As the final week of 2009 and of the decade (have we figured out what to call this decade yet?) begins, I thought it best to post one of my patented FAQ entries. See at this time of year when everyone is enjoying the relaxing final days of the year, there is one group of people who are stressing out big time. Yup, the application procrastinators!!!With the January 1 Regular Decision deadline looming, this group of high school seniors are locked in their rooms frantically completing online applications, finishing supplemental essays, ordering score reports, and potentially annoying their guidance counselors and teachers because they waited until the last minute. You know who you are!!!
I have a love / hate relationship with these procrastinators. The love part is because I am one of them. Well not when it comes to huge things like applying to college (or in my case submitting my taxes each year), but I have been known to have notorious procrastinating skills. Heck, my favorite quote is from Ellen in one of her comedy shows when she says, "Procrastinate now ... don't put it off." Despite having an affinity for application procrastinators, I also dislike them since they impact on my enjoyment of what is supposed to be this relaxing week between Christmas and New Years. While my colleagues get to unwind and enjoy their time off or quiet days in the office, I must log-on every morning and spend 2-3 hours dealing with the abundance of questions we receive from the procrastinators. On any day during the last half of the month of December we get about 100 e-mail questions, and additional 10-15 posts on our Hopkins Forums or other social media sites. During this final week that number of e-mails can double to 200 per day. And by the day before the deadline, I can expect to get a nice 300 or so messages I need to respond to. This is not a complaint, just more a part of my job (one that I do not love).
So in an effort to diminish the numbers of e-mails we will receive this week, I present these answers to the most frequently asked questions of the application procrastinators. I hope these answers assist you in your last-minute haze of forms and looming deadlines. Just remember, next time when you have over three plus months to complete something, waiting until the last minute is never the best policy.
THE DEADLINE QUESTIONS
So what is the exact deadline for submitting one's application?Before the days of online applications this used to be such an easy question to answer -- you need to have a postmark date prior to January 1. Now there tends to be so much confusion over such a simple concept. Thanks again procrastinators.
The regular decision deadline is January 1, 2010. This is our online submission deadline and our postmark deadline. Applicants should submit their online application materials no later than 11:59 p.m. on January 1st. Since January 1 is a national holiday, any mailed materials should be sent by December 31, but since we are nice, we will accept application materials that are postmarked January 2, 2010 as well.
What subsequently follows are two issues - time zone questions and Common Application / Universal College Application technical difficulties. This is why I strongly urge you all to finish your applications prior to January 1 and submit it. This gives you a window in case anything goes wrong, and it rules out any confusion about time zones. There will be a ton of traffic on the Common Application / Universal College Application servers throughout January 1, and we all know that computer servers are sometimes not the most reliable devices. We are understanding of such issues, but once again, why risk it.
SUBMISSION OF SCHOOL MATERIALS
Is it a problem is you have yet to submit your application, but some of your application materials (school forms, tests, etc.) have already been submitted?: Not a problem at all. Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit application materials such as test scores, letters of recommendation, and school reports along with transcripts in advance of their submission of their application. These documents will be processed and placed in a pending folder until one's application is submitted, received, and processed. Then we will merge all documents and determine whether one's application is complete. To assist with the proper processing of documents we request that all materials include the applicant's full name, birth date, and school.
What if your school materials have yet to be submitted and because of the holiday week or inclement weather, they won't be submitted until after the deadline?:First, this should not be a problem since you should request this information before your school goes on holiday break. However, we understand though at times school-related application materials such as the secondary school report, transcript, and letters of recommendation cannot be sent by that date. We will be flexible with the application deadline for those parts of the application; however the student portions of the application must be submitted online or postmarked by the January 1st deadline. The school materials of the application may be sent after the January 1 deadline, but not later than January 15th. If your school materials are going to be delayed longer than that, your guidance counselor needs to call the admissions office to request an extension.
SENDING SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
Can I submit supplemental materials (such as an arts supplement) to support my application?: Applicants to Johns Hopkins University may submit supplemental information such as CDs, DVDs, slides, art portfolios, research abstracts and other such items. There are no additional forms that need to be completed nor do we have a preference regarding format. We do request that you include your full name, birth date, and high school on any supplement materials you send in. All information needs to be mailed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; we do not process materials submitted through e-mail. Supplemental materials should be submitted by the application deadline.
Please note that supplemental information will not be sent to academic departments for official reviews, but will remain in the Admissions Office with your application. There is no guarantee that supplemental information will be reviewed, but in most cases the Admissions committee will have some time to evaluate such additional information. Finally, it is important that original items not be sent, as the Admissions office is not able to return submitted application materials.
If sending supplemental materials, must I complete the Arts Supplement page?: No, applicants to Johns Hopkins do not need to submit the arts supplement page to submit supplemental materials with their application.
SUBMITTING STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
Always a ton of questions about how to submit your test scores, can scores be sent via transcript, what is the deadline to submit scores, and can I confirm you have received my scores?: The Admissions Office requires that prospective applicants send their standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, or TOEFL) to Johns Hopkins University directly from the testing agencies. Our school codes are:
The Admissions Office will accept standardized test scores submitted with an official high school transcript only if all test scores are displayed and that the scores appear officially on the transcript, not hand-written in by the student or counselor.
Test scores need to be requested from the testing agencies prior to our stated application deadlines but may arrive after the deadline. Though the scores will arrive past the deadline they will still be considered if requested in advance of the deadline. There is no need to rush score reports as they do not arrive any earlier.
The Admissions Office does not send confirmation of test scores received. You will need to contact the College Board and ACT directly to confirm that your scores were sent to Johns Hopkins University. If they confirm your scores were sent than that means they are in our database.
May I submit January standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject exams, or TOEFL) with my regular decision application?: Though regular decision candidates should have completed required tests no later than December of their senior year, students may take the January examinations if they are re-taking the SAT Reasoning exam, are taking SAT II subject exams, or are submitting TOEFL exams. Although we cannot guarantee that January scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation, past experience suggests that scores taken on these dates usually arrive in time. If the tests arrive before the application review then they will be considered, but we will not delay the review of an application to wait for January test scores.
Should I rush my test scores?: There is no need to rush test score reports as they do not get processed by our office any sooner.
FEE WAIVER QUESTIONS
Does Johns Hopkins accept fee waiver requests and if so how does that process work?: If paying the application fee to Johns Hopkins University presents a financial hardship, we are happy to waive the application fee for our applicants. Johns Hopkins accept both the NACAC and College Board fee waiver forms, and also fee waivers through the Expanding College Opportunities program. As well, applicants who received finalist or semi-finalist status through the Maryland Distinguished Scholars program are eligible for a fee waiver. Finally, one may have their guidance counselor officially request a fee waiver in written form and have the guidance counselor send that request along with the applicant's Secondary School Report and high school transcript.
For students applying online who plan to use a fee waiver, the process is simple. Complete and submit your online application, and mail in your fee waiver. The fee waiver can also be faxed to 410-516-6025. We do not accept fee waivers submitted through e-mail. When completing your online application, if the option for your specific fee waiver is not available (such as Expanding College Opportunities, Maryland Distinguished Scholar, guidance counselor submitted) just choose any of the options that are available and mention in the additional information section which form of fee waiver you are submitting. Do not submit a payment as we will not send refunds. If your fee waiver request is not approved by our office after we receive it in the mail, then we will contact you to submit a payment. If the fee waiver request follows the instructions above then it will be approved.
After you submit your application, immediately you start asking questions like did they receive my application; did my school materials arrive correctly; is my application complete??? As you can imagine, this becomes a very busy time in the Admissions Office as we process all the application materials. Because of the volume of records we handle, it is not possible to automatically confirm whether application files are complete or to identity which individual items have been received. Unlike many school, Johns Hopkins does not have an online system for checking application status.
Once your application is download and processed, you will be sent an e-mail acknowledgment. This indicates your application file has been opened (not necessarily that it is complete). Please remember, with thousands of applications to process this e-mail acknowledgment is not automatic and may take a few weeks to be sent. In late February, once we have processed all received application materials, we will contact students whose applications remain incomplete. Those students will be given an opportunity to provide us with any missing items before we complete the evaluation of their applications. Rest assured that application files are checked carefully for completeness. Please do not call to check on the status of your application as we will not be able to answer such questions until the beginning of February at the earliest. Please be patient and know that we will confirm the receipt of your application once it is processed.
Some additional post-submission questions include:
When is the Financial Aid deadline and where can I learn more about applying for Financial Aid?: The Financial aid deadline for the submission of the FAFSA and CSS Profile is March 1, 2009. Please review this web site for full details: http://www.jhu.edu/finaid/prosp_stud.html.
Can I add items to my application even though the deadline has passed? Uh oh, I made a mistake in my application, how can I correct it?: Yes, we will still accept application updates and we do have a process for error corrections. It is simple. To provide an update or error correction, you must compose a cover letter and submit these materials by fax (410-516-6025) or mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Please note that we do request in the cover letter you include your full name, birth date, and school name (SS# is optional but can help), so that we can merge this new information with your application folder. Also note, that all updates should be sent in by February 1st. Finally, DO NOT SEND UPDATES VIA E-MAIL, as we do not process application materials received through e-mail.
Even more questions asked after post-submission. These are all legitimate questions, but all too early to ask. Once we have updated information, it will be posted on the blog.
When will decisions be released?
--- Last week in March. No official date has been set yet.
How many applications have been received?
--- Not sure yet. Vote in the poll on the right of this blog, and I will reveal the total some time in February.
How many will be admitted?
--- No clue. We have to review applications first.
What will the acceptance rate be?
--- Also, no clue. We will rely on our formulas when the time comes.
EVEN MORE QUESTIONS
Here are additional sources to obtain answers to your questions:
Admissions Site: Frequently asked questions
International Students FAQs
Hopkins Forums discussions on Application Essays
Hopkins Forums discussion on Letters of Recommendations
Hopkins Forums discussion on Interviews and the Admissions Process
Applying BME FAQs
I hope these answers help, and that in some way they minimize the number of e-mails we will receive this week (probably not going to happen, oh well). And remember, there is a ton of helpful information already stored on the Hopkins Forums.