Holy Names University is located on 60 acres in the Oakland hills.
COURTESY OF HOLY NAMES UNIVERSITY
Early admission program
enters third year at HNU
|Holy Names University|
3500 Mountain Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619
Holy Names University is looking for exceptional students.
"Not necessarily a 4.0 honors student," but one who is serious about academics as well as serious about being a good citizen of the campus community, says Michael S. Miller, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management
And there's one more vital attribute: The student must contribute to the development of other students.
Not all studying goes on quietly in the library, Miller points out. The collaboration among students exemplifies the university's "focus not only on the self but the other," he said.
"We're looking for students who fit with our institutional core values," he said.
Holy Names has found some of those students not far from its hilltop campus off Redwood Road in Oakland. As the university's Early Admit Program begins its third year, some of its early adopters are already enrolled at Holy Names.
The program — which accepts students from St. Elizabeth High School and Holy Names High School in Oakland, and St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, as well as from schools in Oakland Unified and the West Contra Costa school districts — offers college admission to high school students who participate in mentoring, workshops and tutoring provided at the university's expense and graduate with a sufficient grade-point average after completing their college prep coursework.
There's a guarantee of a $9,000 scholarship — which can be supplemented with need-based financial aid.
Cary Kaplan, assistant vice president for enrollment management and dean of admission, recently hosted a day on campus for students, and their parents, considering a Holy Names education.
Among the feedback he received is that "there's no place like Holy Names." One mother said her daughter had been a number, and not known by her name at the university she attended. She said that would not happen with her son, who needs people to know him and guide him.
The university admits 135 to 150 undergraduates a year. The university is growing: Seven years ago, there were 420 undergraduates, now there are about 600. Total enrollment, including graduate and professional programs, rose from 1,100 to 1,350.
Holy Names is "one of the most diverse institutions in the country," Miller said,
Personalized attention is a hallmark of student life at Holy Names, particularly for first-year students. Transition to college life is a process at any college, and Holy Names sets out to ease it in several thoughtful ways.
It begins with admissions. Miller said the essay the student writes as part of that application is one way they get to know the student. The student is asked to write on one of three themes reflecting the university's core values.
The essays help guide the students into learning communities in their first semester: leadership for service; leadership for social justice; and leadership for diversity.
While they reflect the students' strengths, students will have ample opportunities to try other fields.
Through the Connections Project, first-year students pick courses, connected to learning community. A service project heightens the relevance of the classroom learning and applies it to the world at large.
The goal, Miller said, is to "develop the competence so they can ultimately succeed."
Holy Names recognizes that the strongest influence on students is their fellow students, so that's where the mentors come in. Mentors are upper-division students who help the newcomers navigate the university, and answer questions.
The experience prepares mentors, in turn, for internships, and their capstone courses. Kaplan cited the pride of the mentors, to "motivate and inspire the class that comes in."
Holy Names University has become an NCAA Division II member, which puts its athletes on the court and on the playing field with Dominican, Notre Dame de Namur, USF and Saint Mary's. An important reason for this move, Miller said, is not so much a competitive move as it is a collaborative one.
In participating in 14 sports, Holy Names has the opportunity "to reaffiliate with some of the other Catholic colleges."
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