Lots of Little Things

Is there anything better than a beautiful Sunday morning, a nice cold Soze1 glass of orange juice, your dog, and no commitments? Soze2 Unfortunately that is just a fantasy right now for me — instead I am “enjoying” a busy Sunday, a glass of cold water to counteract the sweltering heat, and lots of work. But at least I have the nice distraction of updating my blog with my dog (Sozë) snoring behind me.

Yesterday (July 29) was our second Summer Open House and outside of some faulty microphones the event was a spectacular success. As expected the turnout was quite large. We packed Shriver Hall and most likely surpassed the 1100+ visitors that we had for the first program earlier this month. For those in attendance, I hope you had a great visit, appreciated the cold water we provided at the end, and at least to some degree enjoyed the humor of myself and my colleagues during the Admissions panel. (And remember as I mentioned in my last update, if you didn’t attend a Summer Open Houses you should consider coming for one of our Fall events.)

So, over the past few months I have been collecting post-it notes and scraps of paper with various blog topic ideas. None of the ideas actually ever seemed interesting enough to justify a full entry alone. But see the pile is getting quite large, so I thought I would just combine all these little notes into one full entry. Here we go, post-it note by post-it note:

(1) Often prospective students ask for examples of Hopkins undergraduates engaged in research. Just this summer I learned of a few amazing projects and I thought I would share:

  • Four Mechanical Engineering students invented a lightweight, portable Braille writing device that requires no electronic components. For the full story and pictures, click here and/or here.
  • Woodrow Wilson fellows pursue independent inquiries in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Some recent examples: here and here.
  • The 11-member winning team at the last BME Design Day competition presented a less invasive prototype that may improve heart surgeries. To learn more about this provisional patent project, click here and/or here.
  • Team of Hopkins researchers unearth a 3,400 year old Egyptian queen. Read their blog entry or the official story.
  • Sophomore Physics student wins a Provost Undergraduate Research Award to assist in developing wireless monitoring system to work with ecosystem research. More here.
  • First we had five students selected as Fulbright Scholars (here), and now we have two more (here).
  • And oh yeah, the streak continues!!! For the 26th straight year, Johns Hopkins University leads all U.S. academic institutions in research funding. Read about how far ahead we are, here.

(2) For Class of 2010 members stilling enjoying reading the Insider, I recommend checking out the most recent blog entries from the Hopkins Interactive students. Each student has posted an “advice” blog, providing you all with things to consider before arriving in Baltimore in about a month. Links: Laura, Esther, Julia, Michelle B., Stefanie, Michelle T., Rachel, and Phil.

(3) “We are much more than medicine!” I always say it, and I have even more proof now:

  • New director of Africana studies; click here.
  • Twin spacecraft built by JHU’s Applied Physics Lab prepares for launch. Read more about the STEREO mission here.
  • Mattin Art Center turns five years old. Article and slide show.
  • New Head of the Peabody Institute; click here.
  • New Museums and Society interdisciplinary program; click here.

(4) How cool is this? Our Dean of Student Life, Susan Boswell, along with the Student Life Advisory Committee has created a Faculty Associates Program which seeks to connect undergraduates and faculty in even more ways. Faculty have been invited to join an new program that will connect them to the student by using the residential communities. More to follow about this program, but my personal opinion is that this is a great idea. Read more here.

(5) To Do: Buy vacuum, change phone service provider, fix TiVo in bedroom — oops sorry. That post-it note is in the wrong pile.

(6) Looking for an interesting book to read about College Admissions? I suggest College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy edited by Lloyd Thacker. I am currently half-way through, and I know when I finish it I will be writing about it here. Just thought I’d pass the recommendation along now, before I share my thoughts in the future.

(7) What do you all think about this — A “Rainbow” Approach to Admissions? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Would you be more or less likely to complete such an application?

(8) Here are three other articles I stumbled across a while back and thought I would share: 10 Mistakes Freshmen Make & Top Ten List of Things I Wish I Had Known About College Admissions & 10 Antidotes to College-Application Anxiety.

(9) Popular Science released their Fourth Annual Brilliant 10 list and one-fifth of the selections are Hopkins faculty: Hope Jahren and Nathan Wolfe.

(10) Ok last note — hey cool, a perfect list of 10 (well except for #5, but we won’t worry about that). Actually this is more of an announcement / teaser. For those who enjoy Hopkins Interactive and our blogs and message boards, please note that we are actively working on H.I. version 2.0. We hope to launch in September with a lot more content, new features, and many more interactive tools. Until the re-launch there will be few updates, outside of new entries to this blog. But when we do re-launch I think you all will be quite excited.

Last thought: I think this entry has broken the record for most links. I’m glad that cyberspace is chock full of so much information. Cheers!

11 thoughts on “Lots of Little Things

  1. Hi Carin, hope you enjoyed the Open House.
    Tanmay, I love the link and the idea. Knowing me and my paper airplane technique our decision rates would be 5% admit, 5% deny, and 90% wait list. That would be good for USNWR rankings and housing would probably be happy too. I actually favor the magic 8-ball approach to making decisions.
    (And for any of you out there who think I am being serious, please calm down — this is a joke!!!)

  2. I actually am really interested in the “rainbow” approach. It sort of allows students to show their creative side and personality indirectly, instead of directly with the typical “tell us who you are” type essay…..then again, it’s sort of more cryptic and might make it harder for you admission people.

  3. Hey Daniel Creasy
    Just wanted to say I love this blog and I would love it more if you included more random pictures of JHU in the blog. I wanted to say that you admissions people should consider making the interview evaluative because you can get to know the applicant better and see if they fit in. However, the interview should stay optional.

  4. Interesting comments so far … keep them coming.
    Jon: I also like the idea of having an application that gets students to be more creative. As far as making more difficult for admissions counselors, I think that depends on the office and what their goals are for applications. Personally, I would love something more than the standard application info.
    Ali: Glad you enjoy the blog and I will try to add more pictures. I am waiting for our students to get back and then I will be using my new camera more. As far as the interview, we have avoided making it evaluative because we do not have the resources to provide interviews to all applicants who want them. I will say though interview policy has been a topic of discussion this summer, and changes may occur in the future.

  5. I though I would share some of the thoughts of a blog reader who emailed me comments — some interesting thoughts on “the rainbow approach”
    “As for … the “Rainbow” approch to admissions, for applicants in my class (high school ’07) as well the few classes below us, it would be a very difficult change. We have … pick[ed] activities and class schedules to get through the current application processes and look appealing to admissions’ offices. To change the process without proper warning would be like changing the rules to a game in the middle… If applicants could just write their names on one piece of paper and you used the airplane technique, the whole process would be simplier and way faster with less stress all around.”

  6. May I respond to what the emailer said about the “Rainbow”approach? Maybe I interpreted it incorrectly, but I took this approach to be yet another way to view an applicant’s personality, perhaps the less academic, more creative and social side that students are outside of school. Potentially, this could help a great deal in determining if a person is a fit for a certain school, and most certainly not be used as a replacement for current methods, instead, just an addition…..and if I interpreted this completely wrong, please explain what this “rainbow” approach is.

  7. I am a homeschooling parent and am therefore serving as college guidance counselor this year. I just happened to have looked at Tufts before seeing your note about the Rainbow approach. I also read their optional essay questions. Having graduated from the Naval Academy and served in the Marine Corps, I often think about the relationship of how people did in training and academics versus how they actually performed their duties. I have to say that I can’t find a good predictor of success except for inner character, which you can’t really measure. I didn’t think very highly of the Tufts’ questions. I know people who finished at the top, performed great in leadership positions and were well thought of by the administration, who later fell on their face in the real military. Conversely, I have one classmate whom we knew would never make it, and he’s been a guest on major cable news shows. I know that admissions staffs have a lot of experience and are therefore able to evaluate applicants. Do you keep any records to see how most graduates do after graduation?
    Two questions…I saw that Johns Hopkins has requirements for homeschooled students. I’m trying to be user friendly for admissions staff…do you need a complete bibliography of classes for all 4 years of high school or would the last 2 years bibliography, plus the 4 year transcript suffice? These 2 years already come to 2 pages. Second question…is it necessary to have local colleges forward transcripts of classes taken there? I know that an official transcript would be needed for credit and placement when a student ultimately attends a college. Would a student’s copy of the class and final grade suffice for the application?
    Thanks for your time and assistance.

  8. Kathy,
    Thanks for the comments. You raise some interesting points about the “rainbow approach” — a number that I hadn’t even considered. It is an interesting discussion to have in admissions circles these days, and I know my colleagues and I enjoy discussing all the issues raised but such ideas. And yes, we do internal tracking of our graduates to make sure, for a lack of a better phrase, we are holding up our end of the “deal.”
    As far as your questions: (1) The general rule with the info we request from home schooled applicants is the more the better. We can sort through the materials on our own, so send the 4 years of data. It is easier that way, then having us have to contact you after the application has been sent requesting more details. (2) We need the official transcripts from local colleges. Self-reported information is the major part of an application, but when it comes to grades and testing we require official copies.

  9. Hi Mr. Creasy,
    I am a homeschool student (Kathy’s my mom); thanks for answering her questions.
    I plan on e-mailing the colleges I apply to about how much extra information on my homeschooling I should put in my application. I know you said that the more information I include, the better. That makes sense, and I’ll do that in my application to Johns Hopkins. But some of the colleges I’m applying to actually discourage sending extra material.
    I don’t want to work against myself by including too much information, but I also want to make sure colleges get to know me and can understand my homeschooling.
    I came across an interesting statement on some college’s website about pre-college programs. The website said that it’s not a good idea to attend a pre-college summer program, because such programs aren’t much more than a summer camp, where students just have fun and don’t learn anything. I don’t remember what website that came from, though. What do you think? Do some colleges consider pre-college summer programs a waste? I was at Johns Hopkins’ pre-college summer program last year, and it was definitely not summer camp. I learned a lot, and all the students had tons of work to do.

  10. Jake,
    Every college wants different things from homeschooled students. I used to work for a school that did not want much…I know work at a school that thinks the more the better (JHU obviously). Contacting each school you will apply to is the best solution.
    As far as pre-college programs, I have heard the comment about them being like a summer camp, but never from an actual Admissions counselor. We at JHU, and I think many admission professionals, know that MOST pre-college programs are challenging experiences where students do learn. At JHU we do look at pre-college experiences as unique academic enrichment experiences, and in no way think they are a waste.
    Don’t always believe what you read on “some website.” Always go to the source (the Admissions offices of the schools you are applying to) for the most accurate information.
    Best of luck!

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