While I was applying to college, I took a grand tour of the East Coast: nine schools in nine days over my junior year spring break. After I went to the fourth or fifth information session, I started hearing a lot of the same phrases over and over again. So, I decided to make a Bingo card for what I kept seeing and hearing.

mish Bingo

I’ll now decode what some of the most important phrases mean—and how they relate to Hopkins.

  • “We review your application within the context of your high school” the admissions committee will receive information about your high school: what classes are offered, how you are graded, and the general environment of your school. If your school only offers one AP class, the fact that you only took one—and not five—won’t be held against you.
  • “There are TONS of ways to get involved in research!” This is the most true at Hopkins. Hopkins is the world’s first research university, and there are several monetary grants to create your own research project, even as an incoming freshman (check out the Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship). An oft-quoted fact about Hopkins is that there are more research-assistant positions than students demand. The Hopkins network of schools and research centers stationed throughout the city is a huge advantage in this respect. I know fellow freshman already assisting at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • “Make sure you go to your professor’s office hours” This is crucial once you enter your freshman year. Office hours are when you can ask questions to your professor about your problem sets, the readings, ask about their research, or just chat. Especially when you are in an introductory lecture of 200 people (though the average class at Hopkins is about 25 students, there are always a few large lecture classes), this is a great time to get to know your professor on a personal level.
  • “We have a holistic approach to admissions” This is the most commonly said sentence at any college admissions information session. There is no magic combination of test scores, GPA, essay topic, and extracurriculars that will get you admitted to a certain school.

Though seemingly random, the admissions process is deliberate. I firmly believe that applicants will attend the college that best fits them. For me, I was really not expecting to be admitted to Hopkins, but I am a Blue Jay and I absolutely adore it. My high school friends at other colleges love where they are attending as well. My best advice for the admissions cycle is to trust the process. In my experience, it works out for everyone.


Tiny baby junior year Caroline on her first visit to Hopkins.