About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 5, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 29
Homewood Applications at Record High

Off they go: A record 11,112 responses left Garland Hall on Wednesday.

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Talk about an encore. The two Homewood undergraduate schools received a record number of applications this year and saw marked gains in the percentage of minority applicants. With a final tally of 11,112 applications, the university smashed the existing high-water mark set just last year when Johns Hopkins cracked the 10,000 barrier for the first time in its history.

John Latting, director of undergraduate admissions, attributes the significant increases to targeted, intensive recruiting efforts and enhanced marketing on the part of the schools. The high numbers, he said, were a pleasant surprise.

"You might try to hit a home run, but you don't expect it to happen," Latting said. "We did a very good job of recruiting this past year; it wasn't a matter of there simply being 10 percent more high school students nationwide."

The university had an 11 percent increase in the number of African-American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American applicants, who collectively accounted for 14 percent of the applications received for the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering.

Latting said that he and his staff have made bringing underrepresented groups to Hopkins a top priority. He added that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has received strong support from alumni groups and current students to promote the school and increase numbers in this area.

The admittance rate for the university was a record low 28 percent, with 3,161 acceptance letters being sent out last week. The target number for the class of 2008 is 1,070.

Acceptance letters went out to students from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. The top five states represented were, in order, New York, California, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Latting said that the university has made a concerted effort in recent years to court students in California, and the result has been a steady increase in applicants from the state.

"We said, these are kids we want. Our staff and school officials have spent plenty of time on the ground in California talking to students, teachers and counselors," he said. "Part of our strategy is for [students and educators] to get to know us on a personal basis, as compared to here's so-and-so from Johns Hopkins. I predict the number of applications from California to go up again next year, when we will perhaps see the number of applications from there top what we get from New York."

Other notable admissions figures include a 37 percent growth in applications to the School of Engineering. The large increase falls on the heels of a slight dip in application numbers the School of Engineering had from 2002 to 2003.

In an effort to increase the number of Engineering applicants, Latting said that his office conducted a targeted mailing effort to high school students who fit the mold of "promising engineers," those who excelled in physics, calculus, chemistry and other related courses.

"The Whiting School has also done a great job of communicating its strengths," he said. "For instance, they added new tracks and majors, like biomolecular engineering, which highlight just how broad-based a school it is and illustrate its wealth of teachers involved in different disciplines."

A new option this past year for high school students considering Johns Hopkins was filling out an online application. JHU also offers a paper one and accepts paper and online versions of the Common Application, a form used by a consortium of 240 member institutions. Latting said it is not known how much an impact the online application had on the total numbers, but he did say that the number of online applications is likely to increase as students become more comfortable with the process.

The number of applications received from international students — 1,113 — remained nearly the same as last year. Latting said that he was pleased to see the numbers remain strong despite new immigration screening procedures put in place for the sake of national security.

"We are somewhat swimming against a tide in this area, and to hold steady in the number of international applicants was great," he said. "I personally feel that JHU has to do all it can to attract international students. It's part of the vision of where we are headed. The world keeps getting smaller as Johns Hopkins continues to branch out."

What will the class of 2008 look like? Latting said that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has deliberately sought out not just students who excel in class but well-rounded students who demonstrate creativity and ability in other areas.

"Some of the questions we ask are, How well will this student do at Hopkins? and Where does this student fit in, and what will he or she contribute to the community? " he said. "Yes, we had more applicants this year, but it's not just bigger group; it's a better one. We are in the fortunate position to choose from many exceptional students. It's a good place to be."

The deadline for students to make their decision is May 1.


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |