Johns Hopkins received a record number of applications this year for freshman admission to its two Homewood schools, topping the 10,000 mark for the first time in university history.
The 10,002 applications submitted before the deadline represent a 12 percent increase from last year's sum. The previous largest total for the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering was 9,494, which came in 1999.
John F. Latting, director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Homewood, attributes the significant increase to a confluence of factors, including new targeted recruitment efforts, a change in financial aid policy and the implementation of the campus master plan.
Latting said that while increases were seen across the board, the largest growth in application numbers came from minority students, international students and high school seniors from the South and West: Washington, North Carolina, California, Virginia and Texas.
"Those areas typically have not been our bread and butter," he said. "But given the projected growth in the number of high school graduates in these states over the next 10 or 15 years, we have made them a recruiting priority, spending more time visiting high schools in those areas."
As for the large minority student pool, Latting said the university has stepped up recruitment efforts in that area, including the hiring of additional staff with minority expertise and intensified canvassing of targeted communities.
The 400 more applications from international students, Latting said, were likely the direct result of a new policy, instituted in time for this incoming class, to offer need-based financial aid to non-U.S. residents.
As for the overall increase, Latting said there is some evidence that the Homewood campus's makeover and new amenities have also helped lure students.
"The physical changes, with our new landscaping and new facilities for undergraduates such as the new recreation center, have seemed to make a big difference," he said. "After they visit us, students appear more likely to follow through on an application."
While applications are up, the target number for the class of 2007 remains at 1,050. Latting said that with over 1,000 more applications to sort through this year, the job of his staff becomes that much harder--but they welcome the extra work.
"More applicants means we can be more selective. It means we have more options in terms of shaping the student community," he said. "That was our goal all along, to attract even more of the best and brightest."
Who makes the final cut this year? Decisions are to be sent out by April 1.