Reflecting on 12/15/2011

Admissions Holiday Party Team Bad Holiday Sweaters and Sunglasses.

Yesterday was my last day in the office for 2011. It wasn’t my last day of work for 2011, as I will be doing work tasks over the next couple of weeks such as answering e-mails, keeping our social media sites updated, and reading some Regular Decision applications. But basically my vacation has begun. Later today, Soze and I will begin a two-day drive down to Florida to spend the holidays with my family. I am excited to have this time off and even more excited to see my niece Lilly and nephew Cooper. I haven’t seen them and my family since late August, nor have I had an actual day off since then. So yes, this is clearly a much needed vacation and break.

Lilly and Cooper getting excited for Uncle Admissions_Daniel and Uncle Soze to arrive in Florida to celebrate the holidays.
Lilly and Cooper getting excited for Uncle Admissions_Daniel and Uncle Soze to arrive in Florida to celebrate the holidays.

While in the office yesterday there was a much different vibe than the previous few weeks. The proverbial dust has settled and we all are feeling much more relaxed. The pace leading up to the release of decision notifications is always hectic, and the aftermath is always a mix of relief and a feeling of accomplishment. The vibe yesterday was a bit different than previous years though, as I think it has finally begun to sink in that we are no longer an office under the vision and guidance of Dean John Latting. Dean Latting’s last day was Friday as he joined the staff at our annual holiday party where teams compete in duck pin bowling and best holiday costumes. But now Dean Latting is at Emory and we move-on to the Regular Decision application phase.

Admissions Holiday Party Team Bad Holiday Sweaters and Sunglasses.
Admissions Holiday Party Team Bad Holiday Sweaters and Sunglasses.
Admissions Holiday Party Team "Save the Bow"
Admissions Holiday Party Team "Save the Bow"

Before fully turning the page to RD, I thought I would provide some interesting and hopefully helpful follow-up information and reflections on the release of Class of 2016 Early Decision notifications. December 15, 2011 was a record-breaking day for the Johns Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Admissions and especially when it relates to this blog. The traffic to the Hopkins Insider blog on December 15 are staggering:

  • 4,641 visits to the blog for the 24 hours period of 12/15/11 (up from 3,951 last year).
  • 2,464 unique visitors (up from 1,970 last year).
  • 10,422 page views (up from 7,597 last year). WOW!
  • 31.59% of visits were new visitors and average time on the site was 7:39.
  • Live-blogging totaled 2,939 words; 13 pictures; over 50 comments.

The analytics could actually have been even higher, if not for our servers being sluggish between the peak hour of 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Still, in every category records were broken.

As I briefly mentioned near the end of the live-blog on Thursday evening there are three different groups to address follow-up thoughts to: denied students, deferred students, and admitted students. As I prefer to do in these “look back” entries, I want to share some additional thoughts I have for each group.

To the Denied Students: Please know that I and all of my colleagues understand how difficult receiving such a decision from your first-choice school can be. We respect the frustration and anger you feel, but hope that you can understand the daunting task we are faced with selecting very few students from a truly outstanding pool of applicants. Many will deal with rejection by trying to determine where they fell short or focusing on statistics. That is understandable but it is short-sighted.

Our decisions are decisions of preference and fit, and not a rejection of an individual. I can attest to the fact that we extensively deliberate about the candidates for admission, especially during the ED review process. When reviewing a student’s application, we take into consideration a vast array of factors including academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, leadership, commitment to community, promise of future contribution, and fit. This may seem to be just rhetoric, and I can probably not persuade you that it’s not true, but honestly there is never one reason that leads to our decisions and the words holistic and comprehensive have true value to us. Our applicant pool is filled with qualified applicants, but unfortunately being qualified is not the only consideration. Our freshman class is small and we are unable to admit everyone who is capable of doing the work. Please do not receive this news as a judgment of your value and your ability, but rather understand the competitive nature of applying to a highly selective institution like Johns Hopkins.

My advice now is to forget about Johns Hopkins. Know that there is a college that is going to be uniquely enriched by your presence on their campus and that you will have an amazing undergraduate experience. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that the right college for you is the one that you select to attend and the one you commit yourself to fully from freshman to senior year.

To the Deferred Students: Most say that this is the hardest of the decisions one can receive during the ED round of review because it feels like a state of limbo. And that is true. There is confusion about how to react. The news is not good, but it is also not a final decision. We understand that being asked to wait three more months is not the decision you were hoping for, but unfortunately defer decisions are part of the ED process.

The best message I can share with you all is that there is still hope. Every year ED defers are admitted during RD, and defers are provided the same chance of admissions as applicants who apply Regular Decision. Yes the competition remains tough, and yes we are going to focus on your progress in your senior year, but a defer decision is the admissions committee stating that there are still factors that are of interest once the context of the entire applicant pool is known.

It is important to note that we do not just politely defer ED applicants into our RD applicant pool to delay bad news, and the amount of denied applicants significantly outweighs those deferred.  Those who are deferred still have a chance for admission; otherwise we would not have deferred the decision. However, your hopes need to be tempered. Being deferred does mean there were weaknesses in your application that raised concerns with the admissions committee.

So the question is what can you do? Well read this: Early Decision Defers. We have compiled an extensive list of advice and answers to frequently asked questions for the deferred applicant which we know will be helpful.

To the Admits: Congratulations! You are the first members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2016 and we look forward to welcoming you to campus in about nine months. There will be a lot of things you will need to do between now and move-in dates at the end of August, but there is time to get to those items. Now is a time to celebrate, start wearing your JHU clothing, put the bumper sticker on the car, and get to know you future classmates via the special Facebook group. For right now the only date of importance is January 15 – you need to submit your candidate reply form (CRF) and enrollment and housing deposit before that date.

In late March you will be contacted about the next steps. You will get your JHED-ID, set-up your e-mail account, and gain access to the New Student Portal and your enrolling freshman to-do list. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, continue to enjoy your senior year, and let January 1 pass without any stress.

One favor though … do not become infected with senioritis. Do not allow your admission to become in jeopardy by letting your focus in school lapse. Yes we admitted you now, but we will review your mid-year and final transcripts and please do not make our jobs difficult.


I am off to pack and get on the road. I-95 South here I come. Happy Holidays to all and Regular Decision applicants check back soon for an update tailored just for you.

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on 12/15/2011

  1. Hope you have a good break and happy holidays! Congrats to everyone who got in! Also what is duck pin bowling and who won?

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