Impressions Of
Johns Hopkins University

Academic Experience

Female Writing Seminars Major C/O 2018

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
In my major it wasn’t super competitive, but it was a team environment. Everything I submit has my name on it and everyone critiques it, so there is a camaraderie there because we have to present everything to our peers. For all my friends who did not have a humanities major, it was an extremely competitive environment and was very different from the environment I was in.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think they did an especially good job of recruiting talented people. My adviser is actually a knight and was the poet laureate of England before he came to teach at Hopkins. You feel like you’re learning from the best, which is really cool.

Female Undeclared Major C/O 2021

How was transitioning academically as a first-generation student? Were there any systems in place to help you adjust?
There was a program called Hop-In that was helpful because they offered tutoring and had a summer program where we got to take a course so we could understand the pace of the school. They also helped us get our textbooks and papers and things like that.

How accessible have your professors been?
Freshman year they were more accessible. I think as your schedule changes and you have more afternoon classes, it can be difficult because most office hours are in the afternoon. It depends on the teacher, and if they will meet with you outside of office hours, [I’d say about half will try to meet with you].

Male International Studies and Public Health Studies Double Major C/O 2021

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
It differs slightly from semester to semester. Typically, I do take some STEM classes, mainly chemistry, biology, and the accompanying labs. Because I’m an International Studies major, I have to take a language, so I take Arabic, and I also have to take some History and Economics courses. For Public Health Studies, I have to take classes like Intro to Public Health, Research Methods in Public Health, and stuff like that. Typically, I will begin classes at 9AM and end around 4PM, so I have a pretty busy day. In the evening it’s filled up with meetings or studying or extracurricular activities.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
From my experience, the Hopkins learning environment has been very collaborative. It’s competitive, but I don’t feel that cutthroat competitiveness that this school is known for. Of course, there are times when it’s very hard, but, for the most part, I can count on my friends if I need help with something.

Social Opportunities

Female Psychological Brain Sciences Major C/O 2020

How happy were you with the nightlife options at Hopkins?
I would hope for more people to be interested in hanging out with different groups and wish more people wouldn’t be so busy with work. I wish nightlife was more of a thing here.

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Hopkins?
The black fraternities throw parties, and those are fun. There’s a lot of places in Baltimore we go to on the weekends. I like to go out to eat or the local movie theatres but aren’t as expensive as the mainstream movies.

Female Writing Seminars Major C/O 2018

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Sorority life is kind of big here. [About 26% of undergraduates participate in Greek life.] It seems like if you want to go out and socialize, you’re in a sorority or fraternity or at least on a sports team. There’s the joke of the “Hopkins 500” because only 500 people like to go out here. It makes the group of people who like to go out on the weekends very small.

What have been some of your favorite times at Hopkins?
My sorority did some activities around Baltimore that were really fun. We did a booze cruise thing down in Fells Point on the water. We have a big thing that everybody comes out for called Spring Fair. It’s a really academic environment, so some people really save up all their energy for that weekend.

Male International Studies and Public Health Studies Double Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Johns Hopkins?
When I was a freshman, I would go out with friends to frat parties, but I stopped doing that now because that’s not really something I enjoy that much. There are various events in the Inner Harbor that one can go to on the weekends. If my friends and I don’t go out on a weekend night, we usually stay in and watch a movie and eat some food.

What have been your favorite times at Hopkins?
The Lighting of the Quads or Spring Fair. Lighting of the Quads is in December. All the students gather on Gilman Quad, and the president says a few words about the semester and being part of the Hopkins community, and there’s a firework show where people drink hot chocolate. Spring Fair happens in April and is open to all the Baltimore community. There are lots of food vendors and shows that happen. It’s a nice, lively time and the whole atmosphere of academic stress dissipates.

Campus Culture

Female Psychological Brain Sciences Major C/O 2020

How did you meet your closest friends?
I did a program before I got there, targeting first-generation minorities coming into school. Those people are now super close, there was a group of us about 40. I’ve lived with at least one every single year. I’m also close with the people on the dance team.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think in the classroom and semi-formal settings they do fine. I think people bond over pain here, always feeling tired because of the work and assignments. For the most part everyone is chill with everyone. [In the class of 2021 about 29% of students are Caucasian, and 30% are Asian.]

Female Writing Seminars Major C/O 2018

How was blending in as a transfer student?
It was pretty easy. I don’t know how much I could apply my experience to a general population because I knew a few people going in who really looked out for me. I think that if I didn’t know people here, I would’ve been absorbed pretty well.

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them through my sorority and through my classes. People here are so academically focused that they get to know people in their classes.

 

Female Undeclared Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the student body?
I think that the student body reflects the people in charge of the campus in that some are nice and some are prejudicial. The minoritized groups on campus don’t necessarily speak out about it all the time because from where we come from, we’re used to certain things like that. [See “Reflecting on the history of black students at Hopkins.”]

How was transitioning to a large university?
It was fine because I hang out with a very similar group of people [as I did in high school]. I still make new friends, but the type of group of friends I have is very similar. It was different in terms of realizing how different people are. From state to state, and even different parts of states, people act and talk differently, so that was interesting.

Baltimore, MD

Pros of

  • “The Charm City Circulator, which is a free bus system, has a stop at Hopkins campus. It takes you all the way down to the Inner Harbor.”
  • “You get a taste of an urban campus, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s very manageable.”
  • “There are no lower-cost food areas around campus like Wal-Mart, so you end up spending a lot on groceries.”

Cons of

  • “When you arrive on campus people talk about the ‘Hopkins Bubble’ where people stay on campus without leaving.”
  • “I’m used to New York and New Jersey where things close a lot later, and Baltimore isn’t like that where things are open all the time.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Major C/O 2018

What is something you wish you knew about Hopkins before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that there are a lot of opportunities that you can explore. It’s a great school with a lot of opportunities. People will try to put you in a box and tell you about a formula of things you have to do, like research, leadership positions in clubs, etc. If you aren’t careful, you can have a really limited undergraduate experience. There are a lot of things I wish I had known about earlier that I wouldn’t be able to pursue. So, keeping an open mind and making time to explore different things.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If they’re religious go to the Interfaith Center.

Female Cognitive Science and Film and Media Double Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Hopkins before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew that it was okay to ask for help from professors about anything. I feel that I can do that now as a junior, but I could have done that earlier. I could go to the head of the Computer Science department and ask if I can take a certain class. The worst thing she says is no.

What is something a prospective student interested in film may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
Just start making stuff. Starting writing and producing your own videos and putting them on YouTube. It’s a really small major, so everyone gets along and has to work on each other’s projects. It’s important just to make stuff with your friends, it doesn’t have to be good. Don’t worry about making stuff that’s good your first year.

Female Medicine, Science, and the Humanities Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective Black student may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
There is a community out there for you. The Black community has done a good job of making everyone feel like they belong at Hopkins. I feel that some of us have Imposter Syndrome a little bit and that we didn’t deserve our spot there. So, I’d make sure that they know that the Black community at Hopkins is welcoming and that this can be a home for you.

What is something a prospective LGBT student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
I think it’s important to note that Hopkins has an entire office dedicated to LGBTQ+ students and they provide a lot of resources. Also, Hopkins has a very inclusive student body, especially for students who were out in high school. I’ve never felt ostracized or anything about my sexuality.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Johns Hopkins University

To Attend

  • “The [brand name] of Johns Hopkins.”
  • “Because it’s not a party school you get more of a relaxed social environment. You get to know everybody here if you choose to join.”
  • “If you’re a competitive person and thrive off of competition, this is a fantastic school to go to.”
  • “If you’re really, really interested in research and want access to research as an undergraduate.”
  • “If you have broad interests and want space to do everything, there is a lot of space to do that because there is no core curriculum. There’s a lot of space to do double majors or double minors. I think that’s one of the best things about the Hopkins curriculum.”

To Not Attend

  • “It’s a really old campus. There are not a lot of new features or amenities on campus.”
  • “If you’re going to be pre-med because the grade deflation will hurt your GPA.”
  • “They force you off of campus your third year, so if you don’t think you will be able to live off campus after your third year, then don’t come.”
  • “If you like to go out and have a wild time, don’t come here. It’s just not going to work out.”
Notice: Johns Hopkins University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Johns Hopkins University.

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