Orientations & Information for Incoming Students

We work hard to ensure the transition from high school to Holy Cross is smooth for accepted students. Our award-winning orientation programs provide a welcoming and informative introduction to the campus and community.

students on the Hogan Courtyard as part of orientation programming


The first few weeks of college are exciting, joyous and memorable — but they also have the potential to be stressful. The Office of Student Involvement assists incoming students with their transition to college life at Holy Cross through a series of nationally recognized orientation programs. Over the course of the programs, you’ll experience the residential and academic environment on campus, gain a greater appreciation for the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the College, learn about educational opportunities and responsibilities, and begin to build friendships with your classmates.

All our orientations involve the collaboration of student leaders, faculty and staff members, who provide authentic insight into what you should expect of your Holy Cross experience.

  • Gateways Summer Orientation, which is typically held over the course of two days in June, is open to all students and their families. Faculty and staff members conduct workshops, lead discussions, answer questions and give you and your parents an inside look at the academic, cocurricular and spiritual dimensions of life on The Hill. At the same time, orientation leaders facilitate group activities that introduce you to your new classmates and answer questions you may have about life on the Hill.
  • Gateways Fall Orientation picks up where the summer program leaves off, with a greater emphasis on the residential aspect of your college experience. This four-day program extends from move-in day to the first day of classes, during which time student resident assistants and orientation leaders welcome new students and help them foster connections with their peers. Residence halls open to first-year students a day early, meaning you and your classmates have the campus to yourself to adjust.
  • Odyssey is a one-week summer program for first-year students who are first generation to college, people of color, or eligible for the Pell Grant. Odyssey helps incoming students build relationships with fellow students, faculty and administrators, and familiarizes them with campus resources and the local communities.   
  • Gateways International Students Orientation is offered free of charge and addresses many of the most pressing questions for incoming international students. In addition to introducing them to residential and academic life at Holy Cross, this program helps with important personal matters that include everything from setting up a bank account and purchasing a cell phone to identifying campus support services and understanding U.S. immigration requirements. This program is strongly recommended for all international students.
  • Gateways Extended Orientation - Extended Orientation continues through the fall semester for first-year and transfer students. Orientation Leaders (OLs) and Extended Orientation Leaders (EOLs) coordinate programs and activities, but also meet with students to maintain personal contact. Reflective workshops, community builders, and casual gatherings are a few examples of how students are invited to stay connected.
  • Gateways Transfer Student Orientation - is a three-day program for transfer students to meet classmates, meet faculty and staff, and become better acquainted with life at Holy Cross. Orientation Leaders will help you move-in and guide you through a variety of sessions and activities that are planned specifically for transfer students. Transfer orientation and move-in begins the Sunday before the first day of classes.

Additional Orientation Opportunities 

  • The Passport Program focuses on preparing students for our rigorous academics.
  • The Mentor Program is designed to support first-year ALANA (African-American, Latin American, Asian-American, Native American), international and Passport students in their transition from high school to Holy Cross. 

Get Involved

Holy Cross students are known for becoming — and staying — involved in campus life. The Co-Curricular Extravaganza is in early September, but you can get a head start by reading up on our more than 100 clubs and organizations. Once you arrive on campus, you might also want to think about running as a class officer; first-year elections are generally held in mid-September.

Recommended Reading Guide for College Parents

Parents should see our Recommended Reading Guide for College Parents (PDF) to learn more about handling their student’s transition to college.

Montserrat Seminars

One of the first choices you’ll make as a new Holy Cross student is your Montserrat seminar. Learn more about each of the available options.