Live Blogging on RD Notification Day (Class of 2015)

The tradition continues. As I have done for the past six admissions cycles, I will be live blogging throughout Regular Decision Notification Day for applicants to the Johns Hopkins Class of 2015. I will be providing you all with a first-hand look into what takes place in Mason Hall (home to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions) on the day we release 18,000+ RD notifications. Through my frequent updates I will detail how this long admissions review process comes to an end, and I hope I can provide context and helpful information as you prepare to learn your decision. I also will try to keep up with my Twitter account -- @AdmissionDaniel -- for those who prefer their updates in 140 characters or less. If you are looking for details on how the process will work today, please return to the decision release explained blog entry I posted last week. Check back often, and as always feel free to use the comments section. WB01843_

12:01 a.m. -- For the first time in the history of my decision release blog entries I decided to begin the updates at the stroke of midnight, just as decision release day commences in the eastern time zone of the United States. And just as I head off to bed. As I have said in the past few blog entries, the last weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and this past evening was no exception. Throughout the day the Admissions Counseling team coordinated with the Operations team to put the finishing touches on all the decision letters and admit packets. We have diligently worked together the past few days to finalize decisions and prepare for the release of the mailed decisions as well as e-mail decision and Web updates later tonight. Check out this slide show for some peeks into the work we did tonight.

After getting as much work done as possible (thanks in large part to an amazing cadre of current student volunteers), the staff is getting a good night sleep before the mayhem of final decision checks, sealing of decisions, visits to the post offices, a fun taco fiesta to celebrate, and then final preparations for our decisions to hit. For me, I got home around 9:00 p.m., played with my dog Soze for about 30 minutes and spent the last two and half hours marking off multiple items on my to do list. My eyelids are getting heavy and Soze’s snoring is making me even more sleepy, so it is time for me to check out and get some sleep.

A sleeping Soze leading to a sleepy Admissions_Daniel
A sleeping Soze leading to a sleepy Admissions_Daniel


6:15 a.m. -- The snooze button -- what a wonderful, yet cruel invention. Normally I have a mental alarm clock that wakes me before my alarm clock begins to blare its annoying sound but not today. I have been averaging 4-5 hours of sleep the last few weeks and I guess my body just wanted a few extra minutes this morning. After hitting snooze I fell right back into a deep sleep so when the alarm went off again nine minutes later, I was once again prodded from my dream state. But it is time to start an exciting day.

As I update down right now I am thinking of a lot of words that start with “ex.” Exhausted. Excited. But most of all, exhilarated. For those in the world of college admissions as long as I have been, if you don’t get pumped for a decision release day then it is time to look for a new career. These days are a culmination of hard work and deep thought, as much as they are the start of a whole new cycle of tasks -- April yield events. But I am getting ahead of myself. Need to walk the dog, and I have decided on listening to a bit of Mumford & Sons as Soze and I brave the frigid morning.

8:09 a.m. -- Just arrived at the office and everything is pretty quiet. The Operations staff has begun one final check of wait list and deny letters against our master decision roster. As Admissions staff members begin to arrive they will head upstairs to assist in that process as it takes time to make sure the right decision letters will be going to the right applicants. For me I will be going through my morning routine of answering e-mails and any questions posted to our various Hopkins Interactive sites. It is a beautiful (yet chilly) morning at Homewood and I am looking forward to see how the day progresses. The next big moment is the arrival of Dean Latting and his confirmation that the class is complete. Stay tuned.

A beautiful morning at Homewood
A beautiful morning at Homewood
Admit packets wait patiently this morning for Dean Latting to confirm that the class is sealed.
Admit packets wait patiently this morning for Dean Latting to confirm that the class is sealed.


9:36 a.m. -- Drawer checks continue. Yes, we are well aware that we are not checking drawers for decision folders but rather printed rosters of decisions against the letters. However, as we moved to a paper-less environment a few years ago we have not updated our vocabulary of mail day terms. Still waiting for Dean Latting to seal the class.

Lester, Zak, Missy, and Yana going through "drawer checks."
Lester, Zak, Missy, and Yana going through "drawer checks."


2:00 p.m. -- Apologies for the lack of updates. It has been a whirlwind of activity in the office for the last four hours. I need to take a breath and download some photos. I will have a re-cap of everything posted in the next half hour. But … YES … decisions have been mailed.

2:17 p.m. -- As I know many of you are curious, I am going to reflect back over the last few hours. Here is how everything transpired in order:

1) Drawer checks for deny and wait list completed as the entire Admissions staff chipped in.
2) Rosters were run to check admit decisions, but we all waited to get the go ahead from Dean Latting.
3) Dean Latting appears on the third floor of Mason Hall and confirms that the Class of 2015 is sealed and decisions can begin to go out.
4) One last check of admit decisions is matched to our two databases and no errors are found.
5) The sealing of admit packets commences.
6) The heavy lifters — Zak and JB — move all sealed admit packets from their bins to U.S. mail bins. I help by collapsing the bins and cleaning up.
7) In record time all packets are sealed, loaded into mail bins, and ready to move downstairs.
8) Three SUVs appear in the semi-circular driveway in front of Mason Hall just as all the mailed decisions arrive.
9) The loading of the cars commences with many, many hands. It is freezing out but the excitement for the release of decisions keeps us all warm.
10) The cars are loaded. Susan and Missy head up to the main Johns Hopkins post office in Mount Washington with all deny, wait list, and international mailings. JB, Shannon, Zak, Sarah, and I head to the downtown Baltimore Post Office with two cars and close to 40 bins of admit packets.
11) The unloading of the cars takes place simultaneously in two different locations and just around 11:45 a.m. all regular decision notifications are out of the hands of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
12) Sarah and I proceed to the front of the Baltimore Post Office to purchase over $700 of stamps to be used for special reception invites over the next week. Shout out to Melissa at the Baltimore Post Office who made us laugh.
13) Back to Homewood and Mason for a huge TACO FIESTA with the Financial Aid Office to celebrate the release of decisions.
14) Brief meeting with the Admissions staff to say congratulations and discuss how the e-mail release of decisions will work tonight.
15) Me typing up this re-cap.

Whew. A busy few hours indeed, but one of excitement and joy in our office. Slideshow to come very soon.

2:52 p.m. -- Slideshow time.



3:30 p.m. -- Hot of the presses. Here is our press release that discusses the release of Regular Decision notifications:

Press Release
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
March 29, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011—The Office of Undergraduate Admissions officially “sealed” the Class of 2015 today, sending admit packets and e-mails to 3,032 accepted Regular Decision applicants. These talented students will join 518 students who were admitted Early Decision in December for a total of 3,550 admitted students.

A snapshot of the admitted members of the Class of 2015:

  • Total applications received: 19,388
  • Total students admitted: 3,550
  • Overall acceptance rate: 18.3%
  • Males/females: 51/49
  • Preliminary areas of academic interest:

o   Whiting School of Engineering: 40%

o   Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: 60%

§  Humanities: 24% (of admitted KSAS students)

§  Natural sciences: 47%

§  Social and behavioral sciences: 25%

  • 50 states represented, plus 302 international students from 67 different countries

Regular Decision admitted students have until May 1, 2010, to reply to the university’s offer of admissions.

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!


5:15 p.m. -- I left the office around 4:30 p.m. and just got back from a long and refreshing walk with Soze. He is having an early dinner as I prepare for the release of notification e-mails tonight. Just some organizing to do, but I will return soon to post some important updates before the release of e-mail notifications.

5:28 p.m. -- As my colleague on the IT Team (Hi Chris!) prepares to begin the release of e-mail notifications starting around 6:00 p.m., there are a few important things I want to all to review and I hope you heed this advice.

FIRST, we will start sending e-mails after 6:00 p.m. ET. Please note the bold, italic, underlined emphasis on the key words start and after. This means that not everyone will receive an e-mail in their in-box immediately at 6:00 p.m. It will take a while for all the e-mails to be sent out (probably over an hour) and there is a good chance we don’t start sending exactly at 6:00 p.m. If you keep refreshing your e-mail in-box at 6:00, 6:01, 6:04, 6:10, … and there is no message — DO NOT PANIC and do not assume anything. Be patient and allow the process to work properly. (Also, there is no specific order to how we send e-mails.)

SECOND, here is some sound advice that I hope you follow. For the next hour (if not two hours) step away from your e-mail. Stop reading this blog. Stop checking your in-box. Stop checking College Confidential (in fact I suggest stopping that altogether). Relax. Take a nap. Get a snack. Watch an episode of 30 Rock on Hulu. Go do something that will calm you and distract you. Take your mind off the ticking clock.

THIRD, and most importantly, after you receive your e-mail decision my strong suggestion is that you log-off and go spend some time with your family. No matter what decision you receive, let the news sink in and do it off-line. This is a major milestone in your life, and you should share your initial reactions and emotions with your family and those closest to you. These people have been there since the first moment of your life, and they will be there FOREVER. Your family is no an online community. Your family is not Facebook. Your family in not some anonymous screenname. Your family is not this blog. Please follow this advice. Receive your decision and sign off. Don’t update your Facebook status immediately. Don’t post a blog comment. Don’t go post your emotions on some Web forums. Share your thoughts and emotions in the real world first. The virtual world will be there later for you to provide a social media spin on your news.

I say it every year … let the news sink in first -- react in the real world before entering the cyber world.

Best wishes to all of you. This is my last update until we release the e-mail notifications. I will have a few further updates for later on tonight.

My set-up for the evening: laptop, large monitor, iPad, notepad, a few Nutter-Butters, and an ice cold Sam Adams.
My set-up for the evening: laptop, large monitor, iPad, notepad, a few Nutter-Butters, and an ice cold Sam Adams.


6:43 p.m. -- All our e-mails have now been sent. Please continue to have patience because e-mail servers all have different delivery times. The process seems to have gone quite smooth this year (fingers crossed). I will monitor things throughout the evening. Please remember a few things I posted in the decision release explained blog last week:

-- DO NOT share your decision e-mail with other people nor post the message on any public form or Web site. The e-mails contain personalized information.

-- If you do not receive an e-mail tonight, I suggest:
1) Check SPAM folders.
2) Check ANY and all e-mail accounts you have ever used during the college search process. We send the e-mail to the account you listed on your application. However, our database system does track all e-mail accounts that have ever been matched to your record, so on occasion the notification e-mail may be sent to an old e-mail address. (So check e-mails that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example, such as your parents e-mail accounts.)

I got a bunch of work to take care of, but I will have one final update a bit later on.


9:19 p.m. -- Whew. The last three hours have been hectic for me with a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I started the day excited and exhausted and as I wrap-up my live blogging for another decision release day I must say I remain excited and exhausted. There will be time over the next few days to reflect on all the decisions, and I plan to post before week’s end new blog entries for the admits, the wait listed, and the denies. The work continues but for me it is closing in on bed time. I wish I had something more poignant to say at the end of this long day of blogging, but unfortunately the words are failing me and mind is basically mush now. I am going to catch the last five minutes of the Capitals game against the Hurricanes, take Soze for a chilly walk, and then head to bed and hope for a good eight hours of sleep.

I end with something of a bit of a tradition. After such a long day, it is always nice to smile and the Muppets do that for me and I hope you too.

Good night and Best wishes.


17 thoughts on “Live Blogging on RD Notification Day (Class of 2015)

  1. Thank you, Daniel, for keeping us updated! I, too, am EXcited as I wind down from the college process journey. I am grateful that I have a full-day ahead of me with EXams and rehearsals to keep my mind distracted from what is ahead this evening. Have an EXceptional day, all!

  2. Its been a lovely experience from the beginning to the end. Just how supportive and informative you guys have been makes me happy I chose to want to be a part of the JHU family.

    p.s- The time between 9:36 am and 2:00 pm went rather slow :P

  3. Hopkins is my son’s first choice school and regardless of whether he is accepted or not, I just want to say kudos to admissions daniel for posting his comments through out the process … from ED to now. You brought us into your world, shared your enthusiasm and gave the admission process a human face. I have thoroughly enjoyed your postings.

  4. Admissions Daniel:
    Thanks so much for all your thoughtful entries! I enjoy reading them so much and they made me feel much more connected with Johns Hopkins! No matter what kind of news I will receive in the next couple of hours, I still love JHU as much as you do :)

  5. Thank you so much for this website! I really enjoyed reading all the updates, and I will still love Hopkins no matter what happnes to me. (I visited Hopkins in October and fell in love immediately)

  6. This journey was fun and exciting. As stated earlier, for some reason, after reading your blog, I love JHU whether I am accepted or not! Im thinking about changing my major so that I can work in an Undergraduate Admission Office.
    Daniel your final post was touching. Maybe I’m going through alot because I really got emotional. Thanks again and let the staff know how much we all appreciate them.

  7. Thank goodness for this blog I’m straight buggin!!! Fingers are getting tired from being crossed for so long!

  8. In all honesty you should be repping the 34th and North Charles with burger cookies and a national bohemian oh and a clip from the Sun about our win last weekend over UVA.

    To those who don’t get in, I applied 9 years ago when there were 8,000 applicants and the admit rate was 34 percent, you shouldn’t feel dismayed. It’s a lot tougher now.

  9. thanks for keeping us all updated. saw your tweet don’t worry i have already accepted the inevitable fact that i am not getting in but it has been exciting just thinking i had a chance. keep up the good work man i think these updates beat any online portal other schools have created.

  10. Thanks so much, Dan. I’m incredibly proud to be admitted to Hopkins – and hot off the heels of a Stanford rejection, Hopkins’s acceptance felt 10x sweeter.

    Whether I matriculate at Hopkins or not (I’m waiting on a few Ivies tomorrow), thank you so much for the acceptance. My Hopkins odyssey is a long one; when I started looking at college stuff 3 years ago, Hopkins was one of the first names I put down on my first list. It was the only school from my first list that I actually applied to. That speaks volumes about how awesome I think Hopkins is.

    I’ve enjoyed reading everything you’ve written about JHU and, maybe, one day, I’ll be able to shake your hand in person. You’re a great representative of the University, and for that, too, I thank you.

  11. I never received an email… It’s a bit stressful when everyone around has heard back from JHU. And I’ve only used this email address for college searches. Does that mean I’ll have to wait until the letter arrives?

  12. After being deferred ED, and now rejected from JHU, I will still apply to transfer to JHU! JHU is my top choice! I hate to see kids like Brett, who apply to JHU and take the spots of other candidates, and after being accepted say they will not matriculate into the college next year. Well, I hope to hear from JHU again next year!

  13. I have been searching for the admission decision date for Peabody Institute to no avail! I applied as a vocal performance major and can’t seem figure out if JHU’s decision date applies to me. I did not apply for the Double Degree Program, just to Peabody. Does anyone have an idea of when the decisions will be released?

  14. Only minutes after reading my JHU denial letter and trying to manage my emotions, a surprise Stanford denial letters just pops up out of nowhere. Sad day for me.

  15. I just can’t believe you let my daughter in. You guys must be crazy! ;) So proud. Thank you Daniel for all yours and the rest of admissions hard work.

  16. Thank you for your hard work, my son is admitted to JHU’s prestigious BME. He is very happy and hoping to receive the package soon.
    I love your post yesterday, updating all the way until the bed time. Thank you very much.

  17. “Congratulations from Johns Hopkins University!”
    I still can’t believe that. This is just amazing.
    getting into my dream school. how better can it be? :)
    Congratz to all the accepted ones and for the rest wish you all the best as well! :)

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