After months of weighing the merits of anxious applicants, April is the month for colleges to feel what it’s like to nervously hope for a “yes.”
In April, Johns Hopkins sent out acceptance letters to 3,032 applicants, or 20.5 percent of all those who applied — its lowest-ever acceptance rate. But come fall 2011, most of those students won’t end up strolling across Decker Quad.
Hopkins’ yield — the number of accepted students who end up enrolling — has traditionally been solidly, well, average. In 2009, it was 31 percent, putting it in the neighborhood of Northwestern, Tufts, and other schools that are often considered to be second-choice options for those who’d really like to end up in the Ivy League. (Harvard’s yield that year was 77 percent.)
This year, Hopkins seems to be sparing no expense when it comes to wooing accepted students (and their parents). And no wonder. In order to end up with an incoming freshman class of 1245 — the University’s goal, according to the admissions office — Hopkins will have to convince 41 percent of its acceptees that they really, really want to be Blue Jays. (The 518 early decision acceptances, who have already agreed to enroll, make this a little less daunting.) That means making the University look brighter, shinier, and generally more desirable to prospective students than ever before.
To aid in the wooing, the university launched the Spring Open House and Overnight Program (SOHOP), an elaborately choreographed series of events that seems intended to convince prospective students that life at Hopkins is chock full of a capella concerts, outdoor movies, and “video game jams.” And for the first time, the first big overnight program for admitted students was held at the same time as Hopkins’ Spring Fair, possibly the only time the student body can be counted on to cut loose en masse.
Presumably any student Hopkins admitted should be smart enough to realize that not every weekend will feature fried food and free concerts on the quad; still, by aggressively presenting the school as a hub of spontaneous social activity instead of the library-centric stress fest it more honestly resembles, the school might be setting itself up to have higher yields, but more dissatisfied freshmen.