As the calendar turned to 2012 a few weeks ago, most of the news stories referenced in some manner the impending doomsday mythology associated with the year 2012. For me the turning of the calendar meant three things: (1) an increase of frantic messages being sent to the main Admissions e-mail account; (2) an increase in my stress level as I adjust to the fact that I am now in the throes of application reading season; and (3) an increase in the need of reminders I have to send myself about not writing the date as 1/11/11 but rather 1/11/12 . Pretty much, this new year represents not an apocalypse for me, but rather business as usual.
Outside of some leadership changes, 2012 feels pretty much like 2011 in the world of Johns Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the same as previous years as well. It may be a new year but the team inside Mason Hall is focused on what we always focus on in January: 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 repeat daily for the next twoplus months. While my colleagues and I press forward through application processing and review, those of you who completed Regular Decision applications now must test the limits of your patience and just wait.
One thing I have learned in my many years of working in Admissions is that waiting is not something high school seniors do well, and this lack of patience often leads to many (MANY!) frequently asked questions. So at the end of this post, I will be providing answers to the most frequently asked questions this time of year. But before that I thought it would be helpful to share some important upcoming deadlines as well as what you can expect from this blog in the coming weeks.
- Financial Aid: If you plan to apply for financial aid (need-based grants, loans, work study) then be aware that you must submit both the CSS Profile and the FAFSA by March 1, 2012. Extremely helpful information about applying for financial aid can be found here: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/prosp_stud.html. (International students applying for financial assistance, please review this website: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/international.html.)
- Fellowship opportunity: For applicants interested in a major in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and also interested in conducting your own independent research, you should strongly consider applying for the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. We have extended the deadline for applications until March 1, 2012. Further information can be found here: http://apply.jhu.edu/story/wilsonfellowship.html?slide and you can apply online here: http://apply.jhu.edu/wilson/wilson_form_2011.html.
- Meet the Admissions Staff: Starting next week, the Hopkins Insider blog will continue an annual winter tradition where you get to know the members of the Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Admissions Committee. (If you click on the Admissions Staff Profiles category on the left-side menu, you can see past entries.) This winter we return to the format of questionnaire profiles. Working with my colleagues Shannon and Shelly, and with a few suggestions from current SAAB members, we have compiled a list of questions we feel will help you all get to know a little bit about the people actually reviewing your application.
- Regular Decision Notification Day: All we can tell you right now is decision notifications will be released during the last days of 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. We guarantee that decisions will be released by April 1st. Once a notification date has been selected, it will be announced via this blog.
So stay tuned … be patient … and now on to the FAQS:
(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 “paperless” 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 are sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates that our Operations staff has begun to process your application (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 via e-mail students whose applications remain incomplete. Applicants receiving a missing items correspondence 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 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.)
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 15. 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 email@example.com. 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 submit 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.
Remember, if you have any further questions you can:
– Send an e-mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Post a comment to this blog and I will respond back in a few days.
– Use the Ask Admissions section of the Hopkins Forums: Hopkins Forums – Ask Admissions.