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Holy Cross College Scores Among Nation’s Best in 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

Holy Cross College Scores Among Nation’s Best in 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

In the spring semester of 2009, Holy Cross College students participated for the first time ever in the NSSE survey of over 600 colleges and universities in the US and Canada. After recently reviewing the results, Holy Cross College finds it ranks 10 to 20 points above the national averages in four out of the five NSSE benchmark measures of student engagement. And, in three out of five categories, Holy Cross ranks significantly higher than the top 10% nationally.

Unlike US News and World Report's college rankings, which are based on many factors unrelated to student learning (i.e., faculty compensation, alumni giving, incoming SAT scores, peer reputation), the NSSE survey was developed to help institutions actually measure educational experiences and opportunities that are known to benefit student learning directly.

Created by educational researchers at Indiana University to measure good practices in undergraduate education--quantitative measures, such as the number of class presentations a student gives, books read, papers written--NSSE measures activities known to produce results. The survey also measures how many students participate in experiential opportunities such as study abroad, community service, professional internships, or research projects conducted with faculty members. In addition, it measures qualitative data, such as "is the faculty available, helpful and, sympathetic," "are other students friendly and supportive," "if you could start over, would you attend the same college?"

NSSE data helps show how well students are learning and whether they are transformed by their undergraduate experiences. Results are summarized by five benchmark scores which students and parents can use to compare against national averages. Holy Cross's scores are available online at www.hcc-nd.edu and they can be compared to other institutions at http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/nsse.htm.

According to Tina Holland Ph.D., Executive Vice President of the college, "In 2003, we began a bold experiment to transform this respected junior college into a four-year residential, liberal arts college. That first year, the college started with only one four-year major (Liberal Studies). It has since increased its offerings to nine majors and14 minors, which through specific combinations can help a student develop a customized program that leads directly to their field of interest and career path."

"Our goal from the start was to support each individual student's progress, to provide transformative experiences, and to provide a learning environment that leads to excellence. These survey results have surprised even us. They show that we have put our efforts in the right place-student experience and positive faculty interactions," Dr. Holland explained.

While Holy Cross College has now proven that it provides an educational experience that ranks among the finest institutions of higher learning in the US, it remains dedicated to serving students of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Over 95% of our students receive financial aid. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply by March 1 for admission to allow ample time for evaluation, scholarship and housing consideration. Our "rolling" admission policy permits notification of the admission decision within two weeks after all application documents have been received.

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