College of the Holy Cross Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Kelly

Definitely challenging, but the professors are attentive and students seem to enjoy helping one another.

Narly

The best thing about College of the Holy Cross is the network system that surrounds each student. From classroom professors, to the faculty members in Academic Services, to the Deans and to all the other faculty members are willing to motivate, support, challenge and make you as a student succeed. There are many people on campus that will make you realize your goals, your dreams, figure out who you are, what you would like to be and help you plan how to get to your dreams and aspirations. Honestly, one thing I would change would be the stairs, although your calves get a great workout. College of the Holy Cross is medium-small- about 3,000 students. Pretty much everyone knows everyone else. When I tell people, "I attend College of the Holy Cross". Their first reaction is, "OH REALLY? That is great!" My mother, who also works as a waitress, gets the same response and reaction when regular customers ask about my brother and I. Holy Cross is a very prestigious college. Something unusual about the school? The student body. The students are very talented and diverse. Most of the people that I have met are always willing, and eager to learn something new or try to something different. Within Holy Cross you find this internal drive to learn about many different academic areas. Along with learning new things and having an open mind, Holy Cross helps the students learn about themselves, and being confident is one of the keys of success - in school, in any every career and in life.

Travis

No two ways about it: You will work hard if you come to Holy Cross. But, thankfully, you will also have a great support system. Professors know your name, you're not just a number to them. There are no graduate students so you have the full attention of your professors and it's not uncommon to be able to do research as an undergraduate - a great opportunity! Students study a lot. Most weeknights you can find most everyone buried in school work. A rough estimate is that for every hour of class you can expect 2-3 hours of homework per night. I've loved so many of my classes, especially Political Violence with Professor Chubb and Political Theology with Professor Eggemeier. Classes here often challenge you to think deeply about the material (my Political Theology class caused me to design my own major!). Students are generally not competitive with each other - there's not really any reason to be. Anyone who wants access to professors will be able to have it and anyone who works hard will succeed. Professors are great - I struggle to name a bad one I've had and they are really willing to be mentors. There is no core curriculum, which I sometimes resent, but we do have distribution requirements. That means you have to take classes in different disciplines by the time you graduate, but there is no one class that every student must take. We are a liberal arts school, so we like to learn for the sake of learning. That being said, we also have a really active Career Services office and a REALLY dedicated alumni network full of people willing to bend over backwards for current students. You'll be challenged to work hard, but you'll be rewarded if you do.

Andre

Very intensive albeit manageable.

Alex

Classes are generally okay...everyone will definately give you the 411 on any of the professors there so if you're worried about a particular professor...ask around...there is always sway period or W (withdrawal)....classes are small and only get smaller so of course there is definately no hiding.

Michelle

Professors definitely know your name here - which is really due to the great size of the school. I am not a number here at the college, I am me - a biology major who is very involved and loves to dance. My professors know that. It is suprising how fast the professors get to know your name! I have actually been to numerous professor's houses for dinner. It is a great community atmosphere.

Molly

I have loved most of my professors at Holy Cross. I have a major and two concentrations, so I have been able to take a wide array of classes, and most of them have been very interesting. I have never been in a class with more than 45 people, and most of them have been around 20 people. Because of the small class size, the professors get to know you very quickly. I have found them very accessible if you go to their office hours. I have had several favorite classes so far at Holy Cross, an HIV/AIDS biology course, social ethics, and North American theologies of liberation. I have taken many psychology courses that I have really enjoyed too, such as cognitive neuroscience and a seminar on consciousness. Peace and Conflict Studies is an excellent concentration that combines many different academic departments, and draws from some extremely passionate professors. Because Holy Cross is a liberal arts college, there are several core requirements that you have to fulfill on top of major/concentration requirements. I have not really minded doing these requirements, since they helped me to choose which major and concentrations were best for me. I found that fulfilling these requirements early on (within your freshman and sophomore year) have allowed me to take more interesting classes within my major and concentrations during my junior, and soon to be senior year, because of higher class standing. I have found it a little frustrating that Holy Cross does not offer all that many majors. Also it is difficult to get into the courses that you want sometimes, although some professors will let you in if you discuss your desire to be in the class. Like many other liberal arts colleges, Holy Cross does not exactly prepare you for a career, but I like to think that it prepares you for a purposeful life. We are told again and again to be "men and women for others." Although I will be pursuing graduate study that Holy Cross has not prepared me for (in terms of prerequisites I will need), I do not regret my education at Holy Cross. I have become a more aware person, am able to think critically, and have become devoted to issues of social justice because of my education at Holy Cross. I cannot separate that growth and development from my decision to attend Holy Cross.

John

Pretty good for the most part. There will always be classes that are bad and you do not want to take, but hey, deal with it. Overall the academics are good here. The classes are never over thirty, and there are no TAs. The teachers really try to get to know every student and will always make time for office hours. The work load is alot, but there are resources that students can use to help them out. Holy Cross students can be overworked, but there is nothing a good weekend party can't handle to let off some steam. Teachers try to make things fun and try to improve on there classes. The school gives out course evaluation forms which help the teachers with this.

Ryan

-students are very competitive and generally into their studies- people are always working -professors are very good and class sizes are small -I stop and talk to my professors when I see them -While I have a lot of issues with Holy Cross, I can rest assured that I'm getting a good education

Erin

My classes are challenging. There are no easy A classes at Holy Cross, and if you find one it won't be there next year because the professor will probably get fired. You definitely earn the grades that you get, and you learn a lot more that way. If you go to Holy Cross you should be serious about school and getting a great education but just as serious about having fun. Classes are small, of course, but I have to say that one of my favorite classes was my intro. to psychology and it had 40 students. The professor really makes or brakes the class and I've never had a professor that I didn't like. I think Holy Cross must pick their professors very carefully.

Emily

Academics at Holy Cross are great. At times difficult, yes, but I feel like I've learned a lot and I've broadened my horizons. I've taken classes that I never thought I would have, such as Women in Classical Mythology and Nature & Politics (my FYP class). Nature and Politics was so much fun thanks to Professor Reno... he's Greek and Roman myths, but they were so much fun to learn about.

Stephanie

The academics at holy cross are the most important component of the college. very bright people attend holy cross and the standards are very high here. the work is very difficult and it challenges you to push yourself past where you've ever been before. Many many hours are spent studying because holy cross is all about academia. most times when you aren't in class you are in your professors' office discussing problems, issues, or concerns. professors love to see class participation and in some classes it is a very large percentage of your grade.

Samantha

All of the professors know your name and are very approchable. Most will meet with you whenever and are willing to help. The courses are very tough, we are ranked 3rd for the most amount of work given to undergrad students. We were offered to join the Ivy league schools but declined because we didn't want to loose our religious affiliation. It is not unusual to hear people say, "I should have went to Harvard!" See this is not us being cocky, we understand it is much harder to get into Harvard but we do more work, therefore we beleive it would have been much easier to do well in Harvard. Classes are geared to teach you how to learn, the school is Jesuit run making the focus on knowledge and understanding. But we have plenty of alumni connections that help get people jobs before they have even graduated.

Connie

Really tough. No matter what, teachers try to whore you when it comes to grades. They want to make the school look hard so they give people low marks and make things impossible.

Chris

Academics is Holy Cross' strong point.

Mary

Holy Cross has a liberal arts curriculum where students take some general requirements, major courses, and have the freedom in their curriculum to take other courses that interest them. I've really enjoyed the majority of my classes and find them relevant to each other, my own life and current events. I know that I've learned so much since coming to Holy Cross. While there is substantial work, I would recommend choosing classes based on your interests and skills, and that will make it easier.

Quinn

pretty much amazing, very difficult and a lot of work, but totally worth it. i love some of my profesors and get frustrated with others, of course profesors know my name you just have to introduce youself and speak up in class. most people always go to class, but their partiipation level varies a lot of people take their academics very seriously and there are kids in the library till close every night, some of the core requirments are annoying but i would not have taken my favorite class without needing to for a requirement. i like that we can make our own majors because i dont want to have to stay in one department office hours are very helpful, but they are not necessary to go to

Charlie

Academics are really excellent. Class sizes are usually no more than 25, which can make it hard to get into some come course selection time, but it encourages class participation and discussion and your professors really do get to know you. There is a lot of work, a whole lot: we only take 4 classes per semester for a reason. But it is worth it. HC is a liberal arts school and they really push that, so be prepared not to have a focus on job training but really to learn for the sake of learning, and that is definitely how you'll get the most out of college.

TJ

Holy Cross is crazy with academics. We have very good professors that are funny and ridiculously smart that inspire us as students to do everything the best way we can and with enthusiasm. Our classes are pretty small to individualize attention more, which is really good for our grades. We also get a lot of work and we get it done because there is always a campus activity going on to motivate us to finish our work and get unstressed. Also, most of the people on campus are friendly and it is very easy to acquire friends through intellectual interests and other commonalities.

mike

Small classes, good professors, heavy work load

Abby

Professors want to know you name, but it's really up to the student to make sure they know it.

Ashley

Professors do know my name, but I definitely go out of my way to make sure that they know who I am by going to office hours and participating in class. I love all of my Classics courses, because the teachers are the bomb(s)diggidy and the material interests me, but outside of my major, I have found that classes are likewise satisfying. Students study a ton. A shit ton. Class participation is necessary in most classes, but most students enjoy participating. We do have intellectual conversations outside of class, but that might be because I hang out with ridiculously smart friends. Students are competitive, but that keeps a high standard for learning up, and I think it motivates people to work harder. The most unique class I have heard of people taking was Lycian, which is a incredibly dead language, dating back to ancient Turkish times. Most people have never even heard of it, and by this class, we pretty much doubled the amount of people who are actually able to read this langauge in the whole world. Pretty cool, right? My major rocks. We have a lot of pride, and we are all friends, we have parties together, we help each other out, and the professors, again, are the shit. There are so many smart people within this department, that, in my humble opinion, we put everyone else to shame. Especially the thousand million biology majors. I spend time with professors outside of my classes, especially my advisor, who I can pretty much go to for anything and everything. He's my at school daddy. We are as a student body, really really really really motivated and hard working. There is even a facebook group devoted to the fact that when we try out absolute hardest, it frequently falls short of the mark nonetheless. Because we are a liberal arts school, we are interested in educating the whole self, so we have to take quasi-pointless classes like philosophy, or, for a classics major, calculus, which basically has no meaning for me and my future, but is valuable to know nonetheless.

Jordan

1. Yes, professors do know every single student in their classes' names. 2. My favorite class would have to be my First Year Program course with Professor Karen Ober. Her enthusiasm made every single word that came out of her mouth interesting to all. She is also very easy to talk to about personal issues. 3. My least favorite class was my Introduction to Comparative Religions course because of the lack of structure. I did enjoy the professor and his passion for the subjects discussed. 4. Students study ALL OF THE TIME. 5. Class participation is somewhat common. 6. From my experience, Holy Cross students do have intellectual conversations outside of class. 7. There is a lot of competition among the student body. 8. The most unique class I have ever taken would be the Anthropological Perspectives with Professor Caroline Yezer. She is my favorite professor on campus (which is really hard to be because I love all of them) and is so fun and unique. The topics discussed were also very interesting and unusual. 9. I'm a Psychology major in the Pre-medical program. The required courses for Psychology majors are very interesting and have great professors in each one. The Pre-Medical program is perhaps one of the hardest in the country. That's why I think it's one of the best, as well. 10. I meet with each professor at least once every two weeks--sometimes just for fun conversation, to talk about possible career plans, or about a personal dilemma. They are so helpful and show that students really can be friends with their professors. 11. Holy Cross's academic requirements are very do-able. 12. The education at Holy Cross is geared toward learning for its own sake, in my opinion.

Jamie

Academics at Holy Cross are one of the best parts. It's only undergrad, so there's no graduate students taking up professors times and you always are taught by your professor, never a TA. All of my professors know my name, and I've had dinner at several of their houses. I know it sounds like a cliche ripped straight out of the publicity pamphlet, but it's true; my biggest class this semester is 24, my smallest is 3. Most average around 10-15. The individual attention really can't be beat.

Tate

i'm in my physics professor's office for 3 hours a week.

Eric

Academics at Holy Cross are challenging, but manageable. The professors are here for you: to make you a better student, and ready to help you whenever you need it. They are available at almost any time, even outside of their specified office hours. Students at Holy Cross are focused, working hard to do well in class. There are often study groups seen in the library. The education at Holy Cross is wholeheartedly geared toward one learning things specific to their major, as it will help them after college in the work force.

KC

Academics at Holy Cross are difficult, but definitely within the realm of human possibility. Classes are small, and professors expect participation from their students, and will often call students out by name if they don't participate. Professors are definitely accessible: they have regular office hours, and are more than willing to help any student with any question.

Kim

It's a really difficult school. The classes are very time consuming, and there is no such thing as an "easy A." While Holy Cross does encourage learning for its own sake, I feel confident entering the job market. I am a double major in English and Psychology. I am obsessed with the English department, but the Psychology department is fabulous as well!

Michelle

The academics are great. A lot of the classes, especially after intro classes, are very small. The professors always know your name, and they're very helpful during office hours. They're all very easy to reach by email. My favorite class was Afro-Latin America. There were only 10 or 11 of us in the class. We learned about the culture of Latin-Afro America not only by reading texts and discussing them, but we also went to botanicas around Worcester to interview the owners of these religious stores. It was an experience I will never forget. The classes are demanding, so there is a lot of time devoted to reading, writing, and studying, but there's still plenty of time for extracurricular activities or just hanging out with your friends. I'm a history major in the teacher education program. The history and education departments have both been great. Most of the professors have been amazing. I've been to a couple of my professors' houses with the class.

Matthew

You get out of the academics what you put in. If you try and cruise through classes without participating or getting help like you probably did in high school, you will get killed. The classes are so hard and have so much work that you need to give 100% in everything, and even then you probably wont get the GPA you wanted. However, the teachers notice your effort and if they know you are trying then they will help you out all they can. My favorite class so far has been the creative writing in non-fiction class I took. I am an english major, and was getting sick of writing analytical papers about books that were written 500 years before I was even born, so this class really broadened my horizons because it allowed me to write about things prevalent to my life.

Kristin

Academics at Holy Cross are incredibly difficult and it would be a lie for me to say that anyone can just coast by here. I don't know any student that works less than 20 hours a week, whether it is reading for a class, doing problem sets for math, lab work, language dialogues, etc. It's hard to say whether I had a favorite class this year so far. All of my classes have been challenging and have forced myself to think more critically and analytically than I ever have. One of my most interesting classes taken in my two semesters here is Introduction to Islam, the material of the course was interesting and I'm so happy that I was able to learn about a culture that is so misunderstood today in the U.S. The students here are very involved in and out of the classroom and it is not uncommon for the students to go and speak with the professors during their office hours or before or after class. The professors are always willing to help and want us to learn the material to the best of our ability. The school, being liberal arts, is geared towards learning and choosing a major that you enjoy as opposed to choosing your major based on a job after college.

Maureen

I have loved all of the classes I have taken so far at Holy Cross. The professors are all dedicated and helpful. With such small class sizes, it is easy for them to learn the names of their students and get to know them on a personal level. The Math department is filled with brilliant professors whose main goal is to teach you as much as possible. The most unique class I have taken here is an Education class about Social and Political Change. The discussions were solely run by the students, the professor rarely lectured. This class was geared toward learning for its own sake - broadening our minds toward societal problems.

Nora

Academics at Holy Cross are very challenging and no student will tell you otherwise. We have one of the top workload in the country, but we also know how to have fun. My favorite part of the Holy Cross education is that Professors typically know your name by the second or third class, classes are usually between 20-30 students and you get to know your Professors and fellow students. Class participation and often attendance is a large portion of our grades which aids good classroom discussion. Professors offer and encourage office hours, and are always helpful. At Holy Cross you will receive a tremendous education and also have the opportunity to get a step up on the job world through the Career Center and our Alumni networking.

Jamie

It's a liberal arts school so you are required to take a range of different courses. The classes are small so you get to know your teachers real well. They are always available for extra help if need be. There is a sense of competitiveness amongst grades - everyone wants an A and they work hard to get it. The work load is a lot, more than most schools. And so a lot of time is spent in libraries (or studios in my case).

Erin

Academics at Holy Cross is taken very seriously. The classes are very small, which makes it easy to get to know your professor, and work closely with them. My favorite classes have been in the psychology department. The professors are brilliant, and amazing lecturers. Every professor I have had has known me by name, and has taken interest to my life outside the classroom. Class participation is graded in every class, and missed classes are looked down upon. Students around campus often talk about there classes, and debate issues that were brought up in class. People take pride in their classes, and enjoy learning. Students can be competitive, however they are mostly helpful and encouraging. I have often spent time with professors outside class, either at the student center, or a sport event. There are a lot of requirements here, however the liberal arts requirements create well rounded students. Education here is centered around learning and expanding your mind, however they do help with finding a career.

Parker

There is a lot of work, so I will not lie about that. But then again, premed anywhere is going to be hard. I will be Spanish Premed, so I have three areas of requirements to fulfill: common area, spanish, and pre med. This is why I dont really have a chance to scope out random classes, but there are a bunch that sound really interesting. You graduate with a very well rounded education, applicable toward a variety of careers.

Lily

At Holy Cross, all of your professors will know your name. The class size usually doesn't get bigger than thirty or forty students, and in seminars they are even smaller. Students here study a lot, because all of the courses of academically demanding. Some of the professors grade harder than others, which can be difficult to manage, but they are usually very understanding if you need help outside of the class. I think Holy Cross is geared towards learning. No matter what you plan on doing after college, everyone is required to take a few core classes, which is a great foundation for anything you could possibly want to do. The liberal arts education prepares you for any vocation, which can be really helpful in the event that one of you has a midlife crisis and decides halfway through life to change careers.

Justin

very tough professors expect a lot no easy classes lots of participiation and spirit needed

David

I find the classes challenging

Jessica

I have really enjoyed the majority of the classes offered at Holy Cross, and all of the professors take the time to get to know you and are very helpful both in and out of class. Students spend a lot of time studying and it is not uncommon to hear them talking about topics that are discussed in their classes.

Stephanie

everyone works super hard, and the classes are very challenging. i dont think people realize how hard we work here. a 3.6 at holy cross is worth a 4.0 at harvard. the students are kind of competitive...no one really tolerates slacking off. all of my professors have been amazing, they really make the effort to know who you are, even on a personal level. the education is very much for learning, but also to prepare you for the world beyond college.

Jeffrey

Students have a unique opportunity to get to know professors, especially those within their major field of study, extremely well. Students who take advantage of office hours will often get lots of assistance on assignments, will forge solid relationships with faculty members for future recommendations, and can learn a great deal. The academics are RIGOROUS. Students only take 4 courses a semester because they are all so demanding. Most students can be found spending many hours in the library at least a few days a week and the amounts of homework and reading at times get excessive. A high GPA at Holy Cross is a signal achievement.

Charlotte

Classes are small and professors know you by name within the first week of classes. I can't say better things about the professors here, they truly want to help students and focus on them, especially since Holy Cross is only undergraduate. Students are fairly competitive, especially in the pre-medical and science programs. Academics at Holy Cross are very rigorous and that is why we only take four classes a semester, which definitely keeps students busy.

Elizabeth

People tend to be neurotic about their grades, then again, I should be more neurotic about my grades. Competition isn't bad compared to what I experienced in Boarding School; most people are willing to help you out with moral support or an quick tutorial when you're in a rut. Professors range from amazing to average; the amazing ones you hold on to, but they aren't by any means scarce to come by.

Casey

The library is a hot-spot at Holy Cross and dorm study rooms are always filled at night. We are told almost weekly that Holy Cross has the highest work load in the country. Students here are success-driven and academically competitive.

Tara

Professors: Not only do they know you by name, they know your strenghts, weaknesses, what you got on the last exam, and probably a few things about your life outside of class. Classes are generally very small -- around 18 to 20 students -- so you get to know your professors really well! (It makes recommendations so easy!) Students study: HC students have a reputation for studying HARD and OFTEN. It's tough to do well here, and students are driven to earn high marks... but it's not so much that it completely rules your life... it's a "work hard, play hard" mentality Students competitive: With each other? Not at all... they go out of their way to tutor each other, and are really only competitive with themselves. Psychology major/department: Awesome! You don't have to compete with graduate students for research positions or courses, because we don't have any grad students on campus... it's a great school to be a science major at. HC Academic Requirements: The perfect amount... they don't tell you which classes to take, just areas to study (e.g., Take one art course at some point in your 4 year, but you choose whether you take a Pottery class or History of Islamic Art or whatever you'd like) HC education: Is geared towards learning for the sake of learning, getting a career, and making a positive difference in the world (all at the same time). You feel like you get a lot out of your academics here.

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