Category: Early Decision

Making the Choice to Apply Early Decision

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The Early Decision Deadline is right around the corner, 15 days away to be exact. So, how do you make the decision on whether or not you should apply Early? What are the pros and cons of going through this process? And, of course, why make that commitment to Hopkins? Hopefully the answers to some of these questions will help point you in the right direction!

Class on the Quad

Class on the Quad

-How do you make the decision as to whether or not you should apply Early to Johns Hopkins?

                I think my colleague John Birney says it best—Early Decision is when we admit “our cheerleaders.” By cheerleaders, he doesn’t mean actual cheerleaders, rather students who love this place—they already own their Hopkins sweatshirt, go crazy when people call it John Hopkins, and are counting down the days till orientation. However, more than that, these students have really done their homework. They know about our academic programs and want to attend an institution where they can combine a liberal arts education with an emphasis on research. They know about student and campus life, and are excited about the prospect of going to school in the city of Baltimore. Perhaps most importantly, they know that Johns Hopkins is a FIT for them, and that it goes two ways—they’ve done the research to know that they’re a good fit for our campus community, and they know that they have a lot to offer us. So, if Johns Hopkins is your number one choice—if you feel strongly that we’re the school for you and you’re the kind of student who knows you can make an impact here, in and outside of the classroom—and you are willing to make the commitment, then Early Decision is the way to go.

                You should NOT apply ED just to play the “number game.” Yes, it’s true—there are fewer students who apply ED and our acceptance rate is higher during this time. However, that does not mean our standards and what we are looking for in our students is any different. We still conduct a holistic review and focus on all aspects of the applicant, both inside and outside the classroom, and the profiles of students admitted Early Decision are nearly identical to our Regular Decision admitted students.

The Hut in Gilman Hall

The Hut in Gilman Hall

 

-What are the pros of applying ED?

The deadline is sooner, so you will have your decision sooner. Since applications are due on November 1, we let students know of their decision by December 15. The turn-around here is much quicker than the Regular Decision process because we have fewer applicants. If you are admitted in ED, you’ve found your home and can focus on the rest of your senior year (yes, we will do a final transcript check!) If you are deferred or denied, you still have time to apply to other institutions.

We are looking at a smaller applicant pool. While we are still looking for the same qualities in our prospective students, there are far fewer applicants in ED. Last year, we had 1,300+ applicants in the Early Decision pool versus 19,000+ applicants in the Regular Decision pool.

You are making a statement. As we evaluate applicants, we are looking for students who are going to embrace being a Blue Jay and take advantage of all aspects of both academic and campus life. By signing the Early Decision Agreement, you are telling us that you are that person and clearly interested in being a part of our community.

Hands on Learning

Hands on Learning

-What are the cons of applying ED?

You cannot compare financial aid packages from different institutions. The reality is that you need to make sure that this is a feasible option for you. Fill out the financial aid calculator, talk to the Financial Aid Office, and look at your financing options.  If you don’t feel comfortable or want to see what other schools have to offer, your best bet is to apply Regular Decision so you can see what all schools have to offer. (This doesn’t mean that Financial Aid is limited for Early Decision admitted students—your aid package would be the same in December as it would be in April if nothing else has changed.)

The agreement is binding. Therefore, you cannot change your mind. Many students have visited campus, had contact with students and faculty members, knew someone that went to JHU, etc. If you have not had the opportunity to do this, are you sure you want to make that commitment?

It is a commitment. By applying ED to Johns Hopkins, you may not apply ED to any other university, and you’re agreeing that, if you’re admitted to Johns Hopkins, you’ll immediately remove your Early Action or Regular Decision applications from any other schools to which you’ve applied.

It offers less time to show senior-year improvement. Maybe you struggled in a class last semester, or you’re just getting back on track after a slight academic decline.  Because all of your transcripts and information for ED needs to be submitted by November 1, you have less of an opportunity to show any improvements that happen in between November and January, when Regular Decision applications would be due. Some students will benefit from having the additional time to show an upward trend during their senior year through their mid-year grades.

 

For more details about applying ED and a list of FAQ, visit http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/faq_early.html.

 

-Why would a student commit to Johns Hopkins in particular?

Well, I think it is best to hear from the students themselves! Here are some statements from current students as to why they chose to apply ED and how they knew they wanted Hopkins to be their home for the next four years.

 

Ashley Adams
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey
High School: Immaculate Heart Academy
Major: Psychology

As a high school junior, my parents couldn’t keep me from making the three hour drive to Hopkins at every chance I had. Sure, I used the excuse that I was going to visit my older brother, a Hopkins freshman at the time, but I was mainly interested in learning more and more about the school at which I could already envision myself. During these visits I spoke with so many current students, attended classes, and absorbed so much about the daily (and night!) life of a Hopkins student that by the time I was ready to apply, there was no doubt in my mind– I had found the school with the best balance between stimulating academic opportunities and the ability to have a fun-filled college experience. I applied Early Decision that November, and could tell you with confidence, even then, that Hopkins was the place where my unique interests were going to grow and be fostered while being surrounded by an inspiring community of peers.

 

Ian Han
Hometown: La Jolla, California
High School: La Jolla Country Day
Majors: Film and Media Studies and Public Health
Minors: Entrepreneurship and Management

Early Decision might not be for everybody but it was the clear choice for me. After meeting my admissions counselor at my high school, the wonderful Shannon Miller, and a remarkable tour of the Homewood campus, I knew Hopkins was a fit. Not only could I see myself there for the next four years, but I could see myself succeeding on campus. I had gone on so many college tours and trips that they all started to blur together. Hopkins was the one that stuck out. A huge part of my connection to Hopkins came from speaking to a few faculty members. I sat down with one professor who was so passionate about her subject; she was physically excited while talking about it. I met another one who literally wrote the gold standard textbook in his subject. The fact that you are learning directly from professors who are enthusiastic and committed to their subject is infectious.

 

Aniqua Tasnim
Hometown:  Rockville, Maryland
High School: Wootton High School
Major: Neuroscience
Minor: English

I applied ED because as soon as I stepped on campus, everything felt right. The expanses of grass and the beautiful brick buildings, the coziness and simultaneously openness of the campus, and all the people that smiled at me as they walked by—I knew instantly that I wanted to spend the next four years here. Then, when I met current students at the overnight, it was really inspiring to meet so many people that were so excited about what they do here at Hopkins and that enthusiasm was really infectious.

 

Andrea Fields
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
High School: Saint Ann’s School
Majors: Biology and Writing Seminars

Applying early to Hopkins for me was honestly like one of those sappy romance movies where the main character meets the man of her dreams and just automatically falls in love; that’s how I felt when I came to Hopkins.  I didn’t think I wanted to apply at first because I’d heard some stereotypes of the school being competitive but after I came and visited the summer before my senior year and did a little more research I realized it was literally the perfect place for me.  On the train ride home I decided I was going to apply early and it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I had this weird feeling that this was the place I belonged and even after I visited a ton of other schools, no other place felt nearly as right.  After a little over a year of being here, I know I’ve made the right choice and any stereotype I had heard before visiting is completely wrong.  I can’t think of any other place that has as strong academics, as amazing people who have become my best friends, and as great opportunities, like being able to tell prospective students on tours all about what an incredible university Johns Hopkins is.  Now, whenever my tours ask me how I knew I wanted to come to Hopkins I always give the same response: “No pressure, but after I came on my tour, I literally fell in love.”

 

Brittany Tusing
Hometown: Edensburg, Pennsylvania
High School: Central Cambria High School
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology
Minor: French Cultural Studies

I spent the first half of my life in Europe, going to International schools and travelling everywhere I could’ve imagined. I was actually sick of going to London, which seems crazy now. When I was 9, my parents decided to move our family closer to their parents in western Pennsylvania, to a town nobody has ever heard of. Most of my new friends thought Belgium was a city in Germany. Though I have learned to appreciate the small-town atmosphere, familiarity, and safety my little Ebensburg provides, until college it was stifling. Most of the high school graduates in my town who go to college (around 60%) stay in the western Pennsylvania area, so it was a really big deal to me to apply to such a prestigious school. But when I visited Hopkins, I was immediately brought back to my international school days, where I felt comfort in the amount of diversity and opportunity I saw. So after my tour of Hopkins, my Dad and I sat in a restaurant on St. Paul Street. I couldn’t remember what the campus looked like or any of the figures the tour guide had provided, but all I could think about was how I had no idea what I would do if I didn’t get in.

 

Kimmy Hilson
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
High School: McDonogh School
Major: Sociology
Minor: Entrepreneurship and Management

When I visited Hopkins the summer before my senior year, I immediately knew that JHU and Baltimore was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life — I loved everything about it. Growing up in Baltimore, I had always had great affection towards the city…but since I’ve been at Hopkins and exploring Baltimore on my own (with friends, too), I’ve really seen firsthand all of the charm of “Charm City.” The ability to play sports in college was also something that was extremely important to me, especially since I had played a team sport for nearly my entire life. Because all sports (minus lacrosse!) at JHU are division 3 sports, I was able to pursue additional interests off of the field. The well-rounded college experience that I have had at Hopkins has been amazing, and applying ED was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

 

Michelle Edelson
Hometown: New York, New York
High School: Hunter College High School
Major: Psychology
Minor: Entrepreneurship & Management

I decided to apply Early Decision because of the sense of community I felt during my very first visit to Hopkins in the spring of my junior year. After walking around campus for less than a day, I immediately felt the sense of belonging I always wanted to find in a college or university. It didn’t take long for me and my mom to realize Hopkins was the perfect school for me. My fall senior year visit only confirmed my choice to apply ED after interviewing and staying overnight and having the opportunity to interact with current students. Aside for the student body and the community aspect of Hopkins, what really sold me on the university is the amazing opportunities that Hopkins offers to its students, which I have definitely taken advantage of since I arrived freshman fall. Now two years after I applied, I look back at my process and confidently say that apply Early Decision to Hopkins was the greatest decision of my life and that I have never been happier!

 

Alessandra Bautze
Hometown: Arlington, Massachusetts
High School: Arlington High School
Majors: Writing Seminars and Film and Media Studies

I was drawn to Johns Hopkins for many reasons, particularly the strength of the Writing Seminars program. I visited JHU in the spring of my sophomore year of high school and then returned in October of my senior year for a special Open House and Overnight Visit program for students considering Early Decision. I took a 6 AM flight down from Boston, went to an interview that afternoon, and spent the night in Charles Commons, hosted by a current student. Applying Early Decision to Hopkins was definitely the right decision for me. It allowed me to demonstrate my passionate interest in the school. I will never forget December 15, 2009 when I received my acceptance e-mail. My dream had come true. As a junior who has found a community of like-minded individuals, and a true home at Homewood, I am still living the dream. The experiences I have had and the people I have met here have helped shape me into the person I am today. And it all started with a dream.  If you feel in your heart that you are meant to be a Blue Jay, then there’s no reason not to apply Early Decision

Go Blue Jays!

Go Blue Jays!

As these testimonials show, there are many factors that go into a student’s choice whether or not to apply ED and it becomes a personal choice based on what’s best for you. If you think  Johns Hopkins could be your home for the next four years and ED might be a good option, talk it over with your family and college counselor, or spend some time looking at our ED FAQ. We hope this has been a helpful discussion for you!

Reflecting on 12/15/2011

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Yesterday was my last day in the office for 2011. It wasn’t my last day of work for 2011, as I will be doing work tasks over the next couple of weeks such as answering e-mails, keeping our social media sites updated, and reading some Regular Decision applications. But basically my vacation has begun. Later today, Soze and I will begin a two-day drive down to Florida to spend the holidays with my family. I am excited to have this time off and even more excited to see my niece Lilly and nephew Cooper. I haven’t seen them and my family since late August, nor have I had an actual day off since then. So yes, this is clearly a much needed vacation and break.

Lilly and Cooper getting excited for Uncle Admissions_Daniel and Uncle Soze to arrive in Florida to celebrate the holidays.

Lilly and Cooper getting excited for Uncle Admissions_Daniel and Uncle Soze to arrive in Florida to celebrate the holidays.

While in the office yesterday there was a much different vibe than the previous few weeks. The proverbial dust has settled and we all are feeling much more relaxed. The pace leading up to the release of decision notifications is always hectic, and the aftermath is always a mix of relief and a feeling of accomplishment. The vibe yesterday was a bit different than previous years though, as I think it has finally begun to sink in that we are no longer an office under the vision and guidance of Dean John Latting. Dean Latting’s last day was Friday as he joined the staff at our annual holiday party where teams compete in duck pin bowling and best holiday costumes. But now Dean Latting is at Emory and we move-on to the Regular Decision application phase.

Admissions Holiday Party Team Bad Holiday Sweaters and Sunglasses.

Admissions Holiday Party Team Bad Holiday Sweaters and Sunglasses.

Admissions Holiday Party Team "Save the Bow"

Admissions Holiday Party Team "Save the Bow"

Before fully turning the page to RD, I thought I would provide some interesting and hopefully helpful follow-up information and reflections on the release of Class of 2016 Early Decision notifications. December 15, 2011 was a record-breaking day for the Johns Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Admissions and especially when it relates to this blog. The traffic to the Hopkins Insider blog on December 15 are staggering:

  • 4,641 visits to the blog for the 24 hours period of 12/15/11 (up from 3,951 last year).
  • 2,464 unique visitors (up from 1,970 last year).
  • 10,422 page views (up from 7,597 last year). WOW!
  • 31.59% of visits were new visitors and average time on the site was 7:39.
  • Live-blogging totaled 2,939 words; 13 pictures; over 50 comments.

The analytics could actually have been even higher, if not for our servers being sluggish between the peak hour of 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Still, in every category records were broken.

As I briefly mentioned near the end of the live-blog on Thursday evening there are three different groups to address follow-up thoughts to: denied students, deferred students, and admitted students. As I prefer to do in these “look back” entries, I want to share some additional thoughts I have for each group.

To the Denied Students: Please know that I and all of my colleagues understand how difficult receiving such a decision from your first-choice school can be. We respect the frustration and anger you feel, but hope that you can understand the daunting task we are faced with selecting very few students from a truly outstanding pool of applicants. Many will deal with rejection by trying to determine where they fell short or focusing on statistics. That is understandable but it is short-sighted.

Our decisions are decisions of preference and fit, and not a rejection of an individual. I can attest to the fact that we extensively deliberate about the candidates for admission, especially during the ED review process. When reviewing a student’s application, we take into consideration a vast array of factors including academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, leadership, commitment to community, promise of future contribution, and fit. This may seem to be just rhetoric, and I can probably not persuade you that it’s not true, but honestly there is never one reason that leads to our decisions and the words holistic and comprehensive have true value to us. Our applicant pool is filled with qualified applicants, but unfortunately being qualified is not the only consideration. Our freshman class is small and we are unable to admit everyone who is capable of doing the work. Please do not receive this news as a judgment of your value and your ability, but rather understand the competitive nature of applying to a highly selective institution like Johns Hopkins.

My advice now is to forget about Johns Hopkins. Know that there is a college that is going to be uniquely enriched by your presence on their campus and that you will have an amazing undergraduate experience. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that the right college for you is the one that you select to attend and the one you commit yourself to fully from freshman to senior year.

To the Deferred Students: Most say that this is the hardest of the decisions one can receive during the ED round of review because it feels like a state of limbo. And that is true. There is confusion about how to react. The news is not good, but it is also not a final decision. We understand that being asked to wait three more months is not the decision you were hoping for, but unfortunately defer decisions are part of the ED process.

The best message I can share with you all is that there is still hope. Every year ED defers are admitted during RD, and defers are provided the same chance of admissions as applicants who apply Regular Decision. Yes the competition remains tough, and yes we are going to focus on your progress in your senior year, but a defer decision is the admissions committee stating that there are still factors that are of interest once the context of the entire applicant pool is known.

It is important to note that we do not just politely defer ED applicants into our RD applicant pool to delay bad news, and the amount of denied applicants significantly outweighs those deferred.  Those who are deferred still have a chance for admission; otherwise we would not have deferred the decision. However, your hopes need to be tempered. Being deferred does mean there were weaknesses in your application that raised concerns with the admissions committee.

So the question is what can you do? Well read this: Early Decision Defers. We have compiled an extensive list of advice and answers to frequently asked questions for the deferred applicant which we know will be helpful.

To the Admits: Congratulations! You are the first members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2016 and we look forward to welcoming you to campus in about nine months. There will be a lot of things you will need to do between now and move-in dates at the end of August, but there is time to get to those items. Now is a time to celebrate, start wearing your JHU clothing, put the bumper sticker on the car, and get to know you future classmates via the special Facebook group. For right now the only date of importance is January 15 – you need to submit your candidate reply form (CRF) and enrollment and housing deposit before that date.

In late March you will be contacted about the next steps. You will get your JHED-ID, set-up your @jhu.edu e-mail account, and gain access to the New Student Portal and your enrolling freshman to-do list. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, continue to enjoy your senior year, and let January 1 pass without any stress.

One favor though … do not become infected with senioritis. Do not allow your admission to become in jeopardy by letting your focus in school lapse. Yes we admitted you now, but we will review your mid-year and final transcripts and please do not make our jobs difficult.

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I am off to pack and get on the road. I-95 South here I come. Happy Holidays to all and Regular Decision applicants check back soon for an update tailored just for you.

Live Blogging on ED Notification Day (Class of 2016)

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Greetings Early Decision applicants for the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2016. The tradition once again continues. Now for the seventh straight year I will be live blogging throughout the day. Why today? Well, it is December 15, 2011 and throughout the day the Johns Hopkins Admissions Committee will be finalizing our decisions and releasing notifications to our 1459 Early Decision applicants. (For a reminder on how the release of notifications will work please review the blog post from this past Monday: Release of ED Notifications Approaches.) Back in 2005 at the dawn of this Hopkins Insider blog I got the idea of “micro-blogging” our decision notification days to provide insight to our applicants and other audiences about how the process works as seen through the eyes and experiences of an admissions counselor. I hope visitors to the blog will appreciate this first-hand look at what takes place in Mason Hall (the home to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on the Homewood Campus) as well as respect the transparency we hope to project about how our process works. Check back throughout the day and also follow me on Twitter – @AdmissionDaniel – for continual updates.

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5:54 a.m.  – Rise and shine. Time to start the day. Normally the first part of my routine would be to walk my dog Soze, but he doesn’t appear to want to be woken up yet. So instead I’ll start with the first update to the blog. Unlike in previous years I got a full night of sleep as I was able to leave the office at a decent hour after making some final decision changes and confirmations in our Engineering Committee. Though the process of selecting the Early Decision Class of 2016 has been as arduous as in years past, this year seems to have run a lot smoother (*knock on wood*) than in previous years (*knock on wood again*), and my hope is when I arrive at work later this morning we will be sealing the class without too much adjustments (*fingers crossed*). Well it seems that Soze is finally stirring so I am going to bundle up and take him on his morning walk. Stay tuned.

A sleepy Soze on ED Notification Day for the JHU Class of 2016

A sleepy Soze on ED Notification Day for the JHU Class of 2016

6:41 a.m. - I’m a hat guy. Anyone who knows me knows that I love hats. Ever since high school I have had an addiction to hats. I wore the same hat every day in college (yes … every day for all four years) and when I graduated I sealed the hat away in a glass box. I want’ lying when I said I have an addiction. Currently I have about 40 hats and about 5 of them are in my regular rotation. Each day I bring a hat to work and by 4 p.m. (earlier if it is a rough day) that hat is on. Some say this hat addiction has led to the lack of hair on my head, I just say I am old and my genes from my maternal grandfather has made it impossible to fight that baldness pattern. Nevertheless I had to choose which hat I was bringing to work today … no to the “Panthers Football” Friday Night Lights hat as the show is no longer on … no to the Washington Nationals cap as it is not baseball season … no to the New York Mets hat – well I don’t want to talk about them … no to the Brown University hockey hat as today is not for my alma mater … YES to the Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse 2005 National Champs hat. That is the appropriate one for today. Morning routine almost done. Shower time and then off to work. Oh yeah … plus it is time to SHAVE. Stay tuned.

Hat selection time ... there is an obvious choice.

Hat selection time ... there is an obvious choice.

7:15 a.m. - I am a sports fanatic. I am not good at any sports but I love being a fan of all sports. Why do I tell you this? Well in many sports during playoff season there is a tradition not to shave. Hockey players do it the best. I have always found this to be one of the greatest sports tradition and a few years ago I began to incorporate the concept of playoff beards into my profession. By that I mean I grow a beard during reading season and don’t shave or trim it until decision release day. So this year I began to not shave starting on the day after Thanksgiving when I evaluated my first ED application and just a few minutes ago I removed the beard. It may be a strange tradition, but it is one I enjoy, especially since I hate shaving. So it is both a ode to my sports fanaticism as well as an ode to my laziness. In the past I have had requests to reveal photos of the beard but I have hesitated since I rarely post pictures of myself on this blog. However, since the requests are coming in from my Mom and my niece Lilly, I thought it was time to post some before and after pictures. Enjoy. I am off to work so … stay tuned.

Before

Before

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:27 a.m. - Arrived at the office and things are already moving along. The Operations team is upstairs doing some last checks and my colleagues are arriving to as I like to say “hurry up and wait.” We will be waiting for Dean Latting to announce whether we need one last Admissions Committee meeting or whether the work we did yesterday is it and the ED class is sealed. I have a “to do” list of 9 items for today so I am going to get working on that. Stay tuned.

My desk. Ready to tackle my "to do" list.

My desk. Ready to tackle my "to do" list.

9:00 a.m. - Just about 30 minutes have passed and three items on my to do list are already done. Listening to The Killers always makes me productive. No news yet as Dean Latting has yet to arrive. I am going to do some of my daily social media “work” and then walk around the office to see how things are progressing. Next update won’t be for a bit of time. Stay tuned.

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10:04 a.m. - I have accomplished a lot over the last hour. I put the final touches on our Facebook group for the Johns Hopkins Class of 2016 and sent an e-mail to all my student volunteers (the Student Admissions Advisory Board) about the launch of the group tonight after decision e-mails are released. I did one last check of our web updates related to decision release and our Admitted Student website and informed my colleagues that everything looks great. Then the whole office got a really exciting e-mail:

Celebratory Danish!!!

Celebratory Danish!!!

MAIL DAY DANISH HAS ARRIVED. Our former colleague Lester Su, who was a Mechanical Engineering faculty member and member of the Admissions Committee, sent the office an authentic Danish kringle to congratulate us on the completion of the ED process. We all miss Lester (and not just because of gestures like this) but we know he is doing wonderful at Stanford.

While getting my piece of the Danish I saw Dean Latting with a number of data sheets so I think the finalizing of the class is in progress. An interesting note related to how I am not the only traditionalist in our office (i.e. shaving of the beard). Dean Latting has this mustard colored shirt that he wears very sparingly (I don’t think he is a fan of it), but always on important days. I can confirm he is wearing the shirt today. Stay tuned.

11:33 a.m. - Nothing new to really report. I only three more items on my to do list to complete but can’t do them until the class is sealed. Basically, we are all just waiting on Dean Latting to emerge from his office and confirm that the ED class is finalized. All packets have been sealed and are waiting to be moved into mail bins. All of our checks have been done, and barring any other last minute changes we are ready to roll when Dean Latting gives us the word. Stay tuned.

Admits packets: Signed, sealed, and waiting to be mailed.

Admits packets: Signed, sealed, and waiting to be mailed.

11:39 a.m. - IT IS OFFICIAL … THE JOHNS HOPKINS EARLY DECISION CLASS OF 2016 IS SEALED. I will have more updates this afternoon but now have to go assist my colleagues in getting the decisions in the mail. (Please do not call our office to ask for your decision as we will not release it.) Stay tuned.

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1:08 p.m. - All Early Decision notifications are now in the mail. Just returned from the post office and all decision packets and letters are now out of our hands. Time for some lunch with my colleagues. I’ll have a more thorough update with more pictures after lunch. Stay tuned.

2:34 p.m. Back from a good Italian lunch at Maxie’s. Hat is on. Not because I am having a bad day but rather it is raining outside and I got a bit soaked walking back from lunch. Working on some more updates for the blog. Stay tuned.

3:05 p.m. - Time for a number of updates as I am finally back at my desk and have some time to reflect on the last few hours. Once Dean Latting confirmed that our ED class was complete, the message reached the third floor of Mason Hall and the Operations team got to work with the final stages of preparing our decision packets and letters. Within minutes all packets were sealed and stamped and transferred into mail bins. One final check was done and it was time to depart.

Class of 2016 Early Decision notifications ready to depart Mason Hall

Class of 2016 Early Decision notifications ready to depart Mason Hall

Next step was to transfer the mail bins into one of the Admissions staff vehicles (my Trailblazer won the lottery this year) and depart for the post offices.

A full car of important decisions.

A full car of important decisions.

My Trailblazer is pretty full, especially since I am still carrying around my recent flat tire.

My Trailblazer is pretty full, especially since I am still carrying around my recent flat tire.

First stop was the main University postal office at our Mount Washington campus and then downtown to the main Baltimore branch of the U.S. Postal Service. Within 30 minutes and only minor traffic on I-83, my colleague John Birney and I were done with the mailing of notifications. As we returned to Mason Hall it was interesting to see that new mail bins had arrived, this time with Regular Decision application materials.

As ED ends, RD begins.

As ED ends, RD begins.

3:22 p.m. - Every year the most anticipated live-blog update is always when I reveal the “results” of our Early Decision process. Hot off the presses they were just delivered to me so without further delay:

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions officially admitted the first members of the Class of 2016 today, sending admit packets and e-mails to 561 accepted Early Decision applicants. These talented students were chosen from a record applicant pool of 1,459, a nearly 10% percent increase in Early Decision applications from last year. 

* Early Decision applications received: 1,459
* Early Decision applicants admitted: 561
* Early Decision acceptance rate: 38%
* Male / Female ratio of admits: 52 / 48

*Preliminary areas of academic interests for admits:
— Whiting School of Engineering: 31%
     — Krieger School of Arts and Science: 69%
               — Humanities = 14%, Natural Sciences = 29%, Social and behavioral sciences = 21%
     — Undecided: 5%

* Top five home states for admits:
     (1) New York; (2) New Jersey; (3) Maryland; (4) California; (5) Pennsylvania
     — 42 states represented in admitted class (3 more than last year)
     — 45 international students from 13 different countries

An impressive class to say the least.

I am going to take another break from blogging as I complete the final few items on my to do list and then head home to prepare for the second major part of the day … the release of e-mail notifications. Stay tuned.

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5:10 p.m. - Arrived at home a few minutes ago, walked Soze, plugged in, and getting ready for our e-mail decision release. Since I have mentioned it a few times, I thought I would share a picture of my to list:
All done ... woo hoo.

All done ... woo hoo.

Yup, ALL DONE. Everything crossed out. So far this has been a very productive day, but in no way is it over.

As my colleagues on the IT team prepare to release the e-mail notifications there are a few important notes I need to share with you all who have been following this blog all day.

FIRST, we will START sending e-mails AFTER 6:00 p.m. EST. Please note the STRONG EMPHASIS on the words START and AFTER. This means that not everyone will get an e-mail in their in-box immediately at 6:00 p.m. It will take a while for all the e-mails to go out and there is a good chance we don’t start sending exactly at 6:00 p.m. If you keep refreshing your e-mail in-box at 6:00, 6:01, 6:04, 6:10, 6:11, and there is no message — DO NOT PANIC and do not assume anything. Be patient and allow the process to work properly. All e-mails will be sent by 7:00 p.m.

SECOND, for the next hour (if not two hours) step away from the computer. Stop reading this blog. Stop refreshing your e-mail. Stop checking College Confidential (in fact you should stop that altogether for the future). Relax. Take a nap. Go do something that will calm you and distract you. Take your mind off of the clock.

THIRD, and most importantly, after you receive your e-mail decision my strong suggestion is that you log-off of your computer and go spend some time with your family. No matter what decision you receive, get off the computer after you receive your e-mail. This is a major milestone in your young life, and you should share your initial reactions and emotions with your family and those closest to you. These people have been there since the first moment of your life, and they will be there FOREVER. Your family is not some online community. Your family is not Facebook. Your family is not some anonymous screen name. Your family is not this blog. Please heed this advice. Receive your decision and sign off. Don’t update your Facebook status. Don’t post a comment on this blog. Share your thoughts and emotions in the REAL WORLD first. The virtual world will be there later for you to provide a social media spin on your news.  I say it every year … let the news sink in first. React in the real world before entering the cyber world. 

Stay tuned.

5:45 p.m. - O.K. Final checks complete. I am going to take a break now to have some dinner (Chinese food … woo hoo) and play with Soze a bit. As you can see in this picture, Soze is a bit upset with me that I got home and went right to work. I’ll be back once all the e-mail notifications have been sent. Best wishes and Stay Tuned.

Soze wants to play, not work.

Soze wants to play, not work.

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7:52 p.m. - Well this has been a busy two hours. I can confirm that all of our e-mails have been sent and any bounce-back error messages that we could correct have been. If you didn’t get your e-mail then please refer to what I wrote in my blog post this past Monday: Release of ED Notifications.

Now that  decisions have gone out I wanted to share some thoughts to each group:

TO THE ADMITS: Congratulations! I hope you are all so excited and will put aside some time tonight to jump around and celebrate with your family and friends. You will get your admit packet soon and there will be a ton of information for you to review, including a list of resources just for admitted students. But also pace yourself – August is still 9 months away. I will have more to say to you all in the coming days and weeks. Time to put that bumper sticker on the car!!!

TO THE DEFERS: The main message is that this was not a “no.” Instead it was a delay of your decision for another three months. I strongly suggest that you all read the discussion thread that I have set-up for deferred applicants: Early Decision Defers.

TO THE DENIES: Please know that I understand how difficult receiving such news can be. My colleagues and I do not take pleasure in not offering admission to students, especially those where Hopkins is their first choice. A few years ago I wrote a post to denied applicants, and I recommend you all read it: A Post for the Denied Applicant. I do wish you all the best of luck.

I’ll be back with some final thoughts in a little while. Stay tuned.

8:35 p.m. - As it gets close to 15 hours of live-blogging I think it is time to sign-0ff. I am going to relax with Soze while watching the Washington Capitals play against the Winnipeg Jets (C-A-P-S, C-A-P-S, Let’s Go Caps!!!). I also need to get some rest as it will be a big day in the office tomorrow as we have our holiday party and it will be Dean Latting’s final day. :(

Thanks to everyone who commented and I hope this trek through the day was helpful. I will return early next week with a new blog entry with reflections on notification day and what’s next. Cheers!  Not stay tuned … but turn off.

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Release of ED Notifications Approaches

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As we begin a new week there are always a lot of questions streaming into our office about how the release of Early Decision notifications will work. I thought it important to step away from our final admissions committee deliberations to share the following with all of our anxious Early Decision applicants:

Early Decision notifications will be released on
Thursday, December 15.

Here is the plan for how everything will operate on Thursday:

Class is confirmed: In the morning the Admissions staff will arrive at work and wait for Dean Latting to confirm that the Early Decision class is complete. This will be a momentous occasion for all of us in Mason Hall as it will be the last official act of Dean Latting.

One of Dean Latting's going-away gifts: a framed and signed picture of the entire Admissions team

One of Dean Latting's going-away gifts: a framed and signed picture of the entire Admissions team

Decisions are checked: Once the class has been confirmed, the Operations staff, along with assistance from the rest of the Admissions staff, will do one final check of all of our decision letters. Our office has a detailed triple-check process we take seriously.

Decisions are mailed: Upon the completion of these checks, all admit packets and decision letters (defer and deny) are loaded into mail bins and taken directly to either the main Hopkins Mail Services station located in Mt. Washington, or the downtown Baltimore City Postal Office depending on the time of day. All the mail will enter the postal system by late afternoon on Thursday, December 15. Admit packets are sent priority mail so they arrive typically within three days. Our decision letters are mailed first-class and can take 4-7 days to arrive. Please note international addresses will always take longer for both types of mail, and due to the holiday season the U.S. Postal Service does not guarantee any of these delivery estimates.

Decisions are emailed: Sometime after 6:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 15, we will begin sending Early Decision notification emails. No decisions will be emailed prior to this time, and there is no exact time set when emails will begin being sent. Please do not ask for an exact time or how long it will take all the emails to be sent, as we cannot provide that information.

It can take up to an hour for all of our decision emails to be sent so don’t expect a new message in your inbox right at 6:00 p.m. Have patience. Email notifications are released in random order so there is no way to deduce the order that decisions will be released. Decision emails are sent only to those who included an active email address with their application. (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 do not have a system of posting our decisions online or through a portal.

No phone calls: We will not accept phone calls on Thursday requesting the release of a decision over the phone. It is our preference to not release decisions over the phone. If an applicant has not received their decision by next Monday then he or she may call the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. We will only release the decision 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. Please do not call asking why a certain decision was rendered as admissions committee decisions are confidential and we are unable to discuss the factors behind our decisions.

Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.

Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.

As I have been writing about our decision releases for a number of years now, I can always anticipate some of the most frequently asked questions:

Why are emails sent after 6:00 p.m.? 
The reason we wait to release decision notification emails until the evening is we feel that receiving your college admissions decision should be a personal experience that you share with 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 to send our email notifications. (Yes we understand that this system does not work neatly for international applicants.)

What happens if I do not receive an email decision on Thursday?
If an applicant does not receive an email there a few things he or she can do:

(1.) Check your SPAM folders.

(2.) Check ANY and all email accounts you have ever used during the college search process. We send the email to the account you listed on your application. However, our database system does track all email accounts that have ever been matched to your record, so on occasion the notification email may be sent to old email address. (So check email addresses that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example.)

(3.) Have your parents check their email accounts too. Not sure how that happens, but it has happened in the past. If none of those methods work, then unfortunately the student will need to wait to receive the decision in the mail, or can call on Monday.

I applied to the biomedical engineering (BME) program; how will I learn of my decision?
BME decision emails will come as a second email to all admitted students who selected BME as their first-choice major. Those notifications will also be sent on Thursday following the release of all other decisions. Further details about your BME decision will be included in your decision packet/letter.

I was deferred. What does that mean?
Stay tuned. I will post information for deferred applicants a couple of days after the release of decisions.

I hope you all find his information helpful. Back to committee for me. Check back on Thursday as I once again live blog ED Notification Day.

Stacks of rosters used during committee stages are piling up.

Stacks of rosters used during committee stages are piling up.

Early Decision Update 2011

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It has been a whirlwind of activity over the last few weeks in Mason Hall, home to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Just as we completed the majority of our on-campus visit programs and the Admissions counselors returned from their fall recruitment travels, the November 1 Early Decision deadline came and went, but it did not pass without an adjustment. Following the Halloween weekend winter storm that hit the eastern seaboard, many in states from New Jersey all the way up to Maine experienced long term power outages. Like many other colleges and universities, Johns Hopkins University extended our Early Decision deadline through November 7 to accommodate students in the impacted areas. Now that extended deadline has passed, we can take a snapshot of the applicant pool and provide updates about where things stand with Early Decision.

Based on preliminary data, the Early Decision applicant pool is currently 1,432 applications. Due to a number of reasons (extended deadlines, delayed mail, cleaning up any processing errors), this number is likely to go up slightly over the next few weeks. Normally, the final official number is computed on December 1 so as to be accurate with totals from years past. Whatever the exact number is on that reporting date, what is clear is that for the fourth straight year and eighth time over the last ten years, our Early Decision applicant pool has grown. Currently, we are up 102 applications from last year, which calculates to an 8% increase. Again, we do expect this number to rise a bit in the coming weeks.

As we delve deeper into the early information some interesting data appears. The percent of women in the Early Decision applicant continues to rise, now at 47% when just a few years ago it was 44%. As well the number of under-represented minority applicants in the pool has grown for the third straight year. Unlike last year, where growth in the ED applicant pool came mostly from students interested in the social sciences, this year the growth appears to be with student interested in engineering. Finally, based solely on self-reported academic preparation data, not only have we received more applications but the “quality” of these applicants based on traditional metrics of GPA, test scores, and course rigor is also on the rise.

The Admissions staff is all excited about the continued increase in applicants stating that Johns Hopkins is their first choice school, and the counselors are already busy logging-on, reading, and evaluating applications. Along with an update to the numbers, I thought I would provide answers to the most frequently asked questions this time of year from ED applicants, parents, and their counselors:

When will Early Decision notifications be released?
The plan is to release ED notifications on Thursday, December 15. When decisions are released they are mailed out (postal mail) during the day and then an email is sent after 6:00 p.m. EST. If our plans change, the first place you can find the updated details will be on this blog. For more on the process of the release of ED notifications, check out this blog entry from last year that provided thorough details about how it all works: Update Time Again.    

Is my Early Decision application complete?
As you can imagine, it gets busy in the Admissions Office as we process application materials. Because of the volume of records being handled, it is not possible for us to confirm with each individual applicant whether their application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. We do email applicants an acknowledgment message after their application is received and processed. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully for completeness. At the end of the month our operations team will contact students whose ED 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. Often applicants ask if there is a way they can track their application online. Unfortunately, Hopkins does not have such a system. For that reason, our operations team is quite proactive in contacting applicants and guidance counselors to make sure all required application materials are received and processed correctly.

Finally, if your application is in and you are now waiting for the news, here are some distractions for you:

1) Check out This Month @ Hopkins Interactive:
http://www.hopkins-interactive.com/  
– This is the most recent Hopkins Interactive project and is a one page re-cap of the best content published on the site over the last month. The page contains a select number of blogs, popular tweets, a picture, a video, and some event reports. Don’t forget to check out the archives, and check back at the start of each month for the next edition.

2) Check out our updated Student Profiles:
http://apply.jhu.edu/studentlife/meet.html
- One of the great sections of the Undergraduate Admissions website is our “Meet the Students” page. Here you can access student profiles from 28 current students – seniors through freshmen, students from 13 different states and Italy, and students of a wide range of majors. Each profile provides links to read each student’s blog entries or tweets, as well as a link to their personal message board thread so you can ask them direct questions.

3) Learn More, See More, B’More Videos
http://www.youtube.com/HopkinsVideoBlog#p/u/1/VvuZJQ4aJ4s
In Mid-October we premiered the 5th episode of the Learn More, See More, B’More video series. This video was part two of their tour of the Baltimore neighborhoods. Next up, a visit to the Baltimore Zoo.

4) Student Photos on Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hopkins-interactive/
– Did you know that the Hopkins Interactive site contains a Flickr online photo gallery where current students can upload their pictures of life at Hopkins? The pictures are categorized for easier viewing, and earlier this week we posted our 700th picture.

For the Early Decision applicants, we hope you enjoy these distractions as we review your applications. For the Regular Decision applicants just know that the January 1 deadline is closer than you think. And for everyone, stay tuned as Admissions_Shannon and I have some enjoyable entries for the Hopkins Insider blog coming up.

Should You Apply Early Decision?

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This time of year one of the more frequently asked questions we receive is about the advantages and disadvantages of applying Early Decision to Johns Hopkins University. As high school seniors get used to their schedules and begin to balance their time between classes, activities, and college applications, the question looms about whether to apply early to any colleges on “the list.” With the November 1 deadline under a month and a half away, I thought I would provide some resources that may be helpful in making the “to ED or not to ED” question a bit easier.

To ED or not to ED: Well how much does this picture excite you about going to Johns Hopkins University?

To ED or not to ED: Well how much does this picture excite you about going to Johns Hopkins University?

The first place I encourage you to turn to is a blog entry we posted last fall composed by Dean of Admissions John Latting: Early Decision: the Pros and Cons. Dean Latting provides a detailed look at why one might want to apply Early Decision, as well as the questions one should ask prior to make such a decision. You can also find a full list of FAQs about applying Early Decision to Johns Hopkins here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/faq_early.html.

Back in November of 2006 (wow, nearly five years ago!), I posted a blog entry about my thoughts on Early Decision: To ED or not to ED. Though times have changed, and our applicant pool has grown significantly and acceptance rates have fallen, many of my thoughts back then still apply today in making the decision about committing to our Early Decision program. Here are just a few of my thoughts, in a nice bullet-form fashion:

  • If Hopkins if your definitive first choice, then Early Decision is definitely for you.
  • If your main reasons for applying ED are tactical (i.e. you believe there to be a competitive advantage) you may want to reconsider your approach.
  • Applying ED should be about FIT, and not about one’s chances for admission.
  • The benefits of applying ED are being reviewed in a smaller pool of applicants, and showing interest.
  • ED is binding. We do not offer any non-binding early plans.
  • Financial Aid will not be limited if you apply ED.
  • We do not fill our class with ED students, so Regular Decision applicants have the same chances for admission.
  • Finally, one important thing to keep in mind is that the Early Decision Plan at Johns Hopkins is binding. If you decide to apply Early Decision, you wouldn’t be able to apply to any other binding early plans, and you’d be required to withdraw applications to any other schools if you’re admitted to Johns Hopkins. Basically, if admitted you will only be able to review an offer of admission from one school.
Should you ED? Well how much do you want to live in Baltimore?

Should you ED? Well how much do you want to live in Baltimore?

This year I decided to add to this discussion about advice in determining whether Early Decision is the right choice, but providing you all with some thoughts from students. I asked a number of students I knew well to discuss why applying ED to Johns Hopkins was the right decision for them. Hopefully their comments will help as you make the decision whether to apply by November 1 and sign the ED contract, or hold off and apply by January 1 as an RD applicant.

Mandy Stein – Class of 2011 graduate (now currently a first-year law student at Washington University)
Major: Public Health Studies
Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

I applied Early Decision because I knew Hopkins was a great fit for me and that it was exactly where I wanted to spend the next four years. Applying under a binding contract was a little bit intimidating at first; the idea of giving up any hypothetical offers from other universities seemed scary. But after visiting the campus, and with the support of my family, I knew that I was ready to commit to Hopkins if they were willing to take me. The best part about applying Early Decision was that I knew in December where I’d be going to college – it made for a nice Christmas present and a great way to keep up the motivation during my senior year!

Trisha Lala – Sophomore
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania

Applying Early Decision is a difficult decision to make because, in my opinion, a student has to be so committed to their ED school that it would be their absolute first choice no matter what. After visiting Hopkins, talking to some of the members of the very open and welcoming student body, and learning about some of their programs, I knew it was the place for me. I think I was one of the few fortunate people who can honestly say that I felt that I belonged at Hopkins. I could imagine myself there, and thought it was logical to apply ED. Now I know that applying ED was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Kevin Cryan – Freshman
Majors: Political Science and French Cultural Studies
Hometown: Southport, Connecticut

I knew that I wanted to apply Early Decision to Hopkins once I realized both that this was the school I used as the metric to judge all other colleges by, and that all other colleges came up wanting. I would visit other colleges and immediately judge them in a “hmm, they don’t have as nice a campus /open a curriculum/rigorous academics /comfortable an atmosphere as Hopkins…” fashion. Once I visited a few more colleges and came to this realization, the choice became pretty clear.

Becca Krishnan-Ayer – Junior
Major: History of Art
Hometown: Houston, Texas

I visited Hopkins in the fall of my senior year, frustrated after countless mediocre college visits during my junior year. Something about my college visit to Hopkins clicked with me – the campus, the students I met, even the coffee shop in Levering Hall. I felt like I could really envision myself as a Hopkins student, studying at MSE library, passing through the breezeway en route to class, eating at the FFC, lounging on the water-less “Beach” on Charles Street. My decision to apply to Early Decision extended far beyond my campus visit, however. Throughout my college search, I continually kept coming back to schools that were prestigious, mid-sized institutions, located in or proximal to a large city, offering abundant resources in terms of research and extracurriculars. I wasn’t one of the students that knew exactly what I wanted to study or pursue career-wise (in fact, I had no clue) and so I also was looking for a school that had strong academics in a range of departments (arts, sciences, engineering). Hopkins fit the bill on all accounts. The students seemed just like me—motivated and hard-working academically, but social and multifaceted in their interests. Hopkins was the only university that offered everything I was seeking out of my college education—strong academics, extracurricular and research opportunities, renowned professors, a diverse student body, an international reputation, Greek life, athletics, and a convenient location. I applied ED because I wanted admissions to know that Hopkins was my number one choice out of all the colleges I was planning on applying to, and I knew that if I was accepted, I would be absolutely thrilled to enroll and attend.

Allysa Dittmar – Sophomore
Majors: International Studies and Global Environmental Change and Sustainability
Hometown: Cream Ridge, New Jersey

Hopkins was the first school I visited because it was close to home and it was at the very top of my list. I remember my visit vividly—I was absolutely taken aback by the beautiful campus. Visiting reaffirmed my belief that Hopkins was the one. I visited many colleges and ended up with ten schools on my list, with Hopkins at the top. After each visit, I still wanted to go to JHU. I did my applications with Hopkins’ Early Decision application on top of the pile. December 15th was truly one of the best days in my life. While my other friends were still filling out applications or trying to figure out where they wanted to attend, I was exploring Hopkins’ websites, majors, and visiting the campus and my Hopkins friends. In the end, I always tell others that I picked Hopkins because it fit me. I felt at home. I felt like I could thrive at Hopkins—achieve my goals, succeed, and be happy.

Nick Ginsberg – Sophomore
Majors: Computer Science and Economics
Hometown: Woodbridge, Connecticut

Early was the right decision for me because it gave me the ability to be secure in my future education and to know that where I was going was my number one choice long before many of my peers heard back.  For months, I was able to get excited about coming to Hopkins as others awaited the ever unsure letters back from their schools.  Not only that, but from the moment I came to Hopkins I knew it was the right place for me and by applying early I secured a spot in the class of 2014 as soon as possible.  It was one of the best decisions of my life, and had I not done it, who knows what would have ended up happening.

So: Is Early Decision right for you?

A Look Back

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Posted by Admissions_Daniel

Now that the proverbial dust has settled from the release of Early Decision notifications on Wednesday, I thought I would provide some interesting and hopefully helpful follow-up information. First though, some interesting stats from the day. No, not statistics about the ED class as I already posted our press release during my live-blogging. These stats are actually analytics of Hopkins Insider blog activity on December 15.

  • Traffic to the Hopkins Insider blog was +198.39%
  • 3,591 unique visits
  • 1,970 unique visitors
  • 7,597 page views (you all like to push refresh)
  • One week before, there were only 338 visits to the blog; 747 on Monday; and 1,188 on Tuesday.

The live-blogging of ED notification day 2010 equaled 2,645 words, 11 pictures, over 20 comments, 1 video, and one infamous pair of holiday socks. The only word that comes to mind is … whew!

As I briefly mentioned near the end of the blog on Wednesday evening there are three different groups to address follow-up thoughts to: denied students, deferred students, and admitted students. Over the last couple of days as reactions to our decisions were expressed I jotted some notes on things I would like to collectively say to each group.

First snowfall of the season descends on Homewood

First snowfall of the season descends on Homewood

To the Denied Students: As I wrote during the live-blogging, please know that I and all of my colleagues understand how difficult receiving such a decision from your first-choice school can be. We respect the frustration and anger you feel, but hope that you can understand the daunting task we are faced with selecting very few students from a truly outstanding pool of applicants. Many will deal with rejection by trying to determine where they fell short or focusing on statistics. That is understandable but it is short-sighted.

Our decisions are decisions of preference and fit, and not a rejection of an individual. I can attest to the fact that we extensively deliberate about the candidates for admission, especially during the ED review process. When reviewing a student’s application, we take into consideration a vast array of factors including academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, leadership, commitment to community, promise of future contribution, and fit. This may seem to be just rhetoric, and I can probably not persuade you that it’s not true, but honestly there is never one reason that leads to our decisions and the words holistic and comprehensive have true value to us. Our applicant pool is filled with qualified applicants, but unfortunately being qualified is not the only consideration. Our freshman class is small and we are unable to admit everyone who is capable of doing the work. Please do not receive this news as a judgment of your value and your ability, but rather understand the competitive nature of applying to a highly selective institution like Johns Hopkins.

My advice now is to forget about Johns Hopkins. Know that there is a college that is going to be uniquely enriched by your presence on their campus and that you will have an amazing undergraduate experience. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that the right college for you is the one that you select to attend and the one you commit yourself to fully from freshman to senior year.

Homewood at Winter

Homewood at Winter

To the Deferred Students: Most say that this is the hardest of the decisions one can receive during the ED round of review because it feels like a state of limbo. And that is true. There is confusion about how to react. The news is not good, but it is also not a final decision. We understand that being asked to wait three more months is not the decision you were hoping for, but unfortunately defer decisions are part of the ED process.

The best message I can share with you all is that there is still hope. Every year ED defers are admitted during RD, and defers are provided the same chance of admissions as applicants who apply Regular Decision. Yes the competition remains tough, and yes we are going to focus on your progress in your senior year, but a defer decision is the admissions committee stating that there are still factors that are of interest once the context of the entire applicant pool is known.

It is important to note that we do not just politely defer ED applicants into our RD applicant pool to delay bad news, and the amount of denied applicants significantly outweighs those deferred.  Those who are deferred still have a chance for admission; otherwise we would not have deferred the decision. However, your hopes need to be tempered. Being deferred does mean there were weaknesses in your application that raised concerns with the admissions committee.

So the question is what can you do? Well read this: Early Decision Defers – Read This! We have compiled an extensive list of advice and answers to frequently asked questions for the deferred applicant which we know will be helpful.

To the Admits: Congratulations! You are the first members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2015 and we look forward to welcoming you to campus in about nine months. There will be a lot of things you will need to do between now and move-in dates at the end of August, but there is time to get to those items. Now is a time to celebrate, start wearing your JHU clothing, put the bumper sticker on the car, and get to know you future classmates via the special Facebook group. For right now the only date of importance is January 15 – you need to submit your candidate reply form (CRF) and enrollment and housing deposit before that date.

In late March you will be contacted and the next steps will begin. You will get your JHED-ID, set-up your @jhu.edu e-mail account, and gain access to the New Student Portal and your enrolling freshman to-do list. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays, continue to enjoy your senior year, and let January 1 pass without any stress.

One favor though … do not become infected with senioritis. Do not allow your admission to become in jeopardy by letting your focus in school lapse. Yes we admitted you now, but we will review your final transcript and please do not make our jobs difficult.

Regular Decision application components are flooding in.

Regular Decision application components are flooding in.

Best wishes to everyone. Next week I will have a post for Regular Decision applicants and Admissions_Shannon is working on a special holiday post.

Our document scanner is looking forward to a mini-holiday break.

Our document scanner is looking forward to a mini-holiday break.

Live Blogging on ED Notification Day (Class of 2015)

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Posted by Admissions_Daniel 

Good day Early Decision applicants. So here we are again. Six straight years. Starting in 2005, I began a tradition of live blogging on decision notification days and will continue today with the release of our Early Decision notifications for the Class of 2015. I will be “micro-blogging” through the day to provide you all with a first-hand look into what takes place in Mason Hall (home to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions) on the day we release decisions. You can also follow me on Twitter for regular 140 character updates — @AdmissionDanielFor those looking for details on how the process will work today, please return to the blog entry I posted this past Monday. Check back throughout the day to follow the process and learn some inside details about this year’s Johns Hopkins Early Decision applicant pool and class.   

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5:56 a.m. -- Four minutes before my alarm clock will go off and I am up already. Since college I have always woken up just before my alarm clock goes off. It is nice to have an internal alarm clock in my head since I can’t stand the noise my actual alarm makes. Time to start my day. First up, is bundling up so I can walk my dog Soze. (Well really that was the second thing I will do as updating the blog clearly is more important today.) 

6:06 a.m. - Dog walking FAIL. Soze doesn’t want to get up. This has been his way the last couple of weeks since the weather in Baltimore has become more frigid. He prefers to sleep in and then walk once the sun comes up. I am not complaining. I guess as he nears 10 years in age he is becoming much wiser. So instead of the walk Mike and Mike in the Morning is on in the background and I am going to do a bit of morning work before getting ready to head into the office. I just hope Greeny and Golic don’t talk more about Cliff Lee signing with the Philliesl; as a die-hard Mets fan that decision just saddens me greatly.   

A lazy, yet wise, Soze preferring to sleep in rather then walking in the cold.

A lazy, yet wise, Soze preferring to sleep in rather then walking in the cold.

6:51 a.m. - Done with e-mail responses. Done with Facebook posts. Tweet’ed. To Do list set for the day and I am happy to say that I just have seven items on the list. My morning is moving along quite smoothly. Soze is still not up, so I am going to shower, shave (ha ha … inside joke again), dress, and head in to work. Oh yeah, I need to find an item in my house I am willing to re-gift for our “White Elephant” gift exchange at our Holiday Party later today. Hmmmm, what should I bring? 

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8:09 a.m. - Just got in the office. Pretty quiet here which is a good thing. Uneventful commute except for the fact that it is so cold outside that I think my mind finally understands the true meanings of the words frigid and bitter. Going to start my morning routine.   

Despite frigid temp., Mason Hall always looks amazing as the sun rises.

Despite frigid temp., Mason Hall always looks amazing as the sun rises.

 8:21 a.m. - Pretty easy morning routine. E-mail accounts are clear. Voicemails returned. Social media sites monitored. Heck I even was able to solve my brain teaser of the day. That makes it 245 of 349. 70%. See if you can solve the puzzle. 

Brain teaser of the day. Can you solve it?

Brain teaser of the day. Can you solve it?

 9:10 a.m. - My day just got 100% more awesome for three reasons. (1) I created a great December 15 iTunes plalist -- a shuffle of all my Cure, The Killers, and Florence + the Machine songs. Strangely the mix works very well. (2) Reading the comments being posted put a huge smile on my face. Thanks for your kind words and I am glad you all appreciate the inside access I try to provide. AND (3) Admissions_Shannon just brought me holidays socks to wear. Check out how cool they are. 

Holiday socks. Thanks Admissions_Shannon.

Holiday socks. Thanks Admissions_Shannon.

 9:57 a.m. - Took my first foray to the third floor (our Operations center) to see how everything is moving along. We are in excellent shape for mailing by early afternoon at the latest. The admit packets are being sealed and stamped as I type this update and the next step is our last set of checks. No official word from Dean Latting yet that the class is sealed, but that should come shortly. Here are a couple of pictures of the “action” going on upstairs. 

Sealing and stamping admit packets.

Sealing and stamping admit packets.

Letters awaiting one last check.

Letters awaiting one last check.

10:35 a.m. - They are still working on things upstairs and we are still waiting for the final confirmation from Dean Latting. In the meantime, I put the finishing touches on our official Class of 2015 Facebook group and took one last look at our special Admitted Student Web site. All looks good. 

Check out the front page of the main Admissions site: http://apply.jhu.edu. So cool! The wait is almost over! And the story links directly to the blog. I love that. 

I am going to have some BIG AND EXCITING NEWS in my next update. No it has nothing to do with an early release of decisions or anything even related to Early Decision. Just something related to Hopkins Interactive and an internal tradition that will continue today. Just going to make sure that everything is ready. 

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11:04. -- IT’S ALIVE!!! Go to http://www.hopkins-interactive.com. If you are a frequent visitor to our Hopkins Interactive site you will probably notice a major re-design. This is the BIG AND EXCITING NEWS I just mentioned. Hopkins Interactive and the Hopkins Insider blog launched in December 2005 just about the same time as the release of Early Decision notifications for the JHU Class of 2010. Ever since we have considered December 15 a big anniversary and we try to launch a new version of the site. Simply put, we have traveled light years from where we were five years ago. 

 

Hopkins Interactive version 6.0 is LIVE!

Hopkins Interactive version 6.0 is LIVE!

 I asked the mastermind behind our Hopkins Interactive design and implementation, JHU_Joe, to discuss the upgrade. Here is what he wrote:   

The new Hopkins Interactive preserved many of the features of the first redesign I completed for Hopkins Interactive, mainly the thumbnails for each post that gets published, as well as the “news-ticker” featuring some of our most recent posts. This time we show posts outside of the “news-ticker” using their thumbnail as a form of identification which allowed us to free up the bottom half of the page for something we’ve been wanting to do for a while: advocating our blogs. Most students will make it to Hopkins Interactive or Hopkins Insider without discovering the rest of our blogs. Now we show the most recent post from each of our major blogs, AND we’ve added a Related Posts feature on all of our current blogs that obtains related posts from ALL of our blogs. Finally, the design itself is (at least in my opinion) 10x better than what it was a few days ago. The colors combine in a way we didn’t see on the old site, and this design is the final step in bringing HI into the modern world of web design. Not only did we completely redo the design from scratch, but we re-coded the entire backend of the site (which took about 20 hours). Enjoy everyone! And be sure to follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/JHU_Joe! 

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11:11 a.m. - The Early Decision Class of 2015 is set. Dean Latting just made the announcement. Time for one last check of all the decision letters and packets and then to the post office we go.  

11:44 a.m. - EARLY DECISION NOTIFICATIONS FOR THE CLASS OF 2015 ARE IN THE MAIL. Photographic proof below.  

 
 

Stacked and ready to ship out.

Stacked and ready to ship out.

Waiting to be loaded.

Waiting to be loaded.

Putting the new socks to work.

Putting the new socks to work.

And off they go.

And off they go.

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12:09 p.m. - Every year the most popular question we are asked after the release of Early Decision notification is what were the results. This year our communications specialist, the amazing Shelly Placek, worked with Dean Latting to create  the following official press release: 

Press Release
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Johns Hopkins University
December 15, 2010
—————————————————
Wednesday, December 15, 2010—The Office of Undergraduate Admissions officially admitted the first members of the Class of 2015 today, sending admit packets and e-mails to 518 accepted Early Decision applicants. These talented students were chosen from a record applicant pool of 1,330, a 15 percent increase in Early Decision applications from last year.
 

A snapshot of the accepted Early Decision class: 

  • Early Decision applications received: 1,330
  • Early Decision students admitted: 518
  • Early Decision acceptance rate: 39%
  • Males/females: 54/46
  • Preliminary areas of academic interest:
    • Whiting School of Engineering: 31%
    • Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: 69%
      • Humanities: 13%
      • Natural sciences: 32%
      • Social and behavioral sciences: 21%
      • Top five home states: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California, Pennsylvania
      • 39 states represented, plus 48 international students from 20 different countries
      • Top five countries (other than US): South Korea, China, Canada, India, Turkey

“I’m excited about this class,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions John Latting of this year’s Early Decision admits. “You can measure them all you want in terms of their grades and test scores but, more importantly, I think they are just a great group of students in terms of what they will bring to our campus community. It’s a great beginning to the Class of 2015.” 

The Class of 2015 will be completed with students selected from the Regular Decision applicant pool. Applications are due January 1, 2011, with admissions decisions being released by April 1. Regular Decision students are given until May 1 to enroll; official numbers for the Class of 2015 will be available in May. 

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12:15 p.m. - Time for some “radio silence.” Now that we are done the Admissions staff is going to celebrate and enjoy our Holiday Party. I’ll be back later (close to 6 p.m.) with an update. Enjoy your collective afternoons. My socks and I are going to have an amazing time duck-pin bowling with my colleagues.  

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4:13 p.m. - Just returned home after an awesome Holiday Party with my colleagues. We all enjoyed our second annual Duck Pin Bowling tournament and it was a blast. It was nice to let loose after a few weeks of stressful work. My team did awesome and though we did not win in the end, my teammate and co-blogger Admissions_Shannon had the highest score of anybody. I also did much better in year two nearly doubling my score to an 81, from a pitiful 42 last year. I am going to walk Soze and then take some Extra Stength Tylenol as my voice and throat are killing me. Be back soon with some important updates on how things will work after 6:00 p.m.  

4:36 p.m. - I was going through my e-mail and came across a message from my colleague Sarah Godwin with an attached MOV.file. Sarah created a short little video re-cap of the mailing of ED notifications. I thought I would share it with you all. (By the way, this is a big deal because I personally can be seen in a couple of shots of this video. I usually refrain from every putting any photographic of video evidence of my existence on the blog, but Sarah is pretty proud of the video so I had to share it.) Enjoy. 

 

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5:00 p.m. - As my colleagues on the IT Team prepare to release the e-mail notifications there are a few important things I want you all to listen to and heed.  

FIRST, we will start sending e-mails after 6:00 p.m. EST. Please note the bold, italic, underlined emphasis on the key words start  and after.  This means that not everyone will get an e-mail in their in-box immediately at 6:00 p.m. It will take a while for all the e-mails to go out and there is a good chance we don’t start sending exactly at 6:00 p.m. If you keep refreshing your e-mail in-box at 6:00, 6:01, 6:04, 6:10, 6:11, and there is no message -- DO NOT PANIC and do not assume anything. Be patient and allow the process to work properly. 

SECOND, for the next hour (if not two hours) step away from the computer. Stop reading this blog. Stop refreshing your e-mail. Stop checking College Confidential (in fact you should stop that altogether for the future). Relax. Take a nap. Go do something that will calm you and distract you. Take your mind off of the clock.  

THIRD, and most importantly, after you receive your e-mail decision my strong suggestion is that you log-off of your computer and go spend some time with your family. No matter what decision you receive, get off the computer after you receive your e-mail. This is a major milestone in your young life, and you should share your initial reactions and emotions with your family and those closest to you. These people have been there since the first moment of your life, and they will be there FOREVER. Your family is not some online community. Your family is not Facebook. Your family is not some annonymous screenname. Your family is not this blog. Please heed this advice. Receive your decision and sign off. Don’t update your Facebook status. Don’t post a comment on this blog. Don’t go post your emotions on some Web site. Share your thoughts and emotions in the REAL WORLD first. The virtual world will be there later for you to provide a social media spin on your news.  

I say it every year … let the news sink in first. React in the real world before entering the cyber world.

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6:47 p.m. - All the e-mails have been sent. The process seems to have gone quite smooth this year (fingers remain crossed). Just two bounce-back e-mails so far and I was able to correct the e-mails and send them again. Will continue to monitor throughout the evening. Now that decisions have been received I wanted to share some quick thoughts to each group:

TO THE ADMITS: Congratulations! I hope you are all so excited and got some time tonight to jump around and celebrate. You will get your admit packets soon and there will be a ton of information you will go through. Also, remember to use the Admitted Student Web Site, Hopkins Interactive, and the Class of 2015 Facebook group. But also pace yourself — August is still 9 months away. I will have more to say to you all in the coming weeks. Time to put that bumper sticker on the car!!!

TO THE DEFERS: The main message is that this was not a “no.” Instead it was a delay of your decision for another three month. I strongly suggest that you all read the discussion thread that I have set-up for deferred applicants: Early Decision Defers – Read This

TO THE DENIES: Please know that I understand how difficult receiving such news can be. My colleagues and I do not take pleasure in not offering admission to students, especially those where Hopkins is their first choice. A couple of years ago I wrote a post to denied applicants, and I recommend you all read it: A Posted for the Denied Applicant. I do wish you all the best of luck.

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 8:49 p.m. - As it approaches 13 straight hours of live-blogging I am going to call it a day. Thanks to everyone who commented and I hope this trek through the day was helpful. I will return on Friday with a new blog entry with reflections on notification day and what’s next. Cheers!

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Update Time, Again

8

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

I had not planned on posting a new blog entry until this Wednesday, but it seems that many of you missed the information I posted a few weeks back on how Early Decision notifications will be posted (It’s Update Time posted November 24, 2010). Just since Friday we’ve received 37 e-mails to the gotojhu@jhu.edu account asking when ED notifications would be released and/or how ED applicants will be notified. So I’ve stepped away from our final admissions committee deliberations to share the following with all 1,330 anxious Early Decision applicants:

Early Decision notifications will be released on Wednesday, December 15.

Here is the plan for how everything will go on Wednesday:

* Class is confirmed: In the morning the Admissions staff will arrive at work and wait for Dean Latting to confirm that the Early Decision class is complete. Dean Latting usually spends the previous evening going over a statistical breakdown of the class and confirming final decisions on the most debated cases.

Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.

Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.

* Decisions are checked: Once the class has been confirmed, the Operations staff, along with assistance from the rest of the Admissions staff, will do one final check of all of our decision letters. Our office is very diligent in checking the right decision letter is going to the right applicants, and have a detailed triple-check process we take seriously.

* Decisions are mailed: Upon the completion of these checks, all admit packets and decision letters (defer and deny) are loaded into mail bins and taken directly to either the main Hopkins Mail Services station located in Mt. Washington, or the downtown Baltimore City Postal Office depending on the time of day. All the mail will enter the postal system by late afternoon on Wednesday, December 15. Admit packets are sent priority mail so they arrive typically within three days. Our decision letters are mailed first-class and can take 4-7 days to arrive. Please note international addresses will always take longer for both types of mail, and due to the holiday season the U.S. Postal Service does not guarantee any of these delivery estimates.

Priority mail envelopes awaiting labels and postage.

Priority mail envelopes awaiting labels and postage.

* Decisions are e-mailed: Sometime after 6:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 15, we will begin sending Early Decision notification e-mails. No decisions will be e-mailed prior to this time, and there is no exact time set when e-mails will begin being sent. Please do not ask for an exact time or how long it will take all the e-mails to be sent, as we cannot provide that information.

It can take up to an hour for all of our decision e-mails to be sent so don’t expect a new message in your in-box right at 6:00 p.m. Have patience. E-mail notifications are released in random order so there is no way to deduce the order that decisions will be released. Decision e-mails are sent only to those who included an active e-mail address with their application. (If an applicant does not receive an e-mail it is because either there was no e-mail provided with the application, the e-mail address provided no longer works, or a data entry error. Unfortunately, we do not re-send e-mails, so in such situations the student must wait for the mail to arrive.) We do not have a system of posting our decisions online or through a portal.

* No phone calls: We will not accept phone calls on Wednesday requesting the release of a decision over the phone. In fact, the office will be closed after decisions have been mailed as the entire Admissions staff will be attending a holiday party. It is our preference to not release decisions over the phone. If an applicant has not received their decision by Friday then he or she may call the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. We will only release the decision 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. Please do not call asking why a certain decision was rendered as admissions committee decisions are confidential and we are unable to discuss the factors behind our decisions.

A scene from last year.

A scene from last year.

As I have been writing about our decision releases for a number of years now, I can always anticipate some of the most frequently asked questions:

Why are e-mails sent after 6:00 p.m.?
The reason we wait to release decision notification e-mails until the evening is we feel that receiving your college admissions decision should be a personal experience that you share with 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 to send our e-mail notifications. (Yes we understand that this system does not work neatly for international applicants.)

What happens if I do not receive an e-mail decision on Wednesday?
If an applicant does not receive an e-mail there a few things he or she can do:
(1.)Check your SPAM folders.
(2.) Check ANY and all e-mail accounts you have ever used during the college search process. We send the e-mail to the account you listed on your application. However, our database system does track all e-mail accounts that have ever been matched to your record, so on occasion the notification e-mail may be sent to old e-mail address. (So check e-mail addresses that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example.) 
(3.) Have your parents check their e-mail accounts too. Not sure how that happens, but it has happened in the past. If none of those methods work, then unfortunately the student will need to wait to receive the decision in the mail, or can call on Friday.

Every year some e-mail notifications just don’t work. There are a number reasons for an applicant not receiving an e-mail notification including: no e-mail was provided on the student’s application, the e-mail provided on the application is no longer active, there was a SPAM filter blocking the message, or some error occurred that caused a bounce-back. WE ARE UNABLE TO RE-SEND E-MAILS. Once again, in such situations the applicant must wait. We understand how frustrating that can be, but unfortunately mistakes can happen when processing over thousands of applications.

I applied to the biomedical engineering (BME) program; how will I learn of my decision?
BME decision e-mails will come as a second e-mail to all admitted students who selected BME as their first-choice major. Those notifications will also be sent on Wednesday following the release of all other decisions. Further details about your BME decision will be included in your decision packet/letter.

I was deferred. What does that mean?
Stay tuned. I will post information for deferred applicants a couple of days after the release of decisions.

Regular Decision mail keeps stacking up.

Regular Decision mail keeps stacking up.

I hope you all find his information helpful. Back to committee for me. Check back on Wednesday as I once again live blog ED Notification Day.

It’s Update Time

8

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

Greetings once again, faithful blog readers and welcome to those of you new to the Hopkins Insider Admissions blog. It’s been close to a month since the last time I personally composed a new blog entry and I thought it was time to return with a number of updates. Not blogging as frequently as I used to has been pretty strange, but I’m glad that the Hopkins Insider has not faltered in my absence. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the recent guest author entries from my colleagues and learning so much about their fields of expertise. As well, Admissions_Shannon’s entries about her travels, her office responsibilities, and her love of all things Baltimore have been a welcome addition to the blog. I hope you all agree with my completely biased opinion. But enough patting ourselves on the back … on to the updates.

Clearly, the first update many of you want to read about is where things stand with Early Decision.  Other sources may have reported tentative totals for our 2011 ED applications, but the accurate number as confirmed by Dean of Undergraduate Admissions John Latting this morning is 1,330 applications. This is a 15% increase from our 1,155 total from last year and continues a nice trend over the last 10-plus years which the following chart displays:

The rise in ED applications to JHU.

The rise in ED applications to JHU.

We are all excited to see this continued increase in applicants stating that Johns Hopkins is their first choice school.  Over the last few weeks there have been discussions of what led to the increase. Many agree that it is a combination of factors, including the rise of students applying early in general, the increased discussion of our Early Decision plan this year, and evidence that Hopkins continues to be a “hot” school. Personally, I think the increase has everything to do with Dean Latting deciding to write a guest blog on the topic of Early Decision.

Fall is upon us at Homewood.

Fall is upon us at Homewood.

My second update is to answer the two questions that are most frequently asked this time of year from Early Decision applicants, their parents, and their counselors. Hope these answers help clear up any confusion:

When will Early Decision notifications be released?
The plan is to release ED notifications on Wednesday, December 15. When decisions are released they are mailed out (postal mail) during the day and then an email is sent after 6:00 p.m. EST. If our plans change, the first place you can find the updated details will be on this blog. To prepare yourselves, click on the Early Decision category tab on the left column and check out Decision Release entries for the last few years.  

Is my Early Decision application complete?
As you can imagine, it gets busy in the Admissions Office as we process application materials. Because of the volume of records being handled, it is not possible for us to confirm with each individual applicant whether their application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. We do email applicants an acknowledgment message after their application is received and processed.

Rest assured that application files are checked carefully for completeness. Starting next week our operations team will contact students whose ED 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. Often applicants ask if there is a way they can track their application online. Unfortunately, Hopkins does not have such a system. For that reason, our operations team is quite proactive in contacting applicants and guidance counselors to make sure all required application materials are received and processed correctly.

As always, if you have any questions, head on over to the Hopkins Forums. (By the way, check out the re-design—it’s pretty awesome.) There is an extensive 10-page discussion on Early Decision Questions that may be helpful.

The mail continues to pile up in Mason Hall.

The mail continues to pile up in Mason Hall.

Finally, for those of you who are eagerly awaiting the release of decisions on December 15, I encourage you to find a distraction for the next few weeks. One suggestion is to check out the updated student profiles we added to the main Admissions site: http://apply.jhu.edu/studentlife/meet.html. A second distraction could be all the amazing student blogs that have been posted over the last few weeks: http://www.hopkins-interactive.com/index.php. And third, I highly recommend catching up on some great television shows. Here are the shows I am currently watching each week: Glee, The Walking Dead, Modern Family, Community, 30 Rock, House, Chase, Hawaii Five-0, and definitely Boardwalk Empire.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and check back next week for some additional Guest Author blog entries, a few more tales from Admissions_Shannon, and some updates for Regular Decision applicants.