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Johns Hopkins UniversityArts and Sciences Magazine

Freshman Enroll in Record Numbers

Class of 2013

 

In late August, Johns Hopkins welcomed its largest ever freshman class: 1,350 students in the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering.

The size of the class—some 115 students more than expected—surprised administrators, who had anticipated that more students than usual would decline enrollment offers due to the nation's economic downturn.

Hopkins' peers made the same assumption: A survey earlier this year by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities reported that a third of American private colleges expected freshman enrollment to decline more than 5 percent in 2009-2010. But Hopkins' appeal as a place where motivated students come for a rigorous academic experience likely helped blow such predictions out of the water.

"These students have big plans for life after college, and they realize what a competitive employment landscape is out there," says John Latting, dean of undergraduate admissions. "This is all part of the new narrative for how people are looking at college now. The economy is pulling us in this direction."

While Hopkins' popularity is certainly good news, the over-enrollment presented various logistical challenges and led to a hectic summer for administrators, who scrambled to find housing for all the extra students and worked with faculty members to ensure that students would have the academic experience that drew them to Hopkins.

The university fully leased the Hopkins Inn, a bed-and-breakfast on St. Paul Street, and reopened Rogers House, a student apartment building that had been closed for renovations. Some triple rooms were created in existing residence halls, and the university offered assistance to upperclassmen wishing to move off campus.

Academic departments and programs added sections of particularly popular courses, including introductory chemistry and calculus, and introduced some entirely new courses, led by both faculty members and graduate students (including the Dean's Prize Freshman Seminars).

Move-in days on the Homewood campus, though hot and humid (par for the course for August in Baltimore), went smoothly, as did registration for fall classes and the start of the semester. Administrators are already thinking about next year's incoming class--amid concern nationally that economic uncertainty may lead to two more years of difficult-to-predict college admissions seasons. And they're looking ahead to other implications of this year's large incoming class—like where to house them all as sophomores.

"But we have time to plan for that," Latting says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the Numbers

 

Total freshman enrollment: 1,350

Freshman applications: 16,124

Early Decision admits: 504

Mean SAT I combined score: 1395

Mean unweighted GPA: 3.68

Baltimore Scholars: 14