Tell It Slant

Drew Emily Dickinson wrote, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.”

Today, I offer you the truth with no slant.  There are questions that admissions counselors are asked so often and, in response, we frequently reply with a long-winded, slanted answer.

Today, I offer you the truth.  No slant.

1. “When you’re reading all those applications, doesn’t it get old?”

Yes, it does.
This is perhaps no great surprise.  Do anything repetitively and it is likely to get old after a while.

2. “How do you remember all those names?”

We don’t.
That’s why we take really good notes.  And while names frequently escape us, the stories stick with us.

3. “Do you really read all those applications?”

No.
I only read some of them; but, I’ve got nearly a dozen great co-workers.  At Holy Cross, every application really does get read and, in fact, read by two different admissions counselors.

4. “What do you really look for in an application?”

Really good grades in strong classes.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t also want athletes, musicians, artists, leaders, good Samaritans, etc.  But, inevitably, the conversation begins with the transcript.  It is the most important document in the application.  It is the cake and everything else is just frosting.  And yes, we’re greedy – we want frosting with our cake.

5. “Do you like reading applications?”

Most of the time.
Right about now, after about 5 weeks of non-stop reading (and writing), my hand hurts, my neck hurts, my eyes are dry and I’m just a little bug-eyed from all the small print on these transcripts.  And there doesn’t seem to be enough time to read all these applications in my office by our deadline on Sunday.

But, this morning, a co-worker of mine told me about an essay I’m likely to find in one of those stacks, one that she thinks I’ll like and I’m curious.  I’m curious what’s inside all those folders sitting in my office, whose story they tell and whether they might be good fits for Holy Cross.

So, after a 12 minute break to write this blog entry, I’m re-energized, ready to dive back into the stacks of applications, ready for more cake, ready for more frosting.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

What Happens to my Application Once It’s Been Submitted?

Lauren-T
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Well it’s that time of year again.  For some of you, this time means finishing up some work before the holiday break, searching for the best deal at the mall or relaxing and spending time by the fire with family and friends.  For the world of admissions, it means that reading season is almost upon us.

At this point in time, many of you are probably wondering exactly what happens to your application once it’s been sent to our office. Once your application file is received and is considered complete (it has your application, counselor recommendation letter, teacher recommendation letter, and transcript) it is filed alphabetically in a number of huge filing cabinets located in our office. An admission counselor is assigned to each drawer and is required to complete what we call a “first read” of your application. This requires our lovely yellow reading sheets, in which we record you name, high school, GPA, rank, test scores (if you chose to submit them of course!), the courses you’ve taken, the number of honors, APs, accelerated, advanced classes you’ve taken, the grades you’ve received, and what contact you’ve had with Holy Cross. We also read ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING you send us and briefly summarize each, as well as recording what service, leadership, and extra-curriculars you have been involved in.  Once the entire sheet is complete, your application is ready for a “second read” by another counselor.  The role of the second reader is much less taxing than that of the first.  This second reader double checks the work of the first reader and then records anything else that might stand out. After the second read is complete, the reading of your application is now complete and it is ready to go to our committee!

Happy holidays, happy application completing and happy winter!

Lauren D. Thornton
Admissions Counselor

The Power of Words – Interviews and Essays

Drew
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