Six years ago on March 30, decision release day for the Johns Hopkins Class of 2010, I decided to post a new blog entry to our then just four month old Hopkins Insider Admissions Blog. That blog entry provided a run-down of how decision release day had gone and shared a few pictures. I remember posting the entry late in the evening when I got home from work and not thinking anyone would read it. A year later when we prepared to release regular decision notifications for the Johns Hopkins Class of 2011, readership of the Hopkins Insider blog was up so I decided to try something new … live blogging throughout the day. And a tradition was born.
As I write this I embark on my 6th RD notification day live blogging experiment (#12 if you count ED releases as well) and I am excited to announce that I am going to have some help this year. Not only will you be able to follow along my thoughts and views on how the day rolls out, but my colleague and co-author of the Hopkins Insider, Admissions_Shannon, has also agreed to write periodic updates throughout the day. We will provide you a first-hand look at what takes place in Mason Hall (home to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions) on the day we release 19,000+ notifications to our Regular Decision applicants. Through frequent updates we will detail how this long admissions review season comes to a fulfilling end, and we hope we will provide context and helpful information as you prepare to learn of your decision. I will also attempt to keep up with my Twitter account – @AdmissionDaniel – throughout the day, for those who prefer updates in 140 characters or less.
And for those looking for details on how the process will work today, please return to the decision release explained blog entry I posted earlier this week. Check back often, and as always feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
5:30am – Admissions_Daniel
My alarm clock goes off, which today is not a buzzing sound, but the rough tongue of my dog Soze on my forehead telling me he needs an early morning walk. Out we go into a chilly and dark morning and as Soze does his business I checked the weather report and see that it is going to be a lovely, mostly sunny spring day in Baltimore today. Back inside I turn on some music - I’ve been on a serious streak of listening way too much to a playlist of just three songs – “We Are Young” by Fun., “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye and “Charlie Brown” by Coldplay. This will hold me over until I turn on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning and get my “back and better than ever” fix from Greenie and Golic. Though the last week has been exhausting – scratch that, the last month has been exhausting – scratch that too, the last FOUR MONTHS have been exhausting, I feel I sense of energy and exhilaration that at the end of the day the hard work of all in Mason Hall will come to fruition and the Johns Hopkins Class of 2016 will continue to form. Decision release days have truly become one of the special days every year like my birthday or a big holiday.
6:30am – Admissions_Shannon
Is it Christmas? No. Are we going to Disneyworld? No. Is it Decision Release Day? YES! They all feel the same when you wake up in the morning – you’re super excited to start your day, but exhausted because you couldn’t sleep the night before. After months of reading applications and holding committee, decision release day has finally arrived! While tonight seems so far away, the day will be a busy one … there are still plenty of packets that need to be sealed and lists to be double checked. For now though, it’s time to get ready for work …
7:30 a.m. – Admissions_Daniel
What an amazingly beautiful spring day it is in Baltimore. I had my sunroof open on my short commute into work and as I arrived, I continued a tradition of snapping a photo of Mason Hall. Now to get my day started in the office.
8:15 a.m. – Admissions_Daniel
Just finished composing my To Do list for the day. Seven important items to complete before the release of e-mail decisions tonight. Decided to go witha Foo Fighters playlist for the morning. Going to tackle some e-mail, post a message on College Confidential (ugh!), and check out all of our social media sites. My colleagues are beginning to trickle in.
8:33 a.m. – Admissions_Shannon
Just got in the office and I am going to start my day now. I might not be as organized as Daniel is with competing To Do lists, but I have a lot on my desk too. First is to share some pictures with you all. Last night, much of the Admissions staff and some great student volunteers stayed late to get as much work done as possible so we could get decisions out today. We worked until about 8:00pm and Daniel and I snapped the following pictures.
10:03 a.m. – Admissions_Daniel
Nothing new to report. We are in a holding pattern as Financial Aid finishes stuffing some award letters and we do some database reviews. I have been getting through a variety of my to do list items and also had a compelling conversation with a colleague about Hopkins Lacrosse and how excited we are that they are ranked #1 in the nation. I wish I could head up to NYC this weekend to watch the team take on UNC in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic. It does though conflict with Wrestlemania 28 … Rock v. Cena in the “Once in a Lifetime Match” and Tripe H v. Undertaker in the “End of an Era” Hell-in-the-Cell match. Yeah, I may be 37 but I still watch wrestling. Got a problem with that?
10:45 a.m - We have begun the last round of checks of all decision letters. This will take some time. This is the third full check of letters against our applicant database and is proof of how meticulous our process is at every stage. Thorough doesn’t even begin to describe how much we put into each stage of our application processing, application review, decision making, and even production of decision letters. Best head upstairs to help my colleagues.
11:12 a.m. - OK, I need to clear something up. One of our admissions student volunteers questioned whether I am truly still a WWE fan (ugh, it was WWF back in my day) or whether I was just writing it to seem hip in this blog. Well, take a look at this photo. Yeah, that’s right … I have mini Rock and Cena figures on my desk at work. And even better, they were a birthday gift from Shannon. #YouCantSeeMe #TeamBringIt
11:51 a.m. - Just got the call that the class is sealed, all checks are complete, and we can now seal and stack all of our decision letters and packets. Then off to the post office we will go. There will be a bit of silence for the next few hours as Shannon and I work with our colleagues to get all of this done. Stay tuned for more updates later in the afternoon.
11:45 am – Admissions_Shannon
Today has been a crazy one…a day full of double tasking! While we are preparing for the big mail, we are also getting ready for our Admitted Student events in April. In fact, just finished chatting with some of our current tour guides about our Lunch with a Student Program. Thank goodness for Bryan Nance … I missed out on breakfast so he brought me some potatoes to snack on. Yum. Now I am going to head upstairs and help everyone.
3:00 p.m. – Admissions_Daniel
Apologies for the lack of updates. It has been a whirlwind of activity in the office for the last few hours. I need to take a breath and download some photos. I will have a re-cap of everything posted in the next half hour. But … YES … decisions have been mailed.
3:17 p.m. – As I know many of you are curious, I am going to reflect back over the last few hours. Here is how everything transpired in order:
1) Last check of letters is completed as the entire Admissions staff chipped in.
2) The sealing of admit packets commences.
3) The heavy lifters — Daniel and JB — move all sealed admit packets from their bins to U.S. mail bins.
4) In record time all packets are sealed, loaded into mail bins, and ready to move downstairs.
5) Three SUVs appear in the semi-circular driveway in front of Mason Hall just as all the mailed decisions arrive.
6) The loading of the cars commences with many, many hands.
7) The cars are loaded. Susan heads up to the main Johns Hopkins post office in Mount Washington with all deny, wait list, and international mailings. JB, Shannon, Calvin, Sarah, and Daniel head to the downtown Baltimore Post Office with two cars and close to 40 bins of admit packets.
8) The unloading of the cars takes place simultaneously in two different locations and just around 1:45 p.m. all regular decision notifications are out of the hands of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
9) Back to Homewood and Mason for some lunch and to reflect.
10) Time to blog.
Whew. A busy few hours indeed, but one of excitement and joy in our office. Slideshow to come very soon.
3:31 p.m. – Slideshow time. Enjoy.
3:35 p.m. – Admissions_Shannon
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the post office we went! With the final seal of approval from the president’s office, it was time to seal the mail. All hands on deck, the entire admissions staff – PR, operations, IT, communications, and counselors – got the priority mail envelopes ready for shipment. We then caravanned down to the Baltimore City post office where we unloaded two cars filled to the brim with acceptance packets.
When we returned to Mason Hall the first thing we noted was how empty the main room on the third floor felt. See!
Then it was time to play. Calvin decided that I needed to be pushed in one of the large mail bins. Thankfully no one was injured, but Daniel snapped some good pictures.
Now that everything is in the mail, we have had a bit of fun, it is time to prepare the emails to be sent!
5:05 p.m. - After a LONG day at the office, things have really quieted down. People are once again busy, but this time, preparing for April. I had one last meeting with current students, and now I am out the door to head to Kickball – yes, I play adult kickball with some co-workers and friends! It will be great to relax and take a break after a super busy week.
5:15 p.m. – Admissions_Daniel
Here is our press release that discusses the release of Regular Decision notifications:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
March 29, 2012
Thursday March 29, 2012—The Office of Undergraduate Admissions officially “sealed” the Class of 2016 today, sending admit packets and e-mails to 3,071 accepted Regular Decision applicants. These talented students will join 557 students who were admitted Early Decision in December.
A snapshot of the admitted members of the Class of 2016:
Total applications received: 20,496 – record applicant total for 11th straight year
Total students admitted: 3,628
Overall acceptance rate: 17.7% – an all-time low
Males/females: 50.4% / 49.6%
Preliminary areas of academic interest:
- Whiting School of Engineering: 38%
- Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: 62%
- Humanities: 27% (of admitted KSAS students)
- Natural sciences: 45%
- Social and behavioral sciences: 26%
- Undecided: 3%
All 50 states represented, plus D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are represented. New York continues to lead state representation in both applications received and offers of admission.
293 international students have been admitted, residing in 65 nations. Of particular note, 18 European countries are represented with offers made to 83 students. 123 students represent 11 East Asian countries. There are also 34 Canadian students, 20 students from South America, 18 students from South Asia, and 12 students from Central America and the Caribbean.
Regular Decision admitted students have until May 1, 2012, to reply to the university’s offer of admissions.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016!
5:38 p.m. – Admissions_Daniel
As my colleagues on our IT team working diligently to prepare to begin the release of e-mail notifications starting after 6:00 p.m., there are a few important things I want to review, and I hope you heed this advice.
FIRST, we will start sending e-mails after 6:00 p.m. ET. Please note the bold, italic, underlined emphasis on the key words start and after. This means that you will not receive an e-mail in your in-box immediately at 6:00 p.m. It will take a while for all the e-mails to be sent out (probably over an hour) and there is a good chance we don’t start sending exactly at 6:00 p.m. If you keep refreshing your e-mail in-box at 6:00, 6:01, 6:04, 6:10, … and there is no message — DO NOT PANIC and do not assume anything. Be patient and allow the process to work properly. (Also, there is no specific order to how we will send e-mails.)
SECOND, here is some sound advice that I hope you follow. For the next hour (if not two hours) step away from your e-mail. Stop reading this blog. Stop checking your in-box. Stop checking College Confidential (in fact I suggest stopping that altogether). Relax. Take a nap. Get a snack. Read a magazine. Eat an orange. Go do something that will calm you and distract you. Take your mind off the ticking clock.
THIRD, and most importantly, after you receive your e-mail decision my strong suggestion is that you log-off and go spend some time with your family. No matter what decision you receive, let the news sink in and do it off-line. This is a major milestone in your life, and you should share your initial reactions and emotions with your family and those closest to you. These people have been there since the first moment of your life, and they will be there FOREVER. Your family is not an online community. Your family is not Facebook. Your family in not some anonymous screenname. Your family is not this blog. Please follow this advice. Receive your decision and sign off. Don’t update your Facebook status immediately. Don’t post a blog comment. Don’t go post your emotions on some Web forums. Share your thoughts and emotions in the real world first. The virtual world will be there later for you to provide a social media spin on your news.
I say it every year … let the news sink in first — react in the real world before entering the cyber world.
Best wishes to all of you. This is our last update until after we release the e-mail notifications. We will have a few final thoughts later on tonight.
8:15 a.m. – Admissions_Daniel
All our e-mails have now been sent. Please continue to have patience because e-mail servers all have different delivery times. The process seems to have gone quite smooth this year (fingers crossed). I will monitor things throughout the evening. Please remember a few things I posted in the decision release blog earlier in the week:
- DO NOT share your decision e-mail with other people nor post the message on any public form or Web site. The e-mails contain personalized information.
- If you did not receive an e-mail tonight, I suggest:
- Check SPAM folders.
- If your e-mail address is associated with a private school, your school’s server may block our decision e-mails and you should check with your school’s network administrator to have the e-mail released.
- Check ANY and all e-mail accounts you have ever used during the college search process. We send the e-mail to the account you listed on your application. However, our database system does track all e-mail accounts that have ever been matched to your record, so on occasion the notification e-mail may be sent to an old e-mail address. (Check e-mails that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example, such as your parents e-mail accounts.)
I got a bunch of work to take care of, but I will have one final update a bit later on.
9:15 p.m. – Admissions_Shannon
By this point, decisions have been released. Now, I’ll be curling up with my book (currently reading the Hunger Games) and heading to bed. I am looking forward to meeting the admitted members of the Class of 2016 in the coming month, and, believe it or not, beginning to work with the potential members of the Class of 2017. This was fun sharing the live blogging duties with Daniel. I’ll let him finish it off later tonight.
10:10 a.m. – Admissions_Daniel
Wow, what a day. I’ve been going non-stop for nearly 17 straight hours, but it has been totally worth it. I started the day excited and exhausted and as we wrap-up another decision release day I must say I remain excited and exhausted. There will be time over the next few days to reflect on all the decisions, and I plan to post very soon new blog entries for the admits, the wait listed, and the denies. The work will continue tomorrow but I need to get some shut eye. I always wish I would have something more poignant to say at the end of this long day of blogging, but unfortunately the words are failing me. I will leave you with one of my favorite shots of the Homewood campus take by current Johns Hopkins junior Greco Song: