For most people, the new year begins Jan. 1. But on the
Homewood campus, it always starts the Saturday before Labor Day.
And last Saturday, after a long and sleepy summer, a 2-mile-long
line of minivans and station wagons snaked its way down Charles
Street. From it, the approximately 1,020 members of the Class of
2000 disembarked, and the Homewood campus once again became
Among the freshmen is a young woman who, by 17, has already published several children's books. There's a young man from Puerto Rico who is not only a pilot but an accomplished vocalist. Identical twins, intent on becoming physicians, have come from Los Angeles, where their divorced mother worked two jobs while studying for her general equivalency diploma and taught her sons that accomplishments are earned.
But these are only a few of the young women and men who make up this first-class class.
"There are a lot of firsts in this class," said Robert Massa, dean of enrollment. "With 8,500 applicants, we had the largest pool of high school students to choose from in Hopkins history. Yet we only admitted 40 percent, making it the most selective class since 1966. It is also the year we have the largest number of women in Engineering ever, the most African American students we've ever had and the highest percentage of students coming to Hopkins for its humanities programs in the history of the school."
There are also more students than ever receiving financial aid this year: 61 percent; 41 percent of the class is receiving financial aid from the university.
And then there is its size. At 1,020, the Class of 2000 is the largest in Hopkins history. Because 100 more students than were expected chose to come to Hopkins, this was a summer when the administration busily turned dormitory rooms from doubles to triples, found additional housing for students and made sure there were enough sections of popular classes to accommodate everyone registering for them.
"Hopkins is very popular, to be sure," Massa said. "The pool of applicants we chose from was outstanding."
The excess of students is largely credited with an intense recruitment campaign begun last winter, which targeted three specific areas: women engineers, African Americans and students who plan to major in the humanities. In all those areas, the number of students who accepted rose significantly: the number of African Americans increased 100 percent, the number of women in Engineering now doubles the national average and the percentage of students who plan to major in the humanities went from 15 to 23 percent of the Arts and Sciences enrollment.
Outside the targeted areas, the numbers of incoming students remained consistent with the last few years. Some 260 new students are enrolled in the natural sciences, 1 percent lower than last year's number of students.
As a result, it is a diverse class, rich in its variety of backgrounds and interests. These students come from all over the country and the world. Admission officers have already observed hints of what these men and women can achieve by what they've already accomplished.
And this week--as they buy their first college textbooks, sample their first late-night pizza in their dorm rooms, try not to look lost as they search for their biology lab or Organic Chemistry class or Gilman Hall, as they overcome shyness and get to know their first non-sibling roommates, as they gulp hard when they receive their first Chem Lab course syllabus--the Class of 2000 starts college.
Information on incoming classes of the other academic divisions is scheduled to appear in the next issue of The Gazette.
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