Is Holy Cross the Right Fit

Holy Cross is a home for inquisitive minds, forward-thinking scholars and service-focused advocates. We cultivate a student body with a dynamic mix of interests and backgrounds, which makes for a community full of excitement and possibility. Though our students have varied backgrounds and faiths, they share the common goal of creating a better world than the one they were born into. 

group of students walking down library steps

Who Is the Holy Cross Student?

You’re an accomplished scholar.

You like to challenge yourself, taking rigorous courses — including honors and Advanced Placement classes, if available — and consistently achieve academic success.

You’re involved in your community.

You see extracurriculars as more than just a box to check. You get fulfillment and satisfaction from making a difference and enhancing the lives of others. You may already have a few near and dear causes, but you’re always looking for another way to put your skills, talents and big heart to work. 

You’re already drawn to Holy Cross

Maybe you’ve visited, interviewed or joined us for virtual student events, like open houses or info sessions. You’re motivated by the prospect of becoming a part of the Holy Cross community, and are active in the admission process. 

Class of 2024: By the Numbers

students applied for admission
6,498
were admitted
43%
of the class went to a public high school
47%
of the class went to a private high school
53%
male students
47%
female students
53%
students of color and international students
25%

Tips For Applicants

group of students sitting together at a table looking at a laptop

The admission process is our chance to get to know you. We want to know your background, your accomplishments and your future plans. Here are a few suggestions to guide you as you navigate your choices in high school and as you get ready to apply to Holy Cross. 

Academics

  • Most successful candidates have taken four years of classes in the five core areas in high school: English, mathematics, a foreign language, laboratory sciences, and social sciences.
  • We encourage you to take the most rigorous academic program available at your high school, including your senior year.
  • We realize that our applicants come from many different types of high schools. We review each application individually and evaluate you according to the offerings at your school.
  • Our evaluation process focuses on your performance in the classroom. Therefore, standardized test scores are optional. You will not be at any disadvantage if you decide not to submit your scores.

More Than Your GPA

  • In addition to your grades, we consider your goals, talents, accomplishments and activities in both high school and the community.
  • Have an interesting story or unique experiences? Use your application essay to introduce yourself and let us know what makes you you.
  • We’re glad to review any supplementary materials you feel are important to conveying a full picture of who you are, such as artwork, recorded performances, original writing and additional recommendations.

Show Your Interest

  • Interviews are not required, but we strongly encourage you to schedule one, so that we can fully evaluate your candidacy. Interviews are available both on and off campus for high school seniors.
  • Please remember to take responsibility for your own application, making certain it is complete and updating us about any new circumstances or achievements.

Standardized Testing FAQs

group of students walking into residence hall from Kimball Quad

Our highly personalized evaluation process focuses on your performance and drive in the classroom. Submitting standardized test scores is optional at Holy Cross. You will not be at any disadvantage if you decide not to submit your scores, and there is no requirement to submit materials in lieu of your test scores.

Q: Why did Holy Cross make the submission of standardized testing optional? 

A: The role of standardized testing in the Holy Cross admissions process was discussed and debated for many years leading up to our decision to drop the requirement, beginning with the class that entered in the fall of 2006. To us, your overall portfolio of academic experience (as demonstrated through your transcript) is more powerful than a single test or combination of tests. Our experience shows that the rigor of your program and your overall academic performance are what best illustrate your commitment, motivation and willingness to take on challenges, and therefore how well you would fit into the challenging academic community at Holy Cross.

Q: How does Holy Cross evaluate my high school record?

A: We considered many factors as we evaluate prospective students:

  • The most important factor is your academic record.
  • The strength of your high school, the rigor of the curriculum, your grades, and your class rank (if available) are all carefully studied.
  • Comments from teachers and school counselors are useful in helping us understand how you are viewed, both in the classroom and in the school community.
  • Written responses on the application (the short-answer questions and essay) demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively in writing.
  • While it’s not required, a personal interview is highly recommended because it helps us evaluate your application.

Q: Will I be at a disadvantage if I decide not to submit standardized test scores?

A: No. There will be no negative impact on your application.

Q: Why would a student submit standardized test scores if they don’t have to?

A: You may feel that your score offers a more complete picture of your academic achievements and potential.

Q: If I submit my test scores, will Holy Cross superscore them?

A: We will superscore the SAT and ACT, taking the highest score of each section from multiple exams.

Q: What advantages does Holy Cross receive from this decision to be test-optional?

A: We believe our policy has several advantages. We are concerned about the inherent racial and socioeconomic bias in standardized testing, and we believe that our test-optional policy addresses this issue. 

Additionally, the policy communicates to students, teachers and parents how Holy Cross focuses on the four-year academic program and outside-the-classroom interests in our admissions decisions — instead of on a single test score. Finally, we believe it helps de-emphasize the attention, expense and stress that surround test scores and test preparation.

Q: Is any segment of the applicant pool still required to submit test scores?

A: International students whose native language is not English are required to submit results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Ready to Join the Holy Cross Community?

At Holy Cross, we choose hope and lead with optimism. We empower one another to go further, working to improve ourselves as we improve the lives of those around us. Your experience on The Hill will set you up for a life of meaning and purpose.