Name: Rachel Cowan Jacobs
Region: North Carolina, South Carolina , Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and all international countries other than the US, except for Canada and Mexico
Educational Background:BA from Columbia University; M.Ed from UVA
JHU Start Date: September 2003
Years in Admissions: 16
Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
When I was a high school senior, I was so intrigued by the college search process and so curious about what the admissions offices were doing with my application that I decided I wanted to work in this field. It sounds weird, but it is true.
What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
One of the best things I like is getting to know the applicants. Having this job opens your eyes to so many different aspects of life and allows you to reflect on things you might not otherwise be aware of. I especially like learning about regions of the country that I haven’t lived in and countries that I don’t know too much about.
What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
I read in a room that has windows on three sides so it is very cold in there. My ideal reading set-up is a sunny day with temps in the 80’s. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen in Maryland in January/February, so I wrap up in blankets instead.
What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
When I need a break, I take my dog running. But that’s only once a day. When I need another break, I step away from the computer and putter around the house for a few minutes.
What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
I recall an applicant writing the essay completely in rhyming verse. That was different.
What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
An essay that goes beyond the surface stands out for me. It can be challenging to write a deep essay without going into too much story-telling. I find those to be effective essays because they tell me more about the applicant and showcase his or her writing ability.
What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
Within Admissions, we have had a few larger than life-sized cardboard cut-outs of employees. Those are pretty funny to have around the office.
If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
I would take a Yiddish class if it were offered at lunch. I could nosh and schmooze with others while learning a language that is on the decline.
What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
I enjoy the garden in front of the President’s home. It’s a very peaceful, pretty spot to sit a spell.
If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
With all my years and miles of airplane travel behind me, I would teach a class called Traveling Light. I know how to pack a suitcase like you wouldn’t believe. Not only can I skillfully cram more clothes in a small suitcase than you would think possible, but I can also convince you of all the things you don’t need to bring with you on a trip.
What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
Believe it or not, I have been asked if we have a campus in California.
If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
I’ve been a college student. On some days, I looked forward most to a favorite class. On other days, I was eager to attend a club meeting or meet up with friends for an outing. So, I guess it would have to depend on the day. But that’s not a real answer. My real answer is I would look forward to that day’s adventure, whatever it might turn out to be.
If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
I miss playing volleyball, so I would get on an intramural team.
What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
Dirty Dancing immediately brings me back to college. It was a favorite of mine and my roommates. I’m not saying it was the best movie ever made but we loved watching it.
If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
Speaking of Dirty Dancing, several people have said I resemble Jennifer Grey from the film. I guess I would chose her (pre-nose job) to play me. I think they say this because of the hair.