November 19, 2017

Tour Along with College Essay Whiz: Johns Hopkins

A mid-sized university with 5,200 undergraduates, Johns Hopkins is an academic heavyweight. Founded in 1876 as the first research facility in the country, this beautiful green campus sees various students reading, chatting, or just hanging out on the quad; yet academics is the main vibe. Here are some serious benefits to being a Hopkins student:

Students do not need to declare a major until the end of sophomore year. Until then, they are assigned a general adviser to supervise their adjustment to college life and course loads. For each major or minor declared, students are assigned a relevant adviser. Add into the mix coaches, advisers for study abroad, research, pre-professional work, and dorm RA’s, you couldn’t ask for more academic and professional guidance.

You can participate in research in your first year. Because all faculty members conduct research, undergraduates can do research with professors in any of Hopkins undergraduate or graduate departments. Suddenly, you’re researching eye-regeneration in zebra fish!

Incoming freshmen can apply for a hefty research grant. The $10,000 Woodrow Wilson grant is given to students to carry out a research project over the course of their undergraduate tenure. Students can pursue their passions. Students have curated a French artist or created statistical models for successful football shots. The sky is the limit!

Students bound for medical school are exposed to cutting-edge technologies and concepts as well as a mock operating room, and even a famed DaVinci machine reserved just for undergraduate students.

It’s easy for students of all majors to study abroad. You do not need to be a language major and you don’t need to worry about study abroad derailing your academic trajectory. Study abroad advisers make sure that every class you take will transfer. There are even programs designed for pre-Med or engineering students!

Students complete “distribution requirements” but they still have the freedom to satisfy them among a large number of course options.

Winter break is a great opportunity. “Intersession Break” spans from mid-December to early February. Dorms are available at no additional charge, and so students can return to campus and explore the city, relax, or take a course. Intersession courses expose students to material they may not otherwise have space for in their schedule, such as Sign Language or Greek Pottery. Students may also study abroad during this time.

Housing is a breeze. Students must live on campus for two years, but off-campus housing is often next door to on-campus housing although Hopkins does not own the building. 90% of students live within three blocks of campus. For students who are renting for the first time, advisers help them to locate the best fit, explain how leases work, and even do walk-throughs of properties with students!

You don’t need a car. The Baltimore shuttle and the inter-campus shuttle (running between all the schools in Baltimore) are free. The $7 train to DC, $15 bus to New York City, Uber and Zip Car are all great options.

Social life on campus thrives. There are 407 student organizations (and the option to easily create your own and receive funding), 22 Division III sports groups and two Division I. Thirty percent of students participate in Greek life which includes community service, pre-professional, and social sororities and fraternities – but it is not the focus of campus life.

And off campus: With 14 colleges in the city, 40 art galleries (including one on campus), 70 museums, and 2 huge sports stadiums, Baltimore has much to explore.

Students can develop (and fund) their own startups. The Center for Leadership Education will accept startup pitches, evaluate your business plan, and decide whether or not to fund it. There are currently eight successful start-ups functioning on campus.

And for those who want to give back? The Center for Social Concern is an administrative building that houses over 50 student-led non-profit organizations that will happily link students with both local and international opportunities for community service.

As a private institution, the school fees are heavy, yet it commits to meeting 100% of demonstrated need, as shown through the FAFSA and CSS profile. There is some merit-based aid available, but students do not need to submit a separate application.

*Notable alumni include: journalist Wolf Blitzer, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, President Woodrow Wilson, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and geneticist Victor A. McKusick.

Up next: Towson University

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