Category: FAQs

Hopkins Insider addresses THE question, “How do I get in?”

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_JHU7219It’s time to answer a question we get A LOT in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions:

What can I do to  get in to Hopkins?

When we talk about applying to colleges, the first thing that comes to many peoples’ mind is usually the SAT. The truth of the matter is that there is no single most important factor and while test scores are important, it’s just one aspect that the admissions counselors consider when reading Applications. We’re looking at the whole student. Here’s what matters to us:

  • Academic character: We’re looking for you to be someone who contributes inside the classroom. We want students who will take advantage of our curriculum, so when we look at your transcripts, we’re looking not just at your testing, but also the context of your class rigor, your grades, and your recommendations. We’re looking for students who are able to interact inside the classroom and take that learning and apply it to life.
  • Impact & Initiative: What are you doing outside of the classroom? We make a lot of entrepreneurial resources available to undergraduates, so we’re looking for students who will find innovative, entrepreneurial ways to make an impact.
  • Personal qualities & fit: What diversity do you bring to campus? Background, thoughts, training, passions? We’re looking for students who will make the most of all of the opportunities that the JHU experience provides.

And, of course, one place to really shine is the supplemental essay. Get creative—show your personality, passions, and aspirations. We DO read every word of every single essay.

FAQ Friday: Application Mania

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Well. It’s been quite a month here at the Hopkins Insider. We welcomed the first members of the Class of 2017, then took a little break for the holidays, and now our counselors (including Admissions_Shannon, Admissions_Ardi, and Admissions_Laurin) are right in the thick of reading Applications. Elsewhere in the office, we’re gearing up for spring events and travel, preparing print publications, and having important lunchtime conversations about reality television.

What’s that? You wanted to know about your application? Are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about the new American Idol judges? We’re concerned about who will be able to fill Steven Tyler’s wacky platform shoes.

Anyway…So you did it! You stayed up late and fretted over your essays and made sure all of your information was correct. With a quivering hand, you clicked “submit,” and now you’re officially a Class of 2017 applicant. (Hopefully your application experience wasn’t quite that dramatic.) And now we’re sure you have a few questions, which we’ll try to answer below.

1. Is my application complete?

This is the most common question we are asked this time of year. We don’t currently have a way to check your application status online, so we understand that applicants get a little nervous about their status. Here’s the deal: We are processing hundreds of documents every day, so the sheer volume of items we’re receiving this time of year makes it difficult to respond to each application status check request we get. But, we’re not leaving you in the dark. Applicant files are checked thoroughly for completeness. In late January or early February, we’ll send out a “missing items” e-mail to all students who are, go figure, missing items. That e-mail will give you time to submit any outstanding items that might be missing from your application. (This is another reason we need to have a current e-mail for you, so make sure you’re checking the e-mail account you used on your application.)

Bins of materials for counselors to review

Bins of materials for counselors to review

2.       But, can’t you just tell me if my application is complete?

Please see above. Give us a few weeks to process all of the materials we have so that we can give you an accurate answer to that question. If you don’t receive the missing items e-mail, you can call or e-mail us in February to check on your application.

3.       I submitted my materials at 12:02 a.m. on January 1. Will I still be considered for admission?

While it’s important to submit your application and supporting materials as close to the deadline as possible, we continue to take materials through mid-January. This isn’t because we don’t care about deadline—deadline appreciation is a core value to most admissions professionals—but we realize that some items, like your recommendations and school reports, are coming from outside sources, and that international students might need more time to complete the additional required materials. So, yes, we’ll accept your materials after Jan. 1, and yes, you will still be considered for admission, and yes, please try to get them all in as soon as possible. Your file won’t be read until it’s complete, so get that stuff in!

4.       When will I hear from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions?

We won’t have the answer you really want from us—whether you were admitted—until around April 1, but in the meantime, we will have some important information for you. This month, you should receive an e-mail from us that talks about Financial Aid deadlines and the Woodrow Wilson application process, which is open to all applicants. Then, around the end of January, we’ll send out the above mentioned “missing items” e-mail. After that, any communications you get from us will be about the process of checking or receiving your admissions decision.

That's just good advice for everyone, provided by a staff member's granddaughter.

That's just good advice for everyone, provided by a staff member's granddaughter.

Hopefully those answers help out a little bit. We know this can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you are applying to different schools that all have different methods for tracking Applications, different deadlines, and different procedures. The best advice for you now is to just relax and enjoy the rest of your senior year. If you’re curious what happens to your application after you submit it, we’ll post an entry about that in the near future. Rest assured that your application takes quite an electronic journey after you’re finished with it. (And now we have a techno version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” in our head.)

Be well and stay tuned!

FAQ Friday: What classes should you take?

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Back when some of us Hopkins Insider contributors were young lads and lasses, choosing our high school schedules was simple. We’d call or pass a carefully folded note to our bff (text? E-mail? What are these strange things you speak of? What’s this face book? And get off our lawn!) and see what classes he or she was taking. Then, using our No. 2 pencil, we’d carefully write the same classes down on the appropriate paper and get back to trying to beat our own high score for Snake on our TI-82s.

The original text message-r?

The original text message-r?

We realize that the high school experience has changed a little. There’s more focus on college Applications and test scores and class selection and, sadly, less attention paid to sneaking your Walkman into class or trying to figure out coded messages on your beeper, which was also snuck into class. This shift has led to this FAQ Friday’s topic: What classes should you take?

This is an easy one. We can’t tell you. Thanks for reading!

What’s that? You want more information? Here’s what we can tell you about your high school course selection:

  1. In general, recommended preparation for all students includes four years of each of the following subjects: English, Mathematics, foreign language, science with laboratory, and History/social science. It is recommended that students take five core academic courses each year throughout high school, focusing on academic core classes over elective classes. This also applies to questions about dropping an academic class—if you need to do that, you should make sure that you’re replacing an academic class with another academic class rather than an elective.
  2. We also recommend that students pursue the most advanced level courses offered at their school. Johns Hopkins University considers AP and IB programs to be the most rigorous available to students, but we don’t have a preference of one program over another. These are only recommendations and not requirements. We have no specific course requirements for applicants. In fact, the application requirements we do have can be found here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/deadlines.html.

Seem like generic advice? That’s because every prospective student has an individual record from his or her high school, so it’s not possible for us to suggest specific enrollment options. When you apply, you’re considered as an individual and your regional counselor will be familiar with your high school and all of the options available there, which means the person reading your file will have a better context for reviewing your course selection. The application also gives us a much more complete picture of you. Your extracurricular interests, full high school record, recommendations, and essays will tell us a lot about you and your academic choices. We can’t get that from an e-mail that says, “So should I take Physics?”

Nobel prize-winning physics professor Adam Riess with his colleagues.

We can’t tell you whether you should take Physics (although if you’re considering applying here, we do have an amazing physics department. Ahem…nobel prize winning faculty…no big deal or anything) but we can give you some advice. First, your college or guidance counselor is a great resource for you as you try to select your classes. He or she should know what academic paths are available at your particular school and the best classes for you to take to stay on track with your goals. Second, you can do a little Research on y our own. If you’re interested in a specific program at JHU or any other school, check out the academic catalog and see what kinds of courses are offered in that program. Read up on what topics are covered and what students are learning at a college level. That might help you determine how you can best prepare yourself. After all, you know yourself better than we do, so you know what you still need to learn and what your school offers that might help you with that.

 

The JHU course catalog for 2011-2013. The real version of this sucker is over 670 pages. That's a lot of classes!

The JHU course catalog for 2011-2013. The real version of this sucker is over 670 pages. That's a lot of classes!

So, in short: we’ve given you the bare basics as a suggestion, and now you should go talk with your guidance counselor and then do some Research so you can give yourself good advice. For that last part, maybe just don’t give yourself advice out loud. You might scare people.

Now, where did we put that No. 2 pencil? Our NKOTB cassette tape is unwinding and we need the pencil to crank it back in place…

Thanks to advances in modern technology, many of you will never know the dismay that is associated with this image.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, many of you will never know the dismay that is associated with this image.

Have a great weekend!

FAQ Friday: The Question of Interviews

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Welcome to another FAQ Friday brought to you by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Are you ready for a super fun, rapid-fire, crazy awesome breakdown of the admissions interview process? Well, are you?? (Pro tip: there is rarely ever never a reason for using multiple punctuation points.) Hold on to your hats—we’re bringing out the numbered list.

This has nothing to do with interviews. Our football team is just awesome and we're excited that they're hosting the first round of the NCAA playoffs tomorrow!

This has nothing to do with interviews. Our football team is just awesome and we're excited that they're hosting the first round of the NCAA playoffs tomorrow!

  1. We offer two kinds of interviews for applicants: on-campus interviews and alumni interviews. On-campus interviews are held here on the JHU Homewood campus and are conducted by current student Admissions Representatives. Off-campus interviews are held in cities around the country and, to much more limited extend, internationally. Visit the websites to learn more about each.

    Did you know that Admissions_Laurin used to be an Admissions Representative? And now she's a fancy lady with her own desk and post-it notes!

    Did you know that Admissions_Laurin used to be an Admissions Representative? And now she's a fancy lady with her own desk and post-it notes!

  2. The most important things you need to know about interviews at Johns Hopkins (sub-numbered list, coming at ya!):
    1. Most importantly, interviews at JHU are optional. This means that if you’re not able to schedule an interview, or maybe you just don’t feel like it, your application will NOT be negatively impacted. Just because other schools required interviews, or your best friend did an interview, or you have some really bizarre interest in being interviewed by a stranger, none of that means that you have to have an interview here; you should be requesting an interview because you feel it will really benefit you. If you do have an interview, it’s included in your application file and considered along with the rest of your materials. If you don’t/can’t/choose not to, it’s not a strike against you.
    2. Our interviews are informative rather than evaluative. You should look at admissions interviews here as your chance to learn more about the university and ask your interviewer any and all questions you might have about Johns Hopkins.
    3. How does one sign up for an interview, you ask? Why, online, of course! For both types of interviews, we only accept online requests.
    4. Because we have a limited number of interview spots and alumni interviewers, we can’t always guarantee availability. In general, students can request on-campus interviews from February of their junior year until February of their senior year; for seniors, alumni interviews can be requested beginning in mid-October and running through the end of January.
    5. What if the interview slots are all full? Don’t worry about it. See above—availability is limited and spots do tend to fill up fast. Right now, at this moment, we do not currently have any on-campus interview spots left. If this happens, and you really, really, really, like, more than you wanted that cat when you were seven, want an interview, you can keep checking back. The website is updated in real time so if someone cancels, you’ll see a spot open up online. There isn’t a wait list for interviews, so they are a first-come, first-served kind of deal.
    6. What if you’ve requested an alumni interview and haven’t heard back? If you are an Early Decision applicant, you should allow up to three weeks from your request to hear back (also, the opportunity for Early decision students to request interviews has now closed.) If you’ve recently made an alumni interview request, e-mail nasc@jhu.eduand they can fill you in on the status. For Regular Decision applicants, the scheduling process will begin on November 26 so you should hear back soon. In any case, please don’t request an interview multiple times—it just slows the whole process down.

      What should you wear to your interview: wedding dress or bathrobe? There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

      What should you wear to your interview: wedding dress or bathrobe? There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

    7.  What should you wear? What will you talk about? Should you fake a British accent (or, if you already have a cool accent, try to talk like a robot?) Let’s address that last one first: No. Please….no. For the others, here’s a great blog to give you an idea of what an on-campus interview is like: http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/blog/2010/11/the-johns-hopkins-on-campus-interview/. You can expect something similar for alumni interviews, as well.
    8.   Already did the hard part and got an interview scheduled? Then relax. You might even enjoy talking to the Admissions Representative or alumni interviewer who conducts your interview. Hopefully, you’ll leave the meeting with a better understanding of what makes JHU such a great place and your interviewer will be excited about the possibility of having you as part of the Johns Hopkins community.

Hope this is helpful. Now get back to work perfecting that robot voice, just in case you ever need it.

Maybe instead of an essay next year, JHU should do a "robot voice" contest. Discuss.

Maybe instead of an essay next year, JHU should do a "robot voice" contest. Discuss.

FAQ Friday, Second Edition: The Essays

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Hello again and happy Friday from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The hot topic this week that we know has been on your mind: What should you be for Halloween?? Great question. The possibilities are endless.

What’s that? You already know that you want to be the blue power ranger (good choice!) but what’s really on your mind is your application essay? I guess we can help with that, too. (And a note to our readers who are not quite application-ready: We know you’ve got questions too. I promise we’ll address some general, not-application-related questions soon.)

So. The application essay. There you are, all ready to submit your application and go about your business, except for the small matter of you versus the blinking curser. When it comes to application essays, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the essay is an important part of your application. The good news? Your essay is an important part of your application! (Did you just do a cartoon double-take?) What this means is that your essays should be something that you spend some time on, because it’s your chance to show a little bit of your personality to the counselors who are reading your application. Admissions_Shannon already covered a lot of this in a post earlier this month: http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/blog/2012/08/the-write-stuff-essay-strategies-that-work/, and you can always read examples of previous essays that we liked on our “Essays that Worked” page: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays.html. What we’re here for today are your FAQ about essays, so here goes…

You've read everything you can find about us... now we want to read about YOU!

#1. Are those, uh, word counts, like, totally set in stone, orrrr….??

We get it. By the time you’re asking this question, you’ve probably already got a 3,000-word masterpiece polished and ready to go. Good for you! There are tons of students staring at an empty page who hate you right now. Here’s the deal: the word counts are put there for a reason. Writing isn’t just about what you have to say, but how clearly and concisely you can communicate it when asked. (Do as we say and not as we do, as this “very brief” blog rambles on and on every week.) The essay form won’t cut you off, and your regional admissions counselor is not a robot programmed to self-destruct after the 500-word or 250-word limit, so don’t prematurely age yourself fretting over those last few words. BUT—and it’s a big but, which is why we made it bold and capitalized—the person reading your application has no obligation to read past the posted word limit so it’s in your best interest to get to the point quickly. In the words of John Mayer, say what you need to say, while keeping an eye on the word count limits. (Can we get #JohnMayerCollegeEssay trending on Twitter? Anybody?) If you’re way over the limit and stuck on what to cut, employ your friends, family, counselors, dog, whoever, to help you whittle it down.

You'll get by with a little help from your friends...

#2 What makes an essay stand out?

Again, visit Admissions_Shannon’s excellent advice for essay writing or our Essays that Worked page for examples, but, in general, essays that are well written, interesting, and creative stand out. Essays that are heartfelt and genuine, or show a real passion for learning (or more specifically, learning at Johns Hopkins) or commitment to a social/extracurricular endeavor are memorable. Remember, the person reading your application is just that—a person. What kinds of things would stand out to you if you were reviewing essays all day? Think about that as you write your own piece. Which brings us to…

Take some time to plan out your essay. You'll be glad you did!

#3. What’s the appropriate amount of curse words in a college admissions essay?

Um. Ahem. Let us distract from the question at hand.  We’re not trying to stifle your creativity, but you should keep in mind that you’re writing for a specific audience. Things like excessive curse words, explicit descriptions of things that might make the common reader blush, etc., may not be your best choices. If you choose to talk about a controversial topic—which many students do, very successfully, every year—you should make sure your essay is constructed in a thoughtful way that reveals something about you  as a writer and as a scholar. You want your essay to be memorable because it was well written or thought-provoking, not because it made the application reader cringe. That being said, Johns Hopkins is a creative place and we have big hearts for the arts (trademark!) here, so you should feel free to get creative in the way that you’re delivering your essay. Not sure if your essay falls under “brilliantly creative” or “offensively off-putting”? Fair enough…some of the finest art in the world has gone through that dilemma. Check with your college counselor or a trusted teacher and they can help to steer you in the right direction.

To sum up: Be yourself. Be creative. And, try to stick to the listed word counts, even if you really don’t want to. Happy writing!

FAQ Friday, First Edition: Let’s Talk Testing

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If you’re a longtime reader of the site (which we assume you are; surely you have continued to keep up with the goings-on in the JHU Office of Undergraduate Admissions long after you applied, were admitted, attended, graduated, and went on to become a successful doctor/businessman or woman/author/philanthropist, etc.) then you  might remember a segment called “Friday Favorites” (http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/blog/category/friday-favorites/). We’re bringing it back, with a twist: check here on Fridays for a short segment called FAQ Friday, where we’ll briefly look at some of the most frequently asked questions we’re getting on the phones, from visitors, or through our gotojhu@jhu.edu account. Of course, you can always view our FAQ here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/faq.html, but maybe the question we’re addressing on some random Friday will be the very thing you’ve been meaning to e-mail us about.

The application race is underway...except it's not really a race. At all.

The application race is underway...except it's not really a race. At all.

This week’s FAQ Friday: When do I need to send in my test results?

With the November 1 Early Decision deadline slowly/quickly approaching, we’re hearing this question a lot. Here’s the deal with when you need to submit your test results:

#1. (I think this will be a common thread in FAQ Fridays): Relax. You’re not alone. We receive over 20,000 Applications each year, and every one of those applicants has to submit their scores so this is a common concern.

#2. Make sure you brush up on just what our requirements are. Someone should make a website for that. Oh wait! We already did and, being the geniuses that we are, we cleverly named it Standardized Test Requirements and you can find it here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/testreqs.html. Basically, you need either the SAT I Reasoning Test OR the ACT with Writing Test. We don’t have a preference on which test you take and you should send all of your scores to us. SAT II Subject Tests are not required, but are recommended. Go to the website. It makes things sound much more official than that.

We wouldn't recommend taking your SATs using a red marker like this clip art lady appears to be doing.

We wouldn't recommend taking your SATs using a red marker like this clip art lady appears to be doing.

#1a. Sorry. This is out of order (and also brings to mind a pro essay-writing tip: outlines can be your best friend) but it speaks to the main message of #1 (It was “relax”…have you forgotten already? You should get more rest.): Yes, we are talking about standardized tests. Yes, they will be considered in your application. No, no, no, they are not the end-all, be-all of your application and there is no magic number that we’re looking for. If there were, our admissions counselors would have a lot more free time on their hands. Unfortunately for them but happily for you, your test results are a small part of your application.  But, scores are required and, for some unknown reason, they seem to cause lots of stress among our applicants, so that’s why we’re talking about them today.

Back to relaxing.

Where were we? Oh right...we were relaxing. Of course.

Where were we? Oh right...we were relaxing. Of course.

#3. So you’ve taken your SAT I or ACT with Writing Test and AS IF that wasn’t stressful enough, now you’re chewing your fingernails to nubs wondering if your scores will get here on time. First, you should stop chewing your fingernails. Nasty habit to break. Secondly, here’s our stance on that:

Johns Hopkins requires that Early Decision (ED) candidates complete their required tests no later than October of their senior year. This means that applicants must take either the SAT or ACT with Writing prior to the November 1 ED deadline. (When TOEFL is required that exam must also be taken before November 1.) Test scores need to be requested from the testing agencies prior to our stated application deadlines but may arrive after the deadline. Though October scores will arrive past the deadline they will still be considered if requested in advance of the deadline. There is no need to rush score reports as they do not arrive any earlier. We cannot guarantee that November scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation.

Past experience does suggest that exams taken in November usually arrive in time. Therefore, Early Decision applicants may submit November testing if they are taking the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL a multiple time, or if they are taking the recommended but not required SAT subject exams. If the scores arrive before the evaluation then they will be considered with one’s application. We cannot guarantee that scores sent after our application deadline will be processed in time to be reviewed with one’s application and we do not delay the review of an application to wait for scores sent after the application deadline. Again, there is no need to rush scores from the testing agencies, as our office will not process them any quicker.

For Regular Decision, the above holds true with the dates switched out: Regular Decision (RD) candidates should complete their required tests no later than December of their senior year. This means that applicants must take either the SAT or ACT with Writing prior to the January 1 RD deadline. Note that if you plan to send January scores, you must submit your previous test scores prior to the January 1 deadline and then send any January scores as a later update. If you do not submit test scores prior to the January 1 deadline then your application will be considered incomplete.

Wrap it up, Admissions_Shelly. We don't have all day to read this blog.

Wrap it up, Admissions_Shelly. We don't have all day to read this blog.

#4 So, OMG, get to the point. (I know, I know…if this were a Common Application essay, I’d be 300+ words over the limit and the admissions counselor would be getting antsy. Not okay.) So in short: If you are taking your required tests for the FIRST time, you need to do so and request that your scores be sent to us before the application deadline. If you’re taking the test a second/third/seriously, do you love taking tests or something? time (or if you’re submitting the recommended but not required SAT II Subject tests), you can take it after the deadline to supplement your application but we can’t guarantee that it will arrive at our office in time to make it into your file. Most likely, it will arrive in time; HOWEVER, we can’t guarantee it and we can’t hold up application review to wait for test scores, so if you are really counting on an updated test score for your application, you should be safe and take the test before the application deadline.

Sound good? Sounds good to us, but then, our policies and procedures usually do. And I guess we weren’t into that whole brevity thing this week—better luck next time! Have a great weekend!

2012: Post-Application Deadline Survival Guide

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As the calendar turned to 2012 a few weeks ago, most of the news stories referenced in some manner the impending doomsday mythology associated with the year 2012. For me the turning of the calendar meant three things: (1) an increase of frantic messages being sent to the main Admissions e-mail account; (2) an increase in my stress level as I adjust to the fact that I am now in the throes of application reading season; and (3) an increase in the need of reminders I have to send myself about not writing the date as 1/11/11 but rather 1/11/12 . Pretty much, this new year represents not an apocalypse for me, but rather business as usual.

Outside of some leadership changes, 2012 feels pretty much like 2011 in the world of Johns Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the same as previous years as well. It may be a new year but the team inside Mason Hall is focused on what we always focus on in January: the third floor is inundated with application mail and the processing of online submissions and the counseling staff on the second floor are logging on and reading Regular Decision Applications. This same scenario will repeat daily for the next twoplus months. While my colleagues and I press forward through application processing and review, those of you who completed Regular Decision Applications now must test the limits of your patience and just wait.

One thing I have learned in my many years of working in Admissions is that waiting is not something high school seniors do well, and this lack of patience often leads to many (MANY!) frequently asked questions. So at the end of this post, I will be providing answers to the most frequently asked questions this time of year. But before that I thought it would be helpful to share some important upcoming deadlines as well as what you can expect from this blog in the coming weeks.

  • Meet the Admissions Staff: Starting next week, the Hopkins Insider blog will continue an annual winter tradition where you get to know the members of the Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Admissions Committee. (If you click on the Admissions Staff Profiles category on the left-side menu, you can see past entries.) This winter we return to the format of questionnaire profiles. Working with my colleagues Shannon and Shelly, and with a few suggestions from current SAAB members, we have compiled a list of questions we feel will help you all get to know a little bit about the people actually reviewing your application.
  • Regular Decision Notification Day: All we can tell you right now is decision notifications will be released during the last days of March. No official date has been set and we tend not to select an official release date until the middle of March at the earliest. We guarantee that decisions will be released by April 1st. Once a notification date has been selected, it will be announced via this blog.

So stay tuned … be patient … and now on to the FAQS:

(The pictures throughout the post are what our Operations space looks like as we process the thousands of pieces of mail we have received in the last few months — the process might be “paperless” but that doesn’t mean there is no paper.)

Is my application complete? Do you have all my stuff?
With the volume of application materials we need to process right now, we are not able to confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. It takes time, so we ask patience of all of our applicants. Once your application is downloaded and processed, you are sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates that our Operations staff has begun to process your application (not necessarily that it is complete). Please remember, with thousands of Applications to process, this e-mail acknowledgment is not automatic and may take a few weeks to be sent.

In early February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact via e-mail students whose Applications remain incomplete. Applicants receiving a missing items correspondence will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their Applications. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully, multiple times, for completeness.

Most importantly, please do not call right now to check on the status of your application or see if we have received a specific part of your application. We will not be able to answer such questions until February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed and we do not review incomplete Applications.

Can I check my status online? Why haven’t I gotten a user name and password to check my status through the application portal?
Unlike many schools, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status. We do things the old-fashioned way. You will not receive a log-in and password where you can track your application materials. Additionally, be aware that our system does not directly connect with the Common Application system to update the status of all processed materials. Because the Common Application site says something has not been received / processed, that does not mean that is the status of those materials in our office. This is especially true of any mailed materials. (Do note, those who apply for Financial Aid will get access to the ISIS system that tracks Financial Aid application materials. This system has nothing to do with Applications for admission.)

Can I add items to my application even though the deadline has passed? Uh oh, I made a mistake in my application, how can I correct it?
Yes, we will still accept application updates and we do have a process for error corrections. It is simple. To provide an update or error correction, you must compose a cover letter and submit these materials by fax (410-516-6025) or mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In the cover letter, you should include your full name, birth date, and school name (SS# is optional but can help), so that we can merge this new information with your application folder. Also, all updates should be sent in by February 15. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.

My e-mail address / mailing address / contact information has changed … what do I do?
All changes to personal contact information including updates to email, phone numbers, and mailing addresses need to be sent to apphelp@jhu.edu. Please include in the e-mail, your full name, birth date, high school name as well as the general time frame when you submitted your application.

May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject exams, or TOEFL) with my regular decision application?
Though Regular Decision candidates should have completed required tests no later than December of their senior year, students may submit January examinations if they are re-taking the SAT Reasoning exam, are taking SAT II subject exams, or are submitting TOEFL exams. Although we cannot guarantee that January scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation, past experience suggests that scores taken on these dates usually arrive in time. If the scores arrive before the evaluation then they will be considered with one’s application. There is no need to rush scores from the testing agencies, as our office will not process them any quicker. We cannot guarantee that scores sent after our application deadline will be processed in time to be reviewed with one’s application and we do not delay the review of an application to wait for scores sent after the application deadline.

Do I have to submit a mid-year report and updated transcript?
Yes, that is a clearly stated application requirement. All applicants must submit a mid-year report and updated transcript by the deadline of February 15th. The mid-year report must be submitted directly by one’s school and must include an updated senior year transcript. We do not accept any of these materials submitted directly by the applicant.

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

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

Remember, if you have any further questions you can:

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

-      Post a comment to this blog and I will respond back in a few days.

-      Use the Ask Admissions section of the Hopkins Forums: Hopkins Forums – Ask Admissions.

2011 Coming to a Close, Regular Decision Deadline is Here!

6

With just a few days remaining in 2011, I am taking a short break from my holiday vacation in Florida with my family to post an update to the blog for those of you working on your Regular Decision application to Johns Hopkins University. For those of you who have waited until the last days and may wait until the last moments to click submit on your application, this blog is for you. As the Janaury 1 Regular Decision deadline looms, many of you will have last minute questions. How do I know? Because of vast experience. Every year during my holiday vacation I take an hour or two out of my relaxation time each day to respond to the questions coming through any number of means.

Happy Holidays from the Johns Hopkins University Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Happy Holidays from the Johns Hopkins University Office of Undergraduate Admissions

So in an effort to diminish the time I will spend the next few days responding to questions, I present these answers to the most frequently asked questions by the application procrastinators. I hope these answers assist you in your last-minute haze of forms and looming deadlines. Just remember, next time when you have over three plus months to complete something, waiting until the last minute is never the best policy.

THE DEADLINE QUESTIONS
So what is the exact deadline for submitting one’s application? Before the days of online Applications this used to be such an easy question to answer — you need to have a postmark date prior to January 1. Now there tends to be so much confusion over such a simple concept.

The regular decision deadline is January 1, 2012. This is our online submission deadline and our postmark deadline. Applicants should submit their online application materials no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 1st. Since January 1 is a Sunday this year, any mailed materials should have been sent before the weekend. But since we are nice, we will accept application materials that are postmarked by January 3, 2012, as January 2 is a national holiday.

What subsequently follows are two issues – time zone questions and Common Application / Universal College Application technical difficulties. This is why I strongly urge you all to finish your Applications prior to January 1 and submit it. This gives you a window in case anything goes wrong, and it rules out any confusion about time zones. There will be a ton of traffic on the Common Application / Universal College Application servers throughout January 1, and we all know that computer servers are sometimes not the most reliable devices. We are understanding of such issues, but once again, why risk it.

SUBMISSION OF SCHOOL MATERIALS
Is it a problem if you have yet to submit your application, but some of your application materials (school forms, tests, etc.) have already been submitted? Not a problem at all. Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit application materials such as test scores, letters of recommendation, and school reports along with transcripts in advance of their submission of their application. These documents will be processed and placed in a pending folder until one’s application is submitted, received, and processed. Then we will merge all documents and determine whether one’s application is complete. To assist with the proper processing of documents we request that all materials include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and school.

What if your school materials have yet to be submitted and because of the holiday week or inclement weather, they won’t be submitted until after the deadline? First, this should not be a problem since you should request this information before your school goes on holiday break. However, we understand though at times school-related application materials such as the secondary school report, transcript, fee waiver forms and letters of recommendation cannot be sent by that date. We will be flexible with the application deadline for those parts of the application; however the student portions of the application must be submitted online or postmarked by the January 1st deadline. The school materials of the application may be sent after the January 1 deadline, but not later than January 15th. If your school materials are going to be delayed longer than that, your guidance counselor needs to call the admissions office to request an extension.

SENDING SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
Can I submit supplemental materials (such as an arts supplement) to support my application? Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit supplemental information such as CDs, DVDs, slides, art portfolios, Research abstracts and other such items. There are no additional forms that need to be completed nor do we have a preference regarding format. We accept Arts Supplement forms but do not require them. We do request that you include your full name, birth date, and high school on any supplement materials you send in. All information needs to be mailed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; we do not process materials submitted through e-mail. Supplemental materials should be submitted by the application deadline.

Please note that supplemental information will not be sent to academic departments for official reviews, but will remain in the Admissions Office with your application. There is no guarantee that supplemental information will be reviewed, but in most cases the Admissions committee will have some time to evaluate such additional information. Finally, it is important that original items not be sent, as the Admissions office is not able to return submitted application materials.

SUBMITTING STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
Always a ton of questions about how to submit your test scores, can scores be sent via transcript, what is the deadline to submit scores, and can I confirm you have received my scores? The Admissions Office requires that prospective applicants send their standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, or TOEFL) to Johns Hopkins University directly from the testing agencies. Our school codes are:

SAT: 5332
ACT: 1704
TOEFL: 5332

The Admissions Office will accept standardized test scores submitted with an official high school transcript only if all test scores are displayed and that the scores appear officially on the transcript, not hand-written in by the student or counselor.

Test scores need to be requested from the testing agencies prior to our stated application deadlines but may arrive after the deadline. Though the scores will arrive past the deadline they will still be considered if requested in advance of the deadline. There is no need to rush score reports as they do not arrive any earlier.

The Admissions Office does not send confirmation of test scores received. You will need to contact the College Board and ACT directly to confirm that your scores were sent to Johns Hopkins University. If they confirm your scores were sent than that means they are in our database.

May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT, SAT Subject exams, or TOEFL) with my regular decision application? Though regular decision candidates should have completed required tests no later than December of their senior year, students may take the January examinations if they are re-taking the SAT exam, are taking SAT II subject exams, or are submitting TOEFL exams. Although we cannot guarantee that January scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation, past experience suggests that scores taken on these dates usually arrive in time. If the tests arrive before the application review then they will be considered, but we will not delay the review of an application to wait for January test scores.

Should I rush my test scores? There is no need to rush test score reports as they do not get processed by our office any sooner.

POST-SUBMISSION QUESTIONS
After you submit your application, immediately you start asking questions like did they receive my application; did my school materials arrive correctly; is my application complete? As you can imagine, this becomes a very busy time in the Admissions Office as we process all the application materials. Because of the volume of records we handle, it is not possible to automatically confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. Unlike many school, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status.

Once your application is download and processed, you will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates your application file has been opened (not necessarily that it is complete). Please remember, with thousands of Applications to process this e-mail acknowledgment is not automatic and may take a few weeks to be sent. In late February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose Applications remain incomplete. Those students will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their Applications. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully for completeness.  Please do not call to check on the status of your application as we will not be able to answer such questions until the beginning of February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed.

Some additional post-submission questions include:

When is the Financial Aid deadline and where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid? The Financial Aid deadline for the submission of the FAFSA and CSS Profile is March 1, 2012. Please review this web site for full details: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/prosp_stud.html.

Can I add items to my application even though the deadline has passed? Uh oh, I made a mistake in my application, how can I correct it? Yes, we will still accept application updates and we do have a process for error corrections. It is simple. To provide an update or error correction, you must compose a cover letter and submit these materials by fax (410-516-6025) or mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Please note that we do request in the cover letter you include your full name, birth date, and school name (SS# is optional but can help), so that we can merge this new information with your application folder. Also note, that all updates should be sent in by February 1st. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.

Even more questions asked after post-submission. These are all legitimate questions, but all too early to ask. Once we have updated information, it will be posted on the blog.

When will decisions be released?
— Last week in March. No official date has been set yet.

How many Applications have been received?
— Not sure yet. We will reveal a total sometime in February.

How many will be admitted?
— No clue. We have to review Applications first.

What will the acceptance rate be?
— Also, no clue. We will rely on our formulas when the time comes.

EVEN MORE QUESTIONS

Here are additional sources to obtain answers to your questions:

Admissions Site: Frequently asked questions: http://apply.jhu.edu/faqs/all.html

Hopkins Forums: Ask Admissions section: http://www.hopkins-interactive.com/forums/ask-admissions/

I hope these answers help, and that in some way they minimize the number of e-mails we will receive the rest of the week (probably not going to happen, oh well). Best wishes and we will see you in the new year.

Breaking News: RD Notification Release Explained

16

For the past few months, the Admissions staff has been hard at work processing, reviewing, and discussing the over 18,000 Regular Decision Applications for freshman admission. We spent the end of December, January, February, and the first week in March doing what we call “first reads”—where each admissions counselor thoroughly reads through each application in his or her region and provides in-depth decision write-ups. Since March 7, each and every day (including weekends), the various admissions committees have been going back over all the first reads, discussing and debating, and ultimately shaping our class. To say this is an arduous process is an understatement, but we are excessively diligent in what we do and truly believe our process will create the best Johns Hopkins Class of 2015 possible. Thankfully, the light at the end of the long tunnel is shining a bit brighter each and every day.

Remnants of Committee: We print extensive rosters to assist in looking up applicant records. The rosters pile up over the weeks.

Remnants of Committee: We print extensive rosters to assist in looking up applicant records. The rosters pile up over the weeks.

As I posted late last night, Dean Latting announced yesterday that Regular Decision notifications will be released to all freshman applicants on Tuesday, March 29. The committees will continue to work throughout the week, the weekend, and even late through Monday evening but we will ensure that decisions are released next Tuesday. There are always a ton of questions about how the release of decision notifications will work, so let me attempt to explain how everything will operate next Tuesday. (As always, things change from year-to-year so if you have read how we have released decisions in the past I still suggest you read through the FAQs and answers below.)

JHU CLASS OF 2015, REGULAR DECISION NOTIFICATION DAY =
TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011

How will decisions be released?
By mail:
On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 29, all decision letters (admits, wait lists, and denies) will be taken to the main Baltimore postal center or the Johns Hopkins postal center in Mt. Washington. All decisions will enter the postal system by the close of business on Tuesday. Admit packets are sent priority mail, whereas deny and wait list letters are sent first-class mail. We hope that admit packets sent within the U.S. will arrive within three days, and other decision letters can take 4-7 days to arrive. International mail is sent a variety of ways depending on the country and will take longer to arrive.

By e-mail: In the evening of March 29, we will also be releasing decision notifications via e-mail. E-mails will start going out AROUND 6:00 p.m. ET. lease see that I have emphasized the word AROUND. It can take up to two hours for all decision e-mails to be sent. E-mails are sent in batches and will take time to arrive. They are also sent in random order so there is no way to deduce the order that decisions will be released. I can guarantee that you all will not get your decision e-mail exactly at 6:00 p.m. Please have patience. In fact, I suggest you find something to distract you for an hour, then check your e-mail account.

Letter printing has begun, even while final committee meetings are being held. It takes a long time to generate 18,000+ letters.

Letter printing has begun, even while final committee meetings are being held. It takes a long time to generate 18,000+ letters.

Can I check my decision online?
No, Johns Hopkins University does not have an online system for the release of admissions decisions. We do not post our decisions online or through a portal.

Can I call the Admissions Office to receive my decision over the phone?
We prefer not to release decisions over the phone. Decisions will only be released over the phone starting Friday, April 1. At that time, if you have not received your admissions notification you may call the Admissions Office (410-516-8171). Please be aware, when we do begin to release decisions over the phone, we will only release the decision to the applicant or a parent or guardian of the applicant. Decisions will be released only if the identity of the caller can be reasonably assured. As well, 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.

Regarding the e-mailed decisions, what will be the subject line?
We do not release the “subject lines” of our e-mail decisions in advance. The content of these e-mails change year-to-year.

Tons, and tons, and TONS of letterhead.

Tons, and tons, and TONS of letterhead.

Do not share your decision e-mail!
Each decision e-mail is personalized. Acceptance e-mails have a personalized URL in the message and therefore should not be shared, especially on any public forum or Web site. To protect your privacy and the accuracy of information, do not share or post your decision e-mail.

What happens if I do not receive an e-mail decision on Tuesday evening?
If an applicant does not receive an e-mail there a few things he or she can do: 

  1. Check 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 an old e-mail address. (So check e-mails that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example, such as your parents e-mail accounts.)

If none of those methods work, then unfortunately the student will need to wait to receive the decision in the postal mail, or can call on April 1. Every year some e-mail notifications just don’t work. The reasons for an applicant not receiving an e-mail notification include that there was no e-mail 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-MAIL NOTIFICATIONS. Once again, in such situations the applicant must wait. We understand how frustrating that can be, but unfortunately mistakes can happen when processing over 18,000 Applications.

The 100+ mail bins and sleeves have arrived.

The 100+ mail bins and sleeves have arrived.

I applied to the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program; will I receive that decision via e-mail as well?
BME decision e-mails will come as a second e-mail to all admitted students who selected BME as their first-choice major. Those e-mail notifications will also be sent Tuesday evening, following the release of all other decision notification e-mails. Further details about one’s BME decision will be included in the admit packet.

What about scholarship notifications and notifications about program such as the Woodrow Wilson Research fellowship or Dean’s Innovation Group?
Those decisions will be included in acceptance packets only.  

I applied to Johns Hopkins and also the Peabody Double Degree program. How will I be notified of my decisions?
Homewood / Peabody Double Degree applicants will receive their admissions decision notification about their Hopkins (Homewood) application in the same fashion as been discussed above. Decisions about admission to Peabody and the Double Degree program will be released as a second e-mail on Tuesday evening, following the release of all other decision notification e-mails.

Stacks of admit packets awaiting decision letters.

Stacks of admit packets awaiting decision letters.

****************************************************************************

So I think that covers everything for right now. If you have further questions, please feel free to post a comment and I will try to respond when I have the chance.

It gets pretty crowded and messy quickly on the third floor of Mason Hall where all the letter generating operations take place.

It gets pretty crowded and messy quickly on the third floor of Mason Hall where all the letter generating operations take place.

It is 2011, and that means more FAQs

0

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

Happy New Year and welcome to 2011. Five days into the new year and I already broke all of my resolutions. Just kidding. For me, and I assume many of you, 2011 seems just like 2010. The weather is still cold in Baltimore, there is little if any good television on these days, and most of the water cooler discussion is about being optimistic for a new year or how disturbing a movie Black Swan is.

It may be a new year but I am pretty much doing exactly the same tasks as I was doing at the end of December—answering e-mails and reading Applications. Though there are more Admissions staff members in Mason Hall on a daily basis this week than there were during the holiday weeks, the same actions are going on: the third floor is inundated with application mail and the processing of online submissions and the counseling staff on the second floor are logging on and reading regular decision Applications. This same scenario will be repeated daily for the next two plus months, except many of the counselors will choose to read from the comforts of their own homes.

One of the things I am most thankful for at the end of each year and into the start of each new year are my e-mail answer templates. For the past five years I have managed our main Admissions e-mail account: gotojhu@jhu.edu and during that time I have amassed close to 300 answer template responses. As you can imagine during this time of year, our e-mail inbox is overflowing, and it is these trusted templates that help me process through over 100 e-mails each day. From December 15 to the end of 2010, close to 1,500 responses were sent out and within a maximum of 48 hours of receipt. And since the start of 2011 we are already nearing 900 responses and the first week is not even complete.

The funny thing about responding to so many e-mails in such a short window of time is that close to 90% of the project is cutting and pasting. Basically this time of year the vast majority of questions can be labeled as frequently asked. And since I have this amazing blog as a vehicle of information, I thought the best topic for the first entry of 2011 would be a patented FAQ post with my patented template responses. Hopefully some of you reading this were planning to e-mail the gotojhu@jhu.edu e-mail account but now you don’t have to because the answer is posted here. Enjoy:

(The pictures throughout the post are what our Operations space looks like as we process the thousands of pieces of mail we have received in the last few months — the process might be “paper-less” but that doesn’t mean there is no paper.)

Is my application complete?  Do you have all my stuff?
With the volume of application materials we need to process right now, we are not able to confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. It takes time so we ask patience of all of our applicants. Once your application is downloaded and processed, you will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates your application file has been started (not necessarily that it is complete). Please remember, with thousands of Applications to process this e-mail acknowledgment is not automatic and may take a few weeks to be sent.

In early February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose Applications remain incomplete via e-mail. Those students will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their Applications. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully, multiple times, for completeness.

Most importantly, please do not call right now to check on the status of your application or see if we have received a specific part of your application. We will not be able to answer such questions until the February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed and we do not review incomplete Applications.

Can I check my status online? Why haven’t I gotten a user name and password to check my status through the application portal?
Unlike many schools, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status. We do things the old-fashioned way. You will not receive a log-in and password where you can track your application materials. Additionally, be aware that our system does not directly connect with the Common Application system to update the status of all processed materials. Because the Common Application site says something has not been received / processed, that does not mean that is the status of those materials in our office. This is especially true of any mailed materials. (Do note, those who apply for Financial Aid will get access to the ISIS system that tracks Financial Aid application materials. This system has nothing to do with Applications for admission.)

When is the Financial Aid deadline and where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid?
The Financial Aid deadline for the submission of the FAFSA and CSS Profile is March 1, 2011. Please review this web site for full details: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/prosp_stud.html.

Can I add items to my application even though the deadline has passed? Uh oh, I made a mistake in my application, how can I correct it?
Yes, we will still accept application updates and we do have a process for error corrections. It is simple. To provide an update or error correction, you must compose a cover letter and submit these materials by fax (410-516-6025) or mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In the cover letter, you should include your full name, birth date, and school name (SS# is optional but can help), so that we can merge this new information with your application folder. Also, all updates should be sent in by February 1. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.

My e-mail address / mailing address / contact information has changed … what do I do?
All changes to personal contact information including updates to email, phone numbers, and mailing addresses need to be sent to apphelp@jhu.edu. Please include in the e-mail, your full name, birth date, high school name as well as the general time frame when you submitted your application.

May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject exams, or TOEFL) with my regular decision application?
Though Regular Decision candidates should have completed required tests no later than December of their senior year, students may take the January examinations if they are re-taking the SAT Reasoning exam, are taking SAT II subject exams, or are submitting TOEFL exams. Although we cannot guarantee that January scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation, past experience suggests that scores taken on these dates usually arrive in time. If the scores arrive before the evaluation then they will be considered with one’s application. There is no need to rush scores from the testing agencies, as our office will not process them any quicker. We cannot guarantee that scores sent after our application deadline will be processed in time to be reviewed with one’s application and we do not delay the review of an application to wait for scores sent after the application deadline.

Do I have to submit a mid-year report and updated transcript?
Yes, that is a clearly stated application requirement. All applicants must submit a mid-year report and updated transcript by the deadline of February 15th. The mid-year report must be submitted directly by one’s school and must include an updated senior year transcript. We do not accept any of these materials submitted directly by the applicant.

When will decisions be released?
This tends to be the second most popular question asked this time of your and the only answer we can provide is … last week in March. No official date has been set and we tend not to select an official release date until the middle of March at the earliest. All we guarantee is that decisions will be released by April 1st.

How many Applications have been received?
I am unable to officially reveal an application total for fall 2011 freshman admission until Dean Latting officially determines the count and officially releases that information. (Yes I did mean to use the word “officially” three times in that last sentence.) Typically we don’t have a complete application count until the end of January when we are sure that all mailed Applications are received. There are not many mailed Applications anymore, but some do come from abroad and take a few weeks to arrive after the January 1 postmark deadline.

Uh oh?

Uh oh?

I can provide a sneak preview: this will be the largest applicant pool in Johns Hopkins History and we have seen an increase for the ninth straight year. Make sure to vote in the poll on the right of this blog, and stay tuned for a future blog update with the final count.

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