UMass v. Holy Cross

I think it is a trade off between the two schools on the diversity issue. CHC itself might not be as diverse, but Worcester certainly is more diverse than the Amherst area. Its newspapers, government, economy is that of a diverse city. There are several other colleges in the city (Clark, WPI, Assumption, community colleges) and students at those schools might be older, minority, international and that all bleeds into what is offered to college students (bars, concerts, sports). The 5 colleges at UMass might all have more diversity in the students it their statistics, but the towns aren’t all that diverse. I think you are still going to find most of them are from Mass or New England, so not much different than at CHC.

Bill Belichick’s daughter is a coach at CHC, so Bill hangs out there.


My vote is for the honors college at UMass Amherst. Great school, offers just about anything one could want, and the money saved is significant. Have him go visit both, if the money is really not an issue.

How? Are you moving to Massachusetts?

Both are good choices.

Re: the Jesuit education at Holy Cross…my not Catholic kid went to Santa Clara which is also a Jesuit school. She really appreciated the Jesuit philosophy of reaching out and helping the greater community. She had a Jesuit who resided in the dorms…and she really found these folks to be smart and intuitive. Yes, she had a religion course requirement but there were over 100 courses from which to choose. My kid was an engineering major and really liked the religion courses.

She never felt out of place. There were plenty of students who were not religious.

I think the Jesuits really know how to do higher education. We were willing to pay more for that. Of course, that is a family decision.

At UMass, he will find his tribe. There will be partiers and those who don’t. Lots of options.

Assuming cost isn’t a barrier, I think visiting again is worthwhile. Both are fine choices.


Please note that the OP will be moving to Amherst in August.


D read that CHC had a top classics program from which Fauci graduated (and eventually graduated from Cornell Med). That was enough to apply there but she’s WL alas. We thought she had a chance because they were looking for women of color for their classics program. And her hobby for years was languages, ancient and modern and now apparently medieval. We would not be able to go unless there was some merit offered. We’re partial to a Jesuit education. I went to one and actually loved the religion classes. As we’re in the Bay Area, I do like the fact that SCU and USF advocate for social Justice and diversity, but I think all Jesuit colleges are similar that way? As much as the UC might be an overall disappointment and we’re happy with a couple of acceptances, we may need to turn down UCI for a Jesuit school. It may not sense in terms of ranking and tuition, but D may not thrive in a big college setting. Each kid is different and UMass might be smaller than a UC. It’s definitely a hard choice for your kid.

Congratulations on both acceptances! I hope you come back here with an update especially if you have a chance to visit CHC.


Bay area CA kids are overrepresented everywhere. Maybe not as much as CT kids are at HC specifically, but there’s no way he fills some special spot based on his demographics.


Actually - HC is notoroiously New England and they note this.

But that you are in is all that matters - but if you believe 3rd party data (I can’t find theirs), then yes, the Bay area is underrepresented - outside of New England is. It’s a very regional school with little attendance from outside.

But this is the school’s own words from last May. HC isn’t a national name and they seem to recognize this - but so what - if it’s the right name for you, that’s all that matters. There’s a lot of schools in this same bucket - great names but still regional…nothing wrong with that.

We have increased our geographic diversity, attracting a smaller proportion of students from New England than in the past five years, while increasing the proportion of students from the Mid-Atlantic and the South.

1 Like

Bay Area is neither mid-Atlantic nor South.


I understand. You noted that their son is an example of diversity - and this supports that.

Furthermore, they recognize they are a New England School and they are working to get the edges from there -hence the mid-Atlantic and South.

So someone from another geography is a home run for them!!

I’m backing your statement.

But then again, they are in - why they are in doesn’t matter. They are in - and that’s all that matters!!!

Agree- in is in.

But sometimes it’s hard coming from another region to understand how a school fits into its own ecosystem. HC has long been a “destination college” for kids from the Northeast-- it’s not as preppy as Villanova or Fairfield, it’s not as sporty rah-rah rah as BC, it’s not as pre-professional as Providence or Stonehill. So it’s got its own somewhat distinctive niche as a pretty intellectual place with faculty who love to teach.

Great to have such a tough choice to make!


If the difference in cost won’t hurt you, Holy Cross is a solid choice.

But if the money makes a difference to you and your family, I would strongly suggest UMass.

He will be privy to the benefits of a large university (rah-rah sports, academic options, social opportunities), sweetened by the opportunity to take some small classes at nearby Amherst College, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire. So he can take advantage of – if he wants it – a hybrid U/LAC college experience.


Holy Cross is part of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts. There are eleven schools in the consortium, probably relevant ones to this student being WPI, Clark University and UMASS Chan Medical School. So, opportunities to take classes at other nearby institutions exist at HC as well.


FYI from the Holy Cross social media account:
For the Class of 2027-

21% acceptance rate (down from 36% in 2022)
23% increase in applications from previous year


Acceptance rates are becoming less and less useful imo because in my mind it means that more people are applying who are not objectively qualified. Maybe I’m wrong. I do know that the test optional environment really muddied the water for my student. It’s such a complicated world.

1 Like

I think what they show you is at least two things matter:

  1. ED

  2. Demonstrated interest

As @Bill_Marsh said, if they overenrolled and needed to right size, these two things matter, including ED.

In OPs case, coming from CA is a HUGE WIN for CHC if OP accepts their offer - because they just don’t draw outside the NE area on large levels.


Complicated for sure. They social media post said it that “the academic qualifications were incredibly strong overall”. And from the rejections and waitlists from students we know who applied, this seems to be true. They were also looking to shrink the class size because of the high yield last year and resulting over enrollment. The college has good buzz going. So, good on those who got accepted.


I will fully admit I biased towards UMASS. I went to Smith College, my husband to UMASS Amherst, and my son is likely going to UMASS Amherst OOS on a similar offer. None of us are the party school type of people and I would still say UMASS. Here are the reasons I would recommend:

  1. Even in the late 90s of the Zoo-MASS era, the school was only a party school to certain populations. If you lived in Southeast, then yes, that was the feeling. Live in Northwest or the HC, not at all.
  2. We have a friend who works at UMASS, he reports the school has become much more selective over the years, with more serious students.
  3. The pioneer valley is simply a great place to go to school. Plus you can cross-enroll at any of the 5 colleges (Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire.) I took at class at UMASS, my husband took one at Mount Holyoke. This is a great value at the price UMASS is offering.

If you son is not religious, then Holy Cross could be an uncomfortable experience as well. Sometimes it is good to go outside of our comfort zone and sometimes not… either way you have two great choices, congrats!