How To Get Into Johns Hopkins: The Ultimate Guide

Johns Hopkins University Building
June 28, 2022
About Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins University RequirementsJohns Hopkins Acceptance RateJohns Hopkins Class ProfileTips to Get into Johns Hopkins UniversityJohns Hopkins Supplemental EssaysSupplementary Essay ExamplesHow to Apply to Johns Hopkins UniversityShould I Apply to Johns Hopkins University?FAQs: How to Get Into Johns Hopkins University

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

“What I like best in Baltimore is the people, the neighborhoods and what goes on in the neighborhoods. Each has its own stories, own diners, and own quirks. It’s about community. I also like everything Old Bay.”

One of the most renowned schools in the country, Johns Hopkins University, is located in Baltimore, Maryland, with four campuses spread throughout the city. Indeed, U.S. News ranks it joint-9th in its Best National University rankings. 

As such, it is highly competitive each year. But, if you want to know how to get into Johns Hopkins, this article will outline its requirements and deadlines, as well as provide you with some top tips on how to submit a stronger application.

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About Johns Hopkins University

“Knowledge for the world.”

During his inaugural speech in 1876 when JHU was founded, Gilman outlined the college’s mission which remains the same today: “To educate its students and cultivate their capacity for lifelong learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.”

As America’s first research university, it has stayed true to its mission and places great emphasis on innovative research and interdisciplinary study. Hopkins’ notable discoveries include CPR, saccharine, rubber surgical gloves, and making water purification possible. 

Although it is prestigious in almost every department, Hopkins is probably most famous for its exceptional pre-med education. Johns Hopkins’ namesake was a philanthropist devoted to improving public education and public health.

Johns Hopkins University Requirements

Before you’re ready to start your application, you’ll need to satisfy several admissions requirements. All applicants must take standardized tests; however, Johns Hopkins stresses that test scores are only part of its holistic approach to admissions, which considers your academic and personal circumstances.

Test Scores

Johns Hopkins will review self-reported or official SAT or ACT scores from all applicants. You can self-report your scores through the Coalition for College application or Common Application

Helpfully, Johns Hopkins allows you to submit the highest scores you receive in each section to calculate an overall composite score, which you can attach to your application. 

SAT

The SAT Reasoning Test (SAT) is an entrance exam used by many universities to determine your readiness for college. It assesses you on three core areas:

Most students will take the test during the fall of their senior year or the spring of their junior year. However, it is advisable to sit the exam as early as possible to ensure you have enough time to retake it if you’re not happy with your initial score.

The middle 50 percent composite SAT scores achieved by accepted students was 1500-1550. While Johns Hopkins has set no minimum requirement, you will want to achieve results at the higher end of this range to be a competitive applicant. 

As noted above, Johns Hopkins will consider your highest section scores across all SATs taken even if you sat the tests on different dates. Thus, each time you retake the SAT, you should upload your new test scores. 

Additionally, if you want to demonstrate your academic strengths, you can submit SAT Subject Tests in one or more areas of interest, although this is entirely optional. 

ACT

The American College Test (ACT) is used by college admissions committees to measure if you have the necessary skills to pursue your studies at the college level. Similar to the SAT, the ACT contains different sections which each determine your strengths in different areas. 

It’s split between four multiple-choice tests and an optional writing test: 

The middle 50 percent ACT scores for each section achieved by accepted students was 34-35. Again, while Johns Hopkins sets no minimum score, your chances of acceptance will be higher if you’re at the higher end of the middle 50 percent range.

Johns Hopkins has recently said that both the ACT and SAT are optional due to Covid-19. However, if you want to elevate your application, taking either test is a great way to do it! 

Language Proficiency Tests

Johns Hopkins recommends that you provide evidence of your proficiency in English if your primary language is not English or you have not attended an English language school for the last three years. The accepted tests include:

Unlike the SATs and ACT, Johns Hopkins does note that applicants taking the TOEFL should typically receive a minimum score of 100 total. They also stipulate preferred sub-scores for each section: 

Similarly, Hopkins expects applicants to achieve 7.0 or higher on IELTS, a composite score of 120 for the DET, and 185 or higher on the Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency tests. 

Although it is not required, Hopkins also recommends that applicants who score below 30 on both the ACT Reading and English sections or 690 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT submit IELTS, DET, TOEFL, or Cambridge English scores. Hopkins encourages applicants to do this as they can then present their language preparation in the best light. 

GPA

The average GPA achieved by accepted students at Johns Hopkins is 3.9, and 99% of admitted students are in the top 10% of their class. This average GPA means that Johns Hopkins is exceptionally selective. But, if you are worried about having a low GPA, having a GPA under 3.0 is not automatic grounds for rejection. 

Indeed, Daniel Creasy, the Former Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Johns Hopkins University, notes that “competitive schools could stock themselves with 4.0-GPA robots if they wanted; the fact that they don’t means that they value other qualities beyond brute academic force.”

Your standardized test scores are one part of your application; Hopkins will take your experiences, engagement with the community, and interpersonal qualities into account. However, If you have any extenuating circumstances that have affected your ability to perform academically, you should explain the relevant circumstances in your admissions essay.

Johns Hopkins Acceptance Rate

Johns Hopkins University’s acceptance rate is 11%. As is the case for any top-tier school, you will need to work hard and submit a solid application to gain acceptance. 

Yield Rate

Of the 29,612 applicants who applied, 1300 enrolled, meaning Johns Hopkins’ yield rate is 4.4%. 

How Hard is it to Get into Johns Hopkins?

As the data above shows, getting into Johns Hopkins is difficult. The standardized test scores achieved by the majority of successful applicants are high, so you will have to dedicate a lot of time to prepare for them to remain competitive.

Johns Hopkins Class Profile

Here is the recent information for the current class at JHU. 

Demographics

Of the 1,300 students enrolled in Johns Hopkins, 53% of students are female and 47% male. Sixteen percent are first-generation college students, and 29 countries are represented in this class profile. 

Johns Hopkins strives to create a diverse student community, and 14% of students identify as African American/Black, 32% as Asian,17 % as Hispanic/Latinx, 2% as Native American/Pacific Islander, 13% as International, and 21% as white/Caucasian.

Johns Hopkins Class Statistics
Source: JHU

Student to Faculty Ratio

“Research isn’t just something we do—it’s who we are. Every day, our faculty and students work side by side in a tireless pursuit of discovery, continuing our founding mission to bring knowledge to the world.” 

The student to faculty ratio at Johns Hopkins is 6:1, and 76.7% of its classes have less than 20 students.

Johns Hopkins Class Sizes
Source: US News

The professors and researchers at Johns Hopkins are world-renowned and have led the university to become the nation’s leader in federal research and development funding since 1979. 

Additionally, 29 individuals associated with the college as a graduate, resident, fellow, or faculty member have received a Nobel Prize, and four recipients are current faculty members. The prizes awarded include: 

One notable recipient was President Woodrow Wilson, who received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1919. 

Hopkins’ professors often include undergraduates in their own ground-breaking research, and students can also run with projects of their own design. Indeed, students in both the Whiting School of Engineering and the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences gain practical experiences through on and off-campus research.

Tips to Get into Johns Hopkins University

You can set yourself apart from the statistical data, and, lucky for you, we’ve got some top tips on how to get into ​​Johns Hopkins University. Read on to learn how.

Acquire Strong Letters of Recommendation

Among other things, letters of recommendation tell admissions faculties: 

Whereas test scores are evaluations of academic performance, letters of recommendation tell admissions committees more about you and provide better evidence of future success. Johns Hopkins places a significant emphasis on these letters, so take the time to acquire referees who will speak highly of you. 

Getting to know your teachers is a great way to secure stronger letters of recommendation as they can speak to both your classroom performance and extracurricular pursuits. Johns Hopkins recommends “communicating with your chosen teachers about what you find impactful in their class, what topics resonated with you, and what papers, books, or projects you find enriching.” 

Additionally, if you speak to your teachers about your out-of-the-classroom pursuits, that can aid your application. Ask yourself, Does your History teacher know about your personal history blog? Can your English teacher mention your volunteer work at the animal shelter in their recommendation letter? 

Essentially, letters of recommendation provide Johns Hopkins with an idea of how you’ll navigate a collegiate academic environment. Thus, if you take the time to illustrate this by getting to know your teachers and working hard, you will submit a stronger application. 

Do Your Research and Show How You’ll Fit In 

Doing college research and showing how you will fit into Johns Hopkins University will undoubtedly strengthen your application. Classes are an essential part of college, and Tori R., a current student, suggests you browse the course catalog and see if any courses excite you. 

Interdisciplinary study and academic exploration are qualities that Johns Hopkins highly values, and Tori suggests exploring the opportunities on offer and mentioning what interests you. For example, Johns Hopkins has more research funding than any other college across the nation, and 80% of students participate in some form of research while at Hopkins. 

If you can illustrate your interests or experiences to align with this, you will tailor your application to the school. Tailoring your application is crucial because it provides a clear roadmap on how Johns Hopkins will be a perfect fit for you and why it will be the ideal stepping-stone to pursue your interest and ultimately achieve your ambitions.

Show How You Impact the People and Communities Around You

When Johns Hopkins reviews an application, it looks to see if they can interpret an applicant’s engagement with three areas

The last two, in particular, focus on what you do outside of the classroom. Hopkins urges you to ask yourself how you can or have made a difference through innovation, service, or leadership. Highlight the key takeaways from your experiences, ask yourself, What have you learned? How have your experiences shaped you and your perspective on things? 

If you want to impress admissions officers, persistence is also an extremely desirable quality; Creasy notes that an applicant who has spent four years tutoring low-income students is more impressive than another who spent a week building orphanages. 

Also, you will submit a more robust application if you can illustrate how your abiding interests, whether academic or extracurricular, will “continue and deepen during your time” at JHU. Start by researching the local area or the clubs and societies offered by the university.

Johns Hopkins Supplemental Essays

“It’s a chance to add depth to something that is important to you and tell the admissions committee more about your background or goals. Test scores only tell part of your story, and we want to know more than just how well you work. We want to see how you actually think.” 

Many colleges use supplemental essays to get a sense of your personality beyond your extracurricular activities, test scores, and teacher evaluations. 

Unlike the Common Application personal statement, where colleges have no control over what prompts are asked, supplemental essays allow colleges to ask applicants whatever they want. As such, your response is important as it is a golden opportunity for you to speak directly to the admissions committee

Supplemental Essay Prompt

This year, Johns Hopkins asks you to respond to the following prompt:

“Founded on a spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity or your community) and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins.” (300-400 words) 

How to Write the Johns Hopkins Supplemental Essay

Before we look at some tips on how to write the supplemental essay, we should first understand how Johns Hopkins will look at your response. Admissions officers are looking for students who will

You should aim to cover each of these bases in your responses to increase your chances of admission. 

Focus on Your Own Experiences 

You are the star of this essay, and it should highlight who you are, what you have done, what you have taken away from your experiences, and how this will help you engage with your future college community. To do this authentically, you should choose a topic that has changed your perception of yourself or the world around you. 

Savannah Miller, an Admissions Officer with Johns Hopkins, states that you should “choose [to write about] something that is meaningful to you.” Don’t try to write your essay based upon what you think colleges want to hear; write about something that has impacted you and illustrate why this experience has made you want to succeed at Johns Hopkins. 

Answer Both Parts of the Question

To state the obvious - you need to address the prompt. As simple as this sounds, it is not easy. The prompt outlined above essentially asks you to write two things: 

  1. Outline a significant interest of yours, or delve into an aspect of your background, identity, or community. 
  2. Show how it has “shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins.” 

It’s difficult to answer one half of the prompt within 400 words, let alone both parts. However, Stephen Farmer, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions at UNC, notes that “probably the biggest mistake applicants make in supplemental essays is choosing a topic that’s too big.”

Choose a specific topic and drill down into it - be detailed. After doing this, it is important that you touch upon a topic and then show how this has shaped your thoughts, feelings, or actions. 

For example, one successful applicant wrote a supplemental essay about synchronized dancing in a group. After dedicating several paragraphs to establishing this context, they wrote: 

“I’ve learned a lot from playing mallet percussion across the ensembles offered at my school, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to relax, and allow the hours me and my peers have put into rehearsal take their course. I am a notoriously anxious person, obsessed with precision and perfection. Performing is anything but precise; it’s fluid and expressive. When the drum major counts off, I cannot worry about my stance behind the board, or if how much torque I am applying to the first stroke is the same as the person next to me. I must be unapologetically confident. The faith that I’ve cultivated in my peers in creating this musical tapestry has translated to an increased faith in myself and my own abilities. No longer am I afraid to explore new talents, or take intellectual excursions into fields unbeknownst to me. I am free to teach myself anything, from the entirety of Claude Debussy’s works on piano to the John Cena theme song on recorder. Indeed, contributing to something greater than myself has fundamentally changed who I am for the better.”

This concluding paragraph brilliantly captures how the applicant has gained confidence and is now unafraid of pushing themselves physically and academically. Additionally, as outlined above, interdisciplinary study and academic exploration are qualities that Johns Hopkins highly values. The applicant illustrated how they learned from an experience while also tying it into the qualities that JHU values. 

Say Something Different 

“A good essay to me, in general, is one where I learn something about the student that I wouldn’t learn elsewhere in the application.” 

Monica Inzer, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Hamilton College in New York

Instead of repeating what you have written in other parts of your application, write something different! This is a golden opportunity for you to share what you want to share with the admissions committee.

Whether you decide to write about your passion for fly fishing or your love of cars, as long as you can show how this has shaped who you are and why you would be a great candidate, Johns Hopkins will accept nearly anything. 

However, it is recommended that you avoid sensitive topics and illegal or illicit behavior.

Supplementary Essay Examples 

Let’s now take a look at several nominated essay examples provided by Johns Hopkins where students shared stories that gave the admissions committee an insight into their character and values and how they would align with Hopkins’ values and culture: 

Essay Example #1 - “Fried Rice in One (Not So) Easy Step” 

In this essay, the applicant outlines a quick recipe for making fried rice but then quickly states that “the only true fried rice recipe is no recipe at all.” Despite liking the meticulous and accurate nature of recipes and other things in life, however, they write: 

“I understand the beauty of spontaneity and organic creation. There’s something special in realizing that no two recreations of my grandpa’s fried rice will ever be the same, and really, isn’t that what life is? Creation, without recipe?

It’s funny. This may contradict everything I’ve written thus far, but the more I bake, the more I realize perhaps baking is spontaneous too. I don’t always need to weigh my flour beforehand in order to get perfect cookies, nor do I really need to add the copious amounts of sugar the recipe calls for. My signature food is brownies, but I challenged myself to use a different recipe every time. You’d be surprised at how different brownies taste when you add an extra egg, and you’d be especially uncertain about my baking skills if you tried my brownies that had wayyy too much baking soda (trial and error…).

I’m learning to love improvisation. It’s not mutually exclusive with loving precision, and it’s such an integral part of my culture, I’d be missing out otherwise. Coming to terms with and embracing the unknown is scary and definitely a process, but I assure you: One day, I’ll master my own fried rice.”

Why this is a good essay: Reflecting upon this essay, the admissions committee recognizes the writer’s “willingness to experiment, to take risks and find failure, and to learn from the past.” The writer approaches things positively, and the committee notes that it provides insights into different aspects of their personality. 

Essay Example #2 - “Switching Shoes” 

Switching sports is never easy; you’ve got new techniques to learn, new teammates to meet, and new rules to follow. Yet, this essay describes a candidate’s transition from field hockey to soccer after moving schools. After initially struggling to adjust to the new sport, the writer went to a women’s field hockey practice session, and his perspective shifted: 

“At the end of practice, I felt a burning glow of joy overtake my body as I caught my breath on the bench. In that moment, I gradually realized how I should not let obstacles, like gender boundaries in field hockey, hold me back from exploring new opportunities.

Realizing the joy I had found in trying the unconventional, I took this experience to the soccer field to take on its new athletic challenges once again. Rather than agonizing over playing time or titles, I simply redirected my focus on the joy and beauty of the sport. Within days, I noticed the same atmosphere of sweat and screams from the turf take hold of the soccer field. Over time, this helped me take in feedback more readily, ask questions about tactics, and try out new skills. With each new improvement I made through this, I slowly began to grasp the value of my new approach to the sport.

As a result, I decided to bring the same open, curious, and risk-taking mindset with me to the other opportunities that boarding school holds. In the classroom, I began asking deeper questions to fully comprehend new material. Back in the dorm, I turned the cultural differences between my peers into opportunities to learn from and contribute back to. From truly grasping nucleophile-electrophile reactions in organic chemistry to sharing Dutch ‘stroopwafels’ with my hall, such moments remind me of why I sacrificed my field hockey gear to go to Deerfield; even as my new mindset gradually led to the grades, friendships, and even athletic achievements I sought before, I realized that I value the exploration, growth and joy behind such successes far more.

Now, before I put on my cleats, walk into the classroom or enter my dorm, I do not worry about the successes I might fail to reach or the obstacles that might hold me back. Rather, I pour my heart into such opportunities and take their experiences with me.”

Why this is a good essay: The admissions committee comments that, in switching sports, it is clear that the writer was open-minded in his approach, took risks, and sought out advice from his coaches. He demonstrates how this event has changed how he handles situations and shows he understands the larger significance of his experience. 

Essay Example #3 - “From Alone to Unique” 

This essay is very personal; it follows the writer’s changing relationship with their Filipino identity while growing up in a predominantly white town. The candidate outlines how cultural differences and the jokes and stereotypes they overheard made them begin to make them ashamed of their heritage. 

At one point, they note that they “started to believe that assimilation was the only pathway to acceptance, along with the only way I could feel less alone within my community.” However, once they entered high school, her perspective shifted: 

“It was not until I entered high school that I realized how wrong I was. Although I did not encounter an increase in diversity in terms of ethnicity, I saw an increase in the spectrum of perspectives around me. Through electives, clubs, and activities, the student body I was met with since my freshman year was open-minded, as well as politically and culturally active and engaged, and I immediately joined in. At speech and debate tournaments, I talked with students from across the globe, while at discussions between the High School Democrats Club and Young Conservatives Club at my school, I enjoyed listening and being exposed to different viewpoints. Suddenly, I was no longer willing to feel defeated and instead began to feel confident in displaying my Filipino pride. I introduced my friends to an array of Filipino dishes from lumpia to toron, I asked my social studies teachers questions about the history and current state of the Philippines, and I no longer saw myself and my background as what differentiated me from others and caused my feelings of aloneness, but as something that I should embrace.

I changed my narrative from “alone” to “unique,” and I strive to spread the message that being different can and should be the norm to my peers. I would not be who I am without my Filipino background, and although the community I live in is what previously made me feel alone, it is also what gave me the potential to learn, grow, and broadened my appreciation for what made me unique.”

Why this is a good essay: Reflecting on this, the admissions committee notes that without this essay, they would not have understood how significant this experience was for the writer. It illustrates how you should always choose to write about something that isn’t highlighted anywhere else in your application. The committee concludes that they can see the writer thriving at Hopkins as it is clear they embrace diverse viewpoints and identities and seek new opportunities.

How to Apply to Johns Hopkins University

Here are the steps to take to apply to JHU. 

Application Process and Deadlines

You can apply to Hopkins via the Common Application or the Coalition for College Application, and the deadline for Regular Decision applications is in early January. Johns Hopkins does stipulate several application requirements, which includes: 

Tuition and Fees

In terms of tuition fees, Johns Hopkins costs $58,720 per annum. However, there are other costs involved:

Johns Hopkins Tuition Costs
Source: Johns Hopkins University

Does Johns Hopkins Require an Interview?

Interviews are not part of Johns Hopkins’ admissions requirements. However, if you would like to set up an interview with the admissions committee, you should contact them. 

Many college interviews are conducted by admissions representatives, although some colleges also use alumni. They are an opportunity to highlight your strengths and show off your personality to the committee. After all, before this point, you have just been words on a page. 

Interviews are important, and you should prepare for them. However, don’t stress about them too much as they usually won’t make or break your application. Try to have fun and build a relationship with Johns Hopkins!

Early Decision Date and Acceptance Rate

If you decide to apply for Early Decision, you have two options: 

Both Early Decision options allow you to apply to Hopkins before the Regular Decision deadline and receive your admission decision early. However, if you are admitted at either stage, you must attend the college.

Should I Apply to Johns Hopkins University?

Before you decide to apply to Johns Hopkins, you should research the college’s culture, curriculum, and community. For example, Hopkins is famous for its open approach to research, and its curriculum reflects that as there are no core courses. 

For some, this would be horrific as they need a more structured approach to learning. For others, like Dominique D. (class of 2021), it’s an opportunity to learn in a unique environment where there’s no core curriculum, and you are free to pursue a double major in two disparate fields.

FAQs: How to Get Into Johns Hopkins University

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how to get into Johns Hopkins.

1. How Can I Submit a Stronger Application?

Aside from working hard to achieve higher standardized test scores, show how and why your experiences make you a great fit for Johns Hopkins if you want to increase your chances of being admitted. Do your research and draw parallels between what Hopkins values and what you have learned from your experiences. 

2. What Does the Early Decision Binding Agreement Mean? 

If you decide to apply to Hopkins Early Decision, you cannot apply to any other school under an early decision plan. Then, you will be required to sign an agreement that states if you receive an offer of admission, then you will enroll at Hopkins. 

It means that if you have applied to any other schools through early action or regular decision, you must withdraw them immediately. 

3. Can I Attach Additional Materials to My Application?

Johns Hopkins also accepts supplemental application information. However, you should make sure that these items will contribute to your application. If you want to attach artwork, research abstracts, or other documentation, you can also attach them to your application. 

4. Should I Proofread My Essay? 

Absolutely, admissions officers will be evaluating the quality of your writing and your application, so it is worth taking the time to proofread and re-proofread your writing. If you are struggling, you can always ask a family member or peer to look at your essay. However, your voice and writing style must shine through any edits made. 

If you are struggling with writing your admissions essays, seek the help of an admissions expert who can guide you through the process.  

5. How Do I Maximize the Supplemental Essay Word Limit?

It is difficult to place your life, feelings, thoughts, and experiences on a page, let alone condense them into 400 words. However, the best way to make the most of every word is to focus on a specific experience; it is better to write an in-depth piece about a focused topic than write a bigger one at a surface level. 

6. What Happens if I Am Not Admitted Early Decision? 

If you apply for Early Decision I and have not been admitted, you can either be denied or deferred and re-evaluated as a regular decision applicant. With Early Decision II, if you are not admitted, you can either be denied or waitlisted.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know how to get into Johns Hopkins and that it is no walk in the park; it attracts exceptionally gifted students who often achieve exceptional test scores. However, as outlined above, the admissions committee looks at more than just your grades. 

Your letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and admissions essays all have an impact on your chances of acceptance. By choosing teachers with whom you are familiar, you can submit stronger letters of recommendation that provide the committee with more information about you and indicate your future success. 

Your essays are also equally important as they allow Hopkins to get a feel for your personality beyond your test scores and teacher evaluations. By focusing your writing on specific experiences and illustrating how the lessons you have learned from them will make you a great for Hopkins’ community, you will undoubtedly increase your chances of admission. Good luck with your application!

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