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What We Look For

Is Holy Cross the Right Fit for Me?

Holy Cross is a place comprised of accomplished people with a vibrant mix of interests and backgrounds, making for a community that’s full of excitement and possibility. We enroll unique students, but they do share some characteristics.

Accomplished Scholars
They challenge themselves, taking the most rigorous courses — including honors and AP if offered — and they consistently achieve academic success.

Actively Involved
They view extracurricular activities not as items on a checklist, but as opportunities to engage deeply in endeavors that matter to them. Many students have also been involved in service opportunities that have made a difference in their communities.

Drawn to Holy Cross
They interviewed and joined us for our on-campus student events, such as Fall Open Houses or campus tours, becoming active in the Holy Cross admissions process,

Some Stats
More than 6,600 students applied for admission to the Class of 2021, and 39 percent were admitted. The enrolled incoming class is evenly divided between males and females (48 percent male and 52 percent female) and public and private high schools (50 percent and 50 percent, respectively). The new class will slightly exceed the target class size of 775 students, 24 percent of whom are from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Tips for Applicants

Our admissions process gives you the ideal opportunity to let us get to know you and your accomplishments. Here are a few suggestions to use as a guide in making choices during high school and in applying for admission 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. Click here to learn more about our test-optional policy.

Along With Grades

  • In the selection process, we consider your goals, talents, accomplishments, and activities in high school and the community.
  • Use your application essay to introduce yourself and tell your story.
  • We’re glad to review any supplementary materials you feel are important, such as artwork, recorded performances, original writing, and additional recommendations.

Show Your Interest

  • Please visit the campus, and tell us about yourself in a personal interview.  These aren’t required, but we strongly encourage them so we can fully evaluate your candidacy.
  • 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 Policy

Our highly personalized evaluation process focuses on your performance and drive in the classroom. The submission of standardized test scores is optional at Holy Cross. You will not be at any disadvantage if you decide not to submit your 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 entering 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 overall academic performance best illustrates to us 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: Many factors are considered in our evaluation of prospective students:

  • Most important is academic record.
  • The strength of the high school, the rigor of the curriculum, grades, and class rank (if available) are all carefully studied.
  • Comments from teachers and school counselor are useful in helping us understand how the student is viewed both in the classroom as well as in the school community.
  • Written responses on the application (short answer questions and the essay) demonstrate a student’s ability to communicate effectively in writing.
  • While not required, a personal interview is highly recommended and 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: A student might decide that his or her score gives a more complete picture of academic achievements and potential.

Q: If I submit my testing, will Holy Cross superscore it?
A: We will superscore the SAT, taking the highest score of each section from multiple exams. For the ACT (with writing), we will take the highest composite score of 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 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 as well as outside-the-classroom interests in admissions decisions — instead of on a single number or score. Finally, we believe it helps de-emphasize the attention, expense, and stress surrounding test scores and test preparation.

Q: Will any segment of the applicant pool still be required to submit test scores?
A: International students whose native language is not English will be required to submit results of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).