Johns Hopkins Gazette: December 11, 1995

On Administration:
White, Admissions Team Meeting the Class of 2001

Leslie Rice
Homewood News and Information

     At the time of evening when most people have finished up
work for the day, Hopkins admissions director Paul White is about
as energetic as he was when his day began. It's a good thing,
too, because chances are his day is far from over. Like the five
counselors on his admissions team, evenings--and weekends--for
White are often taken up with meetings with high school students
and college counselors, usually at college fairs or college

     In any given week, White and his counselors will each meet
anywhere from 100 to 400 high school students who are searching
for the perfect college for them. On a recent trip to New York,
White visited 22 schools in one week. That same week the other
five counselors were in high schools waging similar blitzes all
over the country.

     The ongoing effort to sell the merits of Hopkins has become
complicated by several forces as high school students become more
and more demanding and discerning consumers.

     Bob Massa, dean of enrollment management, says this level of
consumerism among high school students is mostly a by-product of
the ever-rising cost of college tuition, which is $19,750 per
year at Hopkins. Add on the cost of room, board, books, and that
year can cost an estimated $28,250. Students and parents want to
be completely sure they are making a good investment. 

     Last week, White made that point during an afternoon at
Friends School with three students who wanted to talk informally
about their questions and concerns about Hopkins.

     "What are your interests?" he asked the group.

     "The sciences," said one. "Pre-med," said the other two.

     "Well, you should probably also know a little about what we
have to offer in the humanities," said White. "Our humanities
departments are among the best in the nation and yet people
rarely talk about them when they talk about Hopkins." He
emphasized the top faculty in the social sciences and humanities
as well as the unique opportunities available to undergraduates.
"We have students participating in [archaeological] digs in the
Middle East," he said. White also stressed the excellence and the
flexibility of the Engineering curriculum.

     It's no accident that White, like all the Hopkins
recruiters, always returns to the subject of Hopkins' strengths
in the social sciences, the humanities and engineering.  

     "Most high school students have no sense of the diversity of
academic fields at Hopkins," said Zenobia Moorman, assistant
director of admissions, who has traveled the country recruiting
for Hopkins. "Especially out west, students know Hopkins solely
as a pre-med, math and science-oriented institution. While these
programs are undeniably strong, we have to work really hard to
make them aware of our strengths in all disciplines."

     The admissions team also goes to great lengths to emphasize
extracurricular activities and the opportunity for undergraduates
to cross-register for certain courses in area colleges including
the Maryland Institute of Art and the Peabody Conservatory for no
extra charge. 

     Friends junior Tara Villa perked up at this; she's an
accomplished percussionist and even though she hopes to become a
doctor one day, she'd like to continue her musical training, she
told White. 

     Last summer, White announced that this year's crop of
freshmen--his first incoming class since coming to Hopkins from
Colgate University in September 1994--was a "class of do-ers."
Last week was the deadline for early decision applications, which
increased 25 percent from last year.

     "Of the ones we've seen so far, they are exactly what we're
looking for," said White. "They are well-prepared academically,
hold leadership positions, are involved in athletics, write for
their newspapers and are involved in the arts. It bodes very well
for the year; they'll raise the standards for the remaining
applicant pool."

     That pool is expected to reach up to 8,000 by the Jan. 1
deadline. And while White is pleased by the prospects for the
Class of 2000, he and his team are already busy pitching the
university to those who may become the Class of 2001. 

     During the McDonogh School session, counselors Alice
Margraff and Elizabeth Ottinger tried to take a little of the
anxiety out of the college search.

     "Now everyone stand up," Margraff instructed the crowd,
"point your forefingers to your temples, close your eyes and
repeat after me, There is no such thing as the one perfect

     No one perfect college? As Paul White looked on, he might
have thought otherwise.

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