Students at Holy Cross

Hello! Holy Cross is one of my top schools, but with Covid, I haven’t been able to get a solid understanding of what the students are like. It’s so important to know what the student body is like to better understand whether or not you’ll fit in, so it has been a little stressful since I don’t have that insight yet. For those who know, are the students very theater/music/arts oriented? Sports oriented? Are they conceited? Inclusive? Do many of them come from prestigious, elite high school? Or public schools? Are there cliques or “mean girls”? I’d love to get an insight on what it’s like to be a student there - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks so much in advance.

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My daughter is a sophomore and has found the environment very friendly and welcoming. She was shy in high school but has blossomed quite a bit on Mount Saint James (yes the campus is a pretty steep hill). Granted, the last two semesters were virtual but her assessment matches my observations. I’m a cynical person by nature but I have to admit the “Men and Women for Others” thing is real.

A few cultural observations (one parent’s view - your mileage may vary):

  • Friendly
  • Sociable
  • Academically hardworking
  • Lots and lots of school pride - sports and the college in general
  • Not many artsy-quirky types. That’s unfortunate as the student body could use some of that flavor.
  • Good involvement in things like acapella, choir, and theatre
  • A mix of public, catholic, and private school backgrounds (mostly the two former)
  • Minorities are represented but in lesser percentages than in the overall population.
  • Many athletes - they seem friendly and respectful - of course they’ll always act like that around a protective dad!
  • Moderate party environment. Definitely alcohol but probably not much else.
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That sounds wonderful. I can’t thank you enough - you’re response is very throughout and incredibly helpful. I really appreciate your help!!!

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Best wishes!

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My D is very interested in Holy Cross for chemistry. She is a junior and I would describe her as hardworking, somewhat slow to make friends, and definitely an individual. She is private but very engaged intellectually and in the classroom. Her teachers would never call her shy but as an introvert, she needs down time so doesn’t like team activities. Likes board games and D&D and would be interested learning to play ultimate or Quidditch. So she is a bit quirky and nerdy. Do you think she would feel sidelined in the social scene there?

Sorry for the VERY long delay in responding. Hopefully this is still of use. Based on my daughter’s personality and experience thus far, your daughter could fit in at Holy Cross. It’s academically/intellectually rigorous but not harsh. More gentle in terms of how students are treated in day-to-day classes. They get the kid to open up, express ideas, and explore a life of the mind. More intellectual than pre-professional, although graduates do well in the working world, mainly due to a strong alumni network. I personally haven’t observed many “artsy-quirky” types. I don’t think such students would be ridiculed or anything like that but they may not find a significant peer group, if that matters. However, quirky is wide-ranging and can mean many different things. I didn’t see a Quidditch club specifically but you can check out the list at: Clubs & Organizations | College of the Holy Cross
There are many social service groups serving underprivileged populations. The Jesuit “Men and Women for Others” is very real.
So, Holy Cross should certainly be on her list. Not sure if you are in the Northeast but some other small colleges that are intellectual like HC but more “quirky”: Bard (VERY eccentric - visit first), Skidmore (lots of artsy types coming up from NYC), Fordham (somewhat surprisingly, Manhattan campus has fashionistas and many LGBT students - maybe not quite what she’s looking for), Mount Holyoke (women only), Hampshire (in Mass, also VERY quirky), Smith (Women only, skews wealthy), Vassar (note: higher GPA/scores needed compared to HC).

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Thank you for your thoughts! We went on a campus tour of HC earlier this week. She was very impressed with everything she saw. Was especially happy to see the openness and friendliness of the tour guide and his interactions with staff and other students as we walked through campus. This was the only Catholic school she has toured and the religious aspect made a positive impact, which surprised me because I would not consider it easy to get her to go to Mass (ha ha). Compared to what she hears about BC and Georgetown, it didn’t seem overly preppy, and that was a huge relief. It is definitely high on her list, and she will certainly apply, possibly ED. Her stats are excellent, so HC is a target (33ACT 3.95/4GPA -high school does not rank or weight honors/AT). Thank you for the other suggestions - she is in an all girls school now and definitely does not want that going forward. She is not a city person (not Fordham) nor a rural one (not Bard), so HC seems like a pretty perfect fit! She is also looking at Tufts, Wm & Mary,Lehigh, Lafayette, Pitt, F&M, and maybe CMU or Cornell (though she is concerned about the stress levels there).

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