This past weekend at our second fall Open House one of the questions I was asked was how I know if an applicant is a good fit for Johns Hopkins University. Since I was sitting at the Ask-a-Student table surrounded by the members of the Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB) (the students who run and operate Hopkins Interactive), I decided to take my favorite approach to answer this question about fit.
I responded that in my eight-plus years working in Undergraduate Admissions at Johns Hopkins University, I have gotten to work with an amazing and memorable group of students through SAAB and our other admissions volunteer groups. My colleagues can attest to the fact that in many of my application reviews of students I want to admit I will include write-ups about how the applicant reminds me of a past or current member of SAAB. Phrases like “this applicant reminds me of Esther in her passion for …” or “this applicant will be our next Mandy …” or “this applicant shares so many of the same (positive) hipster qualities of Josh …” are commonplace for me. Knowing these students has provided me with a great sense of what types of students succeed at Johns Hopkins and make a difference here, as well as the traits and characteristics to look for in predicting the impact a student will have in and outside the classroom. So one of the ways I determine fit is to see if the applicant matches any number of the successful students I have known in the past … and don’t worry—that group is a large one because Johns Hopkins attracts such a diverse type of student.
After answering this question, I sat back and watched as the members of SAAB responded to a variety of questions of prospective students and parents who had braved an early winter storm to visit the Homewood campus and determine whether Johns Hopkins was a good fit for them. I enjoy watching my students interact with those who want to know more about the “real” Hopkins, whether it is at a campus visit program or through all of our social media platforms. I often call the members of SAAB “my kids” as they mean so much to me and are the primary reason I love my job. One of the great perks of managing SAAB is that every year at the start of the academic season I get to adopt some more “kids.” Each September, with the help of returning members of SAAB, I get to select a group of freshmen to SAAB who will become our next generation of bloggers and the next group of students who I get to know well and refer to in application write-ups.
This year the nine members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2015 we have added to the Board and to the Hopkins Interactive website are pretty impressive. Back in mid-September we launched their shared blog — Class of 2015: Freshman Blog — and already they have each posted at minimum three blog entries. Check out their blog and get to know them for two reasons: (1) I am probably going to be writing about them for the next four years and they are the new stewards of Hopkins Interactive and (2) I may refer to you in an application review as the next Kevin, Zoe, Joseph, Kaitlyn, Ruthie, Purna, Ian, Erica, or Jacqueline.
Meet the SAAB CLASS OF 2015
Purna Chandrasekhar – Biology/Classics, New Jersey (Flemington)
Purna is an amazing artist with a strong passion for digital photography. She plans on taking art classes here at Homewood and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and is involved with the Student Art League. Read her blog entries.
Ruthie Chen – English/Writing Seminars/Spanish, Virginia (Mechanicsville)
As a Wilson Fellow, Ruthie came to Hopkins with a strong interest in undergraduate research in the humanities. At Hopkins, she’s found a welcoming community and is looking forward to sharing about it on her blog. Read her blog entries.
Kaitlyn Coleman – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Texas (The Woodlands)
A true southerner and devoted Hopkins Interactive follower, Kaitlyn is also a member of the women’s varsity tennis team. She loves her “Home in Homewood”—read more about her adventures on her blog. Read her blog entries.
Kevin Cryan – Political Science/French Cultural Studies, Connecticut (Southport)
Kevin was one of our summer blog contest winners and one of the most creative freshmen. On campus he’s involved with Chinese Lion Dancing, Tutorial Project, and Mock Trial. Read his blog entries.
Ian Hooley – Biology/Chemistry, Italy (Milan)
Ian, who hails from Milan, Italy, was attracted to Hopkins because of the wide range of academic opportunities it offers, and has been enjoying these in addition to the opportunities for social life he’s found since he arrived. He’s also involved with a variety of extracurricular activities, including HERO and JHUMUNC. Read his blog entries.
Zoë Jack – Biophysics/Economics, Maryland (Parkton)
Hailing from only 25 minutes away, Zoë is a local who is extremely passionate about the school and has an unparalleled knowledge of the city and area. She describes herself as “impetuous, energetic, and always ready for a little fun-loving competition,” and can run a marathon four minutes faster than the average man! Read her blog entries.
Jacqueline Morea – Political Science and History, Nevada (Las Vegas)
Another summer blog contest winner, Jacqueline wrote some of the funniest and most interesting blogs of all freshman SAAB applicants, and is a dedicated Hopkins Interactive follower. She works as a videographer in the Admissions Office, and also participates on the Mock Trial team. Read her blog entries.
Joseph Shaikewitz – Art History/Museum Studies, Missouri (St. Louis)
Known as “Mr. Art History” on his floor, Joseph displays a passion for the arts and has already obtained a job at the BMA. The strength of the art history program, along with the opportunity to study at MICA sold Joseph on Hopkins. Read his blog entries.
Erica Zehnder – International Studies/Political Science, California (Elk Grove)
Erica comes to SAAB from California with strong blogs and a “hella” great personality. In between all of her classes she’s also finding time to explore Baltimore, taking tons of pictures along the way. Read her blog entries.
These nine freshmen join 17 upperclassmen in making up the 2011-12 membership of SAAB, a group that will make sure that Johns Hopkins University remains the #1 social media college in America. (Oh yeah, it is a big deal and CNN.com recently reported on it: How Colleges Use, Misuse Social Media to Reach Students.)