I thought a great blog topic this week would be a reflection on week one of my fall travel. This trip has been a whirlwind tour of North Carolina, including college fairs, Explore Hopkins presentations, and high school visits in Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Cary, Durham, and Raleigh. I met hundreds of prospective students, parents, and guidance counselors, and the same questions kept popping up:
“Why should I go Johns Hopkins when I have so many schools in my own backyard? Why should I pick Johns Hopkins over Duke, UNC, or NC State?”
Now, this wasn’t the first time I have heard questions like this. A few years ago I recruited in Texas, which has an abundance of colleges and universities. Currently, I am the California counselor where University of California schools, the Claremont-McKenna schools, and Stanford are all great options. So, why would you leave home? Why travel hours by plane to attend Johns Hopkins? In some cases, why would you pass up in-state tuition?
In my opinion here’s why:
- Experience Something New—While I know this may be the most obvious, it’s true. College is a time for learning, growing, and exploring. It is a time to try something new, go somewhere you’ve never been, put yourself out there to see what you can do.
- Small Size—For a university, the undergraduate population at Johns Hopkins is small. With about 4,900 undergraduates, opportunities are abundant for all, whether it is in the classroom, in the community, or in the city, there are ways to get involved and make a difference.
- Location—One of the things I love most about Hopkins is its location. Even though we are a city school located in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, our campus has a very traditional feel. With 140 acres of green grass and brick pathways, many know that Hopkins is the place for them as soon as they step onto campus. It really is beautiful! In addition, by being in a city, students have access to everything Baltimore has to offer—great dining (trust me, this is an extremely important to college students), museums (the Baltimore Museum of Art is right on campus), the Inner Harbor, internships and jobs, the National Aquarium, the Science Center, and Camden Yards (students can get Orioles tickets for just $8). Oh, and did I mention we are just 45 minutes from Washington DC, 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, and 3 hours from New York City?
- Research Opportunities—Johns Hopkins is America’s first research institution. We encourage students to go beyond the classroom to learn through hands on experiences, exploration, and discovery. With about 70 percent of our undergraduates participating in research, this is not something that is only done at the graduate level. Did you know that since 1979, Johns Hopkins has won more federal research and development funding than any other university? At Hopkins, you can create your own project, join on with a faculty member, conduct research at another Hopkins institution, or do research abroad. The opportunities are endless! Some examples: one of our students worked with faculty members to improve surgery for osteoporosis patients and won the 2010 Wharton Business Plan Competition, another student is learning how to remove common drugs and chemicals from our water supply, another student investigated the history of guitar music, and another traveled to Israel to study the countries defense forces. Just think, you could be like these students one day.
- One Johns Hopkins—While as an undergraduate you will be a member of either our Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences or our Whiting School of Engineering, you will also have access to other Johns Hopkins Institutions. Want to take lessons from distinguished faculty at the Peabody Music Conservatory? Interested in taking classes at the Bloomberg School of Public Health? Excited about conducting research projects at our School of Medicine or School of Nursing? Want to learn about national security through work with organizations at the Applied Physics Laboratory? What about a 5-year BA/MA program with our School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.? You can do all of this at our university!
- Faculty/Student Relationship—With 96% of classes taught by faculty members, there are a lot of opportunities for students to interact with professors. Hopkins undergraduates have to chance to work closely with faculty members at the top of their fields. Current faculty include three Nobel Prize Winners, published professors, a Kennedy Center Honors Winner, seven MacArthur Fellows, ten National Academy of Engineering Members, and 45 American Academy of Arts and Science Fellows … and this is just to name a few!
- Involvement in Community—At Hopkins we believe that giving back to the community is of the utmost importance. As our first president Daniel Coit Gilman stated, it is the goal of Johns Hopkins scholars to spread knowledge to the world. Whether through academia or volunteer work, Hopkins students are enthusiastic about giving back. From the Baltimore Tutorial Project (Baltimore City’s largest 1 on 1 tutorial program which is run by Hopkins students), to the 4K for Cancer (students bike ride cross country to raise money for cancer), to the President’s Day of Service (where over 1,000 students participated in 35 local community service projects), Hopkins students are looking to make a difference.
- Campus Activities—What students do outside of the classroom is just as important to them as what they do inside the classroom. In fact, one of the great things about Hopkins students is how involved they are in campus activities, the city of Baltimore, and world organizations. With over 360 clubs and organizations on campus, we have it all: performing arts groups, community service organizations, student publications, fraternities and sororities, cultural and ethnic groups, club, intramural, and varsity sports. If it turns out we don’t have something you are interested in doing, it is easy to start your own group on campus.
As you can see, I think the answer is clear. Why be a Blue Devil when you can be a Blue Jay?