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!
-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.
-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.
-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.
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey
High School: Immaculate Heart Academy
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.
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.
Hometown: Rockville, Maryland
High School: Wootton High School
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.
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.”
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.
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
High School: McDonogh School
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!
Hometown: New York, New York
High School: Hunter College High School
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!
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
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!