Advice From Recent College Search Survivors

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

Those of you who have frequented this blog for a while now probably know that one of the things I am most passionate about is the students who volunteer for me. I am the staff adviser to the Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB), a group of 28 current students ranging from freshmen to seniors and covering a wide range of academic interests and extracurricular pursuits. These students are admissions volunteers who spend many hours weekly managing and providing the vast majority of the content to the Hopkins Interactive Web site. As the site describes, Hopkins Interactive and SAAB are:

Hopkins Interactive is a social media Web site designed to enable prospective and admitted students to Johns Hopkins to connect with the University by offering them open, uncensored information about student life on campus and in Baltimore. How, you may ask, can we do this? The content featured on the Hopkins Interactive site is entirely created by current Johns Hopkins students’ specifically the members of the Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB). These student volunteers represent the student voice of Johns Hopkins and are open and excited to share their experiences with interested, applying, admitted, and enrolling students. Through blogs, message boards, Twitter, Facebook, videos, an Insider’s Guide publication, and an ever-growing list of other projects, the SAAB students strive to provide a clear picture of Hopkins by dispelling myths, answering questions, and providing direction to further resources.

Hopkins Interactive and SAAB have grown exponentially since their launch five years ago, and the greatest successes I have seen in my 12 years in higher education all relate to these projects. If you don’t know about Hopkins Interactive and the amazing work the SAAB students do, you really need to check out their student blogs, their message boards, their unique videos (including Hopkins Cribs), their tweets, their insider’s guide publication, and the one-of-a-kind Academics Blog. You can also meet all 28 students, review their profiles, and ask them direct questions here:

The Student Admissions Advisory Board
The Student Admissions Advisory Board

The reason I bring up the great work of SAAB and my affinity of all things Hopkins Interactive related is this: about a month ago, the SAABers started an interesting project that I wanted to share with you. Every Wednesday from 6:00–7:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room of Mason Hall, the 28 SAAB students and I gather to discuss projects and brainstorm new ideas. I look forward to these 90 minutes each week as I am always amazed at the creative outcomes of these discussions. Back in October, the idea to have each of the SAAB bloggers write about their experiences with the college search arose. The idea expanded to not only include a look back on each of their experiences with the college application process and how they ended up at Johns Hopkins, but that each blogger could also provide some advice to the prospective students who would follow in their footsteps.

To me this was a brilliant idea for two main reasons. First, the college search and admissions process has changed so dramatically over the years that in reality current college students could probably provide better advice on navigating the process than Admissions counselors like myself. My college search was nearly 20 years ago when there was no such thing as the Internet, no Common Application, and U.S. News & World Report was known for articles on, well U.S. and international news. (I know, shocking!) The second reason is that nowadays teenagers often find more value in the opinions of their peers than authority figures. It does shock me a bit how this generation questions nearly everything an official might say, but anonymous remarks on a “confidential” web site carry much more weight and importance. For these reasons, and for the fact that I thought it would be fun for the SAAB students to write the entries and enjoyable for me to read them, I approved this common blog project.

SAAB = Simply Amazing
SAAB = Simply Amazing

Just last weekend the last of the entries were posted, and I thought I would share them with you. With just one month to go until the Regular Decision application deadline, and only about two weeks left until the release of Early Decision notifications, I hope you enjoy reading the thoughts and advice of some dedicated and talented Johns Hopkins students.

Mandy S.: “How Hopkins Happened”
— A public health senior from Cary, NC, reflects on her college admission process, with the unique perspective of both applying to law schools and working in the Johns Hopkins Admissions office.

Josh G: “May the Force be with you”
— A film and media studies senior from Park Ridge, NJ, discusses what the college admission process is similar to as well as what it is not related to.

Lauren C: “Applying to Hopkins: The Interview”
— A Writing Seminars and film and media studies double major from Westmont, NJ, considers the college interview from both her experiences applying to schools, as well as from the perspective as a student interviewer for the Admissions Office.

Jessica: “Revert, Run Away, Repeat”
— A public health studies senior from Tenafly, NJ, shares her thought process about applying to college and offers advice to keep you calm during your application process.

Peter C: “Want you to see everything, want you to see all of the lights”
— A mechanical engineering junior from Wakefield, MA, discusses his unlikely path to Johns Hopkins (including applications to art schools!). Hopkins might not have been his first choice, but he’s very happy with the choice he made.

Dominique D: “Off the Wall”
— A public health studies junior from Baltimore, MD, explains why she chose the schools she was interested in, how she dealt with applying to them, and what led her to Hopkins.

Lauren B: “How Did I End Up Here? Reflections on the College Process.”
— A public health studies and economics double major from Summit, NJ, looks back on her application process and the support she received along the way.

Wafa K: “There is Only One Way to Learn. It is Through Action”
— A neuroscience and history of science and technology double major from Alexandria, VA, discusses her own experience applying to college, and offers advice for those going through the process now. (And of course, she relates the topic to her passion for football (a.k.a. soccer).

Sarah S.: “Memorable Quotes from the College Search”
— A biology and Spanish double major from Ambler, PA, describes her rules for choosing a school, based on memorable quotes from her college search process.

Cate W.: “From ATP Synthase to Z”
— A chemical and biomolecular engineering sophomore from Minneapolis, MN, writes about applying as a ChemBE – not BME – with the added perspective of having taken college classes as a high school senior.

Miranda B.: “How did I get here?”
— A political science sophomore from Culver City, CA, tells us how she applied as an early decision applicant to Hopkins and offers her own bits of advice for you to keep in mind.

Tyler D.: “14 Year Old Me”
— A sociology sophomore from Ocean City, NJ, gives us a glimpse at her fourteen-year-old self and shows how much her goals and priorities have changed since beginning the college application process.

Becca K.: “The College Quest”
— A history of art sophomore from Dallas, TX, reflects on her search for the perfect fit and exactly what she wanted in a college.

Lucie F: “JHU_Lucie’s Road to JHU”
— A writing seminars freshman from Scarsdale, NY, writes about how her high school prepared her for college, and the many schools she looked at before eventually choosing Hopkins.

Nick G: “What’s a commonapp?”
— A computer science freshman from Woodbridge, CT, discusses his experience with the Common Application, and urges everyone not to procrastinate like he did!

Trisha L: “THE College Application – Don’t Get Scared!!”
— A neuroscience freshman from Lower Gwynedd, PA, discusses her application process, and what led her to apply Early Decision to Hopkins.

Allysa D: “The Upside Down Capital Y”
— A global environmental change and sustainability freshman from Cream Ridge, NJ, compares experiences visiting schools as a five year old, and as a high school senior, and reflects on why she personally chose Hopkins.

Tess T: “How Hopkins Happened”
— A history freshman from Ridgewood, NJ, details her search for the perfect school for her, and how Hopkins, the last school she visited, ended up being that place.

Marina G.: “College Town Hopping”
— A public health studies and writing seminars freshman from Ithaca, NY, chronicles her path to Hopkins from her college-town hometown and offers her advice of the most important things to remember as you apply.

Noah G.: “Homewood Bound: How I got here, and why I came.”
— A biology and neuroscience freshman from Houston, TX, had narrowed his schools down to the “Super Six” and tells us about his search process from the perspective of a soccer recruit.

Sydney R.: “Just Like An Awkward Middle-Schooler”
— A biomedical engineering freshman from Elm Grove, WI, likens the college application process to the awkwardness of middle school and reminds you to be yourself and resist the blonde highlights.

Kate T.: “Paint your Pots, Kids”
— A chemical and biomolecular engineering freshman from Redding, CT, puts everything into perspective through ceramics and the “layers of glaze” that make you unique.

SAAB: Great advice, right?
SAAB: Great advice, right?