Today I met prospective students and their families at JHU’s fall open house. As I was talking to these students and their parents, I looked at all these high school seniors and thought “Wait…it can’t have been that long since I applied to college”, only to realize that it had in fact been a whole year since I was in those shoes, going through the application process. What I’m trying to get at is that time works a little differently when you’re in college. It’s almost like you’re sucked into this vortex of work, socializing, and extracurriculars that literally takes up all of your time. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just amazing to think about when you take a second and step back. For me, this little second of stepping back helped me realize that I’m now in a position to actually give some advice to prospective students, and what better way to do that than to answer some of the most popular questions from prospective students at the open house?
- What are the dorms like?
Alright, this was by far the most popular question. After today, I’ve got this answer down to a science. Freshmen have their choice between three different housing options: The AMRs, Buildings A and B (called AMR III by a few), and Wolman or McCoy. Each has their pros and cons:
AMRs: Definitely the place to be if you want to meet people; no question about it. I’m in AMR I and it’s the best place to make new friends. If I had to compare the AMRs to anything, it would be a stereotypical college dorm in every college movie you’ve ever seen. You’ve got your different houses, and leaving your door open easily allows you to socialize. The only downside is that there’s no A/C, but that’s honestly a non-issue after the first two weeks of school, and its worth it for the social environment.
Buildings A and B: The buildings are the place you want to be if you’re more of the keep to yourself and stay in the room sort of person. It’s a quiet place. That’s not to say that people there don’t socialize, but it’s not as social of an environment as the AMRs or Wolman and McCoy. Hopkins Inn is somewhat similar to the buildings, but it’s closer to Wolman.
Wolman and McCoy: Wolman and McCoy’s biggest perk is that they have A/Cs. If you’re someone who can’t survive without air conditioning, you should really consider these two buildings. Unlike the AMRs or Buildings A and B, Wolman and McCoy are located across the street from the big Johns Hopkins University sign. They also have suite style living, which is basically two double rooms connected by a small common living space (kitchen included), all located behind one main door. They’re both fairly good for socializing, but I’ve heard that it’s mainly luck of the draw on which floor you end up in with Wolman and McCoy. Some could be very social, others maybe not so much.
- What’s the workload like?
This is a really good question, and its answer differs from major to major. I’m a BME major on a pre-med track, so I’ll talk to you about work from that perspective. As a whole though, regardless of your major, it’s a given that Hopkins is a tough school with a rigorous workload. That’s not to say that you’re going to be stuck in your room doing work 24/7, but there is a time commitment. Personally, I combine my socializing with my work, which I think many people like to do. I usually spend a few hours a night on the weekdays studying and doing homework with a group of friends. Sometimes head over to the library, put on some music, and get to work/jam/talk/mess around, other times we just stay in the dorm. There are some weeks that require a lot more time though, and others that require a lot less. It all varies. Overall, the workload is definitely manageable, and as long as you’re not putting off all your homework or studying until the night before it’s due or required, you’ll be more than fine.
- How’s the food?
In all honesty, the food here is really good, especially for freshman who have access to the Fresh Food Café (FFC), where food is freshly made from local produce almost constantly. The quality is great, and the variety of different dining areas around campus is awesome. The FFC is the only dining hall that takes meal swipes though, so if you want to go anywhere else (like Charles Market, where the crepes are on point), then you’ll have to use dining dollars (like a campus cash type thing), or actual cash.
- What do you do outside of class?
There’s so many things to do outside of class it’s ridiculous. We’ve got so many clubs on campus. If you’re interested in something, there’s more than likely a club for it (and if there isn’t, just go out there and start one).
On top of that, you’ve got all of Baltimore at your fingertips. Hopkins provides free shuttles to it’s students that can take you to the Peabody conservatory (if you’re musically inclined), or down to the inner harbor (so worth it), or pretty much anywhere else you can think of in the city. Uber and Zipcar are also really big around here, so if the shuttles don’t work for you, there are other options.
Also, as I’m sure you know if you’re considering applying to JHU, the research opportunities here are incredibly vast. Most of the undergraduate population here is involved in some form of research, and the few that don’t get involved with it because they choose not to be, and rather find something that interests them more than research (like BME design team, for example).
As a whole, you’ll never be out of things to do while you’re here, whether it’s on campus or off campus. There’s something for everyone at JHU.
At this point I’m probably starting to lose your interest, so I’ll leave it at those four questions. I hope they answered (or at least helped to answer) any questions you’ve got about JHU. On that note, enjoy the application process (because we all know how wonderful that is right), and enjoy the rest of your year!