The Calm Before the Storm

Now, all that’s left to do is to wait.

All the decisions have been made on first year applications and the decision letters will be released through the mail in 24 hours.  For the first time in 180 days, there are no transcripts waiting to be evaluated, no essays waiting to be read and no applications waiting for a vote by the committee.  The silence is eerie.

Like bakers who arrive in the middle of night, for the past six weeks, we’ve been doing all our work in private – very precise measuring, some skillful adding, delicate mixing, artful shaping and now, waiting.

To those students who will receive disappointing news from us, know that we appreciate your interest in Holy Cross and that we take our decision making responsibility very seriously.  It is the most important and the most difficult part of our job.

To those students who will receive good news in the mail from us – congratulations.   You’ve impressed us with your record as committed students, passionate volunteers, standout athletes and even better people.  You’ll be faced with a decision soon – we hope you’ll come visit.  We’ll be waiting for you.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Reflections on a Year in Admissions

As a newer member of the Admissions Office at Holy Cross,  I’d like to share some of my impressions about my first year:

1. I really appreciate the committee process and the fact that 13 of us make a decision on every applicant together.

2. It is a democratic process. Each person has a vote and every vote helped shape the class of 2015.

3. We spend a lot of time on each applicant.  In the committee room, we discussed the positive attributes of each applicant and looked at each application holistically before voting. Hearing the different opinions and viewpoints of my colleagues taught me to  recognize what it is to be a competitive college applicant,  and what it means to be a “fit” for Holy Cross.

4. We read your essay. I found the most common question in committee was, “Can we see the essay again?” After making tough decisions all day, I found that a sweet, endearing, or funny essay could really lift the  mood of the room.

My favorite memory from this year occurred when a student, whom I met on the road and interviewed on campus, stopped by my office with a smile on her face and a deposit slip in her hand.  She could not wait to tell me she would be joining the class of 2015!

I look forward to meeting the 2016 hopefuls.

Krystle Leveille
Admissions  Counselor

Committee is Over! (Well…almost)

Whew! That was a long and exciting process. Breaking news from the Holy Cross Admissions office….. committee is over and all (but for a few) decisions have been made! Letters will be mailed at the end of the week; keep an eye out for the postman!

Amanda Juriansz
Assistant Director of Community Outreach

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

Notes From Committee

We’re in committee.  For three more weeks, the twelve members of the Admissions committee will meet in an impossibly small conference room (pictured below) to discuss and debate the 7,350 applicants for the Class of 2015.  Despite its small size, our “home” for the next several weeks is well equipped with all the things we need to do our work. Lap tops, projectors, and a document imaging camera are essential to our process, and the way in which we do our work.  But the two most critical items without which committee members could not function:  coffee and snacks.   Experience has shown that a fully caffeinated, well fed committee is a productive committee.  So far, we’re doing well.  We’re actually running a little ahead of schedule. Maybe it’s the coffee.

Ann McDermott
Director of Admissions

A Recipe for Application Reading Success!

The gifts have been exchanged,  and the resumes and recommendations arranged,  but have you clicked submit or put your application in the Postman’s mitts? Many of you have, we’re sure (because your applications are now on our desks), and so we’re saying, ” ’tis the season”,  for reading the application you’ve assembled.

In a few days we’ll shut the doors of the admissions office, and gear up for reading all of your applications.  For this, we’ll need supplies. There are many components that allow us to have a successful reading session. I thought I’d share with you my recipe:

50 applications for admission; 25 early decision, 25 regular admission

1 sharp or refillable mechanical pencil

1 eraser stick

1 calculator

1 pack of post-it flags and memos

1 highlighter

1 reader evaluation pad

1 box Krispy Kreme donuts

40 ounces of coffee (not shown here)

Pull the first application from the top of the stack. Sift through the transcript by reading honors and AP courses, as well as grades. Using the  mechanical pencil, transfer data from the transcript, Counselor and Teacher recommendations and essay on to the reader evaluation pad. Have calculator, eraser stick, highlighter and post-it flags nearby, just in case.  Place Krispy Kreme donut (or, donuts) in microwave oven for 20 seconds on medium heat; consume slowly to savor the full flavor and flair of the application. Add final thoughts and enjoy.

Best of luck with the home stretch of the application process everyone.  We’re excited to “devour” your applications!

Jim Richardson

Associate Director of Admissions

Admissions and Additions

I submitted my Regular Decision application way back in October, why will I not hear the decision until April?

Great question.  Although math is not my strong suit, I will put on my Stat. Hat and consult with the Fraction Faction to provide you with an answer:

Holy Cross will receive roughly 7,000 applications this year.  Each application is carefully read by two members of our thirteen member admissions staff between January 1st and February 15th.  Therefore, each counselor must read ((7,000 apps x 2 reads)/12 counselors) applications over that six week period.  I will not go any further with the math in terms of applications read per day, but I will note that a typical 5 day/8 hours a day work weeks go out the window in the Admissions world during reading season (and travel season for that matter).

So, why don’t we hear on February 15th?

Full of great questions, are we?  Well, the process does not stop after reading season is over.  Our twelve person Admissions staff then goes to Committee through the end of March to revisit every single file to make our final Admissions decisions as a group (majority rules – all votes counted evenly).  Therefore, (12 counselors discussing 7,000 apps/6 weeks) = (396 cups of coffee/x bathroom breaks)+(8,326 insightful questions asked + 178 Counselor calls) A.K.A. The creation of the Class of 2015.

So, please remember that we are working on par with Santa’s elves this holiday/application season before you pick up the phone to inquire if we have made a decision on your Regular Decision application yet.  My advice: Munch on Holiday cookies, enjoy time with your family and friends, and leave the application stress to us.

Dan Weagle ’08

Admissions Counselor

I Read My First Application Today

I read my first application today.

I de-constructed the transcript.  I read, evaluated and summarized the recommendations.  I read through the interview evaluation.  I summarized the extra-curricular activities.

And then I got to the essay.

It was at that point that I turned the calculator off; I pushed my laptop to the side.  I minimized the spreadsheet and put my pencil down.

I sat back in my chair and I read.

Up until that point, I’d been evaluating data and building a composite of who this student is, using a collection of sources, mainly other people’s voices.  The essay was my first chance to hear the student’s voice.    I was making a painting of the student and all of a sudden, the paintbrush was in the student’s hand.

Suddenly, the rest of the file made sense.  Suddenly, I had a sense of who this student is.   Suddenly, it was time to pick up the pencil, turn on the calculator and move on to the next application.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

When Will I Receive My Admissions Decision?

LaurenThornton.BLOG2It is that time of year again, the time where high school seniors sit in front of their mailboxes anxiously awaiting their admissions decisions. Do not fret, the wait is almost over!  As of the end of last week, the admissions decision letters were boxed up and sent to our mail house in order to be sent to all of you. Here is a quick glimpse at us sending out our decisions to all of you. Enjoy!










Lauren D. Thornton
Admissions Counselor

Newest Admissions Member Reflects on Committee Process

NicoleZervos.BLOG2About five weeks ago, the twelve members of the Holy Cross admissions staff convened to start our “committee” process. As a first year Admissions Counselor, I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous. After weeks of reading applications, highlighting students’ academic success and getting to know them through their essays and extracurricular accomplishments, I knew the decision making process would be no easy feat.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. It’s the last day of committee and we’re making those final few decisions. I have to say, it’s been a lot harder than I ever could have imagined. As a first-timer in committee this year, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite aspects of committee to help you understand how we go about making our decisions:

  • I love the amount of time we spend discussing each and every applicant. Discussion is crucial in our committee room. I could be feeling one way one minute, and then a someone will make a comment that may help me see a completely different side of the applicant that I might not have seen before.
  • It truly is a democratic process. We take a vote on every application and majority wins. Often, there’s not a clear winner. So we vote again. And sometimes even a third vote is required! It can be tedious, but that’s the beauty of the committee process: everyone gets a fair shot.
  • We take a very holistic approach. Sometimes it feels like all we’re seeing is numbers.  GPA’s.  Class ranks. Numbers of honors and AP/ IB courses. It can be hard to distinguish between them, but then someone reads a nice quote from an essay or an interview write up and it makes all the difference in the world.

Nicole Zervos ’09
Admissions Counselor