Meet Your Admissions Counselor XI: Calvin Wise

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Name: Calvin Wise

Region: Maryland (all counties except Howard, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel), Washington State, and Oregon

Educational Background: B.A. in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Meet Admissions Counselor: Calvin Wise

JHU Start Date: August 31st 2011

Years in Admissions: This is my 3rd year.

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?

I wanted to work in a profession where I could make a difference.  Every day, I get to help students through one of the most difficult processes they have experienced to date.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?

Here at Hopkins, I have the opportunity to evaluate some of the most interesting students in the country.  It’s very exciting to see them bring their potential to our campus community.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?

My ideal set-up consists of a hot beverage, my iTunes, and close proximity to the kitchen.

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?

When I need a break from reading, I like to exercise.  It always clears my mind so I can refocus.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?

For the JHU supplement question #2, a student once listed all the different quirks about herself.  I thought it was funny and unique.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?

Essays that really show an applicant’s character and personality stand out the most to me.  The goal is to read an application and feel like I know the student without having met them.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?

During an information session I was giving, I saw Santa Claus walking through our lobby.  Pretty amazing.

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?

I would take the class Baltimore and The Wire because it focuses on one of my favorite shows.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?

My favorite place would be the fitness center.  It has everything I need to work out and there is always a pick-up basketball game going.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?

Peter-topia: The Political and Social Significance of Family Guy. Using the popular television show Family Guy as our focal point, we will closely examine popular culture references.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?

A student once asked me if we performed background investigations on all of our applicants.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?

I would look forward to meeting new people.  Our campus is full of students from all around the world with different backgrounds.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?

I would join the Multicultural Student Volunteers of course!  MSV is an organization that assists the Office of Admissions in recruiting and enrolling a diverse incoming class.  My reason for joining MSV is not because I’m partial (well maybe).  It is because MSV is a group that combines students from all of the different backgrounds represented on our campus.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?

The movie that makes me think of my college days is definitely Wedding Crashers.  It came out on DVD during my freshman year and we watched it literally every day.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?

I would have to say Will Smith because we have similar personalities.

Meet Your Admissions Counselor X: Chloe Rothstein

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Name: Chloe Rothstein

Region: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming and Mexico.

Educational Background: B.A. in Political Science and a Spanish minor, Stanford University. In the process of attaining a M.S.Ed in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

JHU Start Date: July 23, 2007

Years in Admissions: 4 ½

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?

I like trying to envision how young people will contribute to the Johns Hopkins community and, moreover, how attending JHU might have a longstanding impact on that individual and his or her family and community. It is also fun to try to get to know someone via an application, especially after meeting face-to-face, and picture him or her on campus.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?

My two favorite things are that: 1) we have a ton of current students working in our office and get to learn so much about the university through them and 2) that we have a lot of flexibility to advocate for the students we most admire during the admissions process.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?

My ideal set-up for reading applications is settling down in my comfy clothes at my desk at home for a day of reading applications. I love being near the kitchen so I have access to plenty of tea and whatever snacks I need to get me through the day.

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?

I usually check exciting new Facebook posts, do another admissions project or go to the gym for a quick break.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?

Once someone sent a pair of bedazzled jeans in as part of their application!

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?

Essays that make an application stick out from all the others I read in a day are usually genuine, to the point and employ detailed visuals to get the main point across. Showing is always better than telling. If the admissions counselor puts down your essay feeling as though he or she really has a grasp of who you are you have definitely succeeded.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?

Meeting 30 students to blow up 600 balloons at 3 a.m. in order to decorate before our admitted student program last year was pretty awesome. We had a lot of fun. See an attached picture!

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?

Adam Sheingate teaches a really interesting course in the Political Science Department called “Food Politics.” I had the opportunity to sit in on this course during our admitted student program last year. Prof. Sheingate was a really captivating speaker and gave a brief overview of the course that covers genetically modified food, international conflicts over agriculture subsidies, food safety and obesity.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?

One of my favorite things about the Homewood campus is that although you have all of the amenities of a city, there are a lot of spots on campus where you feel as though you are miles away from urban living. One of my favorite spots is on the two-mile loop that surrounds campus; there are so many trees and on parts of it you essentially feel as though you are in the woods.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?

How to survive post-dining hall and pre-cooking skills: the most delicious instant meals of Lean Cuisine, Amy’s, Evol and so many more…

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?

Last year while I was on the road a student asked if Hopkins had a medical school!

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?

I would love to be a freshman for the day and eat dinner at FFC, where all freshmen dine. It has an unlimited dessert bar :-)

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?

From Classroom to Community

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?

Dancing to Usher’s “Yeah.”

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?

Lisa Loeb because she’s quirky, fun and I’m her doppelganger.

Want to know even more about Chloe Rothstein? Re-visit some of her past Admissions Staff Profiles: January 31, 2008March 10, 2010.

Meet Your Admissions Counselor VIII: Bryan Nance

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Meet Admissions Counselor: Bryan Nance

Meet Admissions Counselor: Bryan Nance

Name: Bryan G. Nance

Region:  Delaware, New Jersey

Educational Background: B.S. Sociology, Norfolk State University; MPA, University of Delaware

JHU Start Date: 12 September 2011

Years in Admissions: 12

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
I enjoy working with young people and in learning organizations.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
I enjoy interacting with really cool students.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
I am currently engrossed in reading the Hunger Games series. (I hope to finish the first book before the movie is released)

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
Once an applicant sent a life sized 6-foot cutout of himself.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
When I get a chance to understand who an applicant really is and how they will fit into the Hopkins community.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
I once heard two physics majors describe a hockey goalie as a quantum singularity.

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
I love physics! I read Brian Greene for fun. (I don’t always understand it…) I would nevertheless take Condensed Matter Physics.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
Decker Quad… Where else can you watch live Quidditch matches?

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
BBQ for Dummies. Because EVERYBODY needs to know how to smoke something on a grill.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
Where is Johns Hopkins located? (I was less than 10 miles away from campus when asked that question.)

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
Intellectual discourse.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
Blue Jay ROTC Battalion. As a former Army Officer I bleed black and gold.  “Go Army, Beat Navy”. I would also join the Black Student Union. Their description says it all: “To stimulate Black unity, respect, and self-consciousness.”

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen.  Because no matter how great it was, you can never go back again.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
Captain Kirk would play me because he beat the Kobayashi Maru. Like him, I don’t believe in the no-win scenario. “No win. No Glory.”

 

Meet Your Admissions Counselor VI: Dana Messinger

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Name: Dana Messinger

Meet Admissions Counselor: Dana Messinger

Meet Admissions Counselor: Dana Messinger

Region: PA, VA, Canada, Malaysia & Philippines

Educational Background: BA from Johns Hopkins University; JD Georgetown University Law Center

JHU Start Date: August 2009

Years in Admissions: 2 +

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
Although my path to college admissions isn’t a straight one, it’s something I’ve been interested in since I was a student here at Hopkins.  In college, I was an admissions intern, tour guide, and student interviewer.  At the time, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer (hence law school), but I continued to volunteer for the admissions office at my law school and was active in recruiting lawyers for my firm.  After I left the law firm, I spent a year on the road campaigning, initially service as the youth outreach coordinator in a number of states.  When the campaign season ended, I decided to jump in with two feet and accepted the position I’m in now.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
I love working on a college campus.  I’ve been involved with the overnight programs and now coordinate the on campus interviews with Katie Rieder, so I get to spend a lot of time working with current students who are as passionate about the school as I am.  Hopkins also has a really pretty campus, so it can be really relaxing to take a walk mid day or go for a jog when the weather is nice.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
I like to read from home – preferably in my PJs.  I’ve set my desk up with a big monitor, by a window (and far away from the TV).

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
Reading applications can be really interesting, but when they all start to look the same, I usually take a break and go to the gym.  I find spending 45 minutes or an hour on something purely physical helps me to relax and stay focused.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
I like really quirky applications, but when it’s really out there, I sometimes find myself playing the “is this quirky or weird” game.  I think my favorite quirky essay came from a kid that made up his own language, complete with grammatical structures and conjugation rules.  He would leave post it notes around the house to learn it and had a whole list serve of kids at school that wanted the weekly quiz and word of the day.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
A good college essay is personal.  No matter how well written it is if I don’t feel like I know the student any better at the end, it doesn’t really stay with me.  The best essays are the ones that let me picture what the applicant is like in some facet of his or her life.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
We threw a holiday party for the student interviewers and there was a bit of an ugly sweater competition amongst the student exec board.  Seeing Ardi wear a rhinestone eyed Santa sweater was pretty amusing.

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
I’d probably take another political science class, like Crime and Society with Professor Ginsberg (great teacher!) or Global Environmental Politics – I loved the department as a student and am still quite the political nerd.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
I love to jog around campus – the loop is 2 miles long and it takes me past the gym, the freshman quad, the beach, etc – it’s a little bit of everything.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
I’m a big football fan, and intersession coincides nicely with playoff season, so it would probably be a crash course on the rules and how to throw a great football watching party (guacamole recipes being the key here).

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
I was once cornered in the parking lot by a mother who wanted to know what the admissions rate into Hopkins Medical school is.  Aside from the fact that we’re two separate institutions, she must have gotten a description of what I’m wearing from her kid, because the presentation was for students only.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
As hokey as it sounds, my favorite thing about being a student here were the friends I made.  I still talk to and hang out with a lot of them, but getting to spend the day with all of them again would be special.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
We didn’t have a club squash team when I was a student here – I’ve started to play a bit with friends, so I could easily see myself joining that group.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
The Social Network – but only because it was filmed on this campus

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
I’ve heard I look a bit like Rachel Weisz.  She’s taller than I am, so that’s a plus as well.

Want to know even more about Dana Messinger? Re-visit some of her past Admissions Staff Profiles: February 16, 2010March 12, 2010.

Meet Your Admissions Counselor V: Rachel Cowan Jacobs

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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

Meet Admissions Counselor: Rachel Cowan Jacobs

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.

Want to know even more about Rachel Cowan Jacobs? Re-visit some of her past Admissions Staff Profiles: February 10, 2006February 7, 2008.

Meet Your Admissions Counselor IV: Sarah Godwin

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Name: Sarah Godwin

Meet Admissions Counselor: Sarah Godwin

Meet Admissions Counselor: Sarah Godwin

Region: Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York (Long Island), North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin

Educational Background: University of Vermont,  B.A., political science, The George Washington University,  M.A., Education and Human Development (higher ed. Leadership program)

JHU Start Date: 8/12/2008

Years in Admissions: This is my 8th admissions cycle :)

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
Once upon a time in a land far away, in a millennium that has passed, I wanted to be a lawyer.   I ended up working as a legal assistant and toiled in a gray cube.  I found the work just about as interesting as my gray cube.   When I was 23 – I switched to something that better fit my personality and who I am as a person.  Talking to students and their families and reading fascinating applications from all over the world is far more appealing to me than writing a legal contract.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
I manage a volunteer group, Engineering Ambassadors.  They give engineering tours, speak to prospective students, and staff our “lunch with an engineer” program.  It is great to know a group of such smart, interesting,  and funny engineering students.   It’s a huge perk.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
While I don’t feel comfortable submitting a picture of the inside of my apartment – (hello creepy!) here is a picture of my view that I see from my desk at home.  Okay, so the double rainbow isn’t there every day – but on New Year’s day 2012, I looked up from reading files (yes, admissions officers read on holidays) and saw this amazing rainbow!  Even without the rainbow, it’s still a great view.  This view is from downtown, facing north towards Hopkins, I can see the Spring Fair fireworks at Hopkins from here.

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
Either go for a walk, do some jumping jacks, do dishes, anything that will have me doing something totally different (i.e. nothing on the computer or anything that I have to read).

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
I read an essay this week of a student who did his student government speech in the form of a rap song – he was nervous – but it worked! The school loved it and he is now president of the student body at his high school.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
When it is something only you could have written about. For example, being on a soccer team is a fairly common experience that many people can write about,  but growing your own organic garden or telling me about your elaborate take-out menu collection and how it defines who you are, well that is an “only you could write that” kind of essay.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
In 2010, the entire Johns Hopkins campus played a joke on the world.  Our communications office issued a press release announcing we had officially dropped the “S” in Johns, and from here on out would be known as The John Hopkins University.  There was a quote from the president of JHU, staff, students, etc. as to why.  We made the evening news with Tom Brokaw and many people believed this, but quickly realized it was April 1st.  HA HA! We love Uncle Johns way too much to ever drop that “S”.If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
I really want to take one of the B’more intersession classes.  This year there are fourteen different courses, each allowing you to explore various aspects of Baltimore in depth.  Here are the top 2 I’d take:  History – Blue Collar Baltimore,   and/or Public Health B’more Vaccines and Child Health .

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
I know I’m incredibly biased, but Mason Hall. For 2 main reasons – first, if you’ve visited us on campus, you may have noticed it is one of the newer buildings on campus and it is beautiful.  The 2nd (and more important) is that the people in this building are amazing; my fellow admissions counselors, our PR staff, our student volunteers, etc.  everyone (including our visitors!) makes this a great building to be in.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
Impress your roommates: Easy cooking for the true beginner.  This is/was me!  2 years ago I decided I wanted to teach myself how to cook, and I did!  Well, to be honest I’m still a work in progress but I’ve perfected a few things I could probably teach.   We’d learn how to roast a chicken, make beef burgundy, a vegetable frittata and an apple tart.  Thankfully intersession is only a few weeks because I would run out of things I knew how to make if it were much longer.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
Do you have pre-med?  Asked every day, multiple times.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
Getting  juice from the fresh squeezed O.J. machine in the Fresh Food Café.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
One of our several female a capella groups.  What? You have to actually be able to sing? I thought this was a hypothetical question.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
Titanic – it came out when I was in college and my friends and I all saw it together and when it finally came out on VHS (it’s a tape that you use in a…nevermind) we watched and quoted it non-stop.  And to think, that was just the beginning of block busters for Leo!

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
This one stumped me as I’m not great at remembering names and faces of celebrities.  Luckily, Admissions_Daniel knows everything about movies and said Nicole Kidman. Why? Because Admissions_Daniels said so!

Want to know even more about Sarah Godwin? Re-visit some of her past Admissions Staff Profiles:
February 6, 2009February 24, 2010.

Meet Your Admissions Counselor III: Sherryl Fletcher

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Name: Sherryl A. Fletcher

Region:Illinois, Michigan and Ohio

Meet Admissions Counselor: Sherryl Fletcher

Educational Background:  MA The University of Michigan, BA Albion College

JHU Start Date: 1996

Years in Admissions: 29 years, 14 at the University of Michigan’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and 15 at Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
I was a tour guide as an undergraduate student for the President’s Office and for special campus visitors for the Bonta Office of Admissions and really enjoyed the experience. When I began my Masters degree in 1983 in Higher Education at the University of Michigan, the Office of Admissions needed a graduate assistant who had a bit of admissions experience.  I quickly found that the profession was a great fit for me! Many thanks to my first two Michigan administrators, Dr. Cliff Sjogren, Director of Admissions, and Dr. Lance Erickson, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, for believing in my potential.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
I really enjoy the balance of meeting exceptionally talented prospective students and currently enrolled undergraduates. The colleagues I work with on campus and nationally are also terrifically talented and have become wonderful friends.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
My reading of applications is a unique and creative approach which is most often at my desk in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or during the evening and weekends, at my dining room table at home. My office desk is my favorite place because I use an incentive system to set goals, with rewards, for my reading. If you look closely at this picture, you will see a chewy candy reward (Swedish fish are a favorite choice) as an incentive to read 5 applications, another reward for 10 and another reward for 15, and so on. I also reward myself with a quick walk after each 10 applications read!

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
My breaks on campus are spent in meetings which remind me of the richly diverse sense of place here at Johns Hopkins which I need to keep in mind as I review applications.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
I will substitute quirky with creative. One of my favorite applications arrived with a box with a glass globe within in, picture a fortune teller’s globe! Around the globe were pennies with wishes attached to them. What was memorable was that all the wishes were for others and not one wish was for the applicant. The theme was one thousand pennies, one thousand wishes to change the world. Thank you, Carleigh.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
When a student is writing in an authentic voice, their own experiences stand out as unique views of who he/she is and the potential to contribute within the classroom and within the Johns Hopkins community.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
I really enjoy watching our Johns Hopkins University video which we use during our admissions information sessions because it showcases one of many talents our President has, he is filmed as he manages a hula hoop extremely well!

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
Any class in the History of Art department would be a top choice for me as one of my undergraduate degrees was in studio art, an early BFA program, and I did not have the chance to take as many art history courses as I would have hoped for.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
Gilman Hall is my favorite place on campus. It is a beautiful place to read applications on my laptop with a great cup of coffee or tea.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
My Intersession class would focus on the role of positive thinking and visualization as a method for creating success as an athlete or a member of any team. I played tennis for some years at the competitive level.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
The craziest, yet possibly predictable question I usually receive when representing Johns Hopkins is, do your sons attend Johns Hopkins? My response is that they would have loved to have been students here if I did not work here! Maybe I should not have mentioned that I could have had lunch with them each week.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
I would have loved to have been a student here at Johns Hopkins because of the balance between engaged learning in the classroom and the leadership opportunities with organizations outside of the classroom. I would have loved to have played DIII field hockey and tennis for the Blue Jays.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
I would have joined a sorority as well as Blue Key, our admissions tour guide society, combined with being a two season athlete.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
Any song that was recorded by the Doobie Brothers brings back college memories, and I am certainly dating myself with this response.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
I think I would have my two sons, Christopher, age 22, and Cameron, age 19, narrate an independent film/ story of my life interspersed with pictures of my favorite places, because the central theme is the balance of family and dear friends with a professional career between my home state of Michigan and our family state of Maryland.

Want to know even more about Sherryl Fletcher? Re-visit some of her past Admissions Staff Profiles:
March 3, 2010; February 14, 2008; February 14, 2006

Meet Your Admissions Counselor II: Daniel Creasy

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Name: Daniel Creasy

Region: New England (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)

Meet Admissions Counselor: Daniel Creasy

Meet Admissions Counselor: Daniel Creasy

Educational Background: Brown University; BA in Political Science

JHU Start Date: August 25, 2003

Years in Admissions: 13 years

Why did you chose to go into college admissions?
Originally my plan post-college was to work in communications and specifically political journalism.  Following a stint working for CNN I realized that I was not cut out for working in the media. I decided to find a job that I would not have to commit a career to and would provide me time to re-evaluate my professional history. Since I had enjoyed giving campus tours and helping out in the Admissions Office I applied for entry-level college admissions jobs thinking I might enjoy the field for a few years. Thirteen years later I have discovered a career and a passion.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
This used to be a hard question to answer as I could think of so many responses, but now there is a clear cut answer that comes to mind: The Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB). Working on a regular basis with such creative, determined, engaging, and dedicated students has become the true joy of my job and why I love what I do and where I work.  SAAB is in many ways my pseudo-family and I care for each of the students greatly. Last year I wrote about my “love” for SAAB past and present in this blog entry: Featured Students: SAAB Legacy. And seriously, how could my answer be anything else … these students got Hopkins to be the #1 social media college in the country.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
I need to be at home. I need water, a good iTunes playlist, warm socks, and Soze suntanning near me.

Admissions_Daniel's Home Office

Admissions_Daniel's Home Office

Soze's normal position while I am reading applications.

Soze's normal position while I am reading applications.

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
I am an early riser so my reading day is pretty unusual. I normally start reading around 5:30 a.m. after walking Soze and having a quick breakfast. I usually read until 11:00 a.m. with either VH1 music videos or Mike and Mike in the background. I then take a break, play with Soze, have lunch, and watch a favorite show I TiVo’ed from the night before. Then it is usually nap time. I am back up and reading around 3:00 p.m.  and will read straight until dinner time around 7:00 p.m. After dinner and a nice walk for Soze, it is back to reading until my eyes can’t stay open. So pretty much Soze, food, TV, and/or a nap are my go-to activities when not reading.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
My colleagues always get the quirky things from applicants, but I did get a unique “gift” when I was at a college fair a few years ago. It was at the Summer College Fair at Brown University. The event is held in the gym, in the summer, and for three hours I will typically have over a 1000 students visit my college fair table. Profuse sweating doesn’t even begin to describe what a college rep goes through while attending this event. So a few years ago a prospective student went around handing out pocket fans for each school he was interested in, and on the fans he had printed all of his contact information  to get on our mailing list. I still have the fan, but unfortunately the student didn’t apply.

What make an application essay really stand out for you?
It absolutely needs to be personal. I need to have a better sense of who the applicant is after reading the essay. In fact, I want applicants to think of it less as an essay and more as a personal statement. Being personal makes an essay effective, being original and creative makes an essay stand out.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
This past summer I was giving an information session to a large crowd of visitors in the Auditorium of Mason Hall. I show a 9-minute video overview of Hopkins to start my session and then when the movie is complete I raise the video screen and shades to the large windows at the base of the auditorium. It is a pretty impressive use of technology, but as the shades and screen are rising, just outside on the patio of the Colonnade that surrounds Mason Hall there is a young man with his pants down tucking in his shirt and putting on a tie. There was an audible gasp from the crowd and then laughter. The laughter got out of control because the man had no idea we were watching him and he took more than a minute to finally raise his pants.

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
Education Politics in Urban America – In college I never took a single Education class and now I guess after 13 years working in higher education I would be curious to take one. My student worker Miranda actually took the class last spring and when we chatted about the class it sounded like I would have really enjoyed it.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
I know it is not a creative answer but my office in Mason Hall. I have a great view overlooking the Decker Quad and I often have my students in my office which makes it a ton of fun.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
Manage 3 TiVos: Tales from a Television Addict OR How to fix the Academy Awards – Anyone who has followed this blog or my Twitter account knows I have a serious addiction to television and movies. The first class would be a class on organizing one’s television addiction while maximizing the effectiveness of DVR recording space. The second class would be a survey and discussion class to determine how to get younger generations to connect with the Oscars.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
Do you have hair? This was at a college fair in rural Maine and after a few awkward moments I realized the girl was asking if we had a program for cutting hair. After even more awkward remarks I referred her to the Barbizon website.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
Eating at the FFC. My memories of college cafeteria food at Brown bring back nightmares. I have been to the FFC a number of times and the food is quite good, and even more impressive is the options. If I had just one day I would eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and make sure I get late night in as well.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organization, which one would you join?
I guess saying SAAB would be too easy, so I probably would choose either trying out for the Woodrow Wilson Debate team or writing for the News-Letter. Debate because I do love to argue intelligently, and the newspaper because I have some really good ideas on how to improve their content.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
Song would have to be anything by Sade. The French girl who lived next door to me my sophomore year used to play Sade on repeat all day and night. The walls were so thin, and I literally almost went crazy listening to the soft melodies 24/7. When I asked her to please play the music lower or have a bit of variety she cursed me out in French and blew smoke in my face. She was not a nice neighbor. So I started playing Nine Inch Nails and Ministry on repeat. Book would have to be Crime and Punishment and movie would have to be Priscilla Queen of the Desert but those stories will have to wait until another blog profile.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
John Belushi. Many people have told me this before and I can see it … big guy and very loud. Yeah, that’s me.

Want to know even more about Daniel Creasy (me!)? Re-visit some of my past Admissions Staff Profiles:
February 21, 2010February 21, 2008; February 7, 2006

Meet Your Admissions Counselor I: John Birney

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Editor’s Note: This entry begins a multi-part blog series where members of the Johns Hopkins Admissions Committee respond to a a series of questions to help applicants and other prospective audiences “get to know us” better. Check back every Monday and Thursday for the next six weeks to read a new profile. We will be following the order of our Meet the Staff page: http://apply.jhu.edu/contact/staff.html. Enjoy!

Name: John Birney

Meet Admissions Counselor: John Birney

Meet Admissions Counselor: John Birney

Region: Connecticut and New York (except Long Island)

Educational Background: Lynchburg College; BA in History and MEd in Curriculum and Instruction

JHU Start Date: August 21, 2000

Years in Admissions: 17 years

Why did you choose to go into college admissions?
As I was completing my graduate degree, I was unhappy with what I was doing – teaching high school history.  So I went to my graduate adviser who had a friend in the admissions office.  She made a call on my behalf to see if admissions could use an intern for a semester.  They did, I went, and I was hit with the bug of enrolling college students.  The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you like best about working in admissions at Johns Hopkins University?
I’d like to think that many staff have distinct and favorite parts of working in admissions.  My two favorite areas, as my colleagues would agree, are my work with the Hodson Trust Scholars group, and my involvement with Hopkins Athletics.  I have responsibility for the selection of the Hodson Scholars – clearly some of the finest and most involved students on campus – and we’ve now designed that group as a student organization.  My work with JHU Athletics is both extremely fun and rewarding.  Recruiting athletes who have the both the intellectual stamina and athletic prowess to continue our longstanding tradition of winning is something to which I’ll never tire.  A quick look at our national ranking of 13 in the Learfield Cup is a testament to our success.  To read more about Hopkins sports, please see: www.hopkinssports.com.

What is your ideal set-up for reading applications?
The picture included is of my office set up.  I only need a couple things to make reading a success: the second monitor, cold drink, comfortable clothes, music, closed door, and a minimum of interruptions.

What do you do when you need a break from application reading?
I have a few shows I like on TLC or Discovery that I try and catch up on.  You’d think that reading is the last thing I’d do, but I like to catch up on the newest books of my favorite authors: Patterson, Grisham, Cornwell, Evanovich, and Kellerman.

What is one of the quirkiest things an applicant ever did with their application?
An applicant wrote an essay on the inside of a fishing lure box, which included the actual lure.  The lure happens to be a plastic spot with dual treble hooks.  I use this lure every year when I fish for stripers in the fall.  It’s caught two fish so far.

What makes an application essay really stand out for you?
The topic needs to be unusual and interesting.  I love to find out those characteristics of students which are rarely known.

What is the funniest thing you’ve overheard or seen while at Johns Hopkins?
In my first year, I witnessed a tour guide, walking backwards, fall down a flight of steps while on tour.  She was not injured in the fall.

If you could take a class at Hopkins, which one and why?
Beer History and Appreciation. To many, beer is an acquired taste.  I enjoy the many nuances between varietal types of beer; it’s pairings with food and the complexity of how they are produced.  This course provides the introduction and sampling to broaden my knowledge and palate.

What is your favorite place on the Homewood campus?
Standing on Homewood Field – especially during home lacrosse games.

If you could teach an Intersession class, what would be the class name and description?
Auctions: Unexpected Treasures. Learn the auction business from an experienced auction house bidder.  Participants will go behind the scenes working with an auction house as it writes contracts with sellers, appraises items, and writes marketing campaigns.  Students will complete the class by working on the auction floor as items are sold to the highest bidder.

What is the craziest question you’ve ever been asked while recruiting for Johns Hopkins?
Do we have a medical school?  OK, not the funniest, but that question is more common than you’d think.  More funny is the student who asked about a mortuary science degree.  Sorry, we’re not in the business of creating future funeral directors.

If you could be a student at Hopkins for a day, what would you look forward to most?
I’d look forward to my time after class.  The social time, club and organization meeting, intramural sports, fraternity life, etc., would be the highlight of my day.

If you could join any Hopkins club or organizations, which one would you join?
I’d join The Allnighters, our only all male a capella group.  One of my college minors was vocal performance (I even went to college on a music scholarship) and tight harmonies are my favorite to perform.

What song or book or movie makes you think of your college days and why?
“Lay Your Hands on Me”, Bon Jovi, New Jersey.  This was the first song I queued up on my new stereo – and I played it LOUD.  I was trying to impress the guys on the hall that I had monster speakers – I can’t tell you if they were impressed.

If a movie was made about your life, who would play your part and why?
Chris O’Donnell.  We’re the same age and height, plus I’m a big fan of Scent of a Woman.

Want to know even more about John Birney? Re-visit some of his past Admissions Staff Profiles:
March 1, 2010March 3, 2008; January 4, 2006.

2012: Post-Application Deadline Survival Guide

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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 apphelp@jhu.edu. 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.

I have received a number of requests for more pictures of my dog Soze. Here is one I took a few days ago. Soze doing what he loves to do ... relaxing and sun tanning.

I have received a number of requests for more pictures of my dog Soze. Here is one I took a few days ago. Soze doing what he loves to do ... relaxing and sun tanning.

Remember, if you have any further questions you can:

–      Send an e-mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions: gotojhu@jhu.edu.

–      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.