Americans in Worcester about their life histories

-received special training from Worcester Art Museum curators to lead visitors through an Italian painting exhibition

To learn more, visit the Montserrat website.

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

From Beginning to End

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Spring marks an interesting time in the life of an admissions officer. Letters are in the mail, and we will work over the next month to convince our amazing body of admitted students that Holy Cross is where they should spend the next four years. At the same time, we will begin to work with high school juniors as they begin their college search. We are simultaneously working with students who are at the beginning of this process, and with students who have lived to tell about it.

Today I attended my first spring college fair event, where I met with a wonderful group of juniors and their parents. This I expected. What I didn’t expect was the conversation I had with an administrator at the high school. He approached me, business card in hand, and asked that I pass his name along to any graduating Holy Cross students who might be looking for a teaching job.  He simply said that he’d had a “great experience” with our students. I have no doubt that there are companies across the country who hire Holy Cross students for exactly that same reason. And come to think of it, I shouldn’t have been surprised by our conversation at all.

 Though many of you are ending your college search, you are just beginning a wonderful new chapter in your lives. And as our new students make their admission deposits and look forward to orientation and class registration, our seniors will be packing up their rooms and making plans for their next beginning.

 Holy Cross is here to support you with this new beginning, and with your next one too.


Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

Application Deadlines: Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute!

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Every year around this time we take a staff photo which becomes our office holiday card. The card is sent to student volunteers and to guidance counselors we’ve met during our travels. It’s meant as a gesture of thanks for volunteers and one of goodwill toward our high school counterparts. We don Santa hats and Holy Cross gear and enthusiastically grin for the camera. Our smiles show that we love our jobs and that we truly wish those around us a wonderful holiday season.

The behind-the-scenes picture is a bit more harried. Our hectic fall travel season and various in-office responsibilities push the holiday card to the back burner for several weeks. It is typically all but forgotten until one attentive staff member points out that the holidays are in fact around the corner. We scramble to find a day when everyone will be in the office and a time when interviews are not scheduled. We raid the bookstore and scrounge for purple scarves that have not already been scooped up by students and visitors. We cringe at the gloomy skies that insist on threatening rain on picture day, because we know that rescheduling is not an option. We pay for expedited shipping and keep our eyes fixed on the mailbox. We stay late to print labels and address envelopes. We send the card out with hours to spare. Then, and only then, do we sit back and enjoy the picture ourselves.

In the end, our students and colleagues see only the final product. They smile at our gesture and pin our photo to their bulletin boards. They appreciate what we have done. The frantic nature of picture day does not show. Only we know that making this picture happen was a race to the finish.

 Last minute application filers deal with similar stresses. The computer suddenly crashes; a teacher assigns a major project; a family emergency crops up. That essay is due tomorrow and suddenly the conditions are not ideal. Just as we learn (and relearn) every year, the applicant learns that a looming deadline leaves little room for error. Though your final product is meant for others, the process is for you. Aim for more than just a strong outcome–try to allow for a positive experience along the way.

Holy Cross’ Early Decision application deadline is December 15. The Regular Decision deadline is January 15.


Lynn Verrecchia

Assistant Director of Admissions

Declaring a Major

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2I’m a driver.  I commute over an hour to and from work each day, and spend the better part of the fall months driving around various U.S. cities.  I like to drive, and I think I’m pretty good at it.  I’m not the type of driver who gets flustered or nervous about navigating around new cities.  I’m proud of my ability to quickly figure out the lights/wipers/radio/seat adjustor/cruise control on any rental car, and actually find it kind of exhilarating to drive in a new place.

My current driving conquest is Houston, TX.  I’ve noticed something very distinctive about the experience of driving in Houston.  There are highways–lots of them.  Loops too.  And those highways and loops have lanes–lots of them.  Most highways I’ve experienced in other cities have 3 lanes, and it is understood that speeders use the left, slowpokes use the right and Goldilocks sticks to the middle.  Other than that, the lane you choose means very little.

Not the case in Houston. Most of the highways I’ve driven this week have at least five lanes, and I learned the hard way that the lane you’re in is very important.  A lane could veer off and put you on a different highway at any moment.  The whole road could split in an instant, and if you haven’t chosen your lane wisely, you may find yourself on an unplanned detour or using one of Houston’s many handy u-turn lanes.  You might find yourself shaking your head as your GPS tells you to “stay left, then stay right, then stay right, then stay left”.  In Houston, it feels like you need to choose your lane before you put the car in gear.  It’s enough to turn the experienced calm driver into a nervous and dangerous lane-changer.

There should be an “undeclared” lane for drivers who need more time to figure out where they’re going.  At Holy Cross you can change lanes, and can even change back if you realize you picked the right one the first time.  You can hog two lanes for awhile–or for the whole ride if you like.  You can even drive right down the middle until you feel ready to make a choice.  And if you suddenly find that the path has veered and you’re not on the road you thought you were on, there are always those handy u-turn lanes.

Holy Cross students have until the end of their sophomore year to declare their major.  Many students enter Holy Cross undeclared, some pursue double majors, and many others will change their mind at some point.  So get excited, get in gear and know that we have faith you’ll find your lane when you’re good and ready.

Houston’s highways could learn a thing or two from Holy Cross.

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

lynnBelieve it or not, I don’t care for the picture of me that accompanies my blogs.  The photographer said “don’t smile”, so I didn’t.  The result is a slightly confused-looking version of my better self.  I try not to look at it when I view my blogs, but it’s hard to ignore that unhappy face.  It’s not that the picture is more important than (or even as important as) the words beside it, but I just can’t reconcile that mean-looking person with the friendly words she writes.
I’ve felt this way before.  I interview hundreds of students each year.  The conversation I have with a student matters so much more than the look on their face or the outfit they wear.  But a confused/mean/bored face can be a distraction from a really nice story.  So no matter what anyone tells you…show me that smile.
Still waiting for photo make-up day…


Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

I Want an Interview… and I Can’t Get One.

Two months ago I wrote a blog about the importance of the interview.  Many of you got the message.  You probably got the same message if you attended an information session on campus or if you met a Holy Cross representative at your school this fall.  You nodded, you understood, you made a mental note — and then you missed the deadline.  Or you called our office recently and found out that we are booked solid through the end of the month.  What now?  Remember not just that we told you to have an interview, but what we said about why.  We want to know you, and our full schedule does not change that fact.  But unfortunately, that fact does not change our full schedule.  So you may not be able to have an interview after all, but you can still help us to know you better.  Some students choose to submit a letter or e-mail “filling in the blanks” that may exist in the absence of an interview.  Such letters can provide additional information about accomplishments, interests and passions.  They can answer some of the questions an interviewer might ask.

If you write it, we’ll read it.  So start filling in those blanks.

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

The why and the how

LynnFill out Common Application?  Check!  Request transcript?  Check!  Ask favorite teacher for letter of recommendation?  Check!  Have mom or dad write a check?  Check!  Schedule admissions interview?  Screeeeech!  Wait, what?  Do you really need one more thing to add to your endless to-do list?  We say yes.  At Holy Cross, we encourage all applicants to have a one-on-one interview.  We know you’re busy (and hey, we’re busy too!), but we know that the 30 minutes we’ll spend with you is well worth it.

An application for admission contains a lot of information.  Most of it falls into the categories of who (you), what (track team), where (school, community) and when (4 year captain!).  All good information, but something is missing.  The purpose of an interview is to uncover the why (my older sister who I really admire ran track and I wanted to follow in her footsteps) and the how (6 practices a week, rain or shine, even through shin splints) of what you do.  As interviewers, we want to dig a little bit deeper to help your application file resemble the true, whol
e “you” just a little bit more.  That’s it.  No trick questions, no riddles, no puzzles.  Just a friendly conversation with someone who finds you (and your shin splints) interesting.

Interviews are offered on campus through December 31.  Call us now, and cross off one more thing from that ridiculously long list.  We’ll get to know you a little bit better, and maybe you’ll learn something about Holy Cross–and yourself–in the process.

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

Introduction – Lynn Verrecchia

Hello everyone!  We’re excited for the new school year and for new HC blogs.  We hope that you will check back frequently to hear what’s going on in the world of Holy Cross Admissions.

My name is Lynn Verrecchia.  I grew up in Port Chester, NY and first came to Holy Cross as a student 1997.  I chose Holy Cross for many of the same reasons I hear students mention today, including our close-knit community and focus on creating well-rounded individuals.

I began my admissions career in 2002, and returned to Holy Cross in my current role just over four years ago.  I love having the opportunity to talk with students about a college that has played such an important role in my own life.  In addition to working with high school students, I coordinate our transfer process, and recently began working with our alumni volunteers.

I live with my husband, a fellow Holy Cross grad, in Somerville, MA.  I’ve spent much of the last two years picking out paint colors, and highly recommend “caliente”.   True loves of my life include foreign language, travel, cookies and Alton Brown.

My recruitment territories include Texas, Tennessee, Maine, and parts of Massachusetts.  I hope to see many of you “on the road”, and others on campus this fall!  I truly believe in the importance of finding the right “fit” in a college, and hope that many of you will find just that at Holy Cross.  Happy searching!

Lynn Verrecchia
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions

Is Early Decision right for you?

LynnThink back to when you began your college search.  How did you decide which schools to consider?  Likely you cracked open one of the many college books at your disposal, and your list began to form based on your pre-determined criteria.  Statistics likely built your initial list.  This was a good start, but only a start.

Remember those campus visits?  While logging hours at information sessions or on campus tours, your ideal college probably began to take shape in your mind.  Your list of likes and dislikes grew as you learned more about yourself and about what each school could offer.  When I interview a student, I always try to get a sense for what drew them to Holy Cross, and what keeps them coming back.  There are certainly some common responses.  Many students are drawn to Holy Cross because of its size, location, Jesuit identity, or its strong liberal arts curriculum.  But what I tend to hear from the most enthusiastic prospective students is that it just “felt right”.  They came.  They saw.  They’re hooked.

Early Decision (our deadline is December 15) will be a great option for some of these students.  They have done their research and know what they want.  They have determined not only what Holy Cross can offer them, but what they could bring to the College.   They have determined with virtual certainty that this is where they would like to spend their next four years, without interest in competing offers of admission or scholarship.  If this sounds like your experience with Holy Cross,  then Early Decision might be for you.

Whether applying via Early or Regular Decision, don’t let numbers alone make your decisions for you.  Use the wealth of information at your fingertips, but include your instincts in the equation.