The Power is Yours

It’s great to be a high school senior right now. Yeah, that’s right, I said great. Not stressed to the point of nausea or overwhelmed to the point of tears, but truly GREAT. Know why?

Because you hold all the power.

Last fall, when we were giving information sessions and visiting you at your school and interviewing you, the amorphous title of “Admissions” dictated the flow of events. (Or it probably seemed that way.) As a student, you were learning about schools, and then visiting campuses, and then expressing your interest to specific institutions, and then working tirelessly on applications that you hoped would be enough to make you stand out in a pool of 7,400.

Finally, after all that, you waited. And waited. Maybe you called or e-mailed, inquiring about our decision mail date. Eventually, you received the big acceptance packet you deserved. In all likelihood, you now own acceptance packets from a number of fine colleges and universities.

And with that, the tables have turned. Today, and for the next four days, admissions offices are now anxiously waiting for YOU. We hope you do get that a-ha! moment and find that Holy Cross is the right choice. We hope you have questions, find time to visit once more, or call us up just to chat, because we can’t wait to give you a million more reasons to clad yourself in purple and find a home on The Hill.

Zach Wielgus
Admissions Counselor

Our Decision Making Process

There is a reason few schools in the country create the next freshman class the way we do. To go through every single application – that’s right, every single application – as a group and allow a democratic vote to decide each student’s fate takes a lot. It’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of pressure, and it’s a lot of energy.

But there’s something strangely exhilarating (if exhausting) about the prospect of creating our Class of 2016. Our brains are constantly working as we learn interesting tidbits about our 7200 or so applicants. Our eyes slowly despise us more and more as the glow of two large projector screens serve as our information tablets. We scan the important evaluations of our colleagues as the room is filled with comments of quick analysis and personal stories of meeting or interviewing you (as well as the faint smell of various snacks). The hardest part, however, is finding ways to make sure every applicant, whether it’s the first or the last of the day, is evaluated with equal freshness and enthusiasm.

For me, that means reminding myself that it wasn’t all that long ago I was in your shoes.

I can still recall sitting in Physics class, paying little attention to the importance of free fall and instead wondering when and how colleges decide whether I’m worth admitting to their school. Many family members told me there was no rhyme or reason to the college admission process, that the mood of an admissions officer could sway my potential spot at a university.

In the Holy Cross Committee room, however, that’s not the case, because I see myself up there. The instant fatigue and apathy begin to creep in, I sit up straight (maybe even stand up and pour myself another cup of coffee) and recall how much influence we hold over a significant number of high school seniors. For all the hard work you put in during your nearly four years in high school, I can reciprocate that, one application at a time.

Few schools craft a class the way we do, but even after a few weeks of our arduous process, I wouldn’t want to decide your fate any other way.

Zach Wielgus

Admissions Counselor

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for the limitless patience held by the 10 veteran Counselors on staff, who have answered every question I’ve had since I started in July.
Zach Wielgus
Admissions Counselor

Admissions Travel Rules

I think anyone working in admissions would tell you the first days of travel are the hardest.  Now a seasoned pro,  I’ve learned a few tricks I know I’ll be bringing with me on my next trip:

1)      If your GPS tells you it will take 20 minutes to get somewhere, expect it to take 30. And plan ahead for that. The difference between arriving at 8:28 and 8:30 are astronomical on your stress level. Or maybe that’s just me.

2)      Get used to eating breakfast and lunch in the car. It’s rare you get a half hour to just sit in an eatery that just so happens to be conveniently located two blocks from your next school (see: never).

3)      Napkins, napkins, napkins. Drinking coffee or eating a sandwich with delicious spicy mustard while driving a car usually ends in what my aunt describes as “blapping.” A white shirt with a noticeable stain on the front isn’t the greatest first impression.

4)      Bring your running shoes. I sprinted through Charlotte airport to make a connection on my first day. (They closed the doors 90 seconds later.)

5)      But pack a nice outfit on your carry on. (Although I made it to my connecting flight, my suitcase with all my clothes did not. That came six hours later.)

6)      Be adventurous! The restaurant in the hotel is fine for a night, but these are cities I’d likely never be in otherwise. There’s a reason I watched all those episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. This is that reason!

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of travel experiences and blunders. With a season under my belt, though, I think I’m a little bit wiser.

Meet Admissions Counselor Zach Wielgus

My name is Zach Wielgus, and I’m the new guy at Holy Cross. I’m currently the youngest member of the admissions staff, fresh out of college, which means I have the exciting yet daunting task of learning everything I can about this great school. This also means that I did not graduate from Holy Cross (please forgive me!). I did graduate from another Jesuit school, for what that’s worth – and for my money, that’s worth a lot. The question-everything, reflect-on-it-all nature of the Jesuits is the reason I realized my love for admissions, and why I am posting on the Holy Cross admissions blog. I owe Ignatius a drink the next time I see him.

Here’s the thing: I’m really excited to be here. Like, really excited.. To be able to help high school students around the country realize how great a school Holy Cross is, and then to help construct a new class of Crusaders, is downright incredible. I can’t wait to get on the road and get to have those conversations with students, to ask them “What do you get to do in your free time?” or “What qualities would your perfect school have?” or “After four years at a college or university, how do you hope to have changed?” will be beyond rewarding (and a little fun, of course). And for those of you in Minnesota; Tennessee; Pittsburgh; Cleveland; and Fairfield, Connecticut, I hope you are equally eager to answer those questions from me.

But, believe it or not, admissions isn’t the only thing I enjoy. I am a huge sports fan, and get way too into the Packers and Brewers. I know the players can’t hear me through the TV, but I’m going to shout at them anyway. There isn’t a more exhilarating feeling than cheering among tens of thousands of fans, watching your favorite team in person. (And yes, watching the Packers win the Super Bowl this year was the best night of my life, even if it was just from my living room.) Though I would hardly consider myself athletic, I love to play golf and tennis, and am still very proud that I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010. Trust me, if I can run it, anyone can! I also love to read, watch The Amazing Race and 30 Rock, and occasionally write short stories if I’m inspired enough.

Enough about me. Tell me about you! Whether in an interview, through an e-mail, or in person while I’m traveling, I look forward to meeting you.

Zach Wielgus

Admissions Counselor