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!




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.

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.

Jesuit Excellence

Twenty strangers meet on a bus. By week’s end, they will share innumerable experiences and actually become friends.

This sounds like a silly romantic comedy. Not all that different, this is the scene of a typical JET.

A JET is a Jesuit Excellence Tour, which allows a significant number of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities to join together on a week-long trip of group travel. We descend upon a school, taking over its gym or library, unfurl our banners on arranged tables, and carefully adorn the surface with a litany of materials. And then, we wait for the seniors and juniors to take a solid half-hour away from their studies to speak with as many of us as they prefer.

In addition to being a great recruiting tool to interact with more students than usual, the JET is actually a pretty amazing illustration of what it means to be Jesuit. We can toss around fancy Latin phrases  — cura personalis, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam – to summarize our philosophy. Or, as the Jesuits usually opt, we can show you.

That sense of community that I continue to emphasize, in which students truly care for one another and professors honestly pay attention to their students’ well-being and happiness, can be seen in the gathering of 20 admissions counselors for a week-long recruiting trip. How about the notion that social life on campus isn’t exclusive or passive-aggressive, and that it’s so easy to meet new people and join tons of new extracurricular activities? There’s no stronger bond than the ones made by Jesuit counselors; trust me, the weird jokes and fun social interaction we get to have in just five days cannot be replicated. And then there’s that commitment to community service and helping your fellow man or woman. Instead of competing for students – who in all likelihood will be applying to more than one Jesuit school – we travel in a pack of 20 on a JET, eager to help students find the right fit and point them in a direction of another school if we don’t offer a program or sport.

The JET creates a wonderful sense of family that is otherwise impossible to find during the lonely travel season. I mean, where else can you get dropped off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, strike the triumphant pose from Rocky with two dozen others, and then race to the top? The JET also portrays the aspects of a Jesuit institution: community, social interaction, cooperation, and service to others. There’s a reason these traveling bands of admissions counselors don’t much exist outside the Jesuit realm.

So next time a JET is coming to a city near you, don’t be a stranger. Join the Jesuit family.

Zach Wielgus
Admissions Counselor

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

Civility: The Etiquette of Holy Cross

alyssa-t[1] brightenedThe summer before I entered Holy Cross, my Class Dean suggested all future Crusaders read Civility by Stephen Carter.  My parents bought it for me at the bookstore during Gateways and it sat on my shelf all summer.  Two days before I moved into Mulledy Hall I reluctantly read it and, (to my surprise) loved it.  During my four years on “the hill,” I was pleased to find that random acts of kindness existed and the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others” lived strong…..and it still does.

Yesterday, I contemplated what my most distinct memory of the 2009 travel season was and as a result I reflected on several months on the road.  One might think it was interviewing bright minds or meeting fabulous students, counselors, secretaries and teachers who all brightened my days on the road.  Undoubtedly, my interactions with those people were some of my favorite memories but definitely not the most distinct.  The day that truly sets itself apart was a lunch that managed to make me feel completely alone.

I had an hour break between high school visits so I decided to get some soup at Panera.  As I placed the bowl down on the table the massive platter went flying and landed all over me. From my hair down to my shoes, I was covered.  It was there, in a crowded restaurant, I became truly amazed with the lack of civility in today’s society.  To my amazement not one person came over and offered a helping hand.  Sadly, that day served as a tragic realization that civility sometimes fails to exist in our society.

Standing there embarrassed and smelling of vegetable broth I had a flashback to my first year at the Cross.  I was in Kimball, enjoying a meal with my friends, when a girl slipped on a wet tile and went flying.  The throngs of students that rushed to her side would have made Stephen Carter proud.  I truly believe civility is commonplace at Holy Cross and I find myself constantly amazed by positive student actions.  Sadly enough in the “real world” it is increasingly more difficult to find.

After all, my clumsy arm did ruin my cream pants but it was the pure example of fading civility which managed to destroy my entire day.

Alyssa Trometter

Admissions Counselor

Sharing is Caring – The Kindness of Holy Cross Students

The people that surround you during your four years of college can truly make or break your experience.  With that in mind,    I just want to take a moment to reflect on how wonderful Holy Cross students can be.  Here’s just one example:

A few weeks ago I was buying some soda pop at the food shop in Hogan.  It was morning, and I was carrying my standard four or five bags (far too many for a normal person) and I’ll admit it, I was flustered.   So flustered,  in fact, that after the clerk had rung in my purchases,  I couldn’t find my wallet.   Panicking, I put all my bags on the ground and knelt down to begin the great search.

On the verge of dumping my belongings all over the floor,  I was stopped by the sweet sweet sound of  “I’ve got it, don’t worry”.   I tried to protest, but the student (whom I’d never met) had already paid for me.

It may have only been $2.50, but during that stressful moment, it made all the difference in the world.   I truly believe that this student’s behavior exemplifies the values that Holy Cross students hold so dear.

(And my wallet was in my pocket).

Julia Sanders
Admissions Counselor