Happy Thanksgiving eve. As I prepare for the big turkey-day tomorrow, that will feature just Soze and I enjoying good food, blue-ray disc movies, and football, I thought I would provide you all with an update on the Early Decision process. This is the perfect time for such an update, since I spent most of November reflecting on my extremely busy months of September and October (check out the my travel re-cap series here), and I will spend the first week of December blogging about all the "new stuff" that has hit Hopkins in the last few months. So stay tuned to those entries next week, but for now let's get to all the information you need to know about this year's Early Decision applicant pool and decision-making process.
Just like last year (Giving Thanks for the 4 Fs), this year my post-Thanksgiving festivities will be filled with reviewing application files. Many things are the same this go around with Early Decision, but there is one huge difference. I won't reveal this "new thing" until next week but suffice it to say it is changing in a huge way the review process for Early Decision. (Wow, two teasers in just the first two paragraphs - I guess I am really trying to hook you all in to checking this blog regularly.) With that being said, what can I reveal of Early Decision 2008-09?
First, I can officially reveal the applicant size = 1049 applications. That is a less than one percent decrease from last year's 1055 ED applicant pool, which was the largest ED applicant pool in Johns Hopkins history. In a year with such economic uncertainty, we are all pleasantly happy that our ED applicant pool remains pretty much the same as it was last year. Nothing to reveal yet about the quality of the applicant pool nor how many we will admit, since we are still in the first read stage. The overall quality assessment and final decisions will be made in just a few weeks.
Second, since it is probably the most frequently asked question this time of year, I can also reveal how and when Early Decision notifications will be released. Our plan is to release notifications to all ED applicants on December 15th. Just as in previous years, we will release decision letters by mail during the day and then decision emails will be sent at 6:00pm EST. I have written previously about the notification process for ED, so I suggest you read either "Down to the Wire" or "Notes on the Release of Early Decision Notifications" for further details. (Also remember that you can always use the Categories function of the blog to read all my previous entries on Early Decision.)
Third, if when will decisions be released is really the most frequently asked question, a close second is whether one's Early Decision application is complete. I have written the following many, many, many times before, but it never hurts to post it once again:
As you can imagine, it gets busy in the Admissions Office as we process application materials. Because of the volume of records being handled, we regret that it is not possible to confirm personally whether application files are complete or to identify which individual items have been received. Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status.
Applicants will be mailed an acknowledgment postcard after your application is received and processed. This postcard confirms your application status, but it does not reveal if your application is complete. Rest assured that files are checked carefully for completeness. Starting next week (December 1) we will contact students whose ED applications remain incomplete. Those students will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their application.
Early Decision applicants who have not received the mailed confirmation postcard may call the Admissions Office at (410) 516-8171 after November 30 to check if their application has been received and processed. Also, applicants who are contacted about missing items can use the above phone number of fax missing materials to (410) 516-6025. If you received a postcard and were not contacted about missing items then there is nothing to worry about. Do know that if you call the Admissions Office we can confirm the receipt of your application and confirm if it is complete -- we will not confirm whether individual parts of your application and supplemental materials have been processed.
Fourth, often I am asked about what the Admissions Committee is looking for in an Early Decision application or what factors determines who gets admitted. Those are complicated questions to answer, but I have attempted to write about the admissions evaluation process before. Since pretty much what I said then still holds true today, I refer you all to those previous entries for a discussion about how we evaluate:
Fifth and finally, the last thing I will reveal is that I AM COLD!!! I know this has nothing to do with Admissions or the Early Decision process, but I thought I would just share how cold I have been the last week and a half. Yes, I know I really can't complain because I did get to vacation in the Bahamas in the middle of November. But still, winter doesn't typical start this early in Baltimore. Just last week we had a crazy day where it snowed on three separate occasions, and the sky looked ominous as well. It seems like we had one month of fall-like weather and then boom winter hit. Not fair, especially since I am a huge fan of autumn. There is a reason I live in the Middle-Atlantic and that is because I love my seasons. But some odd reason (global warming or Al Gore), Mother Nature has decided to just make two seasons -- really warm and really cold. I know, I know ... I just have to deal with it.
I hope this post helps all of you Early Decision applicants patiently waiting for decisions. If you have questions, I recommend reading through our Early Decision Questions thread on the Hopkins Forums and posting any questions for me there.
Happy Thanksgiving all!!!