College of the Holy Cross Acceptance Rate: Key Statistics and Insights for 2024 Applicants

The College of the Holy Cross, located in Worcester, MA, is known for its strong liberal arts education and tight-knit community. With an acceptance rate of 36%, gaining admission to this Jesuit institution is competitive, yet achievable for dedicated students.


Prospective students often look at rates as a measure of selectiveness and prestige. While the acceptance rate provides a glimpse into the college’s admissions process, it also prompts questions on the academic standards and the type of students who enroll. Understanding these dynamics can help potential applicants prepare better and set realistic expectations.

Admission to Holy Cross involves various factors beyond the acceptance rate. Aspiring students should focus on their overall profiles, including GPA, SAT or ACT scores, personal statements, and extracurricular activities. Visiting the college’s website can give a detailed view of what the admissions committee values.

Key Takeaways

  • The acceptance rate at Holy Cross is 36%.
  • Admission requirements include GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and personal achievements.
  • Comprehensive profiles can boost the chances of acceptance.

History and Background


The College of the Holy Cross was founded in 1843 by the Jesuits. It is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Holy Cross is the oldest Catholic college in New England.

Worcester, the college’s hometown, is the second largest city in Massachusetts. This location offers students a blend of city life and small-campus community.

Key Facts:

  • Founded: 1843
  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Religious Affiliation: Catholic (Jesuit)
  • Region: New England

Since its founding, Holy Cross has emphasized a liberal arts education. The college places strong importance on moral and ethical education, reflecting its Jesuit roots.

In the mid-20th century, Holy Cross expanded its campus and facilities. This period saw the construction of many new buildings, catering to a growing student body.

Today, Holy Cross is known for its rigorous academics and vibrant campus life. The school has a strong reputation in liberal arts education and is highly ranked among national liberal arts colleges, placing #27 in the US News 2024 rankings.

Academic Programs


The College of the Holy Cross offers a variety of academic programs that focus on providing a strong liberal arts education. Students have access to a broad range of undergraduate majors and a curriculum that emphasizes comprehensive learning and critical thinking.

Undergraduate Majors

Holy Cross offers a diverse selection of undergraduate majors designed to cater to various academic interests. Some of the most popular majors include Political Science and Government, English Language and Literature, Psychology, Economics, and Neuroscience. The college also supports majors in Computer Science, Mathematics, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy.

Students benefit from a low student-faculty ratio of 10:1, ensuring personalized attention and support from professors. This encourages the development of strong mentor-mentee relationships, enhancing the academic experience.

Liberal Arts Education

Holy Cross emphasizes a well-rounded liberal arts education, which aims to develop critical thinking, effective communication, and a broad understanding of various disciplines. The coursework integrates diverse fields such as Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Courses encourage students to explore various perspectives and engage in interdisciplinary learning. The college’s Philosophy program, for example, challenges students to think deeply about ethical issues and human existence, while the Environmental Studies program addresses critical issues related to sustainability and the environment.

Overall, the liberal arts curriculum at Holy Cross is designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers and lifelong learning, fostering intellectual curiosity and adaptability.

Admissions Overview


The College of the Holy Cross is known for its selective admissions process, focusing on academic achievement, test scores, and other critical factors. Key details include the acceptance rate, important dates, and standardized test requirements.

Admissions Requirements

To apply to the College of the Holy Cross, students must meet specific criteria. Applicants are evaluated on their high school GPA, with an emphasis on challenging coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. Strong academic performance is essential for a competitive application.

Letters of recommendation are also crucial. Typically, applicants should provide two to three letters from teachers or counselors who know them well. These letters should highlight the student’s academic abilities, character, and readiness for college.

An application essay is required. This essay gives students a chance to showcase their writing skills and explain why they are a good fit for the college. It should be personal and reflective, demonstrating the applicant’s unique qualities and aspirations.

Standardized Tests

Holy Cross has specific standardized test requirements for admissions. Students need to submit either SAT or ACT scores. The middle 50% of admitted students have an SAT score between 1260 and 1430 or an ACT score between 28 and 32.

While SAT/ACT scores are important, Holy Cross also considers the writing section of these tests. This focus allows the admissions committee to assess the student’s reading and writing abilities in greater depth.

The college is test-optional for certain applicants. However, submitting strong test scores can enhance an application. For international students, demonstrating English proficiency through tests like TOEFL or IELTS may be required.

Admissions Process

The admissions process at the College of the Holy Cross involves several steps. Applicants must complete the Common Application and submit it by January 15 for regular admission. Early Decision applicants have a separate deadline, usually in early November.

Applicants are advised to complete their high school coursework with rigor. Recommendations and essays should be submitted along with the application. An interview is not required but can be beneficial for interested applicants.

After submitting applications, students will be notified of admission decisions by late March. Accepted students will then need to confirm their enrollment by May 1. The admissions process also includes a holistic review, considering extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community involvement.

Application Information


Applying to the College of the Holy Cross requires attention to specific deadlines and offers several options for early admission. Understanding these details is crucial for prospective students.

Deadlines and Decisions

The regular admission application deadline is January 15. Students will be notified of decisions by late March. This timeline allows applicants to plan accordingly for financial aid and housing.

Holy Cross has a selective acceptance rate of 36%, with admitted students typically having an SAT score between 1260-1430 or an ACT score of 28-32. The college aims to inform all applicants promptly, ensuring they can make timely decisions.

Early Admission Options

Holy Cross offers two early admission options: Early Decision and Early Action. The Early Decision deadline is November 15, and it is binding, meaning students must attend if accepted. The acceptance rate for Early Decision applicants is generally higher, indicating a stronger likelihood of admission for committed students.

Early Action, with a deadline also on November 15, is non-binding. This option allows students to receive an early response without the obligation to attend. Decisions for Early Action are typically released in mid-December, providing more time for applicants to consider their options.

Student Demographics


The College of the Holy Cross has a diverse student body. Here is a snapshot of the demographic breakdown:

  • Gender Distribution:

    • 47% male
    • 53% female
  • Race and Ethnicity:

    • 70.8% White
    • 11.7% Hispanic or Latino
  • International Students:

    • 3% of the total first-year students are international, representing 26 students.

Religion plays a significant role at Holy Cross, being a Jesuit institution. Although specific current figures on religious affiliations are not readily available, the college maintains a strong Catholic identity.

Age distribution is typical for a traditional undergraduate population, primarily ranging from 18 to 22 years old.

Students come from a mix of educational backgrounds:

  • 45% from public high schools
  • 50% from private or Catholic high schools

This variety in demographics enriches the campus experience, fostering a more inclusive and holistic learning environment.

Campus and Student Life

The College of the Holy Cross is located on a scenic 174-acre campus in a city setting. The campus includes academic buildings, residence halls, and recreation facilities, offering students a vibrant environment for both learning and living.

Housing Options:

  • Traditional dorms
  • Suites
  • Apartments

These housing options cater to different preferences and needs, ensuring students find a comfortable living space.

Student Organizations:
There are various student organizations, including:

  • Academic clubs
  • Cultural groups
  • Service organizations

Students can join these groups to enhance their campus life experience and develop new skills.


  • Sports: The College of the Holy Cross competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the Patriot League. Popular sports include basketball, football, and soccer.
  • Arts: Students can participate in theater productions, concerts, and art exhibits.

Service plays a significant role, with numerous opportunities for students to engage in community service projects both locally and internationally. Volunteering helps students give back and build a sense of community.

Campus Life:
The college organizes events and activities throughout the year to keep the campus lively. The supportive community and active social scene contribute to a dynamic and engaging student life.

By providing diverse and inclusive opportunities, the College of the Holy Cross ensures students have a well-rounded and enriching college experience.

Financial Information


Understanding the financial aspects of attending the College of the Holy Cross is crucial. This section covers the costs associated with tuition and fees as well as the scholarships and financial aid options available to students.

Tuition and Fees

The College of the Holy Cross has a comprehensive fee structure that includes several charges beyond tuition. For the academic year, the tuition fee is around $57,000.

Besides tuition, students must pay for room and board, which is approximately $15,000. There’s also a student activity fee of $700. Additional costs may include textbooks, personal expenses, and travel, which can vary depending on the student’s lifestyle and home location.

Breakdown of Costs:

  • Tuition: $57,000
  • Room and Board: $15,000
  • Student Activity Fee: $700

Scholarships and Aid

The College of the Holy Cross provides a range of scholarship and aid options to help students manage their expenses. Approximately 60% of students receive some form of financial aid. The financial aid packages often include grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

Holy Cross offers several merit-based scholarships for high-achieving students. These scholarships can significantly reduce the cost of attendance. Additionally, need-based grants are available to students who demonstrate financial need.

Students should also explore external scholarships and federal loan programs to further support their financial plan for college. The FAFSA form is essential for applying for federal aid, and Holy Cross uses it to determine eligibility for institutional aid as well.

Post-Graduation Outcomes


Graduates from the College of the Holy Cross have a strong track record of success after college. Many secure employment across various fields, reflecting the school’s emphasis on well-rounded education.

Key Outcomes:

  • Employment Rate: According to the Class of 2020 Report, 94% of the graduates were employed, in graduate school, or engaged in other pursuits within six months of graduation.
  • Top Industries: Popular sectors include health care (15%), financial services (14%), technology (11%), government, politics, and law (10%), and education (9%) (Holy Cross Graduates Report).
  • Starting Salaries: Salary ranges for graduates vary widely, with the average starting pay being around $56,000.

Notable Alumni:

  • Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court Justice, exemplifies the kind of high-achieving graduates the college produces.
  • Timothy Leary, although more controversial, is another well-known alumnus who made significant impacts in psychology and popular culture.

Employment Opportunities:
Holy Cross graduates find roles in various high-paying and fulfilling careers. The education they receive prepares them for diverse opportunities, whether it’s in corporate sectors, public service, or further education (New Data Documents Success).

The college’s commitment to comprehensive education helps alumni excel in their chosen fields, maintaining a strong network and reputation in the professional world. This approach ensures that graduates are well-prepared for life beyond college.

Policies and Compliance


The College of the Holy Cross is committed to ensuring access and equal opportunity for all students. Their Nondiscrimination Statement affirms that the college does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, or any other protected category.

Title IX policies are in place to prevent sexual harassment and gender discrimination. These policies apply to both students and staff, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for everyone on campus.

Admissions Policies at Holy Cross reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion. The college endeavors to provide equal treatment to all applicants, irrespective of their background, including parental status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This approach ensures that all prospective students have a fair chance of admission.

Holy Cross also maintains strong Educational Policies, aimed at providing a high-quality education while respecting the rights and dignity of each student. These policies are designed to support students with disabilities and those from underrepresented groups, fostering a supportive academic environment.

To support veterans, the college offers specific programs and resources tailored to their needs. This includes considering Veteran Status in admissions and providing support services for veterans on campus.

Genetic Information is protected under the college’s privacy policies. Students and staff can be assured that their genetic data will not be used or shared improperly, ensuring their personal and health information remains confidential.

In summary, the College of the Holy Cross is dedicated to upholding federal and state laws related to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity. The college’s comprehensive policies ensure that all members of the community are treated with respect and fairness.

For more detailed information on these policies, visit their enrollment facts and figures.

Rankings and Reputation


The College of the Holy Cross frequently appears in national rankings for liberal arts colleges. It holds the #27 spot among National Liberal Arts Colleges according to US News. This ranking highlights its strong academic programs and overall student satisfaction.

Niche also evaluates Holy Cross, placing it #29 out of 309 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in America. Additionally, Niche ranks it 5th among Best Catholic Colleges in America and 31st for Best Colleges for Chemistry.

The Princeton Review notes that admissions at Holy Cross are selective, with an acceptance rate of 43% (Princeton Review). The college has a highly competitive environment and a strong academic reputation.

Holy Cross is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and has a small, urban campus with an undergraduate enrollment of about 3,029 students. The student-faculty ratio is 10:1, indicating personalized attention and smaller class sizes (Best Colleges). The college also boasts a high graduation rate of 93%.

These rankings and recognition reflect the College of the Holy Cross’s commitment to academic excellence and student success.

Faculty and Research


The College of the Holy Cross boasts a dedicated and accomplished faculty committed to teaching and research. Professors at Holy Cross hold advanced degrees and bring a wealth of knowledge to their classrooms.

Faculty members are highly engaged in research across a range of disciplines, including Classics and Classical Languages, Chemistry, and Physics. Their work often contributes significantly to their fields, leading to publications in prestigious journals.

In Health Policy Analysis, research initiatives focus on contemporary issues affecting healthcare delivery and public health. This academic involvement ensures students gain a deep understanding of critical health policy matters.

The student-faculty ratio is 10:1, fostering an environment where students receive personalized attention and guidance. This close interaction supports both academic and personal growth.

Criticism from some quarters highlights the challenges of balancing teaching and research duties, yet Holy Cross maintains a strong reputation for academic excellence.

Research activities often involve collaboration between students and faculty, providing undergraduates with hands-on experience and mentorship. This partnership is a hallmark of the Holy Cross educational experience, encouraging intellectual curiosity and academic achievement.

The College’s faculty are widely recognized for their contributions and continue to actively engage in scholarly pursuits, maintaining high academic standards and contributing to the vibrant intellectual community.

Frequently Asked Questions


The College of the Holy Cross has a very selective admissions process. This section addresses common concerns about admissions criteria, early decision, tuition fees, prestige, and typical GPA expectations.

What are the criteria for out-of-state admissions to the College of the Holy Cross?

Applicants from out-of-state must meet the same rigorous standards as in-state students. The college uses a holistic review process, considering academic records, essays, recommendations, and extracurricular activities.

How does applying Early Decision affect my chances at Holy Cross?

Applying Early Decision can improve your chances of admission. Holy Cross favors students who demonstrate a strong commitment to the college through Early Decision applications. Be aware that this option is binding.

What are the tuition fees for attending Holy Cross College?

The tuition fees for attending Holy Cross College vary annually. Prospective students should check the college’s official website for the most current information on tuition and associated costs.

Is the College of the Holy Cross considered a prestigious institution?

Holy Cross is regarded as a prestigious institution, known for its strong liberal arts curriculum and competitive admissions. It stands out for its academic excellence and supportive community.

What GPA is typically expected for admission into the College of the Holy Cross?

Students applying to Holy Cross generally have high GPAs. On average, successful applicants have a GPA of about 3.82, indicating mostly A grades with some B’s, as seen here.

What GPA range does Holy Cross consider for incoming students?

Holy Cross considers students with a range of GPAs. While the average is around 3.82, indicating a competitive pool, applicants with a strong overall profile can also be competitive even if their GPA is slightly lower.

Helpful Resources

Navigating the scholarship landscape can often be overwhelming, but there's no need to go through it alone. Scholarship Owl offers a supportive platform that can help simplify your search by matching you with scholarships suited to your unique situation. By consolidating numerous scholarship opportunities into one place, it provides a significant time-saving benefit, allowing you to focus more on your studies and less on the search. If you're looking to streamline the scholarship application process, Scholarship Owl may be a valuable tool in your educational journey.


Leave a Comment