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2 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is holistic admissions a real thing? - JHU & General
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Applying ED to Johns Hopkins and got a lot on my mind.

A regional admissions counselor recently visited my HS and explained their "holistic admissions" considers all aspects of an application, and one factor doesn't qualify or disqualify an applicant.

Hypothetically, does this mean I could still have a shot with a good SAT score (75th percentile +) and assuming strong extracurriculars, recommendations, and essays, but a pretty bad GPA (~0.2 below average)? I do sports and volunteer a lot so it's been hard to keep straight A's over the years (average A-).

I've worked so hard to show my abilities and passions, and think I'm a great match for JHU (dream school). My worst fear is to be rejected, in large part, simply b/c my GPA didn't cut it.

Thoughts on this situation and holistic admissions as a whole?

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2 months ago[edited]

Hi @EthanC!

Holistic admissions is a real thing, but it works differently than you might expect. It's more of a multi-step process, where missing the benchmark at any step will put you in a reserve pile (with a greatly diminished chance of acceptance). This blog goes into more detail: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-does-a-college-admissions-office-work/

I'd recommend using our Chancing Engine (link in the sidebar) to get a better idea of how your stats rank at JHU, since the actual benchmarks can also depend on things like region and background. Your stats are close enough that various other factors admissions officers consider (like school district averages) could put you in the accepted range. At any rate, it's probably worth trying, especially if you have strong extracurriculars.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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2 months ago

Hi @EthanC!

Holistic admissions are a real thing, which is why plenty of 4.0s and 1600s and/or 36s get rejected every year from T20s. If you're comparing your GPA to the GPAs of accepted students from the Common Data Sets for T20s, you're in the 3.5-3.8 range, which is really good if supplemented by a good SAT score, strong ECs, etc.

Your stats make you a great match for JHU, but holistic admissions make things really unpredictable. There's also other factors beyond your control (demographics for example) that are considered. They'll never tell you how your application stood out or what it lacked, which led to their decision. Don't fear rejection; it's a part of life. There's always a chance later on. In case you don't get in, you still have the option to transfer.

Hope this helps!

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