With just a few days remaining in 2011, I am taking a short break from my holiday vacation in Florida with my family to post an update to the blog for those of you working on your Regular Decision application to Johns Hopkins University. For those of you who have waited until the last days and may wait until the last moments to click submit on your application, this blog is for you. As the Janaury 1 Regular Decision deadline looms, many of you will have last minute questions. How do I know? Because of vast experience. Every year during my holiday vacation I take an hour or two out of my relaxation time each day to respond to the questions coming through any number of means.
So in an effort to diminish the time I will spend the next few days responding to questions, I present these answers to the most frequently asked questions by the application procrastinators. I hope these answers assist you in your last-minute haze of forms and looming deadlines. Just remember, next time when you have over three plus months to complete something, waiting until the last minute is never the best policy.
THE DEADLINE QUESTIONS
So what is the exact deadline for submitting one’s application? Before the days of online applications this used to be such an easy question to answer — you need to have a postmark date prior to January 1. Now there tends to be so much confusion over such a simple concept.
The regular decision deadline is January 1, 2012. This is our online submission deadline and our postmark deadline. Applicants should submit their online application materials no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 1st. Since January 1 is a Sunday this year, any mailed materials should have been sent before the weekend. But since we are nice, we will accept application materials that are postmarked by January 3, 2012, as January 2 is a national holiday.
What subsequently follows are two issues – time zone questions and Common Application / Universal College Application technical difficulties. This is why I strongly urge you all to finish your applications prior to January 1 and submit it. This gives you a window in case anything goes wrong, and it rules out any confusion about time zones. There will be a ton of traffic on the Common Application / Universal College Application servers throughout January 1, and we all know that computer servers are sometimes not the most reliable devices. We are understanding of such issues, but once again, why risk it.
SUBMISSION OF SCHOOL MATERIALS
Is it a problem if you have yet to submit your application, but some of your application materials (school forms, tests, etc.) have already been submitted? Not a problem at all. Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit application materials such as test scores, letters of recommendation, and school reports along with transcripts in advance of their submission of their application. These documents will be processed and placed in a pending folder until one’s application is submitted, received, and processed. Then we will merge all documents and determine whether one’s application is complete. To assist with the proper processing of documents we request that all materials include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and school.
What if your school materials have yet to be submitted and because of the holiday week or inclement weather, they won’t be submitted until after the deadline? First, this should not be a problem since you should request this information before your school goes on holiday break. However, we understand though at times school-related application materials such as the secondary school report, transcript, fee waiver forms and letters of recommendation cannot be sent by that date. We will be flexible with the application deadline for those parts of the application; however the student portions of the application must be submitted online or postmarked by the January 1st deadline. The school materials of the application may be sent after the January 1 deadline, but not later than January 15th. If your school materials are going to be delayed longer than that, your guidance counselor needs to call the admissions office to request an extension.
SENDING SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
Can I submit supplemental materials (such as an arts supplement) to support my application? Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit supplemental information such as CDs, DVDs, slides, art portfolios, research abstracts and other such items. There are no additional forms that need to be completed nor do we have a preference regarding format. We accept Arts Supplement forms but do not require them. We do request that you include your full name, birth date, and high school on any supplement materials you send in. All information needs to be mailed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; we do not process materials submitted through e-mail. Supplemental materials should be submitted by the application deadline.
Please note that supplemental information will not be sent to academic departments for official reviews, but will remain in the Admissions Office with your application. There is no guarantee that supplemental information will be reviewed, but in most cases the Admissions committee will have some time to evaluate such additional information. Finally, it is important that original items not be sent, as the Admissions office is not able to return submitted application materials.
SUBMITTING STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
Always a ton of questions about how to submit your test scores, can scores be sent via transcript, what is the deadline to submit scores, and can I confirm you have received my scores? The Admissions Office requires that prospective applicants send their standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, or TOEFL) to Johns Hopkins University directly from the testing agencies. Our school codes are:
The Admissions Office will accept standardized test scores submitted with an official high school transcript only if all test scores are displayed and that the scores appear officially on the transcript, not hand-written in by the student or counselor.
Test scores need to be requested from the testing agencies prior to our stated application deadlines but may arrive after the deadline. Though the scores will arrive past the deadline they will still be considered if requested in advance of the deadline. There is no need to rush score reports as they do not arrive any earlier.
The Admissions Office does not send confirmation of test scores received. You will need to contact the College Board and ACT directly to confirm that your scores were sent to Johns Hopkins University. If they confirm your scores were sent than that means they are in our database.
May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT, 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 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 tests arrive before the application review then they will be considered, but we will not delay the review of an application to wait for January test scores.
Should I rush my test scores? There is no need to rush test score reports as they do not get processed by our office any sooner.
After you submit your application, immediately you start asking questions like did they receive my application; did my school materials arrive correctly; is my application complete? As you can imagine, this becomes a very busy time in the Admissions Office as we process all the application materials. Because of the volume of records we handle, it is not possible to automatically confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. Unlike many school, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status.
Once your application is download and processed, you will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates your application file has been opened (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 late February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose applications remain incomplete. 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 for completeness. Please do not call to check on the status of your application as we will not be able to answer such questions until the beginning of February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed.
Some additional post-submission questions include:
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, 2012. 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. Please note that we do request in the cover letter you 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 note, that all updates should be sent in by February 1st. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.
Even more questions asked after post-submission. These are all legitimate questions, but all too early to ask. Once we have updated information, it will be posted on the blog.
When will decisions be released?
— Last week in March. No official date has been set yet.
How many applications have been received?
— Not sure yet. We will reveal a total sometime in February.
How many will be admitted?
— No clue. We have to review applications first.
What will the acceptance rate be?
— Also, no clue. We will rely on our formulas when the time comes.
EVEN MORE QUESTIONS
Here are additional sources to obtain answers to your questions:
Admissions Site: Frequently asked questions: http://apply.jhu.edu/faqs/all.html
Hopkins Forums: Ask Admissions section: http://www.hopkins-interactive.com/forums/ask-admissions/
I hope these answers help, and that in some way they minimize the number of e-mails we will receive the rest of the week (probably not going to happen, oh well). Best wishes and we will see you in the new year.