In the three plus years I have been writing this blog about the Johns Hopkins Admissions process, I have never posted a specific entry written for those applicants denied admission. First, I always assumed that after a student received a deny decision from Johns Hopkins that they would not return to the blog. Second, I felt that my comments would not be received well by a student who had received such negative news. And finally, I feared that my words would fail me in expressing the heartfelt compassion I feel for a non-admitted student.
However, after such a difficult year in rendering decisions, I felt it was important to post some thoughts. No matter what you may think at this time, or what you may read on some anonymous online forum, admissions counselors loathe the process of denying applicants. We all universally agree this is the hardest part of our jobs.
Every year my colleagues and I are faced with the daunting task of selecting very few students from a truly outstanding pool of applicants. As I have written many times before, each applicant is considered thoroughly and holistically by a team of professionals. Unfortunately, the number of applicants (16,000+ this year) far exceeds the number of positions we can offer (our freshman class is just over 1200 students). It is never an easy process selecting students and I know my colleagues join me in saying that we sincerely understand your frustration and anger and respect your disappointment when hearing the unfavorable news.
Many deal with rejection by trying to determine where they fell short. They ask questions about what were they missing or what they did wrong. As I complete my tenth admissions cycle, I can attest to the fact that there is never just one reason that leads to our decisions. When reviewing a student's application, we take into consideration a vast array of factors including academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, leadership, commitment to community, and promise of future contribution.
It is said often, and it is quite true ... the college admission review process is about fit. Our applicant pool is filled with qualified applicants, but unfortunately being qualified is not the only consideration. Our freshman class is quite small and we are unable to admit everyone that is capable of doing the work. Please do not receive this news as a judgment of your value and your ability, but rather understand the competitive nature of applying to a highly selective institution like Johns Hopkins.
I was rejected from my first and second choice schools when I applied to college. I was angry, I vented, and I felt that all my hard work was wasted. But then with the support of my friends and family, I realized I had wonderful other options to choose from. And once I made my selection from the schools that admitted me I forgot all about my "love" for the other schools. I committed myself completely to my new college and never looked back. Even today, after realizing I made the wrong choice in the college I attended (no I am not a JHU alum), I do not look back and wonder "what if." I made the best of every day of my collegiate experience and still cherish all the memories, even though I did not attend my first choice school.
My advice is to forget about Johns Hopkins now. Know that there is a college that is going to be uniquely enriched by your presence on their campus and that you will have an amazing undergraduate experience. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, the right college for you is the one that you select to attend and the one you commit yourself to fully.
It is with the deepest sincerity that I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Answers to a few frequently asked questions:
Can I appeal my decision?
Johns Hopkins University does not accept appeals of our decisions nor will we re-evaluate applications with new information. Our decisions are final and are based on the information provided to the Admissions Committee at the time of decision.
Can I find out why I was denied?
While we as a committee do not address specific components of a student's admission decision, we always note that each year we have an outstanding pool of applicants and there are more qualified applicants than we can admit. It is our practice though not to discuss the factors that go into our final decisions nor provide students with a detailed analysis of their specific application evaluation.
Can I apply again and when?
Yes you may apply again, but must wait for our next admissions cycle which will be the Fall 2010 term. We would strongly encourage you to enroll at another university, and if after a semester or two you still feel that Hopkins is the right place for you, you may apply for transfer admission. Transfer admissions information can be found here: http://apply.jhu.edu/faqs/transfer.html.