College of the Holy Cross, an Edmit Hidden Gem, meets 100 percent of students’ financial need.
“Many students come to Holy Cross knowing four careers,” says Amy Murphy, director, Center for Career Development at College of the Holy Cross. “They know doctor because they’ve been to a doctor. They know teacher, because they have been in education their whole lives, and then they know what their mother and father do for a living. And that, for many of them, is the concept of the world of work. Much of what we want to do here is broaden their concept of the options that are available and give them opportunities to really discover what’s out there: What do you enjoy doing? Odds are somebody will pay you to do it!”
At College of the Holy Cross, a liberal arts school in Worcester, Massachusetts, students are first encouraged to discover and study what they love, and then pursue practical applications to turn those interests into lucrative careers. Because of this heart-and-head approach, combined with a high graduation rate and dedication to affordability, College of the Holy Cross is an Edmit Hidden Gem school.
Studying at Holy Cross
“Holy Cross has a flexible curriculum, in the true liberal arts tradition,” says Ann McDermott, director of admissions. “First-year students do not declare a major, allowing for more freedom in designing your own course of study.”
Most students don’t declare a major until second semester of sophomore year, and there are five potential focuses of study at Holy Cross: arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, or interdisciplinary.
“When we talk to students about selecting a major, we say study what you love--what are you passionate about, what are you curious about, where do you really want to dig deep academically? Where are your academic passions?” says Murphy. “That’s where you should major, because the skills you’re going to develop across the curriculum, whether you’re a French major, a political science major, or a math major are these core competencies that employers are looking for. Things like critical thinking, problem solving, quantitative aptitude, oral communication skills, written communication skills, the ability to work in teams, to collaborate. How to look at a problem from multiple angles. How to take a lot of data and synthesize it and draw sound conclusions. That’s what you learn at Holy Cross, and that’s what you learn in the liberal arts.”
In coursework, collaboration and cooperation are key as well. “Our students are hardworking and ambitious, but not competitive,” says McDermott. “Holy Cross attracts students that know how to work with each other, not against.”
Holy Cross Affordability
“Holy Cross offers two financial aid policies that are only found at a few top institutions,” says Lynne Myers, Director of Financial Aid. “One, a student’s financial circumstances have no bearing on their admission decision. This ensures that all of our applicants are evaluated on a level playing field. Two, we meet 100 percent of accepted students’ demonstrated need. This helps make a Holy Cross education more affordable than some students and their families might realize.”
“We counsel students to pay careful attention to the financial aid process, and they will be considered for all the resources we have available,” Meyers adds. “From the first time we meet students, we talk to them about being realistic about what they are willing and able to assume in student loans. An 18-year-old borrowing outside of the protections of federal programs is a recipe for financial disaster. We realize that it’s important to make our financial aid process very clear to families, and our staff is available to help students and their families through that process.”
Holy Cross Career Prep
At the Center for Career Development, Murphy and her team work with students on four key areas: identifying career interests, facilitating experiences to explore those career options, teaching job search skills, and connecting students with potential employers.
After graduation, many Holy Cross alumni work in health care, financial services, government/politics/law, and tech fields. And with many grads going to work in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., the alumni network is close by--and active. “Having an alum that’s willing to take the time to speak with a student, explain their path and what they do, and then open up doors to help students gain entry to organizations is worth every penny of tuition,” says Murphy. “To have not just highly placed alumni or alumni at prestige places--that’s less important than the willingness of those alumni to give up their time, expertise, and experience.”
“Frankly, your major doesn’t predict or set you on a path to any one career,” Murphy adds. “It can send you to any career and that’s the beauty of being here. To get [students] to think a little more broadly: Maybe [a pre-med student] is a policy wonk, or they actually really like one-on-one clinical work, and it maybe moves them away from being a doctor, maybe going to be a PA or into public health, more systemic things. The biggest success stories are the students who come in thinking very traditional professions--and we have plenty of students who go on to do that--but when we can broaden their view and see them realize, ‘who knew that was something you could do?’ Those are our big success stories.”
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