Johns Hopkins University is a top private college located in Baltimore, Maryland and was founded in 1876. Johns Hopkins has two undergraduate divisions: the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering. JHU is highly regarded in college rankings and was ranked #10 in National Universities this year. Johns Hopkins is known for its rigorous academics, especially with regard to medicine and pre-med, as well as its successful men's lacrosse team.
As one of the top colleges in the world, Johns Hopkins is very difficult to get into. In 2018, Johns Hopkins accepted only 8.4% of its Regular Decision (RD) applicants. JHU received over 27,000 applications for the class of 2022.
In order to get your best shot of acceptance to Johns Hopkins, your essays must make you stand out. Below are some accepted Common App essays and supplements that hopefully can serve as college essay examples to help you learn, be inspired, and see what worked for Johns Hopkins.
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Johns Hopkins University Essays
Common App Essays ()
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
"If I'll have to be around the old people, I'm not working there. I just don't feel comfortable around them. I mean, I can't even understand what they're saying half the time!"
Dismissively, I rejected my father's nagging proposal that I apply for a summer job at a local long-term care center, arguing that I'd lose my patience much too quickly in attempting to interact with elderly residents. However, with my father being, well, my father, I reluctantly filled out a job application, reluctantly attended an interview, and, 5 days later, reluctantly commuted to an orientation for my position as a 'resident partner'. Although I initially viewed the job as a prison sentence which I had been condemned to serve for 8 hours per day, the care center would eventually come to serve as a clarion call, challenging each and every preconceived notion I held in regards to a globally misunderstood population, and by extension facilitate the development of a more socially conscious personal character.
From the moment I stepped foot in the care center that would soon become a home-away-from-home for the length of my summer, the entirety of my perspective concerning senior citizens was entirely turned upon its head. These elderly persons were nothing near the stereotypical portrayals of the generational group which I had taken at face value and had accepted to be unalterably true; these individuals appeared to be exactly that: individuals. These individuals laughed as if no-one were watching, grinning from ear to ear. These individuals wore expressions of abandonment, fighting against tears of sorrow. These individuals engaged in enthusiastic conversation with acquaintances, recounting the latest achievement of a granddaughter. These individuals engaged in solitary introspection, attempting (albeit unsuccessfully) to piece together distant memories of a late wife. Where I had inserted my simplistic view of senior citizens as a static monolith, these individuals showcased a mosaic of human emotion, destroying the ideological box I had structured around their collective identity.
Nonetheless, while the past notions which I had nurtured were quickly deprived of their vitality as a direct consequence of the myriad behaviors exhibited by the care center's residents, I developed a more comprehensive and impactful understanding of the elderly population through my interactions with residents suffering from neural afflictions, namely a frail, endearing woman named Constance. Resultant of the frequency with which Constance and her wheelchair seemed to bump into me, it happened that a friendship blossomed between she and I. Revealing to me one afternoon that she had endured a stroke decades ago, Constance passively lamented the implications of such an experience, among which existed a speech impediment compromising the ease with which she could engage in conversation. For some odd reason or another, this confession served as a catalyst, utterly decimating any remnant of my elementary view in regards to this social demographic. Perhaps owing to the intimate nature of such a statement, or perhaps owing to the period of introspection such a statement encouraged within me, Constance's words facilitated a realization of the depth of the innumerably varied experiences undergone by senior citizens. Not only did Constance demonstrate to me the dynamic, rounded character of elderly individuals; Constance unwittingly offered me a glimpse into the unfortunate reality that neural diseases are deeply misunderstood, resulting in the reduction of afflicted persons to the definition and symptoms of their disease. Armed with a newfound awareness of the subtle dehumanization suffered by those found in circumstances mirroring Constance's, my interest in the function and coordination of the brain and its activity was magnified. Moreover, my tentative decision to pursue a career in neurology—in order to reduce the marginalization of elderly individuals by means of amplifying general knowledge concerning neurological diseases—was solidified.
Regardless of whether this aspiration comes to pass, or I head down a different path, it will remain true that I left my summer job with so much more than a paycheck.
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. (250-650 words)
I remove the latex gloves from my hands. I oscillate between looking at the rats enclosed in the acoustic startle chambers to my right, and my team project advisor to my left. A silver lab table, cluttered with syringes, vials, and countless notes, separates me and him. A lab rat’s cage sits at the center like a cornucopia. I begin to sit on a cold lab stool, and upon confirming that the Startle Reflex software is indeed running, I settle into my seat. Though the atmosphere smells faintly of urine, I am comfortable.
These lazy afternoons collecting data defined my experience at the Governor’s School in the Sciences. Our team would spend hours with the acoustic startle chambers, startling rats in the presence of anxiogenic pheromones from other rodent urine in order to evaluate their altered behavioral responses — freezing, excessive grooming, urination, that sort of thing. Turns out, scaring rats enough to pee their pants takes a long time.
My team project advisor, [James], made these long hours, not only bearable, but pivotal in my understanding of the applied sciences. [James] was the youngest counselor at GSS and was definitely the easiest to talk to. He would always entertain me and my peers with tales of his college club’s calls for divestment in the fossil fuel industry. He relayed to us an inspiring tale: one day, while completing some organic chemistry assignment, [James] felt the commanding urge to start a protest. Against the backdrop of the divisive presidential election of 2016, [James] felt increasingly frustrated by a general feeling of listlessness amid a rapidly transforming world. He eventually found environmental activism, drawing on his scientific background, as a vehicle to make tangible change in the global landscape. And while [James]’s angsty musings were easy to tease, always ornamented with quintessential frat-boy idiosyncrasies, like the overuse of the words “bro” and “yo,” they forced me to consider my own passions in the context of scientific inquiry. [James], motivated by the pregnant intersection between environmental science and civic engagement, oriented my own career goals in a very profound way.
Prior to GSS, I had always found myself trying to mediate between my interests in public policy and science, from obsessively reading about America’s diplomatic relations to Middle East, to madly teaching myself about the neuroscientific underpinnings of behavior. [James]’s endeavors, his involvement in activism while studying science, revealed an entire sphere between two worlds where my own passions in both could finally coincide. The fruitful conversations I had with [James] demanded that I consider the pragmatic applications of the research we were doing, engaging with the real world in the same manner he had.
Researching chemical signaling in rodents was an exploration of the social transmission of fear in humans — a study with numerous political applications, especially in today’s age of demagogic political rhetoric. Indeed, a rat gaining awareness of a fearful situation is analogous to a human’s awareness of a fearful situation; hysteria in large groups has often lent to social chaos, falling victim to the same conspecific negotiations as in our rodent study. Application of our study in a political context made me realize that my interests are interwoven, though kaleidoscopic.
At GSS, whether it be in the lectures I listened to or the labs I did, my professors borrowed ideas from all fields alike; political implications arising in neuroscientific research, cultural anthropology in human evolution — even philosophical inquiries appeared in courses on special relativity. I loved every academic excursion onto these intellectual, peripheral avenues, as they always contextualized science in a broader sense. This interdisciplinary way of thinking is where I have found my passions to reside, inspired by [James]’s ruminations on activism amid a place of such intellectual vitality; I know this is, not only where complex solutions to the world's problems reside, but where my future does too.
Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. (250-650 words)
I close my eyes and find myself within a forest of lights.
The diamond leaves of gnarled oak trees throw spectrums of color onto mounds of frosty snow that gleam melancholily under the moonlight. The leaves chime as wind violently rustles them in a haunting melody. I splinter a leaf off its branch and inspect the shard of my illusion, eyes dancing with amusement. I breathe a cloud into the nipping air and halfconsciously crunch through a path of snow as it languorously carves its way through the forest. I walk to the sound of clinking, broken gems as they scratch my ankles, and wonder what circuitry must be alight in my wits to create this particular fantasy. I stumble along in hope of unravelling this enigma, my mind guiding me on its own inclination.
The path opens up at last, and I approach a cabin shrouded by thick fog. The door opens for me and I wonder at the foreboding as I sit in a cherrywood chair and sip a sparkling chartreuse drink. My feet swing idly as I listen to the forest’s indiscernible whispers, wondering whether my mind would ever allow me to unstitch its knots. As I dwell in my worries, a cold hand reaches from behind me and taps my shoulder.
I jerk away, fear bubbling in my amygdala as I look into the nonexistent eyes of my intruding visitor.
The moon illuminates a blob of pink squish as it draws back slowly, points its spindly hands towards my drink and asks: “Could I have some of that?” I wordlessly offer the eerie thing some Mountain Dew. I watch as it eagerly chugs the drink, and think, Ah. My mind is definitely acting strangely today.
The blob wipes its invisible mouth with its nonexistent sleeve. I ask: “What are you?”
It shakes its head, invigorated with soda. “S’pose it’s natural not to recognize me.” The thing smiles ominously and declares itself as my brain. I stare mutely at the absurd being. I wonder at how I will be able to paint it in my waking state.
The blob tells me to stop looking at it so suspiciously. “I can prove it,” It says. I tell it, please, go ahead.
Suddenly we are back in the glowing forest. “Diamonds? Pah!” The blob dismisses them. Instantly, the leaves turn solid gold, the snow melts, and the wintry world is thrown into a blistering summer.
The blob laughs heartlessly. “Your cortex is under my control,” it says smugly.
I blink under the sudden intensity and acknowledge its greatness, humbled by its supremacy. “I heard you had a question for me?” It taps its invisible ears knowingly. This is perfect, I think. Here I was all this time wandering through my mind, searching for the answer, when now I could ask my brain for it directly. The blob wriggles its invisible brows as it waits.
I open my mouth and ask it my most crucial question.
It smiles that wicked smile. It laughs that sinful laugh. Then that insufferable blob wakes me up.
As I sit up in the dark and rub my bleary eyes, I am vaguely aware of the deepset unfulfillment settling itself inside me. I yawn and plop back into bed, the soft red glow of my alarm clock indicating that it is still before midnight. I cover myself with my blanket, and drift back into sleep to continue my search.
Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience. (300-400 words)
There is something intimate, almost profound, in mirroring the movements of about 14 people around you. From paralleling the idiosyncrasies of a vibraphone player’s smile to the nuances of a marimba player’s wrist movements, it is difficult to achieve total nonverbal communication in a band’s front ensemble. The result, however, is an infinitely rewarding one; the visual mosaic we design — whether inside the confines of a gymnasium floor or on an expansive stretch of turf on a football field — is akin to the aural one we create as well. This tapestry, while ostensibly uniform, is woven with the gradations of every player’s physical form, their quirks quickly adopted by the whole ensemble.
Indeed, pantomiming and performing become one in the same in the stationary percussive marching arts. This mimicry demands a sacred conviction that every player will commit to maintaining the mosaic that we’ve worked so hard to build. The tense moment when each player waves his or her mallets above the board permits no hesitation; there is no room to confirm the camaraderie between players before striking the keys. We are forced to trust that everything will fall into place, and the tapestry will unfold as it should to captivate our audience.
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.
Supplemental Essays ()
Successful students at Johns Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience.
"Runners take your marks, get set, collaborate?"
When one attempts to characterize the sport of cross-country, the term 'teammates' rarely comes to mind. More commonly, the activity is associated with words such as 'champion' or 'competitor', both singular nouns. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine the extent of my surprise when, stepping into my first-ever cross-country practice as a lanky ninth-grader, I witnessed the sense of camaraderie present among the more established members of the team. Despite my acknowledgement of these runners as teammates, I held my opposing views of cross-country and of collaboration at the poles of my mind, convinced that the two were terminally incompatible.
Stubbornly clinging to this black-and-white philosophy, I carried it with me throughout the season's inaugural meet, unaware of the burden that such a dichotomous perspective created. Instead of tuning into the motivated cheering of coaches, I tuned into the laborious pumping of my arms, resultant of the intensity of the race. Opposed to focusing on the changes in pace effected by my teammates, I chose to focus on the chafing around my ankles, resultant of an ill-fitting pair of racing spikes. Intent of ensuring my own success, I willfully ignored the reality that, although my teammates were assuming the role of rivals, my teammates were simultaneously assuming the role of collaborators, purposefully striving to ensure the success of one another. Consequently, the competing teams engaging in cooperative conduct similarly happened to be the teams with the greatest overall achievement at that first meet.
While witnessing the success of collaborative teams certainly set into motion a transformation of my polarized perspective in regards to cross-country, the true catalytic factor materialized itself as the interactions carried out between my teammates and I. As the season progressed, and as I gradually gained awareness of the team's nuanced character, I noticed that the strengths of one teammate served to supplement the weaknesses of another. Where one teammate may have fallen short on rhythm near the conclusion of a race, for example, another teammate would provide a blazing final 'kick'. Equipped with a transformative understanding of team dynamics, I ultimately came to realize that cooperative achievement arises not from compromise, but rather from the constructive amalgamation of distinctive individual qualities.
As I toe the starting line of an undefined future, I will undoubtedly carry these indelible lessons with me throughout the entirety of life's most daunting race.
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