College of the Holy Cross, or Holy Cross, is the oldest Jesuit college in New England and one of the only institutions solely for Jesuit undergraduates in the country. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, it was founded in 1843. Most of the students are of the Catholic faith, but everyone is welcome to attend. While many students accepted into College of the Holy Cross are drawn from historical Catholic high schools and private boarding schools, many more still come from public schools. Holy Cross is one of the 13 schools in the Worcester Consortium, which allows students to take classes at any of the other member schools. The current population is just under 3,200 and about 90% choose to live on campus during their entire four years.
The student-to-faculty ratio remains small at about 10 to 1, and nearly 60% of classes have less than 20 students. The most popular majors include: social sciences; psychology; foreign languages, literatures and linguistics; English; and biological/life sciences. Requirements for graduation are one class in arts, literature, religion, philosophy, history, and cross-cultural studies; and two classes in language studies, social science, and natural and mathematical sciences. There are also opportunities to participate in multidisciplinary concentrations, pre-professional programs, or to create an individualized major in the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies.
College of the Holy Cross is famous for its Montserrat Program, which is an extension of the First Year Program that was created in 1992. The program helps incoming freshmen adjust to college life both in and outside the classroom. Students take part in small seminars that can be outside their major. Each seminar includes only students that live in the same residence hall. Some example classes have been “Industry and Empire” and “Islam and the West: Encounters.” This type of program has great results in producing more well-rounded students that are equipped to take on the challenges of college life. There is also an honors program for students after their freshmen year. Only 36 students per class are selected, and they must complete an honors colloquium and a thesis.
There are 11 residence halls and there is a common spirit among people who live in a particular dorm as they often form clubs or organizations with their housemates. The most sought after living arrangements are the apartment houses, located in Williams Hall, which are often taken by upperclassmen. They come with a bathroom, kitchen, and living room. College of the Holy Cross offers many student organizations. Although there is no Greek life, there are many opportunities for extracurricular participation. The Campus Activities Board (CAB) plans many programs and activities for students. One of the largest clubs is Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD), which is a community service organization. There are over 45 outreach programs, and more than 600 students participate every year. Students can write for “The Fenwick Review,” “The Advocate,” or “The Crusader.” Holy Cross also offers 25 varsity sports teams and most of them compete in the NCAA Division I.
Although Holy Cross has religious affiliations, it has a lively atmosphere because of its location in Worcester (the second-largest city in New England). Boston is also only 45 miles away, so students can head to the city when they need to blow off steam. The Montserrat Program helps incoming freshmen form a close community that lasts their entire undergraduate experience. With challenging classes and many extracurricular opportunities, College of the Holy Cross offers the whole package to students looking for a private liberal arts education.