Why Holy Cross? Because the excitement never ends

AshleyIn the midst of all the “Congratulations” tweets that went out this weekend to accepted students, there were many from alumni reminiscing about when they were accepted.  Student volunteers in our office described the exact second when they found out Holy Cross would be their home for the next four years.  Many alumni and students wished they could go back, open their acceptance letters, and come to Holy Cross all over again.


The excitement of your initial acceptance and the welcoming arms of the Holy Cross community never really go away.  Getting accepted is only the beginning. It leads to four years on a beautiful campus surrounded by driven, eager, and social peers. Hundreds of students volunteer their time in our office not only because they love this place but also because they are excited to tell others just how much they love this place.


Eventually, you become a fond alum who still remembers their acceptances because it was the catalyst that spurred those friendships, memories, and connections on this campus. Of course, this is common on many college campuses; what makes Holy Cross a special place, however, is that these connections don’t end when you accept your diploma. Lifetime friendships are formed, passions are discovered, and lives are changed.


If you think I am being dramatic, I dare you to speak to Holy Cross graduates who aren’t eager to share their experiences — and perhaps also tell you how they found their spouse, best friend, mentor, colleague, and calling here.  I think they would back me up.


So that feeling you had when you saw the word “accepted” in your letter? That feeling doesn’t go away.

Ashley Johnson

Admissions Counselor

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!

How Victoria Aramini, HC ’14, secured her job

AraminiVictoria Aramini is one of our current seniors who has successfully secured a job after she graduates from Holy Cross. A huge factor in her success, she maintains, is the Holy Cross Career Planning Office.



As a current senior here at the College, I have been in and out of the career planning office more times than I can count. Now, I know as prospective students reading this blog you’re probably most concerned with topics such as the quality of the food on campus and/or how nice the dorms are as you embark on your college selection and application process. Life after college is likely not high up on your list of things to worry about, but let me put this in perspective for you: College is a stepping stone. Life exists after you graduate. After four years, you are expected to put everything you’ve learned to good use, right?


Holy Cross has the resources that will make life after college enjoyable and fulfilling. The alumni network is truly remarkable. Graduates not only offer their advice and their time to current Holy Cross students but also bring promising, meaningful experiences in the form of internships and jobs. A lot of this relationship-building is done through our Career Planning Office; the office also provides a huge number of workshops and networking events.


Career counselors are also available for various student needs. Whether a student is looking for some helpful tips regarding a cover letter or resume, hoping for some direction with a career aptitude test, or participating in a mock interview, there’s a career counselor ready to roll. Speaking from experience, I have emailed many counselors over the years with incredibly broad questions (not to mention I’ve asked these questions at all hours of the day… including the wee hours of the morning), and I am happy to report that I’ve always received thoughtful, detailed responses. During my job search this past fall, I was provided with personalized attention and recommendations that made my search manageable.


Career Planning at Holy Cross absolutely has my nomination as one of the best offices and resources on campus. They are an approachable and helpful group of people that I cannot speak highly enough about!

Five Reasons to Apply

Madison 2There’s less than two weeks before our application deadline, so I decided to give you a little motivation as you consider why Holy Cross is worth one more push of the submit button. As an alumna of the Class of 2012, I’d like to think these mean something … but in case you remain unconvinced, we are posting one reason per day @HCAdmission with #whyHC. Feel free to tweet at us with your own!


Top 5 reasons why I, Madison Hebert, believe you should apply to Holy Cross.


1. “The Undecided Movement” – Don’t know what you want to major in? No problem. Holy Cross understands that declaring a major is a stressful and important decision. In order to combat that, all of our freshmen come in undecided and are encouraged to explore their interests and pursue their passions. Some students will declare as early as the spring of their freshman year, while others will wait until the end of their sophomore year.


2. Alumni Network – Do you want to be approached by extremely proud alumni every time you have on school paraphernalia outside the gates? Do you wish for extended family that spans the world? Do you enjoy swerving across the highway to get a glimpse of every car sporting a HC sticker (not recommended)? Well if you answered yes, you are applying to the right place. The Holy Cross alumni network is an expansive, supportive, and extremely proud bunch.
>>Alumni Network helps student get finance internship in three days


3. Campus – Are you excited to spend four years at an institution where the ivy changes color, the flower beds are pristine, and the snow blowers are revved at the first sight of a snowflake? Words cannot describe the beauty of the Holy Cross campus – come see for yourself on one of our tours. I guarantee you will fall in love with it (maybe not the hills, but I promise you get used to them).

It's January. We need a reminder of Spring beauty.
It’s January. We need a reminder of Spring beauty.


4. Professors – Are you looking for caring professors that are invested in your success? Does the idea of in-depth class discussions get you excited?  Do you thrive in small classroom environments that foster meaningful faculty-student interaction? The Holy Cross faculty go above and beyond office hours. They are accessible outside the classroom in review sessions, by cell phone, and over dinner. The faculty wholeheartedly live out the mission as mentors to the students by creating strong bonds that even continue beyond the hill.


5. Friends – Do you appreciate a close knit community? Are you someone that values strong relationships? Are you expecting to make memories of a lifetime? Or maybe, you’re even looking for potential bridal party members? Holy Cross nurtures lifelong friendships. From your first steps on campus until graduation you will be connected to the most enthusiastic, hardworking, and caring peers. Countless inside jokes, long brunches in Kimball, and celebratory dances after surviving an exam are almost a guarantee. Also, I would like to make a shout out to my HC friends that helped me put this list together!


An Admissions Intern’s Perspective

Sam Zurn, a current junior, has spent the fall semester completing an internship in the Admissions Office as part of the College’s Academic Internship Program. Now that his internship is complete, he provided us with some thoughts:


“So what do students actually do on weekends?” the parents ask, tentatively probing the party-life waters, much to their son or daughter’s dismay. It’s a loaded question, but one Holy Cross students working in admissions are accustomed to answering. Some of the parents ask this with a smirk, leading me to believe that they’re recalling some of their own rowdy college weekends, while others seem to be imagining their child trapped in a scene from Animal House.

As students working in admissions, we have all developed our own approach to answering this, though all rooted in honesty. I typically acknowledge the partying, then stress the alternatives to drinking students engage in that are provided by the school.

Recently, however, when the ole reliable question arises, I find myself thinking more about the open houses, the conferences, the college fairs and the high school visits that have comprised some of my weekends this semester.

This year I’ve been working as an intern in the Office of Admissions and as a result, I’ve got to see some exciting new responsibilities in the world of admissions. Working in admissions after college has always intrigued me. Among other reasons, I enjoy the type of person the job attracts and it’s one that requires the interpersonal skills I’ve continued to refine. So, after reaching out to some of the admissions counselors I had worked with in the past, they were able to create a position for me through the Academic Internship Program in which I was enrolled.

From the front desk, to the mailing room, to interview shadowing, I’ve gotten the inside scoop on the many different components that help our admissions office run smoothly. Even outside the office I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.

I remember one of my first days I walked into the office to check in with my supervisor, Diane. She goes, “Would you want to co-present our tour guide program at a New England admissions conference? Because I already signed us up…” Talk about starting off with a bang! But I think we made a pretty good team.

Over the past couple months, the entire admissions team has been wonderfully supportive while showing me the ropes, and I guess that’s why it’s always on my mind when I hear parents ask the question. So what do I actually do on the weekends? Well, I encourage prospective students, I explain our Jesuit identity, I brag about our campus, but most importantly, I spread the Purple Pride.

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?”

What to do in The Woo, Part I

JuliaSandersAs a Worcester native, and a representative of the Holy Cross admissions office, I spend a lot of time excitedly talking to prospective students about the city affectionately nicknamed “the Woo.”

There are many things that make Worcester an ideal college town and, over the next few months, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites.  I hope this will benefit current Holy Cross students and future Crusaders alike.

So, without further ado, I give you the best of Worcester, installment one:


Question:  What should I do on a Saturday afternoon when there isn’t a football game?

Answer:  “WAM and Wooberry”

Start the day by taking the Consortium Shuttle to the Worcester Art Museum.  I love this museum because it is doable in one afternoon.  It’s a beautiful space that has a little of everything:  from ancient works to Van Gogh to Warhol.  It’s also free with your Holy Cross ID card.  Fun Fact:  A few scenes from David O. Russell’s widely anticipated film “American Hustle” were shot at the museum.

All that art-viewing is sure to leave you ready to indulge in a sweet treat.  A few short blocks away you’ll find the sweetest addition to the Highland Street corridor, Wooberry frozen yogurt.  Featuring an ever-changing assortment of flavors (Mango, Salted Caramel, and Pumpkin are just a few) , you’re sure to find something to make you smile.

Hope these suggestions help!  Feel free to call the admissions office if you’d like some more.

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

Why Holy Cross? The Research Opportunities

Have you ever been a member of the Secret Service? Or built proteins from scratch to figure out why Alzheimer’s exists? Surely you’ve written a book on the Art Deco movement from France to America in the 20th century?

John, Steve, and Lily, all current Holy Cross students, are just three examples of the incredible research happening throughout campus every day.

I listened to John Castro, a junior, give a lecture on his award-winning thesis that he completed during his semester in Washington, D.C. After serving as an intern with the Secret Service and interviewing both agents and congressional advisers, John wrote a thesis on the importance of cyberterrorism and national security. What is now being called “the fifth domain of war,” John is one of the first students to complete extensive research on cyberattacks. Perhaps what’s more impressive is that he is just one of 30 students who participates in the Washington, D.C. program.

I met Steve, a current senior, last summer, where he described (in layman’s terms for my non-science mind) the research he was conducting as a paid summer research assistant in the chemistry department. Each summer, roughly 50 students in the science departments alone serve as paid research assistants. Working one-on-one with a chemistry professor, Steve was in charge of building microscopic proteins to determine why they “mis-fold,” which causes neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. After eight long weeks of hard work, Steve excitedly revealed that he made a breakthrough, and was en route to being published. Not bad for a summer job.

Lily, a junior who has been abroad in Bordeaux, France, all year, was an active admissions volunteer before her passion took her across the Atlantic. Intrigued by both her art history and French majors, Lily sought out a research grant in the winter of her sophomore year to combine her two passions. Soon enough, she was traveling to museums in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Kansas City, and was given behind-the-scenes access to various Art Deco exhibits – all on Holy Cross’ dime. Just two weeks before her flight to France, Lily completed her 80-page book on the Art Deco movement. She is furthering her research in the innumerable art museums of France.

As a solely undergraduate institution committed to research, Holy Cross is full of students completing impressive research normally reserved for graduate students. It is a rare chance for you, as an undergraduate, to dive deeper into your passion, to create something cutting edge, to leave your mark.

Why do I love Holy Cross? Because these three examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Zach Wielgus
Admissions Counselor

Why Holy Cross? Excellence and Purpose

It is said that the nightingale bird never sings alone – that they always wait to hear another nightingale sing before they begin their song.

In that spirit, I’ll be the nightingale of the Admissions Office; let me explain why I love Holy Cross, let me sing my Crusader song and let me inspire my co-workers to do the same.

I love Holy Cross for so many reasons but today, it is because of our valedictorians.

Our very first valedictorian in 1849 was from Georgia and our 165th valedictorian in 2011 came from St. John’s Newfoundland in Canada.  He, upon graduating in 1849, went on to become the first African-American Roman Catholic priest and the country’s first African-American Catholic bishop.  She, in 2011, has gone onto pursue a career in humanitarian relief efforts and peace studies.

Two people from opposite ends of North America with very different upbringings — separated by gender, race and over 160 years but united by a school with a purpose.

I love Holy Cross because here you find students from all over the world who want a school that emphasizes open inquiry, inspires high achievement and is committed to developing the whole person.  They want academic excellence with a purpose.

That is why I love Holy Cross.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions