May 1st is almost here!

Apologies for the long absence but the month of April for a University’s Admissions Office can be quite overwhelming. Almost as hectic as the previous five months were with application file review. In just 24 days we have run a massive number of events and have connected with thousands of students, parents, and other visitors. The numbers to us are just mind-boggling:

  • Admitted Student Open Houses: We welcomed nearly 800 students and a total just under 2000 visitors for our three weekday programs. The weather for our first event was adventuresome to say the least (it actually snowed for five minutes), but Mother Nature did us quite well during the last two programs. If you visited during one of these days, we hope you had fun and found the programs to be comprehensive. Feedback is always welcome!
  • Hosting Programs: Throughout the month we held 6 overnight programs and offered individual day visits on 13 days. The responses for both programs were overwhelming and by the end of the first week in April we had to remove the option for overnight requests because each day had been filled. Approximately 140 students ended up being hosted overnight and over 200 have participated in a day visit.
  • Online Chats: As part of our "Virtual Visit" options, our students have run three highly successful online chats and are preparing for the final one this Wednesday night. In total, JHU_Students have chatted with over 400 admitted students. 
  • Special Events: The staff also ran three superb special event programs including the Hodson Trust scholarship reception on April 10 and the Westgate Scholarship selection program on April 12. As well on April 14-15, we welcomed 78 students for Discovery Days —an on-campus, overnight program for admitted African American/Black, Alaskan Native/American Indian/Native Hawaiian, and Hispanic/Latina/o students.
  • E-mail-a-thon: Current students also corresponded with admitted students by participating in our first-ever e-mail-a-thon. Nearly 600 students received personalized congratulatory e-mails from current Hopkins students that attended either the same high school or were from the same hometown.

And, on top of all that, we also welcomed over 1000 high school sophomores and juniors to campus for tours and information sessions during their spring breaks. This is a clear sign that the admissions cycle never ends…just as it is time to complete work on the Class of 2010, we move our focus to the Class of 2011. All in all, more than 5000 visitors have "stopped by" Admissions in the month of April. WOW!!! (and oh yeah, there are still 6 more days in April!)

But back to the title of this entry. Yes, May 1st – colloquially referred to as College Decision Day – is just one week away. Many of you seniors have already made decisions (Go JHU Class of 2010!!!) but some of you are probably still torn. Not sure if you should choose Johns Hopkins over any of the other elite schools you have been admitted to. Trying to imagine what your four years will be like in Baltimore or at Schools X, Y, and Z. Attempting to predict the "value" of the education you will get at each school. For many, this is the first major decision you will make in life, and though in the end it will not determine your future completely, it does matter.

So how should you go about making this all important decision. Easy — choose Hopkins. Ok, blog done – see you next time. Ha Ha, just kidding. Really though, this is a difficult decision and maybe in the end Hopkins is the right place for you OR maybe it is not. Here are just a few points of advice to follow as you make your final decision:

1. Time for a self-analysis – what is important to you?: You may have done one before, or avoided it like a plague these past few years, but a self-analysis can be quite helpful before deciding which college to attend. Ask yourself the important questions, and be honest with your answers:

  • What kind of a school do I want to attend for four years? Location, atmosphere?
  • What kind of student body am I looking for? Do I think I will mesh well with the current students?
  • What kind of academic opportunities will be available to me as an undergraduate, and what am I actually looking for?
  • Same question, but relate it to extracurricular opportunities. Which is more important to me – academics or social life or a mix of both?
  • What about the professors? Are they accessible? Can I see myself learning from them? Do I want to learn from them?
  • Will I be proud in four years to call myself an alumnus of the school?
  • Don’t forget the money factor!
  • Will I / Can I make a difference?

If you visited your final choice schools it is probably easier to answer these questions with the certain schools in mind. If you didn’t visit, hopefully you did a lot of surfing on each school’s web sites to gather as much information as possible. You may also want to create a ranking system for each question you ask of yourself and how each school measures up as well.

2. Make PRO/CON lists for each school you are considering: Some of you are probably not overwhelmingly organized and the thought of lists is laughable, but they work! Not only is this the time where you can catalog your personal opinions about each school’s strengths and weaknesses, it also becomes a study in what characteristics you find most important. If you did a self-analysis, now is the perfect time to match your thoughts of what you want to your opinions about what each school has to offer. Location, size, friendliness, professors, extracurricular offerings, cost, academic opportunities, etc. — list everything from the most important detail to the most minute. Nothing is too ridiculous to be included on these lists, and actually the best thing is to keep these lists private so they remain lists of your own thoughts.

(Yes, we know #1 and #2 are quite similar – but that’s the point. It shows how important they are!)

3. Do not focus on just statistics and rankings – they are superficial at best: Seriously, statistical analysis should be kept to the process of choosing which schools to apply to. Throw US News out the window; ignore the numbers that can actually be manipulated to prove any point you want; avoid side-by-side number comparisons of schools. It is time to focus on the intangibles. The schools you have been admitted to are all fantastic and they will all offer you amazing opportunities if you have the initiative and drive (which you probably do). Numbers can not predict whether you will be happy for the next four years, whether you will be challenged, whether you will be stimulated. The top schools are all top schools – it now comes down to FIT, and a percentage, formula, or statistics can not determine FIT.

4. Avoid hearsay, conjecture, myths, rumors – they often are far from the truth: Can we say this any louder. Each and every individual sees each and every college differently. Do your own research, get information directly from the source, and avoid the biased comments to come up with your personal thoughts. There is no cardinal rule that says if you read it or heard it, it must be 100% true. You need to filter through everything. (I hope you hear that College Confidential students!)

At Hopkins, we deal with myths and conjecture about our school way too much. If you are a frequent visitor to our blogs, message boards, or just speak with our students you will see that we are not only sick of these myths but can dispel them at every turn. And this is not just true about myths at Hopkins, many other elite schools are haunted by ridiculous and untrue myths. Make your own opinions and stick to them.

(If all else fails, just listen to your gut!)

Well, we hope these comments help. Don’t forget to contact us if you have any questions about Johns Hopkins – we are always here to help. In the end, know one thing…once you make your final selection, complete that enrollment form, and send in the deposit you have found "THE RIGHT SCHOOL." It is one of the hidden truths in college admissions, once you commit you begin to mold your choice into the school you want. College is what you make of it – go out there and be successful.