Johns Hopkins Supplement Essay 2015

The Requirements: 1 essay of 300-400 words.

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Collaboration

John Hopkins University 2017-2018 Application Essay Question Explanations

Known for its competitive science programs, John Hopkins poses a question that is rare in the world of undergraduate admissions but abounds on medical school applications. (Pre-med students, take note!) We can call this “The Collaboration Question,” but it’s important that we all understand there’s a hidden question: do you play nicely with others? When a school asks you to write about collaboration, it’s probing for an index of your ego. Luckily, these sorts of questions are also be a great opportunity to highlight soft skills that might not be obvious anywhere else on your application: leadership, communication, sensitivity, intuition. So let’s dig in and see how you can leverage this prompt to your advantage.

Successful students at John Hopkins make the biggest impact by collaborating with others, including peers, mentors, and professors. Talk about a time, in or outside the classroom, when you worked with others and what you learned from the experience.

Although this question asks for a story in a specific situation (namely: a collaborative one), it leaves almost every other element up to you! Any time you worked with others is fair game, so don’t restrict yourself merely to your science fair project or the soccer team. This is also a great opportunity to write about a professional experience (your first time working as a line cook!) or even community service (organizing the church bake sale!). Ideally, you should describe an experience that spans a decent amount of time — a few weeks or even months — so you can describe the phases of your work and the end result. What challenges did your team face? Were they internal, organizational issues? Or were there larger, external problems that you had to face as a single strong unit? In what ways were you a leader, but more importantly, how did you allow others to lead? It’s all well and good to say that you spearheaded your group history project, but remember, this question is about collaboration. A more reflective and honest essay will consider how each person’s unique contribution set the course for your team’s success (or failure). If you’re talking about a large group (singing in a 100 person choir!), perhaps you’ll want to focus on the values or goals that are strong enough to unite such a large group of people. In the end, you should be driving at a lesson that you will be able to carry with you into the future. In other words: an experience that will have a positive impact on your collaborative work at JHU.

Situated in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University is consistently ranked as one of the Top 20 schools in the nation. Due to its many reputable majors (the Education, Biological Sciences, and Pre-med programs come to mind), JHU is a popular choice for busy seniors creating their college lists. Although its acceptance rate of 17% is more generous than that of other Top 20 schools, you will still want to write as strong of an essay as possible to increase their chances of hanging with the Blue Jays. Luckily, JHU’s app isn’t too difficult, and coupled with tips from Admissions Hero, you’ll find this app to be a breeze.


Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 on a spirit of exploration and discovery. As a result, students can pursue a multi-dimensional undergraduate experience both in and outside of the classroom. Given the opportunities at Hopkins, please discuss your current interests—academic or extracurricular pursuits, personal passions, summer experiences, etc.—and how you will build upon them here. (300-500 word limit)

While its inclusion of Hopkins-specific details make it seem unique, at its core this prompt is ultimately still asking for a basic “Why X School?” essay. Therefore, be sure to explain what your interests are and how you fit into JHU. There are many ways to do this. One strategy is to write about a single topic (academic or extracurricular) that you are particularly passionate about in great detail. Then, after explaining its profound effect on you, you could dive into how you can nurture your passion at Johns Hopkins, especially through X program, Y club, and/or Z professor’s work. Regardless of what style of essay you write, the most important thing in answering this prompt is to make sure that you can draw parallels between your participation in high school and the opportunities available at Johns Hopkins. Admissions officers are very eager to see students who are already motivated and driven to take advantage of the resources at their new school. Thus, make sure to spend some time researching JHU so that you can be specific in your examples of ways that you can benefit from JHU or—bonus points—ways that JHU can benefit from you.

One final piece of advice—please, please realize that the school is called Johns Hopkins University, not John Hopkins University. It would be rather unfortunate for you to realize immediately after sending your application that you have been overlooking a letter in the name of your “dream school.” The admissions office at JHU most likely gets this misspelling all the time, and they’re probably tired of it. Trust us, the team here at Admission Her—I mean, Admissions Hero—can sympathize.

With these tips, you should be well on your way to writing the perfect JHU Supplement. Best of luck from the Admissions Hero team!

For more help, feel free to reach out to work 1-on-1 with one of Admissions Hero’s trained college essay specialists.

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