The Power of Words – Interviews and Essays

This weekend, I was watching one of my favorite movies, V for Vendetta, and I was struck by one particular quote from the protagonist V and its connection to the college process:

“. . . words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”

I’m sure you’re thinking – how is he going to make this quote relevant to an admissions blog?  Well, words do retain their power and for current high school seniors, there are two areas are most important right now:

Interviews: There’s still a chance to interview here on campus at Holy Cross.  Tell us what you think; tell us what you know; tell us what you hope to be and where you hope to be.  For your words to have power, we need to hear them.  We want to hear them.
Interviews are strongly recommended as part of the application process here at Holy Cross. Check out the Admissions site for more information about scheduling an interview.

Application Essay: It’s so very easy for students to see the application essay as a homework assignment for which they do not receive credit.  But another way to look at it is this – it is your power in the process.  You can write about anything you want and your reader (the admissions counselor) is so excited to read what you want to write.  So don’t spend another minute thinking about what you should write; write what you want to write and write it with confidence.  Have confidence in your words and in your writing.  For your words to have power, for your words to offer the means to meaning, they must come through unfettered by the constraints of expectation.

We’re here and we’re waiting.  Now let us hear your words.

Andrew N Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

Should I apply Early Decision or Regular Decision?

Jim_r_tnMany of you have likely met some of us here in Admissions,
maybe even me(!), over the course of the last two months if we’ve been in your
part of the country, or even the world traveling around visiting
schools and seeking out the best students!  Some of you have attended a
college fair, or an evening reception, met some alumni, maybe had a personal
interview, and hopefully you’ve been to campus by now at least once to see for
yourself all of the simply amazing things you’ve been hearing about.
You’ve followed the advice of others and “demonstrated
interest” to us … but you’re wondering, “how else can I
demonstrate my interest?
“.  Well, the strongest demonstration of
interest you can make is to apply; that’s the next step.

So what happens to your application after you click
‘submit’, or place it in your mailbox for the postal worker to deliver it
to us?  Your application travels many miles, whether through the postal
system, or in cyberspace, there are many hours that are investing in your
application after its submitted.  Our clerical staff processes it, matches
it up with all the miscellaneous materials that may already be here, and they
build a physical file for you.  Your application is then read by several
of the Counselors and given a full cover-to-cover review and evaluation.
Once it has been prepared by the Counselors in the read process, it then goes before
the 13 member selection committee for a full presentation and further
discussion.  Together, all 13 of us make all application decisions.
The process then comes full circle with a decision letter being generated by
our clerical staff, and mailed off to you to arrive back in your mailbox.

So now the question comes up in your mind, how do I
apply?  Some of you have already asked us for our opinion, “Should
I apply Early Decision, or just file a Regular Admission application?

To enter the Early Decision process [deadline: December 15] is a highly
personal choice; one only you, the student, can make.  You may only apply
to one college or university under an Early Decision plan.
Why?  It’s binding.  If you were to apply Early Decision
here (or anywhere) you will be saying in effect, “Holy Cross, you’re my
number one choice .. I love you more than anywhere else (and, well, after you
visit here, how would you not be able to say that!?) .. and if you take
me, I guarantee I’ll enroll, and will withdraw all of my other college
applications whether I’ve received a decision from them yet or not.”
That’s a pretty big statement to make, right?  Even with that said, ED can
be an absolutely terrific process to go through … but you just absolutely
have to know 110% that this is where you want to be, and know that you won’t be
changing your mind later.

Why is ED so terrific?  For one, you’ll find out
our decision much earlier than if you were Regular Admission.  This is
called “rolling notification”.  Our decision process typically
takes about four weeks from the time your application becomes complete.
Many times it happens somewhat quicker than that, but four weeks is an
average.  We can make three possible decisions with your ED application:
“Accept” (Congratulations, you’re coming here!); “Defer”,
which simply means we’re moving your application to the Regular Admission pool,
and you’ll now learn your final decision alongside all of the Regular Admission
candidates (you’ll still be notified of the “Defer” decision within
approximately 4 weeks); or “Not Admit”.  Whatever the decision,
we utilize a rolling notification so that you, the student, will know how to
proceed with any other application you were considering submitting – –
either to move forward with them and make sure they’re all complete, or
withdraw them because you’re coming to Holy Cross!  🙂

If you decide to apply Regular Admission [deadline: January
15] you will receive your decision letter in the mail either in the last few
days of March or first few days of April.  While this seems like a long
time away, trust me, it will be here before you know it.  Applying
Regular Admission keeps all of your options open, and allows you to consider
all of your admission decisions from all the schools to which you’ve applied
until May 1.

There are certainly pros and cons to both application
processes.  Because Early Decision is such a personal choice, and a big
commitment, its a decision we can’t answer for you … only you, the student,
can know for sure that this is the place you would like to attend for the next
four years, and be connected with for the rest of your life.  Best of luck
with your process, however you choose to apply, and never hesitate to ask us
questions as you go through it – – that’s why we’re here.

Finally, if you’re eligible to do so, get out and VOTE
on Tuesday … this is history in the making!

James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admissions