Hopkins over-enrolled the Class of 2016 by around 115 students, spiking the total number of enrolled students to over 1,300. For the third year in a row, the incoming freshman class has given the admissions office their highest yield of accepted offers.
As a result of the over-enrollment, various Hopkins departments and officials launched initiatives over the summer to prepare for the large incoming class.
While the admissions office hopes to accurately estimate enrollment numbers, the process is complex, taking numerous factors into account, ranging from application and enrollment trends to the current economic climate, as well as other elements.
“Often times, as is the case for our Class of 2016, a larger incoming class is an indication that we are attracting more prospective students who have a true interest in joining our campus community – a great thing from both an admissions and university-wide standpoint,” said David Phillips, Vice Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid, and Sarah Steinberg, the Vice Provost for Student Affairs,wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
In addition to Hopkins’ academic reputation, Phillips and Steinberg attribute the increase in enrollment numbers to the admissions office’s efforts to increase awareness about Hopkins on high school campuses.
“We believe that some of the efforts we’ve stepped up in recent years – including our social media presence and increased travel for our counselors – have resulted in more high school counselors and students learning more about the university and realizing the value in a Johns Hopkins education, for all students in all disciplines,” Philips and Steinberg wrote.
Furthermore, programs such as the Spring Open House and Overnight Program (SOHOP), provide admitted students with a better feel for life at Hopkins.
As a result of the over-enrollment, the admissions office worked in conjunction with other offices, such as the Housing and Dining Service, across campus to ensure that the high quality of life on campus was not altered for the incoming students.
“Collaborations have been underway since last spring and we feel confident that we’re ready to provide the expected outstanding educational experience for all of our undergraduates, including our new freshmen,” Philips and Steinberg wrote.
The University will continue to assess the financial cost of the over-enrollment efforts throughout the year.
“While these efforts incurred a financial cost, we worked diligently to meet these needs in a fiscally responsible manner,” Philips and Steinberg wrote. “Regarding the Hopkins Inn, it’s too soon to answer as we are in the process of completing our financial analysis.”
To keep class sizes small, the academic departments and advising offices added new seminar classes and additional sections to existing classes.
While the housing front offered challenges, Hopkins expanded the housing options by transforming large double rooms into triple rooms in some of the freshman dormitories, as well as renting the Hopkins Inn, a historic bed and breakfast hotel located on St. Paul Street, for the year.
“As far as the residential experience goes, both Housing and Dining Services and Residential Life have done everything possible to create an experience that minimized the impact of the large class on individual freshmen,” Tracey Angel, the Director of Housing and Conference Services, wrote in an email to the News-Letter.
“Leasing the Hopkins Inn, minimizing the number of triples and getting special permission from the city to utilize larger doubles in Wolman and McCoy to create those triples that were needed, are all examples of this,” Angel wrote.
Hopkins leased the Hopkins Inn, which houses 60 freshmen students and two resident assistants, for the entire year. Hopkins added dorm furniture in the rooms and created a laundry room and a common kitchen area. Furthermore, Housing and Dining Services organized cable TV and upgraded the internet access. As with other dorms, an Allied Barton guard is on duty in the lobby.
“The experience is very similar to our other residential areas on campus,” Shelly Fickau, the Director of Residential Life, said. “There are weekly programs, an exercise room, game room and common spaces.” The residents have larger rooms than their peers in standard dormitories.
Michelle Pargament, a freshman living in the Hopkins Inn, appreciates the Inn’s small size.
“I know pretty much everyone in the dorm. It’s like a little family,” Pargament wrote in an e-mail.
While the Hopkins Inn is not as centrally located as the AMRs, many Hopkins Inn residents do not feel isolated from their peers.
“The walk to campus is a little far, but nothing ridiculous, and it’s not hard at all to meet people from other dorms,” Emily Nordquist, a Hopkins Inn resident, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.