I often times enjoy journaling, so throughout the day on Friday (December 15, 2006) I decided to walk around with a pad and pen and jot down a series of entries. Since these entries primarily focused on my thoughts about the release of Early Decision notifications, I thought I would gear them to include details you all might find interesting. I hope you all enjoy this entry, and a special congratulations to the first members of the Johns Hopkins Class of 2011.
7:15 a.m. EST
The start of a busy day. It is the Ides of December and a thick, ominous fog has descended over the campus and all of Baltimore. Is this a sign of impending doom (a.k.a. holiday shopping) or is it just another sign of the fickle nature of Baltimore weather? Who knows, but it sure does make for some unique visual imagery. (I just hope the photos I took show how truly eerie the morning looked.
Boy am I tired. The last few days have been quite hectic, but it has been a good week. This Early Decision class is impressive and with the volume of applications I am surprised that we finished on time. I do think though that the plan to move the Early Decision deadline to November 1 next year is a good idea -- it will make sure we have the time to make the right decisions.
ED release day is always one of my favorite professional days each year. I can still remember my first year as an admissions counselor rendering ED decisions. In fact I still remember a number of my first ED admits -- I wonder what Greg, Lizzy, and Katie are doing now? This year's pool also had some of those truly memorable candidates, including two that I hope to meet up with next fall and watch in awe as they go through four years of the Hopkins experience.
OK, time to get my work day officially started. First on the agenda is correspondence: clear out the e-mail accounts, respond to some comments on the blog, check the Hopkins Forums, and answer some final crazed questions on College Confidential. I wonder how many times today I will be questioned about what time the ED emails will be sent. Oy vei.
11:20 a.m. EST
Just returned to my desk after helping the Operations team stuff, seal, and add postage to the final admit packets. A few of my colleagues are taking all the decision letters and admit packets to the postal center. The ED Class of 2011 is officially signed, sealed, and in the early stagings of being delivered. I snapped some fun shots of these final steps in the process - enjoy!
As I was helping out sealing the admit packets, I actually reflected on two things. First, I really like the packet we send admits. Sending them Priority Mail is a nice touch. The black folder with the little "Yes" tab is really cool. The poster insert is a lot of fun. And then, special to me, is the Hopkins Interactive insert which resemble the little discs we give out to visitors. I never complain when we are promoting Hopkins Interactive.
The other thing I was reflecting about was how different the admissions decision release process is today compared to when I applied to college back in 1992-93. Back in my day, I had applied to two Early Action schools. Being a first-generation college applicant and having a guidance counselor who knew very little, I really was clueless going into the process. I was able to come up with a list of about 10 schools I was interested in, and two that were clearly at the top of the list. Early Action was something that seemed easy to do, so I took a chance.
Just to paint the picture a bit more -- there were no online applications, there was no E-mail, there was no College Confidential, there were no college Web sites, heck the Internet didn't even exist. The obsession over college selectivity was minimal at best. You picked your schools, you applied to each school individually (Common App., if it existed, was not popular), and then you actually had to wait for the mail. It was truly the Dark Ages compared to today -- now students seem to control a lot more of the process, and demand much more too.
But I digress. What I was truly remembering was finding out on December 15, 1992 that I had been deferred from both of my Early Action schools. I opened the small letters, read them fully, showed them to my family, and then filed them away. No real reaction, well maybe a bit of disappointment. I was done with my other applications already, and I knew that I would ultimately get in some where. Looking back now almost 15 years later, it was not the most momentous day of my life up to that point...it was just another day. The day in late March of 1993 when all my other letters arrived was more memorable, but still the whole time period was not filled with much anxiety, dread, anticipation, fear, and/or stress. Some of it actually was fun and enjoyable.
So I guess what I am trying to say is that, though I do enjoy this day every year when we release ED decisions, I do wish we could find a way to go back to the good old days when anxiety and stress were not so prominent. The whole process has gone awry, and I think on a day when I am not so worn out I could really come up with some ideas to turn things around. But that is for another day ... it is lunch time, and I have some online Christmas shopping to do.
2:15 p.m. EST
The fog is gone and it actually feels like a nice spring day outside now. Baltimore weather is so strange. I love that there is a Chipotle now just a few minutes from campus. And oh yeah, I have already answered that "what time are the emails being sent" question 14 times just today. Patience people!!!
So John [Director of Admissions, John F. Latting] just distributed the ED statistics and they just prove what a great start to the admissions cycle we have experienced. There is some great data, especially when compared to the ED pools of the past few years. Here are the highlights:
- Second largest ED applicant pool = 997 which is just down 1% (7 total apps.) from last year's record 1004 applications which had been a 39% overall increase. Just five years ago in 2002 we had 516 ED applications, and in 9 years ago it was 462.
- The acceptance rate dropped once again - this year we chose to admit 45% which means 447 students will be receiving the good news that they are the first students to be admitted to the Johns Hopkins Class of 2011.
- Of the 447 admits: 46% are female, 43 are underrepresented minority students, 34% are Engineers, 34% Natural Science, and 28% interested in Humanities or Social Sciences.
- As far as the "quality" of the admits, everything is up. Mean SAT Critical Reasoning + Math is a 1364, up from 1352 last year.
- New Jersey remained the top state (73), Maryland second (60), and New York third (50). 28 totals states represented with the admits.
3:49 p.m. EST
I just got off the phone with a college counselor and we were discussing the case of an ED student who was deferred. Those conversations are never easy, but they are not as hard as the "Deny" talks or any conversation with a student or parent who wants an explanation about why a certain decision was rendered. The conversation made me reflect on the deferred students and I thought I should include some information for them in this journaling.
I guess the most important thing to say to the ED deferred students is that the road does not end here and you shouldn't lose all hope. We will admit deferred students during regular decision. ED deferred applicants are admitted every year, and are provided the same chance of admission as the applicants who apply regular decision. At Hopkins, we do not defer all applicants who are not admitted ED, we actually do deny a number of ED applicants who we determine do not have a chance for admission in the RD review process. Deferred applicants do have a second chance.
Here is my list of suggestions and advice that I always pass along when speaking with ED Defers:
- Apply to other schools. Though obvious, your chance for admission to Hopkins is not guaranteed and you want to make sure you have options.
- Make sure you update the academic portion of your application. This would include mid-year grades (which will play an important role in your re-review), additional standardized test scores you may have taken, and maybe even an updated letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor.
- Consider updating the non-academic portion of your application. Though not required, an updated resume and an additional letter of recommendation (especially from a senior year teacher) can always help. Just make sure anything you add does contribute in a new way to your application. Do not be redundant.
- Write a letter to the Admissions Committee. Though not something all deferred applicants need to do or even should do, some of you may consider writing a personal letter to the Admissions Committee stressing your interest in Hopkins and why you feel you are an appropriate candidate for admissions. Consider this a cover letter to your overall application.
- Most importantly, have a stellar senior year academically. The most important part of the review of a early decision deferred applicant is their academic progress throughout senior year.
[Note: We have started an ED Defer discussion thread on the Hopkins Message Boards. Check it out here, and post questions if you have any.}
6:25 p.m. EST
Just got home. Long day. The emails have all been sent out, and I am anxious to go online and see the reaction. However, I am going to first enjoy a nice dinner with Soze, purchase my last Christmas present online, watch Stump the Schwab on ESPN Classic, and then watch Wheel of Fortune on ABC. I'll log on around 8:00.
8:10 p.m. EST
Well the news is out. Everyone is reacting. Very interesting. It's been a long process so I am going to have a glass of wine (maybe 2 or 3) and enjoy some DVDs. I have had the same Netflix DVDs for the past three weeks. Then it is off to bed for a long night sleep and the start to a relaxing weekend.
Congratulations and best wishes.