Category: Application Cycle (archive)

What time is it?


Greetings from the madness. That is my newly minted nickname for this time of year in the world of Hopkins Admissions. The initial reviews of this year’s 14,800+ applications are complete, but we are no where close from being DONE. Now the so-called “fun” begins … as we spend the next two and half weeks shaping and putting together the final class. Committee reviews have commenced and the arduous reviews of our reviews is are primary focus.

Evaluating 40+ applications day, 7 days a week, for nearly three months is quite overwhelming, but these next round of committee days are hard to explain. Let me take a stab at defining them though — how about excruciating, maddening, stimulating, distressing and formidable all wrap together. Just look at what it has done to Soze…


Actually I think what did this to Soze and what has added to the madness is this whole early Day Light Savings time change. On Sunday when I was in the office (yup, no rest for the weary) my watch, clock, computer clock, and phone clock all had different times. Though it is nice that daylight now stays with us longer after our clocks “sprang ahead” (especially on a warm day like today), the early change has definitely messed with my fragile sleep schedule and internal clock. And time is a truly precious thing right now … as the mail date looms.

Speaking of the mail date, for us it is the light at the end of the tunnel, but for many of you it is that moment you have been counting down since you clicked submit or stamped that envelope to Baltimore. As well, the subject of mail date is the source of one of the most frequently asked questions we address at this time of year. So I thought, as I do from time to time, I would create a FAQ list entry to answer the most pressing questions. Hope this helps!


When will decisions be released?

Though the exact date has not been finalized, we currently are targeting a mail date during the last week of March (between the 26th – 30th). As soon as we know an official mail date I will update the blog. (Do know though that last minute changes do occur and the official mail date is not official until the mail arrives at the Baltimore post office — just check the blog arrives from last March.)

How will decisions be released?

We will release decisions the same way we did for Early Decision. First, all the decision letters (admits, wait lists, and denies) must leave the Admissions Office and arrive at the Baltimore main postal center. Then we will follow-up later that day with email decisions to those applicants who provided a current and working email address with their application. Decisions will not be released over the phone until a week after the mail date. There is no way to determine at what time the emails will be sent. As well, please be aware we do not have an online system for checking application status.

What if my email or mailing address has changed?

Well, then you need to update us. Please send an email to as soon as possible. Include your address update along with your full name, birth date, school, and old address.

I am wondering if my application is complete?

Applicants interested in checking if their application has been received and whether it is complete must call the Admissions Office at 410-516-8171. This information will only be discussed over the phone (not through email). Please note that our staff will only confirm if your application has been received and if any required application materials are missing. We are unable to confirm that supplemental materials or specific letters of recommendation have been processed. Rest assured that all applicants’ files are carefully checked for completion. We notify applicants who have incomplete files, and give those students an opportunity to provide us with any missing items, before we evaluate their applications. Once again, if anything is missing, someone from our office will contact you. Be assured that we will not make a decision on your file until it is complete.

I got an email saying my application is incomplete, will this hurt my chances?

No. That is why we contact our incomplete applicants and provide them time to send in the necessary materials. Those applications will be reviewed in the same manner as all other applications.

I’d like to update my application. Will anything I send now be considered?

You may feel free to update your application any time by sending something through the mail or via fax, 410-516-6025. (Updates through email will not be processed.) Chances are unlikely though that updates will be processed in time to be considered by the Admissions Committee.

I was admitted Early Decision and sent in my enrollment form and deposit. When should I expect to receive more information?

Just be a bit more patient. At the end of the month you will receive your next mailing and it will include information about housing selection. Also keep an eye out for an email from us at the end of the month detailing the launch of a special Class of 2011 forum … stay tuned.


OK, I am off to go figure out what time (and day) it is … one of my clocks needs to be correct.

P.S. Admissions_Daniel and the Hopkins Insider continue to make news. Take a look at this recent articles:

* The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus column – “Demystifying College Admissions” — click here.

7,845 … 10,486 … 12,564 … 13,806 … 14,210 … Will It Stop?


I thought that since the first month of 2007 is about to end it was about time to log-on and update the blog. I hope 2007 has started well for all of you. For me, odd years have typically been quite eventful and so I am expecting 2007 to keep with the trend. It is after all my 10 year college reunion and also the anniversary that I stopped officially being a New Yorker (both very sad memories now that I think of it). 31 days into 2007 and it is already shaping up to be one crazy, hectic year.

So you wonder where have I been these past few weeks. Well, some of you speculated another complication with the blog, but nope that is not the reason. As I sat in the eye doctor’s office today, more on that later, I jotted down a list of reasons (excuses?) of why I haven’t posted for over four weeks. Here is what I came up with:

Reasons for the absence of the Hopkins Insider:

#1: Heroes: Yes, I am completely enthralled in this best new show of the 2006-07 television season, in my humble opinion. First it was “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” and now it is “Are you on the List?” All I know is that I want to be on that list. I have been a big fan of these type of super-hero type stories — first with the X-Men, then with the little known USA show The 4400, and now with Heroes. If you are not watching this show you are missing out on one of the few original shows to hit TV in a long time. And unlike my other obsession, LOST, the answer to the mysteries come fast, and are not drawn out over a long season. (Oh yeah, another reason I am addicted to Heroes is the character Hiro Nakamura played by the amazing Masi Oka — who by the way graduated from the same college I did and the same year as I did as well. That is just cool.)

#2: 24: To be honest, another television show has also delayed my postings. The return of 24 and Jack Bauer, for a 6th day of fast-paced, shocking action. The first four hours of Day 6 were some of the best episodes ever. But then the last few hours have me wondering if 24 has “jumped the shark.” (By the way, if you don’t understand that phrase, read this.) So why do I think this? Well, I was not a fan of the way Curtis was killed. Last year I was shocked with the death of Edgar, but it worked and had a truly dramatic effect (i.e. emotion from Chloe). But, Curtis’ death was played out in a very weird way and then almost ignored when the nuke went off. But that is minor to my concern of the potential downfall of the show with the introduction of Jack’s brother and father. The brother twist is cool but really, really out-of-left-field. Plus, meeting Jack’s family has never really compelled me to watch before. I despised his wife in Day 1 and was so happy she was killed, and then there is Kim. In the end though I am not that worried … if the series could survive Kim being chased by a mountain lion, and then her as CTU agent, and then her dating C. Thomas Howell … I think it can survive Jack’s Dad – Babe the pig’s mentor. Or at least I hope it can. (And what is with the Physics professor from Numbe2s and Ally McBeal lawyer (Peter MacNicol) channeling Karl Rowe?)

#3: American Idol: OK, one last television distraction of late too. A.I. Season 6 continues to be an addiction simply because of Simon. The “other door” gimmick is non-stop hilarity too. And then there is the true talent that is found. This year so far I am a huge fan of both Sundance Head and Chris Sligh.

#4: Oscars: Beyond the tube, I actually have also been side-tracked from posting by the start of Oscar season. As much as I am a fan of TV shows, my true pop culture passion lies with films. I am a Netflix addict and the build up to Oscar season is truly one of my favorite times of year. First the Golden Globes, then the SAG Awards, then nomination day, then the great Entertainment Weekly issue dedicated to the nominees — I absorb it all while trying to also watch all the nominees. I’ll post my picks in a couple of weeks, and you will see how far my addiction truly extends.

#5: Work: To be really honest, the last month I have been super busy with work. As I mentioned in a previous entry I have this over-organizing disease. The term “anal retentive” doesn’t even begin to describe it. This debilitating illness becomes all consuming at the start of a new year as I must organize my calendar. Oops, sorry I meant calendars. Yes, that is plural – I have two wall calendars (24 & Lilly), two day calendars (Labradors and Mind Benders), two work calendars, a journal, two electronic calendars, and I make “to do lists” each day. Don’t believe me, check out the proof in these pictures. With so many calendars to organize, it takes about a month of my time.



#6: Reading: As you go through this list, most of you are thinking why isn’t he reading. Isn’t that his job. Well, you are right. I have been reading as well. Just this month I have completed three books. (1) Nelson Demille’s amazing, yet scary Wild Fire. John Corey rocks, but think I need to build a fall-out shelter now. (2) Daniel Golden’s The Price of Admission. I am really not a fan of privilege, and I am glad I work for JHU. (3) Gary Troup’s Bad Twin. I have to get ready for the return of LOST next week.

#7: The Truth: OK, though 1-6 are all true they are just distractions from what I have really been doing this past month. The reason for the delay is obvious to anyone who knows anything about college admissions — IT IS READING SEASON. My mornings, late mornings, noons, early afternoons, late afternoons, evenings, late evenings, even my dreams are filled with one thing right now — reading admissions files. Each day I need to read about 40 files … on average it takes 15-20 minutes for each file … you do the math … there is not much time left for other things.

I’m not complaining, it is just a fact of my job. Thankfully in my 9th year of reading I still have the passion for it, so even though it is difficult, I am able to give up my winter and early spring for this task. I feared that I may have also given up my vision to this process, but thankfully I passed my vision test yesterday with a perfect score, still 20/20. (See I told you that the visit to the eye doctor would return.)

As myself and my colleagues deal with the inundation of files to evaluate, there is another equally impressive operation taking place. For the past two months and continuing until the end of February, a team of professionals, temps, and amazing student workers will process tons and tons of paper. This massive operation is stunning to imagine as thousands of applications will be completed and tens of thousands of pieces of paper compiled. From the mail room, to the printing of online materials, to the sorting of documents, to the alphabetizing, to the filing, to the arranging of completed folders — the operations of an admissions office is a sight to behold. Enjoy these pictures as a small window into the world of application processing.




I hope you enjoyed this post and agree that the Hopkins Insider blog is back and better than ever. (Thanks Greeny!) I hope to be able to post more frequently in February, but if not at least you know what I will be doing — watching LOST!!!

P.S. Contest Time: Wondering what the title of this entry refers to? It is the count … the rising count of the total number of applications we will process for the Class of 2011. As we continue to get to that final number, the challenge for you all is to guess what the final count will be. Use the comments section of this entry to post your guess for the total number of applications Hopkins received for freshman admission to the Fall 2007 term. I will post the answer some time in March, so you have all of February to post your guess.

The Prize? Clearly we are offering a scholarship to the person who comes the closest. NOT!!! (Respect to Wayne’s World and Borat.) Simply, the prize will be bragging rights. Happy guessing.

Regular Decision FAQs


One year ago today, I posted a long entry that included some of the questions we are most frequently asked during the last few days before the January 1st regular decision deadline. You can read that "Happy Holidays and FAQs" entry here. I thought that just before my holiday vacation officially started, I would update the list of questions for those of you spending the next two weeks completing your applications. Hope you find this helpful, and remember if you have questions you can post them to the Hopkins Message Boards.

So to the procrastinators, the "most dot every i" types, the perfectionists, the lazy, absent-minded, and the ones just being introduced to the amazing JHU, I present the 2006-07 RD FAQ list:

When is the deadline, really?

The regular decision deadline is January 1, 2007. This is labelled as our online submission deadline and our postmark deadline. Applicants should submit their online application materials no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on January 1st. Since January 1 is a national holiday, we will accept application materials that are postmarked January 2, 2007.

[Editor’s note: Due to the death of President Ford, January 2, 2007 is now designated a federal holiday and postal offices will be closed. For this reason, we will accept all application materials postmarked January 3, 2007 or before.]

Have you received my application? OR I submitted my application online have you received it? OR My school sent my transcript and letters of recommendation have you received them? OR Any other question asking about the status of your application and whether it has been received and/or processed, or if anything is missing?

As you can imagine, it’s a busy time in the Admissions Office as we process application materials. Because of the volume of records being handled, we regret that it is not yet possible to confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status, nor do we confirm application materials through email.

You will be mailed an acknowledgment postcard after your application is received. This indicates your application file has been opened (not necessarily that it is complete). In late February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose applications remain incomplete. Those students 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 for completeness.  You may call (410) 516-8171 after February 15 to check on your application, but we do ask that you call only if you have been previously contacted by us about missing materials.

Can I mix forms from the Common Application and the Johns Hopkins application? Can I mix online application materials with “snail mail” materials?

To apply to Johns Hopkins University you must submit either the Johns Hopkins University application Part I and Part II OR the Common Application and Johns Hopkins Common Application supplement. Please be sure that you apply with both the Part I and Part II of the JHU application or the Common App. and Hopkins supplement – do not mix these forms.

Also do not mix online and paper application materials. If you are applying with the JHU Online application, then complete the whole online application and there is no need to submit the paper application. If you are applying the Common Application online then you must submit the Hopkins supplement online as well – there is no need to mail the supplement.

Finally, though we do not encourage this practive, you are able to use Common Application school report and teacher recommendation forms with the Johns Hopkins application, and vice versa.

My school is closed for the holidays so I can’t submit the transcript and/or  letters of recommendation until after January 1st. May I send supplemental materials for my application after the January 1st deadline?

The application deadline is a postmark / online submission of January 1st for the student’s part of the application — either the Part I and Part II of the JHU Application or the Common Application and Common Application supplement. Supporting materials (school materials) such as transcripts, test scores, and recommendations can be sent separately after the January 1st deadline. However, we recommend all required documents be postmarked no longer than two weeks after the deadline — no later than January 16th.

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 take the 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. January scores will be accepted for those students unable to meet their test requirements by December. In such cases, we encourage you to note your intention of taking the later standardized test(s) on your application.

Should I rush my test scores?

There is no need to rush test score reports as they do not get processed by our office any sooner. In addition, standardized test scores may arrive after the January 1st deadline, we just require that students place their request with the College Board to send their scores to Johns Hopkins prior to January 1st. The code to use is 5332. The ACT code is 1704.

I have already sent my application but I want to update a few things or correct an error. How do I do this?

There are two ways to update your application. First you may send any updates in the mail up until the end of January. Please send to the following address and include your name, birth date, and high school:

Application Coordinator
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
140 Garland Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Or you may fax your application update with a cover sheet to 410-516-6025. Once again, include your name, birth date, and high school.

Please note we do not process application materials submitted via e-mail or through e-mail attachments.

Does Johns Hopkins accept additional letters of recommendation?

We require all applicants to submit two letters of recommendations – one from a teacher and one from a guidance counselor. Applicants may submit additional letters of recommendation but we request that you do not submit more than five letters total. Additional letters of recommendation may come from a coach, employer, extracurricular advisor, additional teacher, school administrator – pretty much anyone who can present additional sides of your character. I would though avoid parental and peer references.

How can I arrange an interview and are they required?

Interviews are not a required element of the application to Johns Hopkins. In fact, interviews are informational and non-evaluative. Unfortunately all interview requests for on-campus interviews needed to be submitted prior to December 1st. Please know that if you did not interview you will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process. Information about off-campus alumni interviews can be found here.

I would like to submit a recording of my music / slides of my art / portfolio of my newspaper articles / DVD of accomplishments / or some other supplemental information. Can I do this and will it be considered?

Yes supplemental materials are welcome additions to your application. All supplemental information should be sent to the Admissions address listed above (under the answer for application updates). There are no specific requirements for supplemental materials; you can submit information in any format (e.g. portfolios, CDs, DVDs, slides, etc.) However we make sure applicants understand that typically the Admissions committee does not have much time to review such information. The general rule is that an application reader has about 5 minutes to review supplemental materials.

I am applying with the Common Application. Do I need to submit the two Johns Hopkins essays included in the supplement? Do the Hopkins essays have a word limit?

For applicants applying using the Common Application the only required essay is one of the Common Application essays. However, the Admissions staff strongly encourages all applicants, including those using the Common Application, to submit BOTH the Johns Hopkins essays. These two essays can be in addition to the Common Application essay or in lieu of it.

As far as word counts, we do not state any official word limits. Typically the "day without commitments" essay runs between 500 – 1000 words while the "academic" essay runs between 250 – 500 words.

Does Johns Hopkins allow application fee waivers?

Yes, we will accept fee waivers. If paying the application fee presents any financial hardship to you we are happy to waive the application fee.The fee waiver must either be an official College Board fee waiver or a letter from your secondary school counselor on school letterhead. We require official copies and therefore we will not accept photocopied requests for fee waivers. Applicants can apply online and still submit their fee waiver requests in writing.

When is the Financial Aid deadline and where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid?

The Financial aid deadline for the submission of the FAFSA and CSS Profile is March 1, 2007. Please review this web site for full details:

Additional FAQs are answered here, and remember if you have questions you can post them to the Hopkins Message Boards.


Notes on the Release of Early Decision Notifications


I often times enjoy journaling, so throughout the day on Friday (December 15, 2006) I decided to walk around with a pad and pen and jot down a series of entries. Since these entries primarily focused on my thoughts about the release of Early Decision notifications, I thought I would gear them to include details you all might find interesting. I hope you all enjoy this entry, and a special congratulations to the first members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2011.

7:15 a.m. EST
The start of a busy day. It is the Ides of December and a thick, ominous fog has descended over the campus and all of Baltimore. Is this a sign of impending doom (a.k.a. holiday shopping) or is it just another sign of the fickle nature of Baltimore weather? Who knows, but it sure does make for some unique visual imagery. (I just hope the photos I took show how truly eerie the morning looked.


Boy am I tired. The last few days have been quite hectic, but it has been a good week. This Early Decision class is impressive and with the volume of applications I am surprised that we finished on time. I do think though that the plan to move the Early Decision deadline to November 1 next year is a good idea — it will make sure we have the time to make the right decisions.

ED release day is always one of my favorite professional days each year. I can still remember my first year as an admissions counselor rendering ED decisions. In fact I still remember a number of my first ED admits — I wonder what Greg, Lizzy, and Katie are doing now? This year’s pool also had some of those truly memorable candidates, including two that I hope to meet up with next fall and watch in awe as they go through four years of the Hopkins experience.

OK, time to get my work day officially started. First on the agenda is correspondence: clear out the e-mail accounts, respond to some comments on the blog, check the Hopkins Forums, and answer some final crazed questions on College Confidential. I wonder how many times today I will be questioned about what time the ED emails will be sent. Oy vei.

11:20 a.m. EST

Just returned to my desk after helping the Operations team stuff, seal, and add postage to the final admit packets. A few of my colleagues are taking all the decision letters and admit packets to the postal center. The ED Class of 2011 is officially signed, sealed, and in the early stagings of being delivered. I snapped some fun shots of these final steps in the process – enjoy!


As I was helping out sealing the admit packets, I actually reflected on two things. First, I really like the packet we send admits. Sending them Priority Mail is a nice touch. The black folder with the little “Yes” tab is really cool. The poster insert is a lot of fun. And then, special to me, is the Hopkins Interactive insert which resemble the little discs we give out to visitors. I never complain when we are promoting Hopkins Interactive.

The other thing I was reflecting about was how different the admissions decision release process is today compared to when I applied to college back in 1992-93. Back in my day, I had applied to two Early Action schools. Being a first-generation college applicant and having a guidance counselor who knew very little, I really was clueless going into the process. I was able to come up with a list of about 10 schools I was interested in, and two that were clearly at the top of the list. Early Action was something that seemed easy to do, so I took a chance.

Just to paint the picture a bit more — there were no online applications, there was no E-mail, there was no College Confidential, there were no college Web sites, heck the Internet didn’t even exist. The obsession over college selectivity was minimal at best. You picked your schools, you applied to each school individually (Common App., if it existed, was not popular), and then you actually had to wait for the mail. It was truly the Dark Ages compared to today — now students seem to control a lot more of the process, and demand much more too.

But I digress. What I was truly remembering was finding out on December 15, 1992 that I had been deferred from both of my Early Action schools. I opened the small letters, read them fully, showed them to my family, and then filed them away. No real reaction, well maybe a bit of disappointment. I was done with my other applications already, and I knew that I would ultimately get in some where. Looking back now almost 15 years later, it was not the most momentous day of my life up to that point…it was just another day. The day in late March of 1993 when all my other letters arrived was more memorable, but still the whole time period was not filled with much anxiety, dread, anticipation, fear, and/or stress. Some of it actually was fun and enjoyable.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that, though I do enjoy this day every year when we release ED decisions, I do wish we could find a way to go back to the good old days when anxiety and stress were not so prominent. The whole process has gone awry, and I think on a day when I am not so worn out I could really come up with some ideas to turn things around. But that is for another day … it is lunch time, and I have some online Christmas shopping to do.

2:15 p.m. EST

The fog is gone and it actually feels like a nice spring day outside now. Baltimore weather is so strange. I love that there is a Chipotle now just a few minutes from campus. And oh yeah, I have already answered that “what time are the emails being sent” question 14 times just today. Patience people!!!

So John [Director of Admissions, John F. Latting] just distributed the ED statistics and they just prove what a great start to the admissions cycle we have experienced. There is some great data, especially when compared to the ED pools of the past few years. Here are the highlights:

  • Second largest ED applicant pool = 997 which is just down 1% (7 total apps.) from last year’s record 1004 applications which had been a 39% overall increase. Just five years ago in 2002 we had 516 ED applications, and in 9 years ago it was 462.
  • The acceptance rate dropped once again – this year we chose to admit 45% which means 447 students will be receiving the good news that they are the first students to be admitted to the Johns Hopkins Class of 2011.
  • Of the 447 admits: 46% are female, 43 are underrepresented minority students, 34% are Engineers, 34% Natural Science, and 28% interested in Humanities or Social Sciences.
  • As far as the “quality” of the admits, everything is up. Mean SAT Critical Reasoning + Math is a 1364, up from 1352 last year.
  • New Jersey remained the top state (73), Maryland second (60), and New York third (50). 28 totals states represented with the admits.

3:49 p.m. EST

I just got off the phone with a college counselor and we were discussing the case of an ED student who was deferred. Those conversations are never easy, but they are not as hard as the “Deny” talks or any conversation with a student or parent who wants an explanation about why a certain decision was rendered. The conversation made me reflect on the deferred students and I thought I should include some information for them in this journaling.

I guess the most important thing to say to the ED deferred students is that the road does not end here and you shouldn’t lose all hope. We will admit deferred students during regular decision. ED deferred applicants are admitted every year, and are provided the same chance of admission as the applicants who apply regular decision. At Hopkins, we do not defer all applicants who are not admitted ED, we actually do deny a number of ED applicants who we determine do not have a chance for admission in the RD review process. Deferred applicants do have a second chance.

Here is my list of suggestions and advice that I always pass along when speaking with ED Defers:

  1. Apply to other schools. Though obvious, your chance for admission to Hopkins is not guaranteed and you want to make sure you have options.
  2. Make sure you update the academic portion of your application. This would include mid-year grades (which will play an important role in your re-review), additional standardized test scores you may have taken, and maybe even an updated letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor.
  3. Consider updating the non-academic portion of your application. Though not required, an updated resume and an additional letter of recommendation (especially from a senior year teacher) can always help. Just make sure anything you add does contribute in a new way to your application. Do not be redundant.
  4. Write a letter to the Admissions Committee. Though not something all deferred applicants need to do or even should do, some of you may consider writing a personal letter to the Admissions Committee stressing your interest in Hopkins and why you feel you are an appropriate candidate for admissions. Consider this a cover letter to your overall application.
  5. Most importantly, have a stellar senior year academically. The most important part of the review of a early decision deferred applicant is their academic progress throughout senior year.

[Note: We have started an ED Defer discussion thread on the Hopkins Message Boards. Check it out here, and post questions if you have any.}

6:25 p.m. EST

Just got home. Long day. The emails have all been sent out, and I am anxious to go online and see the reaction. However, I am going to first enjoy a nice dinner with Soze, purchase my last Christmas present online, watch Stump the Schwab on ESPN Classic, and then watch Wheel of Fortune on ABC. I’ll log on around 8:00.

8:10 p.m. EST

Well the news is out. Everyone is reacting. Very interesting. It’s been a long process so I am going to have a glass of wine (maybe 2 or 3) and enjoy some DVDs. I have had the same Netflix DVDs for the past three weeks. Then it is off to bed for a long night sleep and the start to a relaxing weekend.

Congratulations and best wishes.

Down to the Wire…


Greetings Early Decision applicants…and others…

It is about 9:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 13 and I am sitting at home with a splitting headache listening to the soundtrack from the movie “Friday Night Lights.” I should actually go to bed, but all day I have had on my to do list a note to post a quick update to the blog. So I will cross that last item off my list, take some Extra Strength Tylenol and then head off to bed for a good night sleep (hopefully).

[By the way, speaking of lists, you all need to remind me in the future to tell you the detailed process I take in creating to do lists and my five different weekly calendars … Hi my name is Daniel and I am an Over-Organizing addict for 31 years … Hi Daniel.]

OK, why the urgency to post a new entry…well because we have been bombarded with questions from all you Early Decisions applicants about the release of admissions decisions. So here is the information:

  • All Early Decision notifications will be mailed on Friday, December 15. This includes all admit packages, as well as defer and deny letters.
  • We will also email decision notifications to those applicants who indicated an email address on their application.
  • We will begin sending emails at 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday, December 15. (See below for a reason behind this.)
  • If an applicant does not receive an email it is because either there was no email provided with the application, the email address provided no longer works, or a data entry error. Unfortunately, we do not re-send emails, so in such situations the student must wait for the mail to arrive.
  • We will not release the “subject lines” of our email decisions in advance. The content of these emails does change from year-to-year.
  • Admissions decisions can be released over the phone starting Monday, December 18. We will only release decisions to the applicant, a parent or guardian of the applicant, or the applicant’s high school guidance counselor. Decisions will be released only if the identity of the caller can be reasonably assured.
  • Decisions about acceptance into the BME major are departmental decisions and therefore we do not release such information over the phone or through email. All Early Decision applicants who applied to the Biomedical Engineering major will learn of their BME decision in their acceptance packets.

A final note: some of you may wonder why we are waiting until 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday to release the email decisions. The reason is we feel that receiving your college admissions decision should be a personal experience that you share with yourself and your family. We do not believe students should be receiving this news in the middle of the school day. So we will wait until the majority of our applicants are out of school (3:00 p.m. PST / 6:00 p.m. EST) to send our email notifications.

Now I am off to bed…


The Approach … and a Brain Dump


Last week in the "Ready, Set, READ" entry I promised to elaborate more on the "approach to reading" that the Admissions staff discussed at our Reading Retreat in November. But before diving into that compelling discussion, I want to share with you all some random thoughts and tidbits. Every once in a while, as a stress-reliever or a fun way to procrastinate, I will make a list of thoughts that have been running through my mind. I call it a brain dump, and I thought I would share my first brain dump of the reading season:

  • I am getting close to moving Heroes to the top of my list of favorite TV shows. Clearly the best new show of the season, and with LOST and 24 on hiatus, this is my current TV obsession. "Are you on the list?"
  • Breaking News is cool … click here. Also, the This Week at Hopkins blog rules, in my humble opinion.
  • I do not like Paris Hilton, AT ALL!!!
  • I like cold weather, except when the wind blows. Wind chill factor are three words that should never have been put together.
  • ABBA Rules. Thanks Mike & Mike for reminding me.
  • Mark McGuire should not be voted into the Hall of Fame. Especially in the same year as true ball players like Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn.
  • I like reading stories about people hurting themselves by using the new Wii remote controls. I guess I am a bit jealous.
  • I miss Jack Bauer, and the special noise a CTU phone makes when ringing. (That should be my new ring tone…)
  • Deal or No Deal is addictive. Mindless fun.
  • I am thankful for lunches with real friends. Yeah Susan and Lillian (SHOUT OUT!)
  • The BCS is a joke. Are you bowl eligible?
  • Hi Mom!
  • I LIKE WHEN PEOPLE COMMENT ON THE BLOGS. Especially with random questions like what is "blue out" for. Thanks Jessica.
  • Oscar season is here!!! Maybe we can stop hearing about Borat now.
  • Best song I have heard recently: "Boston" by Augustana.
  • New York Mets – listen to me. Get Barry Zito. Get rid of Lastings Milledge.
  • I like my profession. Especially when I get to brainstorm new ideas for Hopkins Interactive with the S.A.A.B. students.
  • I love watching my dog sleep … except when he takes up the whole bed.

Whew…that was a lot. My brain feels good now.

OK, so last week I took you all through a tour of the inner workings of our office as reading season commenced. With nine days until the decision release date for ED, the team is moving towards the committee read portion of the decision making process. Over the next week and a half we will discuss the approximately 1000 ED files and finalize decisions, that will then be mailed and e-mailed on December 15. (Read this if you are curious about the notification process.)

It is during this part of the process where we focus on our overall philosophy of reading — our "approach to reading." If you are curious as to how one admissions counselor reads a file, you can read a post I made last year: click here. This "approach" is a way to look at each individual application in the context of the entire applicant pool while factoring in the goals of the Admissions Office and the University in total. It is both our philosophy as well as our directive. The directive is to go beyond the facts — look at the application subjectively and objectively — take a deep analysis of each file — read between the lines when necessary. The approach is holistic, it is comprehensive, it is imperfect but it works because of the talent of the staff. It is a focus on the applicant rather than just the application. And the ultimate goal is to admit the RIGHT students for Johns Hopkins. The RIGHT FITS.

To expand on these opening points, let me tell you the about the three categories that define what we are looking for in our applicants:


A bit obvious, but this is truly the most important category of thoughts that we consider when approaching our application reviews. We are simply looking for the best and brightest scholars. This is the foundation for which our entire review process is built upon.

Here is where we evaluate the applicant’s academic abilities, academic achievements, and academic promise. We thoroughly evaluate the high school transcript, academic enrichment experiences, letters of recommendation from educators, and standardized test scores. The rigor of a student’s curriculum matters; their performance throughout high school matters; their contribution in their classrooms matters; their academic relationship with their teachers and peers matters; their performance on national standardized tests matters. Everything matters.

But it is not just about evaluating the past and present, but predicting the future. Our role is to question for each and every applicant, what will they contribute to Johns Hopkins academically? This sense of contribution is equally important to the sense of the student as a scholar. Numbers, averages, statistics do matter — but they matter in the context of the full review of an applicant’s academic experiences and potential.


The academic review is paramount, but it is absolutely not the only criteria we consider. In many cases, equally important is a look at the applicant as a person, as an individual, as a human being. Personal qualities matter. We want students that will be productive, will be positive, and will ultimately strive to make a difference. Johns Hopkins is both an educational institution as it is a learning community, and this sense of an individual’s role in both settings is important.

Here is where a student’s extracurricular life and their essays become crucial. Just as we evaluate academics in a dual format (past achievements and predictions of potential), we take that approach to reviewing an applicant’s personal qualities and contribution. We look at their past achievements in their school and in their community, taken into account what other’s write about them, and finally listen to their own personal voice in the essays. It is once again about contribution. Questions of leadership, service, commitment, passion, and potential are all key in this part of the review.

Just as we want students who will academically fit and contribute to the classroom, we want students who socially will fit and contribute to the community. Those AP courses matter, but so do those clubs and organizations you got involved with, and so do the words you write discussing who you have been, who you are, and who you will be.


The final item we consider can be summarized in three simple words: The Big Picture. Once we have evaluated you academically and personally, now the ultimate question is asked: do you fit the community we are building at Johns Hopkins? Are you one of the pieces to the grand puzzle? Many students "wow" us with their academic accomplishments or their pursuit of their passions, but we also need to conclude that the student fits our goals for the Class.

The nature of the whole matters as much as the evaluation of the individual. We want a class that is diverse and has great breadth. The more diverse the class in all ways, shapes, and forms, the stronger the class will be. And when we say diverse we mean it in all categories – race, ethnicity, gender, academic interests, special talents, demographics, etc. We benefit from the fact that we have an amazingly diverse pool of applicants to start. The difficult part is reviewing each and every applicant and determining if and where they fit into the big picture of what we want the Class of 2011 (and beyond) to look like.

I hope this has shed some more light on how we admissions professionals do our jobs. As I have said many times before, this is not an easy task. But we all approach it with respect, commitment, and focus, and we do a pretty darn good job each year.

Three final thoughts:

  1. I wrote this entire entry listening to The Garden State soundtrack. Can we now declare it the best movie soundtrack of all time?
  2. I like checking my blog and seeing comments. Hint, Hint.
  3. Finally, two more shots of my advisors when reading your applications:







Quick Addendum: Just wanted to say hello to one of my fans who I just learned about today. She is a mother of triplets and a fourth child and works at our Eastern campus. You rode back with my colleague Susan from the medical campus, and Susan told me you are a fan. THANKS FOR READING!!!

Ready, Set, READ!!!


Reading season has commenced. Actually it began a few weeks ago, but now I am finally getting a moment to step away and update the blog. To be truthful, I am procrastinating a bit right now from reading application files … heck, I needed a break. When in the office and I need to procrastinate I typically will download songs off iTunes; or go for a walk; or look at new electronic devices on Amazon that are way out of my price range; or take a quick nap on my couch (shhh!). But today I decided to “procrastinate” by updating you all on what has transpired in the world of Johns Hopkins Admissions these past couple of weeks (and share some pictures too).

As I said, reading season is here and will be for the next four months. With the approach of winter, the Admissions staff goes into our own form of hibernation, though we don’t really get to rest. In fact, the next four months can only be described by one word – overwhelming. For the members of the Admissions committee, every waking hour of our lives become dedicated to reading and evaluating applications. In fact, come to think of it, this overwhelming sense is not just reserved to our waking hours, as most of us have dreams (nightmares???) about application files, letters of recommendations, paper/folder cuts, grading scales, aaaaahhhhh!

OK, I am calm now. So let’s look at a time-line of the last two weeks in JHU Admissions, as the reading season began:

November 15

Hopkins Interactive re-launches. Sorry I couldn’t resist plugging the new site once again. It is amazing, isn’t it???

November 16-17

Training files are distributed to the counseling staff. What are training files you ask? Well, they are actual, complete Early Decision applications that are distributed to each member of the reading team. Each one of us does a complete evaluation of the files and write-up our decision support sheets (what we call pull sheets).

Why do we all read the same files you ask? Well, I say you ask too many questions (sorry, cheesy blog writing joke). We all read the same files so that at our Early Decision Reading Retreat we can all discuss our personal approach to evaluating the same applications. By reading the same files and then later discussing our differences, we can move towards an approach where each of the Admissions Committee members is reading and evaluating applications in similar ways.

OK, yes I see you raising your hand, Yes, you can have one more question — go ahead. Hmmm…I am glad you asked what an Early Decision Reading Retreat is. I will answer your question in just a second — read on.

Ongoing – the entire month of November

Before continuing to detail what the Admissions Committee members have been up to, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important components to the reading process. OPERATIONS!!! Just as their is a team of Admissions counselors responsible for reading your applications, there is an equally important team of Admissions staff members responsible for processing all of the application materials. My colleagues who work in Operations are the first to touch your application materials, and with out them no one would ever be admitted to Hopkins. The role of operations, in short – ;), is to open your mail, download your online applications, enter your information into our applicant database, file all your application materials, sort and distribute files to the admissions readers, and make every attempt to complete incomplete files. Basically, Operations is responsible for everything short of evaluating the applications.

The Johns Hopkins Admissions Operations team and their team of student workers are an amazing group of people, who do a truly difficult job professionally, efficiently, and effectively. With out them, the counseling team could not do their jobs. I personally thank them, and encourage you all to thank them too if ever provided the opportunity.

Enjoy some pictures of the operations that have taken place over the last few weeks:



November 20

Early Decision Reading Retreat: Every year on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, the members of the Admissions committee gather in Annapolis for a full day retreat to discuss the approach to reading and evaluating applications for the coming admissions year. This retreat is an opportunity for the team to gather at the commencement of reading season to make sure we all are on the same proverbial page. This is the time where the Director, the leadership, and each member of the committee begins to comprehend what the expectations and overall goals will be for the year. This is our chance to to define the admissions process for the year.

This year’s retreat was quite productive and effective. We discussed the vision for the year and what should be our approach to reading. We also spent ample time going through the various training files to come to consensus on many issues. We also had a great lunch in downtown Annapolis — it doesn’t always have to be all about work, does it?

I will write more about some of the topics discussed at the retreat in my next entry, sometime next week. Stay tuned.

November 21

The official first day of reading!!! Woo hoo. The first file of the year is always a momentous occasion. My first one was actually quite good … maybe this will be an easy year for reading.

30 minutes later: This is not easy anymore…

November 22 – 26

Thanksgiving Break. For anyone who reads Admissions applications, Thanksgiving is not just a time to see family, enjoy good food, watch some football, and a start to the holiday season. Thanksgiving also signifies the start of the “working holidays.” Yes, when you work in this profession you read applications on Thanksgiving, on the 8 nights of Hanukkah, on Christmas eve and Christmas day, on New Year’s eve and New Year’s day, on MLK day, on every weekend from now until the end of March. You still get to enjoy the holidays, but with the added company of manila folders and applications.

November 27 —->

Well, reading season is in full effect now. This will be a long four months, but it will also fly by. If the past week is any indication, I am going to need to stock up on Extra Strength Tylenol, Wild Cherry Pepsi, and tissues. Why tissues you ask? (Back to those darn questions you!!!) Well, because I have actually been brought to tears twice this year. In my previous nine years only two applications ever made me cry. And in just two weeks now I have doubled that amount. If that isn’t proof of our holistic approach to application reading, I don’t know what is!!!

Enough procrastinating … I need to get back to reading. That ED decision release deadline is just 19 days away. AAAAAHHHHH! (That was for a paper cut not the impending deadline.)

I thought to end the entry I would share some pictures of how I set-up when reading applications:


What should you notice in these pictures: well first, the iPod is crucial. I am not sure I would get through as many files as I do each day without my eclectic playlists. Also, notice the laptop with the Hopkins Interactive web site open. You can never get to much of the H.I. web site. The blue binder has all my reference papers. A calculator is important as well as a variety of pens, post-it notes, blue-out, and a staple remover (I hate staples!!!). A glass of water also helps. For me to effectively read everything needs to be properly organized — I am quite anal retentive when it comes to this set-up.

And finally, I would be neglectful if I didn’t introduce you to the two people I refer to when an application stumps me. They are quite helpful when making those decisions — they have a sixth sense for evaluating college applications. Say Hi once again to Lilly and Soze:


Captive Audiences


Greetings once again. A truly crazy weekend is coming to an end. In the last 48 hours more than 1300 people have heard me speak about Johns Hopkins University. I guess I am just that popular.

All kidding aside, there is a buzz about Johns Hopkins out there and it continues to be displayed to my colleagues and I on a daily basis. After record setting turn-outs for our summer Open House programs (see past entry), we all expected the Fall Open House programs to be a bit more relaxed. Boy, were we wrong. On Saturday, we welcomed about 900 (rough estimate) people to campus for our Engineering and Natural Sciences Open house. It was a great event (as usual) and I was in rare humor form. Those in attendance not only got their photo taken (you had to be there!) but they also got to hear about all the wonderful goings-on at Hopkins. And oh yeah, our visitors got to celebrate the opening of the new Bookstore. WOW!!! (See Open House pictures below — I’ll post some Charles Commons and bookstore photos soon). [Also, we’ve got one more Open House this coming weekend (October 28) — Humanities and Social Sciences Open House — click here for details.]

Now you must be wondering … if there was only ~900 people at the Open House, then why did Admissions_Daniel start this entry boasting about talking to over 1300 people in the last 48 hours. OK, honestly you were not wondering that, but I needed a segue.

Immediately following the Open House on Saturday, I got on I-95 North and drove 7+ hours to Boston. I would have arrived around midnight if not for a one hour back-up on the GW bridge. (Got to love those river crossings by NYC.) After a good night’s rest (not really), I headed to Manchester airport and picked up Amy, Shep, and Greg. Who are these people you ask? Well, they will be my fellow travelers for the next week throughout New England as we participate in a series of Group TravelRice University, Shep from Northwestern University, and Greg from the University of Virginia. programs. Amy is from

The four of us just returned from an event at Wellesley High School (located ~20 miles west of Boston). Typically, we will see about 100-150 people at one of these events. Not tonight — we packed the auditorium with between 400 and 500 people. What a night!!! What a weekend!!! Now it is time for bed, because I will be having breakfast at 7:30am with about 40 guidance counselors from Boston area schools. Now that is fun…







*Picture Captions (clockwise from top left):



  • People arriving for a busy day.
  • Another day of work for Felina
  • Esther, Jackie, Kate, and Ramy working the “Ask-a-Student” table
  • Tanmay, Jackie, and Roxi promoting Hopkins Interactive (or just trying to stay warm)
  • Jackie and Ramy mingling
  • Adam leading his tour
  • Roxi entertaining Blake
  • A poor picture of the crowd
  • Another poor (dark) picture of the Admissions panel
  • Roxi being Roxi

Drum Roll Please…The 2006-07 Application is Here!


Well it is August 1, and we have updated our application site: Now you have access to the JHU Online Application, the JHU Downloadable (PDF) application, and the supplement to the Common Application.

Sub_title_apply If you requested an application be mailed, they will be sent throughout the month. If you have yet to request an application be sent to you, then complete the online request form:

Also, we have absolutely no preference on how you apply. JHU application or common application — online or paper — you make the choice. Just remember that if you complete the common application, Sub_logoyou must complete the JHU supplement as well. If you choose the JHU application, you have a Part I and Part II to complete. Please do not mix and match here.

Have fun, and check this blog again in the Fall for more information about the application process.


P.S. I hope you all enjoyed my July 30th entry and all the links. Share your comments on any of my post-it note thoughts, especially #7. I am really interested in hearing from you all.

We’re Back and Better Than Ever…


Greetings once again. It has been a while since my last entry and I know many of you have been clamoring for updates. My apologies but I have been on a well deserved vacation from both my physical and virtual offices. This was a simple vacation for me as I enjoyed the 3 Rs: rest, relaxation, and reading. I also enjoyed some great TV season finales (LOST — WOW!), caught up on the film industry, and spent some quality time with Sozë, Lilly, and the NY Mets.

It is nearly ten years for me now as a member of the work force, the official "real world," and I have truly grown to love my vacation days. The worst part though has to be the day you return, as you then have to tackle the piles of work that you have missed (phone messages, tons of emails, etc.).

As I sift through my to do list, I made an update to Hopkins Insider one of my top priorities, because I know there are some eager audiences out there. This will be a short entry though, just updating you all on what has transpired in the world of Hopkins Admissions these past few weeks. I’ll return hopefully early next week with a new and much more interesting / compelling entry.

Now on to the updates…

Update For Wait List Students

This past Friday (June 2) the Counseling Team finalized our work with the wait list. Though a few days later than anticipated, we needed to make sure we were comfortable and confident with these final decisions. On Friday we mailed decision letters to all applicants who informed us they wanted to remain on the wait list.

The enrolled class of 2010, as it stands currently, is right where we want it to be. We have covered our enrollment target of 1160 freshmen and have just about an additional 100 students who have enrolled — more than covering any "summer melt" we may experience. What all that pretty much means is that we successfully made our class.

With that in mind, the vast majority of letters mailed on Friday will notify students that since we have met our enrollment targets we are releasing them from our wait list. A small group of students (a little over 100) will receive a different letter (and email) offering them a place on our small, extended summer wait list. Those selected to be on the summer wait list are also notified that we have met our enrollment targets and the reason for this extended wait list is in the event space becomes available.

For those accepting a place on this extended wait list it is important to note that chances for admission are slim and only will occur in the rare case that more spaces become available than the number we are currently over-enrolled. This scenario resembles what we decided to do with our wait list last year, and no students were admitted from this smaller, extended wait list then. Final decisions about the extended summer wait list will be released by July 31.

To all of you wait list students we extend our appreciation for your patience throughout this past month and wish you all the best of luck at the institution you will attend this fall. Every year these decisions are quite difficult to make, and I hope you understand the blood, sweat, and tears we put in as we agonize over these decisions. Having personally been wait listed from one of my top choice schools, I can relate. But I also assure you that after your first week in college you will forget all about wait lists. (If not, you can always transfer….)

Update For Transfer Applicants

Speaking of transfers, starting around May 26 and ending late last week the Transfer Admissions committee finalized and released (by email and mail) our Fall 2006 transfer decisions. As I mentioned in my previous post, this was quite a large transfer applicant pool so the Committee was very keen on reviewing each application thoroughly. Since I do not work closely with the transfer review process, I am not privy to many statistics, aside from letting you know the acceptance rate was close to 14%. As always, questions about transfer admissions are addressed quite well here, and for those admitted – CONGRATULATIONS, and enjoy the accepted student website.

Update For Prospective Students (Class of 2011)

I know that more and more prospective students have begun to read this blog and that excites me. Much of the information to date has not been tailored to you specifically, but that will change soon. Keep checking back regularly as we close the book on 2010 and look towards 2011. And remember, use the comments section of this blog to make suggestions about future Hopkins Insider topics — I am looking for big ideas here!!!


P.S. Credit for the title of this entry must go to my favorite radio show, Mike and Mike in the Morning, on ESPN radio. I have been a big fan of talk radio for a long time, and no show has ever grabbed my attention as much as these guys – and it is not just for sports fans. Check it out.