How to begin an entry dedicated to the 3,071 students who this past Thursday received the “YES” news from Johns Hopkins University. To be honest, I am at a loss for words. You have heard, read, and seen the word “Congratulations” so many times that the word may be losing its impact by now. But what other word works? You look up the word in a thesaurus and you can weaker phrases like compliments, best wishes, felicitations (?), and good going. Even though I can’t find that perfect word right now, I hope that those of you who received the good news on Thursday evening and will receive a big packet in the mail feel an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment, and have taken some time over the last couple of days to celebrate and jump for joy.
I think my failure at finding a more significant word to say congratulations has a bit more to do with me sheer exhaustion. I hope to be able to catch my breath this weekend following the whirlwind of activity that takes place just before the release of decisions. There were times during the hectic months and weeks of Admissions committee review and deliberations that I never thought decision release day would come. But then you get to drop the letters off at the post office and click send on the e-mail notifications and the exhaustion transforms into a state of reflection.
So despite my exhaustion, despite the calm reflection after the storm that seems to be settling in this overcast Saturday morning in Baltimore, I am confident of one thing … starting next week my mood will be sheer excitement. There are a ton of April events on the horizon and the chance to meet admitted students over the next few weeks does make me smile from ear-to-ear.
You have been admitted to the strongest class in Johns Hopkins history. Each and every one of you should feel a great sense of honor. You need to know that, by offering you a spot in the Johns Hopkins community, we are saying loud and clear that we think you fit. We think you will make a difference at Johns Hopkins and we can provide you with the challenge and excitement you are looking for. After months of getting to know you all through your applications, we eagerly wait until the time when you and the Early Decision admitted students arrive on campus this coming fall. Great things are going to be expected from the JHU Class of 2016.
There will be much time to celebrate over the coming weeks, but for many of you a tough decision lies ahead. Let me give you the best advice I can … CHOOSE JOHNS HOPKINS. Make it simple. You can’t go wrong. For some of you it will be that simple; but I also know that many of you will need to weigh your options and determine which of your admitted schools will make the best fit for you.
For those of you who are undecided, the question is how you will make this big decision. What is the right choice? These questions are justified, but in the end it is you and you alone who has to make the choice. Choosing which college or university to attend is one of those life-altering decisions where you must weigh all the factors, big and small. This choice not only impacts the next four years—it will leave an eternal mark on you as the school becomes your alma mater and an important line on your resume.
If I can provide any early advice it would be to first do your own self-analysis and decide what it is you want and need in the college you attend. Then you need to do your own research on each school you have been admitted to and consider the big questions of fit. I am a big fan of creating pro / con lists and using a weighted system to help determine what it is you are searching for and where you will be most comfortable. I strongly encourage you to avoid focusing on statistics and rankings, as these are quite superficial and do not help get down to the personal decision level. I also warn you of weighting other opinions more than your own. And finally, in my experience, the gut decision is typically the right one.
I am going to sign off now and let you celebrate some more. Don’t forget to utilize the ample resources we have put together for our admitted students, all referenced in your admit notification e-mails and admit packets. The Admitted Student Web site has tons of information and we strongly encourage you to visit for one of our SOHOP programs. (Maybe you can even ride the SOHOP express) Also, the Hopkins Interactive students are using all the social media tools they can to connect with you—check out the Facebook group, the #whyhopkins tweets, the YouTube videos, and obviously all the blogs. Don’t let your questions go unanswered.
The theme of April will be WHY HOPKINS and we hope we can help you all answer that question and you will join the JHU Class of 2016.