It is nice when perception and reality match, and that's the case for a Xavier education.
The perception is that four years at Xavier will prepare one for life's challenges by building the spirit, mind and body – the whole person.
That premise is borne out by how Xavier graduates are viewed once they leave here.
Those who work in admissions at various colleges take notice.
"Of course, every student is different in terms of academic performance, involvement, etc., but a common characteristic of Xavier men is their genuine commitment to pursuing their independence in college," Fairfield University Admissions Counselor Nick Rejebian said. "That sense of ownership over their college experience/process is impressive as it expresses a maturity developed out of a well-rounded education.
"It is also remarkable that when recommendation letters come in for Xavier men, there is a common refrain of maturity, integrity, and leadership. And I think this comes out of a community at Xavier that challenges each other to do their best, and be the best people they can be."
Dan Wystepek, the Director of Recruitment in the Bryant University Office of Admissions, said one thing his office will look at is the strength of a school.
"What we determine as strength would be how many students are going on to four-year universities," Wystepek said. "We view Xavier as a very competitive high school. There are over 90 percent of students attending four year colleges, so the outlook is that the majority of students are prepared to take on a four-year education."
Fairfield's Rejebian remembers reading letters of recommendation for Xavier students and almost wondering if they were too good to be true.
"Just to provide an anecdote, I remember when I first started reading applications from Xavier, I couldn't help but acknowledge how strong the recommendation letters were for every student," Rejebian said. "Initially, I had my doubts and was skeptical, but as I continued to read such strong recommendations I realized each and every one of them was coming from an authentic place.
"It wasn't that those recommending were soft, it was that the students they recommended were so strong. Ultimately, it's been an absolute joy to work with Xavier men throughout their college process."
The Xavier brand also helps with an application to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a top engineering school located in Troy, N.Y.
"I know that students from Xavier are going to be prepared to take on the rigor of a place like RPI, especially from a math and science standpoint," RPI Admissions Counselor Jim Driggs said. "Furthermore, students from Xavier are good citizens and that often comes across clearly in their applications through their commitment to helping others."
Jim Fowler is a 1991 graduate of Xavier who has worked in higher education for about 25 years. He is now the Vice President of Enrollment Management at Salve Regina in Newport, R.I.
"All schools I have ever worked at, and I have worked at a variety, have looked favorably on Xavier grads in part because they are coming in with a broad spectrum of academic skills, particularly the ability to write and communicate," Fowler said.
"Personally I feel as though Xavier helped me feel very well-prepared for the transition to college, having the right academic work ethic, and being able to navigate the collegiate-style classroom."
Fowler also feels the Xavier students add much to the Salve Regina community.
"We are actively seeking to bring in as many Xavier students as possible, knowing they are good citizens who will contribute to the community and will succeed academically," Fowler said.
Leadership potential will catch the eye of the admissions office.
"Colleges and universities are interested in and want students who will contribute to the community beyond the classroom, whether it be leadership on the field, in clubs, the performing arts, the school newspaper, or other ways," Fowler said.
"Xavier provides that level of preparation for students to hit the ground running."
Pedro Ondrush, the assistant director of admissions at Quinnipiac, said he can tell that Xavier students are "challenged inside and outside of the classroom ... they all have involvement outside the classroom, be it sports or clubs or other activities that can set themselves apart from peers at other institutions.
"They are focused, driven ... and when I meet them they are mature, polite and well-spoken."
Providence College Admissions Counselor Elizabeth Ward said the essays from Xavier students go beyond the "typical high school story."
"Sure, I do still read ones about not making a sports team, or a sports injury, or another common topic, but I appreciate them because the reflection part we're always looking for comes through," Ward said. "I find myself not just reading about not making a team, but rather a specific skill set learned and then put into practice from the experience -- and more than just 'I was sad, but tried even harder the next year.' I feel this shows the development of the whole self ... I do also feel this translates extremely well to Providence College as the Dominicans focus on the education of the whole self at the college level – finding Veritas through the balance of faith and reason in life."
That leadership potential also will attract an eventual employer. When seeking a job, the Xavier student may be four or more years removed from his high school days, but the "X factor" does not disappear.
Xavier Chairman of the Board Bill Wrang, Class of 1975, is Executive Vice President, Commercial Real Estate, at Webster Bank.
"Normally I don't think about high school education when hiring; however, if I saw a kid from Xavier or another Xaverian school, it'd pique my interest," Wrang said.
"I still like the type of kid who would go to a school like that, with the discipline, structure, and faith aspect. I do think it translates over to the business world in their work ethic and the type of person they are."
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT.