Posts Tagged ‘college admissions panel’

Read All About It: Johns Hopkins University Blogs It All

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Does anything else provide such instant access to college life like the college blog? Plenty of colleges and universities are seeing the potential (remember our 101 College Blogs to Put You in the College Mood article?) but My College Guide is pretty sure that no has yet handled it quite like Johns Hopkins University. We got connected to Daniel Creasy, Associate Director, at Johns Hopkins University to get the whole story!

Johns Hopkins University is completely immersed in social media: Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, and PLENTY of blogs!

seanfraga / Sean Fraga

How did this large scale blog community begin?
I began working for the Hopkins Undergraduate Admissions Office in August 2003, and from the onset Hopkins Interactive was a pet project of mine. My Dean allowed me a lot of leeway in creating the site and recruiting the students. After a year of research, I spent much of the second year recruiting the first bloggers and working collaboratively with them to design the site. Finally in December 2005 we launched Hopkins Interactive and have been expanding the endeavor every since.

How do Johns Hopkins U students get involved?
Members of the Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB), the students behind Hopkins Interactive, are selected from a pool of applicants at the start of every academic year. The application is made available late in the summer and is advertised mainly to newly enrolling freshmen, as the upperclassmen on the board are typically returning members. We interview each applicant during the week of new student orientation and make our decisions by the beginning of classes. Traditionally, we select 6-8 new members each year, and the overall group size ranges from 20-23 students.

How do you choose your student bloggers?  What do you look for?
In the selection process we try to make a balanced group, so we look for diversity of background and talents, creativity in their writing abilities (sample blogs are part of the application), personality, and dedication to the promotion of Hopkins. Since the board does more than just blog, creativity, personality, and an innovative mindset are factors more than just how one writes. Last year we had about 50 applications.

Johns Hopkins University lets you really see inside: student blogger style!

Wysz / Michael Wyszomierski

What can a prospective student take away from these blogs that they couldn’t get otherwise?
Before launching Hopkins Interactive, I had a number of conversations with my colleagues and current students about what our goals should be in providing blogs and more significantly providing prospective students direct, uncensored access to current students. There are a lot of misconceptions about Johns Hopkins as an undergraduate institution and some that truly frustrate current students. Presenting “the real Hopkins” through the blogs and other social media endeavors has allowed us to dispel many of those myths and connect a new group of prospective students to the university.

Any particular blogs college bound students should make it a point to look at to get a better feel for Johns Hopkins University?
Expanding from just offering an Admissions blog and a number of current student blogs, to now offering blogs written by alumni, parents, faculty, and staff has really made me proud. I know of very few other University blog programs as extensive as Hopkins. I also am impressed about how we have expanded to so many other social media programs, providing prospective students with a variety of ways to connect with our current students.

Johns Hopkins University tells it like it is.


Spill it!  Do you have a favorite?
In my opinion the great success of Hopkins Interactive has to be our Academics Blog. I know of no other University that has such a site. Pretty simple, the Academic Blog contains student-written entries about every academic major and minor offered at Hopkins. These blogs provide an up-close look at the experiences that real students have had at Johns Hopkins. Within the blogs, one will read about students who have changed or added majors, taken classes completely unrelated to their major, fulfilled multiple majors and minors, and otherwise explored their academic curiosities while at Hopkins.

I also often reference our Guest Blog as one of our other great successes. The mission of the Guest Blog is to feature the story of a different Johns Hopkins undergraduate each week. In over four years we have had nearly 180 entries written by approximately 150 different students.

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your College Interview

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The key to a great college interview?  Making sure that you come across as a bright, talented, and accomplished student worthy of attending your college of choice!  If that sounds just slightly overwhelming – that’s where we come in!  Here are tips to help you shine during your college interview!

rustman/Russ Morris

Practice makes Perfect! You might want to have some idea of what you’ll say – without sounding too rehearsed!  Go over potential questions and answers with a parent or friend. Think about your response before rushing in and rambling out an answer – your interviewer will appreciate it! Common questions include:

Why do you want to go to our school?
What do you hope to get out of your college experience?
What is your biggest high school accomplishment?
What are your interests and hobbies?
Which five famous people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party?  Why?

Oops. Did you receive poor grades during sophomore year because you were dealing with major life events like a serious illness or parents’ divorce?  This is the perfect opportunity to explain why your test scores or GPA aren’t as high as they might otherwise be. If any extenuating circumstances have negatively affected your high school performance, explain them! Keep it brief and professional – you don’t need to go into great detail.

Dress for Success. Most college students don’t exactly dress up for class—but you’re not there yet! Dress a cut above so that you can make an excellent first impression. You can probably skip the business suit, but for guys – you may want to break out the khakis and a button-down shirt and girls: think nice top and slacks or a skirt.  Stay away from jeans, shorts, baggy or torn pants, and anything too tight or revealing.

Phony Baloney! Students sometimes get so worked up and nervous over college admission interviews that they stick to pre-rehearsed responses to questions – and way too many “yes” and “no” type answers!  That makes for a boring interview – for both of you! It’s awesome to be prepared but the admissions officer wants to see who you are. Don’t be afraid to tell an entertaining (and true!) story that reveals your personality and interests. Just, please, don’t share anything you wouldn’t be comfortable telling your grandparents.

How about a little Q & A? Psst!  This interview isn’t just for the admissions officer! Shocking, we know.  But an interview works both ways.  Sure, your interviewer will have questions for you but it’s okay for you to have questions, too. In fact – it’s a wonderful way to show your interest in the school – and learn a little something in the process!

To be or Not to Be: The College Interview

Friday, February 19th, 2010
The College Interview


Considering ditching your college interview? DON’T!  Your grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendations tell admissions a lot about who you are – but many colleges want to know more!

The college interview process, though often optional,  is a great way for you to get your questions answered, put a face to a name, and explain any bumps in your high school record face to face.  We’ve mentioned before that students who vocalize their desire to attend a particular college increase their college admittance odds – what better way than during a college interview?  Show college admissions how much you want that letter of acceptance and it could help you get in!

Not every college or university has the staff (or the time) to conduct college interviews but for those that do (or if you happen to snag one)  – it can be a great way to get a little one on one with someone whom the college trusts, especially if you aren’t sure yet which college would suit you the best.  Some colleges ask you to hit up the campus (not a bad way to make a second campus visit), interview by phone, or, at some schools – they come to you.

Many colleges and universities (think Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Connecticut College, and Vassar College) utilize their college alumni, reaching out to students who live far from the college.  There may be just one – or a panel.

Colleges do value what these volunteers have to say so they should still be treated with the same respect you would show the admissions counselors themselves – and they can still give you the information you are looking for – and from the point of view of a student which could prove invaluable!

While colleges and universities like to say that the college interview isn’t a major deciding factor (the rates for college acceptance are roughly the same with or without the interview) – it’s still not something to be taken lightly and, if at all possible – go for it!  Standing out from the crowd (in a good way), can only help you get in!