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Last updated July 5, 2023

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How to Write the Johns Hopkins Supplemental Essay

Key Takeaway

Applying to Johns Hopkins requires more than just good grades; your essay should reflect alignment with the school's values. Be specific about your experiences and how they've shaped your aspirations within the JHU environment.

Applying to Johns Hopkins? You and almost 40,000 other people!

To stand out, your supplemental essay will have to knock it out of the park.

In this post, we’ll walk through the prompt and talk about strategies for answering it.

Let’s start by breaking down each part of the prompt.

Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. (300-400 words)

Whew. That’s a long prompt, so we should start by walking through what it’s actually asking you to do.

At its core, the prompt asks you to “share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you…and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins.” Got it? Good.

With that central question in mind, the prompt gives us a few hints about what you can talk about: your interests, background, identity, or community.

Can you write about something that’s not on that list? Of course! Those suggestions are just good places to start.

Now on to the very first sentence (we’re going out of order, I know). It’s at the beginning only to give you context.

It tells you that JHU values exploration, discovery, varying perspectives, developing interests, and pursuing new experiences. With that information in mind, your answer should speak to how you personally align with those ideals.

So, with all that said, how do you actually answer the prompt?

Start by thinking about your application narrative. What does your personal statement say about you? Your activities? Transcript?

Now think about what’s missing. What haven’t you said yet? Are there any parts of your background, identity, or experiences that need more explanation? Anything you want to drive home by emphasizing again?

And finally, of what’s missing or what needs more representation, how can you connect to those core values that JHU lays out at the beginning of the prompt? In what ways can you connect it to the experience you want to get at Johns Hopkins?

Whatever your answer is, make sure to be specific about your experiences and about the connections to Johns Hopkins. Don’t be afraid to include references to JHU opportunities and resources, too.


This prompt is pretty open-ended, but don’t let that intimidate you. See it as an opportunity to share whatever you haven’t yet had the opportunity to share or to emphasize what needs to be emphasized.

Just remember to keep those JHU values and resources in mind.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Johns Hopkins Common Data Set post for more insights into the JHU admissions process.

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