It is 2011, and that means more FAQs

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

Happy New Year and welcome to 2011. Five days into the new year and I already broke all of my resolutions. Just kidding. For me, and I assume many of you, 2011 seems just like 2010. The weather is still cold in Baltimore, there is little if any good television on these days, and most of the water cooler discussion is about being optimistic for a new year or how disturbing a movie Black Swan is.

It may be a new year but I am pretty much doing exactly the same tasks as I was doing at the end of December—answering e-mails and reading applications. Though there are more Admissions staff members in Mason Hall on a daily basis this week than there were during the holiday weeks, the same actions are going on: the third floor is inundated with application mail and the processing of online submissions and the counseling staff on the second floor are logging on and reading regular decision applications. This same scenario will be repeated daily for the next two plus months, except many of the counselors will choose to read from the comforts of their own homes.

One of the things I am most thankful for at the end of each year and into the start of each new year are my e-mail answer templates. For the past five years I have managed our main Admissions e-mail account: gotojhu@jhu.edu and during that time I have amassed close to 300 answer template responses. As you can imagine during this time of year, our e-mail inbox is overflowing, and it is these trusted templates that help me process through over 100 e-mails each day. From December 15 to the end of 2010, close to 1,500 responses were sent out and within a maximum of 48 hours of receipt. And since the start of 2011 we are already nearing 900 responses and the first week is not even complete.

The funny thing about responding to so many e-mails in such a short window of time is that close to 90% of the project is cutting and pasting. Basically this time of year the vast majority of questions can be labeled as frequently asked. And since I have this amazing blog as a vehicle of information, I thought the best topic for the first entry of 2011 would be a patented FAQ post with my patented template responses. Hopefully some of you reading this were planning to e-mail the gotojhu@jhu.edu e-mail account but now you don’t have to because the answer is posted here. Enjoy:

(The pictures throughout the post are what our Operations space looks like as we process the thousands of pieces of mail we have received in the last few months — the process might be “paper-less” but that doesn’t mean there is no paper.)

Is my application complete?  Do you have all my stuff?
With the volume of application materials we need to process right now, we are not able to confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. It takes time so we ask patience of all of our applicants. Once your application is downloaded and processed, you will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates your application file has been started (not necessarily that it is complete). Please remember, with thousands of applications to process this e-mail acknowledgment is not automatic and may take a few weeks to be sent.

In early February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose applications remain incomplete via e-mail. Those students will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their applications. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully, multiple times, for completeness.

Most importantly, please do not call right now to check on the status of your application or see if we have received a specific part of your application. We will not be able to answer such questions until the February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed and we do not review incomplete applications.

Can I check my status online? Why haven’t I gotten a user name and password to check my status through the application portal?
Unlike many schools, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status. We do things the old-fashioned way. You will not receive a log-in and password where you can track your application materials. Additionally, be aware that our system does not directly connect with the Common Application system to update the status of all processed materials. Because the Common Application site says something has not been received / processed, that does not mean that is the status of those materials in our office. This is especially true of any mailed materials. (Do note, those who apply for financial aid will get access to the ISIS system that tracks financial aid application materials. This system has nothing to do with applications for admission.)

When is the Financial Aid deadline and where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid?
The Financial aid deadline for the submission of the FAFSA and CSS Profile is March 1, 2011. Please review this web site for full details: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/prosp_stud.html.

Can I add items to my application even though the deadline has passed? Uh oh, I made a mistake in my application, how can I correct it?
Yes, we will still accept application updates and we do have a process for error corrections. It is simple. To provide an update or error correction, you must compose a cover letter and submit these materials by fax (410-516-6025) or mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In the cover letter, you should include your full name, birth date, and school name (SS# is optional but can help), so that we can merge this new information with your application folder. Also, all updates should be sent in by February 1. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.

My e-mail address / mailing address / contact information has changed … what do I do?
All changes to personal contact information including updates to email, phone numbers, and mailing addresses need to be sent to apphelp@jhu.edu. Please include in the e-mail, your full name, birth date, high school name as well as the general time frame when you submitted your application.

May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject exams, or TOEFL) with my regular decision application?
Though Regular Decision candidates should have completed required tests no later than December of their senior year, students may take the January examinations if they are re-taking the SAT Reasoning exam, are taking SAT II subject exams, or are submitting TOEFL exams. Although we cannot guarantee that January scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation, past experience suggests that scores taken on these dates usually arrive in time. If the scores arrive before the evaluation then they will be considered with one’s application. There is no need to rush scores from the testing agencies, as our office will not process them any quicker. We cannot guarantee that scores sent after our application deadline will be processed in time to be reviewed with one’s application and we do not delay the review of an application to wait for scores sent after the application deadline.

Do I have to submit a mid-year report and updated transcript?
Yes, that is a clearly stated application requirement. All applicants must submit a mid-year report and updated transcript by the deadline of February 15th. The mid-year report must be submitted directly by one’s school and must include an updated senior year transcript. We do not accept any of these materials submitted directly by the applicant.

When will decisions be released?
This tends to be the second most popular question asked this time of your and the only answer we can provide is … last week in March. No official date has been set and we tend not to select an official release date until the middle of March at the earliest. All we guarantee is that decisions will be released by April 1st.

How many applications have been received?
I am unable to officially reveal an application total for fall 2011 freshman admission until Dean Latting officially determines the count and officially releases that information. (Yes I did mean to use the word “officially” three times in that last sentence.) Typically we don’t have a complete application count until the end of January when we are sure that all mailed applications are received. There are not many mailed applications anymore, but some do come from abroad and take a few weeks to arrive after the January 1 postmark deadline.

Uh oh?
Uh oh?

I can provide a sneak preview: this will be the largest applicant pool in Johns Hopkins history and we have seen an increase for the ninth straight year. Make sure to vote in the poll on the right of this blog, and stay tuned for a future blog update with the final count.