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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the Johns Hopkins Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

Want to become a Blue Jay? The Johns Hopkins Common Data Set offers up a few ways you can get ahead. In particular, getting strong letters of recommendation and writing excellent essays will give your application a fighting chance.

Johns Hopkins University is one of the most sought-after schools in the country. Earning admission to JHU requires more than good grades and extracurricular involvement. It takes careful application strategy.

The Johns Hopkins Common Data Set can help you position yourself within JHU’s applicant pool so your application doesn’t get lost in the mix.

In this post, we go through key features of the Johns Hopkins Common Data Set and show you how to craft the best application strategy possible.

Here we go!

How Johns Hopkins Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

Johns Hopkins admissions officers are looking for applicants who can demonstrate academic prowess and extracurricular impact.

There are two fairly unique things about Johns Hopkins’s evaluation approach.

First, Johns Hopkins ranks extracurriculars as secondary to academics and essays. Since extracurricular considerations are typically very important to the admissions processes at highly-selective schools, this ranking is somewhat unusual. So is the “important” ranking for talent and personal qualities. All of these factors are still important, but if your extracurriculars aren’t ground-breaking, you may find more success at Johns Hopkins than, say, Duke, which ranks them as “very important.”

Second, Johns Hopkins places far more emphasis on volunteer and work experience than most other schools. Typically, these factors rank in the “considered” category rather than “important.” But given JHU’s mission, this emphasis isn’t surprising.

Very important Important Considered Not considered
Rigor Extracurriculars First generation Interview
Class rank Talent/ability Geographical residence Alumni/ae relation
GPA Character/personal qualities Racial/ethnic status State residency
Test scores Volunteer work   Religious affiliation
Essay Work experience   Level of applicant interest

Does Johns Hopkins track demonstrated interest?

No. Johns Hopkins doesn’t factor demonstrated interest into their application evaluations. Since demonstrated interest won’t affect your application one way or another, you’re better off engaging with JHU enough to learn what you need to about the school and then spending the rest of your time on the application itself.

Does Johns Hopkins care about standardized test scores?

Yes, test scores are very important to the Johns Hopkins admissions process. They are in the same category of importance as your grades and essays.

And you can see this importance in the percentages of enrolled first-year students who submitted their scores: 40% sent in an SAT score, and 19% submitted an ACT.

Does Johns Hopkins care about essays?

Yes, Johns Hopkins admissions officers will read all your essays and use them to assess your application. Essays are a very important part of application review because they tell Johns Hopkins admissions officers information they’d never otherwise get from your application. Your essays are an opportunity to highlight your strengths and show your admissions officers who you truly are.

What GPA do I need to get into Johns Hopkins?

There’s no way around it: students who get admitted to Johns Hopkins have strong GPAs.

In fact, the Common Data Set shows that of the admitted first-year students who reported class rank, 100% were in the top quarter of their high school graduating classes. A full 99% were in the top tenth.

Since class rank is very important in Johns Hopkins application evaluations, you should take yours into account when crafting your Johns Hopkins application strategy.

When thinking about your GPA, the JHU Common Data Set can also be helpful. As you can see in the table below, over 70% of enrolled first-year students had perfect 4.0 GPAs. Over 90% of them had a 3.75 or better.

While there does appear to be some GPA wiggle room for outstanding candidates, you should expect your unweighted GPA to be in the 3.75+ range to be a competitive JHU applicant.

GPA % of Enrolled Students
4.0 70.25
3.75-3.99 22.9
3.50-3.74 4.86
3.25-3.49 1.39
3.00-3.24 0.35
2.50-2.99 0.09
2.00-2.49 NA
1.00-1.99 0.09
Below 1.0 0.09

Johns Hopkins Acceptance Rate

With almost 40,000 applications—39,515 to be exact—Johns Hopkins is a popular institution. Of those nearly 40,000 applicants, only 2,972 were admitted.

Some quick math reveals the acceptance rate to be 7.5%. That’s less than Cornell’s 8.69% and only slightly above Darmouth’s 6.17%.

Johns Hopkins Early Decision Acceptance Rate

You can apply Early Decision to Johns Hopkins. Doing so may actually give you a small statistical leg up. According to the Common Data Set, 5,533 applicants chose to ED to Johns Hopkins. 849 of them were admitted, making for a less jaw-dropping ED acceptance rate of 15.3%.

Of course, students applying to JHU Early Decision are likely already strong applicants, so that accounts for some of the bump in the acceptance rate. But if JHU is at the top of your list and your background holds up to the evaluation criteria, an ED application might just push your application over the edge and into the admit pile.

What’s the right application option for you?

Choosing whether to apply Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision is a strategic decision you’ll have to make. Using a sound ED strategy can set your application up for success.

Most popular majors at Johns Hopkins

Getting caught up in rankings and prestige can be too easy. But searching for the best school fit also means looking at major-specific offerings. One way to get a sense of what schools excel in which fields is by looking at the most popular majors.

The Johns Hopkins Common Data Set tells us the most popular majors in their reports of where students are earning degrees. The more degrees earned in a particular field, the more popular that major is.

As you can see, the most popular majors at Johns Hopkins are a near-tie between biological and life sciences and engineering. If you know anything about JHU or the JHU School of Medicine, these rankings won’t shock you.

Other popular majors are those in the social sciences, computer science, and health professions.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Biological/life sciences 24.2
Engineering 21.4
Social sciences 15.2
Computer and information sciences 9.5
Health professions and related programs 7.7
Interdisciplinary studies 6.1
Mathematics and statistics 4.3
Psychology 3
English 2.3
Physical sciences 2.2

If you want to study something related to medicine or engineering, Johns Hopkins is a great place to start your search. Just remember that when you apply to study a more popular major, you’ll also likely face more competition getting in.

What should you do with all this information?

As one of the top schools in the country, you’ve probably considered Johns Hopkins University, especially if you’re interested in a health profession or engineering.

But their 7.5% acceptance rate means that your application has to stand out if you want to be accepted. So how do you make yours stand out?

As long as your academic statistics line up with JHU’s averages, then it’s helpful to focus on the evaluation criteria we covered at the beginning of this post.

Since recommendations rank even higher than your extracurriculars, you'll want to be sure to get good letters of recommendation. And centering your application essays around your personal narrative—one full of talent, character, community involvement, and academic ability—can bring your story to life for your admissions officers. We call this a strengths-based approach to college essays, and it’s the philosophy at the core of the Essay Academy.

If you’re ready to get started on your Johns Hopkins application, we've got advice for writing the Johns Hopkins essays, too.



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