Cheers to our Admissions Ambassadors!

As my colleague tweeted earlier this month, 50 students will be spending part of their winter break visiting their former high schools as a way to help promote the College!  We in Admissions are so fortunate to have many great volunteers helping us.  Students serve as greeters in the waiting room talking to prospective students and their families; as tour guides trekking across campus with large groups of visitors; and now as ambassadors speaking to college counselors and students at their old high schools.  I wanted to share with you some of the responses that we received from students applying to participate in the admissions ambassador program.  On the maps below I have marked the ambassadors’ home states and countries!

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student from Illinois: In just a few semesters, Holy Cross has challenged me academically and personally, pushing me to discover who I am, reflect upon what I want to be in the world, and search what I can do for those most in need. I have found on Mount St. James a tight-knit community and a supportive, warm environment.

student from Minnesota: Not only has living on the East Coast…been a great learning and cultural experience, but I have also come to appreciate all of the aspects that make a Holy Cross education so worthwhile: small class sizes, diverse subjects, close relationships with professors, undergraduate research, and most importantly, a commitment to cultivating “men and women for and with others.”

student from Texas: Holy Cross has given me opportunities that I never imagined I would have. I will be studying abroad in Argentina in the spring, I participate in psychology research, I made m[y] own student organization, and I have met and dined with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

student from Arkansas: I have loved living in a new part of the country, getting to travel around the Northeast, go to a college that has rigorous academics, play volleyball with my best friends while representing the college, and so much more.

student from Georgia: Since coming to Holy Cross, I have risen through the ranks of The Crusader and will be one of the Co-Editor-in-Chiefs next semester. Also, I have strengthened my spiritual life while serving as the Communion Ministry Coordinator as well as participating in immersion trips. My love for biology has been strengthened through on-campus research investigating diabetes–the skills I acquired…helped me land an internship over the past summer…at Emory University Medical School.

student from Washington: I have been exposed to many different fields in my studies, but all of these challenge you to develop your ability to reason, write, and express yourself.  Furthermore, my experience in the Washington Semester was invaluable.  Not only was I able to apply my classroom knowledge in a professional capacity at the State Department, but I was able to interact with policymakers, United States Senators, and Supreme Court Justices.

student from China: Because I am an international student and an ESL as well, I got extra help on my writing from professors and writer’s workshop. I felt like HC really cares about its students. In this semester, I met with my peer mentor…once a week, my advisor…twice a month,…and [my] class dean once a month. [They] not only cared about my life [at Holy Cross], but also they provided constructive suggestions.

student from Japan: During classes which revolved heavily around student and faculty discussions, from my psych class to even class about Buddhism, there were plenty moments where I was able to offer an unique set of perspectives, just because I grew up in a completely different kind of society with differing tradition, values, and identity. I strongly believe that with the rise of transparency and globalization, willingness to suspend your ideology and values while trying to understand the complete opposite of it is an important skill to have…My time at Holy Cross has been a wonderful one so far, and I’m very proud to be here.

Tales from the Road: Kimball Renovation

Greetings from sunny California!  My name is Sarah Gale, and I am a new Assistant Director of Admissions at the College of the Holy Cross.  Although I have only been working for the College since August, I already feel very much as though I am a part of the vibrant campus community.  In my experience, that is just the kind of place that Holy Cross is: welcoming, dynamic, and fun!

I am currently thousands of miles away from Worcester (or as I’ve been explaining it to West Coast students, “Wuh-sta”) on recruitment travel.  While visiting high schools and attending college fairs, I have been talking a lot about the College of the Holy Cross’ great campus.  I cover the academic experience, residential life, and opportunities for service, off-campus study, and research, but one aspect of campus that is especially important to students is the FOOD.  As much as I can talk about campus dining, who better to talk about the food than a current student?

Our very talented Natalie Correa put together a video about the updates to our Kimball Dining Hall, which I think really shows the great care that the College puts towards students’ overall well-being.  Plus, who doesn’t love a frozen yogurt station?  I hope you enjoy her video, and please do check out her other productions!

Why Holy Cross? The constant pursuit.

Daniel-Weagle_postI love Holy Cross for the College’s approach to educating the entire person (known in the Jesuit world as Cura Personalis, or “care of the entire person”). As a student, I remember spending many a weekday night tucked away in my own cozy carrel in Dinand Library. After a long study session or writing rally, I would head back to my residence hall. I can still distinctly recall the smell and taste of the night air as I walked through the doors of Dinand and onto the moonlit common.

 

There was a contagious feeling in the atmosphere that was indescribable (but for the sake of this blog, let’s call it “neon-electric, caffeinated exuberance”).  Each student I passed had the same driven look in his eye and knowing smile across his face: a smile that revealed an inner, quiet confidence and personal pride in the pursuit of education. We were all proud to attend an elite academic institution where we were challenged each day to be the best we could be by the inspirational people around us; our nationally-recognized, nurturing faculty, our caring, supportive staff, and our creative, insightful peers pushed us to be better versions of ourselves.

 

At midnight, after hours of studying for exams, writing capstone papers, planning events for student clubs/organizations, it would be easy for a typical student to put his head down and trudge across campus to collapse into his bed.

But Holy Cross students are not typical students. Holy Cross students are more complete because they are never satisfied. What I mean by that is that our students are always seeking, always searching, always pushing themselves to be the best version of who they know they are (with the support and gentle guidance of the entire campus). Simply put, Holy Cross students find value in cura personalis and I loved (and still do love) being surrounded by such complete individuals.

Why Holy Cross? The smiles and thank you’s.

As many members of the admissions staff write their biggest answer to “Why Holy Cross,” it just so happened two Associate Directors of Admissions — Andrew Carter and Lynn Verrecchia — separately chose topics that blend quite well together: the general personality and affect of the student body.

 

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiRecently at a college fair, I was asked a most intriguing question by a current high school junior – “What’s your  favorite thing about Holy Cross students?”

This is a great question – a departure from the usual questions about average GPA’s, average class size and overall student enrollment.

After a brief moment of thought, my answer was simple – Holy Cross students say “thank you.”

And it’s not just that they say “thank you,” but that they have a reason to say “thank you.”

This is a campus that values door holding.  And not just door holding for the delivery man carrying a stack of boxes – but door holding for anyone, any time.

The Jesuit principle of “Cura Personalis” encourages all of us to consider and to care for the entire person and while that influences the way we teach and learn and think about our world, it also reminds us that we are not alone – we are not alone in this world, in this moment or in this doorway.

And that is what I’m reminded of every day when I walk around this campus – Holy Cross students know they are not alone and while there might now always be someone to hold the door for, they always pause and check.

And for that pause, that awareness, I say, “thank you.”

Andrew Carter

Associate Director of Admissions

 

 

LynnVerrecchia.BLOG2Why HC? For the smiles.

When I first visited Holy Cross as a prospective student, one thing stood out to me. Everyone was smiling–at one another, to themselves, and at me. I as looking for a sign that this was the right place for me. What I read in those smiles was that HC students like one another, are content with themselves, and are eager to welcome newcomers.

As a student, I certainly found myself smiling–and being smiled at–a lot. As an alumnus, I find myself grinning on the highway when in traffic behind a car sporting a Holy Cross sticker and in line at the grocery store behind someone wearing a Holy Cross sweatshirt. I’ve made fast friends with other parents simply because of a shared affinity for our alma mater. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than hearing my 3-year-old carefully spell out H-O-L-Y-C-R-O-S-S!

Holy Cross–it can even make you smile in traffic. That’s why.

Lynn Verrecchia ’01

Associate Director of Admissions

The College Search: Facts, Figures, and Feelings

Kate StewartThere’s an endless and oftentimes overwhelming supply of resources out there to help you through your college search. You could camp out in the College Guide aisle at Barnes and Noble for two years and never make it through half the books. You could pull all-nighters clicking through Naviance and scouring every ranking posted by US News & World Report and The Princeton Review until your eyes bug out of your head. You could spend so much time on each college’s website that you know exactly where to find obscure information like how many people the dining hall seats.

 

And don’t get me wrong, statistics are certainly important. You should figure out what the academic profile of an admitted student looks like in order to predict whether a college is in your “range.” You should calculate a college’s distance from your home and decide how far away you’d be okay moving. You should research the size of the student body and the average classroom size and figure out whether those numbers seem comfortable or intimidating to you.

 

But ultimately, your college choice is not formulaic. You can’t plug a set of numbers into a magical College Calculator and expect it to spit out your Perfect College. The facts and figures can provide you with a great starting point and help guide your search in the right direction, but they won’t be what convinces you that you can call a college “home” for the next four years of your life.

 

That’s where the intangibles come in. Nothing beats visiting a campus and getting a feel for it by exploring it and soaking it all in. I’m not saying that you need to get “that special feeling” that a college is “the one and only” for you as soon as you step foot onto the campus; this is not a fairy tale, after all, and you do need to keep some options open. But as a human being, you will naturally have reactions to being in a new environment, and you should pay attention to those. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.

 

Go on guided campus tours and attend information sessions, but also find more informal ways to discover the energy, vibe, and identity of a school. Walk through a quad and sense whether students seem excited to go to class. Sit in the campus coffee shop and eavesdrop on students’ conversations with one another (without being too creepy, of course). Take a moment to peek at bulletin boards in the student center to investigate the weekly and weekend goings-on. Take some pictures of the campus to jog your memory later on and maybe even jot down some notes for yourself before all of your many campus visits start to blur together. Finally, consider sharing these thoughts and observations with friends and family who are supporting you through this process. Chances are they’ll be able to either see the sparkle in your eyes or read the lack of enthusiasm in your voice.

 

Kate Gimourginas

Assistant Director of Admissions

What’s Holy Cross REALLY Like?

Zachary WielgusI wish I could tell you. Really, I do. As a member of the admissions staff, I view knowing as much as I can about this school as a point of pride; having to say “I don’t know” or “let me get back to you” is something I try to keep to a minimum.

The trouble is, no matter how much research I can do, no matter how long I work here, I will never be able to answer that question. I’m not a student. I don’t eat in the dining halls, sleep in the dorms, attend classes and lectures, cheer my lungs out at games, or form lifelong friendships on this campus.

Our students, however, do. And what’s even better is that there are seven current students doing a stellar job answering this question on social media. So you want to see what Holy Cross is really like? Start following Meaghan, Alli, Kerri, Natalie, Matt, Caroline, and Julia:

 

1) On Twitter (current students initial their posts and photos)

2) On Instagram: MeaghanB2017, AlliD2016, KerriF2016, NatalieC2017, MattB2016, CarolineL2016, and JuliaL2016

3) Their student profiles (coming soon!)
A quick peek at some recent contributions….

 

A stunning winter view (MB17)
A stunning winter view (MB17)
This is how Kerri Dinands (KF16)
This is how Kerri Dinands (KF16)
Natalie's room (NAC17)
Natalie’s room (NAC17)
A study break in Cool Beans 2 (JL16)
A study break in Cool Beans 2 (JL16)

What It’s Like to Be a Walk-On

NiWhalen_TNck Whalen, HC ’15, is a tour guide & a member of the Holy Cross men’s rowing team.

 

When I was in high school, I didn’t really think that I would be participating in varsity athletics at a collegiate level. I was a fairly good athlete, but there was hardly a queue of Division I head coaches scrambling to give me an athletic scholarship. In fact, precisely zero collegiate coaches expressed any interest in having me row for them. Despite that, I am about to enter my third spring racing season on the men’s varsity rowing team.

As a walk-on, I have no reason to be an athlete other than for my own enjoyment. However, being a student-athlete at Holy Cross is an experience that I’ve found to be immensely rewarding so far. Beyond the thrill of competition, participating in varsity sports has provided me with a great support network of friends and teammates, the impetus to wake up early and be productive, and not to mention an excellent physical fitness regiment! Of course, those benefits also apply to club and intramural sports as well (although, you’re slightly less likely to have a 6 a.m. weightlifting session for intramural wiffleball). Some club sports even have pre-season training trips!

One thing that I would emphasize about being a student-athlete at Holy Cross though is that the term “student-athlete” begins with “student.” Here, you really are a student first. We take great pride in the athletic achievements of our peers here on the hill, but the discipline needed to be a successful athlete at a Division I level is expected to be demonstrated the classroom, too. You won’t be on your own, though: Holy Cross offers a wide array of resources to help all students in their academic pursuits. Office hours with professors, major-specific peer-tutoring workshops with upperclassmen, or even just a study group with friends are examples of all the opportunities available to Holy Cross students as they strive to make the most of their classes.

While being a student-athlete is certainly a huge commitment in terms of both time and energy, it does not have to be at the expense of other activities or academic success. Who knows – in a few years, I might be reading about how led your team to the Patriot League title and also won a Fulbright the same semester!

A “Hill” of a Nice Campus

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wiBut what about the hill?

I am asked this question all the time.  All.  The.  Time.

I meet students who have researched Holy Cross, love the academic offerings, admire the culture and tradition and can’t wait to be a part of student life . . . “but what about all those stairs?”

 

I’ve offered so many responses to this question over the years:

–          What stairs?

–          You know, you do get to go down them sometimes, too . . .

–          Oh, it’s not THAT bad.

–          Have you heard about all our elevators?

 

Recently, though, I’ve thought more and more about it.

We love our college – not in spite of the hill but, in part, because of our hill.  Anyone who has witnessed a fall sunset from the Hart Center on top of the hill would never complain about the view they get from this hill.  Anyone who has endured a muggy spring day in May would never complain about the cool, spring breeze afforded to us on this hill.  Anyone who has gone sledding and finished their run just steps away from the hot chocolate in Kimball Dining Hall would never complain about the hill.

So, in the future, when applicants ask me about the hill, I now know how I’ll respond.

“I know.  It’s pretty great, isn’t it?”

Fat Squirrels … and four other important tour tips

6a00e54ed0db8e8833010536f8f30b970b-800wi
The Top 5 Things to Look for on a Campus Tour:

1) Grass and flowers. 

Let’s face it – you’re not buying a skillet, you’re choosing a place to live for four years.  Don’t you want it to look nice?  No, it’s not the most important thing, but it is something.  And something counts.

2) College gear. 

Don’t worry about whether students are smiling or not (do you smile when walking to a calculus exam?), notice whether or not students are wearing clothing or gear with their school’s name on it.  No one flies the flag for a school they dislike.

3) People holding doors. 

When someone holds a door for you, it is a sign that they understand that they are not alone in this world – they realize you exist, they acknowledge it and they’re going to try and make your day just a tiny bit better.  That’s the kind of place you want to spend four years.  Now return the favor.

4) Fat squirrels.  

Want to ride the subway to class in college?  Great – ignore this step.  But if you have ever pictured yourself in college hanging out on a quad and walking to class across a grassy, green vista then you want to see squirrels on your tour.  If you see squirrels, then there trees and grass on that campus.  If they are fat, then there’s lots of trees.  And no coyotes.  And that’s something, too.  And something counts.

5) Stairs. 

Seriously, no one dreams of going to college and falling out of shape.  Going up and down stairs will keep you fit. And remember —  where there are stairs, at the top, there’s always a great view.  Stairs equals healthy, fit people enjoying gorgeous views.  Sounds like a great place to go to college.

Move-In Day: An incoming freshman’s perspective

Robbie Carter, an incoming first-year student from Tampa, Fla., took some time to reflect on the craziness and community that is Holy Cross Move-In Day.


August 24 had finally arrived and only one single thought was continuously running through my head: Move-in Day at Holy Cross! Driving up Mount St. James for the first time as a student, I experienced a unique mixture of fear, excitement, nervousness, and joy as I approached Mulledy, my home for the next year.

The very second I pulled into the parking spot, however, all feelings of anxiety melted away as I was swarmed with a blur of blue “Holy Cross Move-In Day 2013” T-shirts and smiling faces, each one greeting me with a genuine (and loud) “WELCOME TO HOLY CROSS!”  The move-in crew instantly unloaded my car and brought my bags up to my room. They clearly knew the drill. My roommate followed shortly behind, and within a mere hour my room was all set up.

Having nothing else to do until the closing Mass of the Holy Spirit at 4 p.m., I decided to squeeze in a workout at the field house. There, I bumped into two of my future upperclassmen teammates on the rowing team who were in the middle of their workout. They instantly introduced themselves and seemed genuinely excited to have me on the team for the upcoming Fall and Spring season. Even more, they stuck around for an extra half hour to watch and cheer me on during my workout.

Those 30 minutes epitomized my Holy Cross move in experience: the instantaneous acceptance and genuine excitement displayed by all the students towards the incoming freshmen was simply incredible. There was no apparent hierarchy of class rank that distinguished the students from one another; it was simply one big happy family that was there to help support their newest siblings as they began their journey through Holy Cross.

After only a few hours on campus, I had knew I made the right choice on where I would build my home for the next four years of my life.

For the full Move-In Day experience (without actually doing it!), click here: Holy Cross Move-In Day