How to Get Into Johns Hopkins University: Strategies and Essays That Worked


Part 1: Introduction 

If your child excels in high school, particularly in the sciences or economics, they might have Johns Hopkins University on their radar. The university is the alma mater of world-renowned scientists, businesspeople, and even a former U.S. president, and it should be considered by any high-performing student.

Johns Hopkins is probably most famous for its elite premed education. The university’s steadfast dedication to health dates back to the institution’s founding; Johns Hopkins University’s eponymous founder was a philanthropist passionate about improving public health and public education. Each year, Johns Hopkins students are accepted to medical school at a far higher rate than the national average—premed graduates today enjoy an 80 percent med school acceptance rate.

While Johns Hopkins is renowned for its reputation in medicine, its other programs should not go overlooked. The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences houses one of the nation’s earliest creative writing programs and its French department was named a “Center of Excellence” by France itself. Alumni of the Whiting School of Engineering often go on to work at companies like Amazon, Google, or Accenture, or receive prestigious fellowships like Fulbrights. Students with an entrepreneurial spirit benefit from Johns Hopkins’ FastForward U program, which provides up to $30,000 in funding to students working on their own startup.

On that note, if a Johns Hopkins alum says that they are working on a startup, they should be taken seriously. In 2014, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures was founded to help translate research done within the Johns Hopkins’ ecosystem into the market. Since then, their portfolio has come to include over 130 companies that have collectively raised over $3 billion in venture funding.

No matter what course of study your child pursues, Johns Hopkins is likely a strong choice. According to the Johns Hopkins website, only 6 percent of the class of 2021 was unemployed six months after graduation. Over half the class had joined the workforce, one-third had enrolled directly in grad school, and 5 percent were pursuing nontraditional employment, such as enlisting in the military or entrepreneurship.

As an “Ivy Plus” university with a student-faculty ratio of just 7:1, Johns Hopkins is understandably selective. Read the guide below to learn more about the university and how to be considered a competitive applicant.

  • Forbes: 13

  • Niche: 24

  • U.S. News & World Report: 7 (tie)

  • Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education: 11

Where is Johns Hopkins?

Johns Hopkins is located in Baltimore, Maryland. The entire university is spread across four campuses throughout the city, with undergraduates studying in North Baltimore on the Homewood campus. Because they are separated from graduate students and have a campus to call their own, undergraduate students may feel a close-knit sense of community and belonging even amidst a large research institution.

Johns Hopkins student population 

  • Undergraduates: 5,253

  • Graduate students: 25,231

Johns Hopkins acceptance rate

Let’s review the admissions statistics for Johns Hopkins’ class of 2026:

  • Applications: 37,156

  • Acceptances: 2,408

  • Matriculants: 1,310

  • Acceptance rate: 6.5%

Johns Hopkins tuition and scholarships

Johns Hopkins’ 2023–2024 cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room, board, and fees) is $86,065.

The university vows to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need, and financial aid packages do not include student loans. 54 percent of first-year students receive financial aid. The average grant for first-year students is $59,000.

Who gets into Johns Hopkins?

Each year, Johns Hopkins receives tens of thousands of applications from prospective undergraduates. What can we learn from those who were admitted? Here are some statistics for the class of 2026:

  • 99% of admitted students ranked in the top 10% of their class

  • Average GPA: 3.9

  • Average SAT score:

    • 25th percentile: 1520

    • 75th percentile: 1560

  • Average ACT score:

    • 25th percentile: 34

    • 75th percentile: 35

  • First-generation college students: 21%

  • International students: 13%

  • 30% are Asian American, 16% are white, 21% are Hispanic or Latino, 16% are African American or Black, and 2% are Native American or Pacific Islander.


Part 2: Johns Hopkins admissions requirements

Johns Hopkins academic requirements

Johns Hopkins doesn’t list any specific coursework that’s required of prospective applicants. However, they do note that they look for qualities such as academic character, impactive and initiative, and personal contribution when reviewing applications (we’ll dig into these qualities further in the next section). They want to see students who are passionate about learning and who will enthusiastically participate and make an impact on JHU and the local Baltimore community.

The university also reports that 98% of incoming students enter with pre-professional experiences. It’s hard to read into this too much, but you might interpret this statistic as an indication that Johns Hopkins is interested in students who apply their education to the real world. If your child is interested in attending Johns Hopkins, encourage them to find a way to put their interests into action, whether by researching in a lab, shadowing a doctor, or immersing in a local business or nonprofit.

Johns Hopkins application requirements

  • Common Application or the Coalition Application

  • Johns Hopkin supplemental essay

  • Optional in 2023–2024: SAT or ACT scores

  • Two teacher letters of recommendation

  • Secondary school report including school counselor recommendation, transcript, and high school profile

  • Midyear report including updated transcript (due in mid-February)

Johns Hopkins’ special programs

When submitting their regular application, your child will also have the opportunity to apply for one of three special programs:

  • Direct Matriculation Programs

    • Qualified students can apply to one of two Johns Hopkins Master’s programs (Global Health or International Studies)

  • Peabody Double Degree

    • Through this program, students can earn both a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Institute and a B.A or B.S. from Johns Hopkins.

  • Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

    • This fellowship provides up to $10,000 in funding to B.A. students completing independent research.

Part 3: Applying to Johns Hopkins early decision vs. regular decision

Johns Hopkins has an early decision program which requires your child to submit their application materials by either:

  • November 1st (to receive a decision by December 15th)

  • January 2nd (to receive a decision by February 16th)

This program is binding, which means your child cannot apply to any other early decision program. Furthermore, you, your child, and your child’s counselor must sign a contract, agreeing for your child to attend Johns Hopkins should they be admitted.

Your child can also apply regular decision by January 2nd.

How do you know if your child should apply to Johns Hopkins early? 

Your child should only apply to Johns Hopkins early decision if they are absolutely sure the university is their first choice. If that’s the case, they may be a good early decision candidate if they have strong test scores and grades by the end of junior year.

In recent years, Johns Hopkins has accepted early decision applicants at a rate about three times higher than the university’s overall acceptance rate. However, it’s difficult to truly compare those two rates because students who apply early decision tend to be of the highest caliber; for example, they do not need an additional semester to raise their GPA or retake the SAT.

Part 4: 2023–2024 Johns Hopkins supplemental essay (examples included)

The good news is that Johns Hopkins requires just one supplemental essay. The slightly less good news: the Johns Hopkins supplemental essay is longer than most. So, let’s explore what the university is looking for and how to write a winning essay.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the essay, it’s important to first understand what qualities Johns Hopkins seeks in its applicants. Again, here are the three things Johns Hopkins is looking for in prospective students:

  • Academic character: This will be primarily demonstrated through your child’s transcript and test scores. That said, evaluations from teachers can shine light on what the university refers to as “the academic spirit” of your child.

  • Impact and initiative: The application includes room for your child to list their extracurricular activities, but the essay is another avenue through which your child can demonstrate their resourcefulness and drive.

  • Personal contributions: Johns Hopkins recognizes that a vital part of the college experience is the network of peers and teachers and mentors that come together to inform your child’s individual experience. They want people who excel individually and those that want to be part of something bigger. Your child gets to really show this off in this year’s supplementary essay.

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