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Write a Compelling Johns Hopkins Essay by Connecting Your Background to Your Goals

Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious and selective research universities in the U.S., requires all applicants to submit an essay on their unique perspective and what they hope to explore at Hopkins. This Johns Hopkins supplement lets JHU gauge how you will engage with their community as you pursue your goals. It also gives you a chance to show a side of yourself that may not be evident in other parts of your application.


Here’s the Johns Hopkins essay prompt:

Founded in the spirit of exploration and discovery, Johns Hopkins University encourages students to share their perspectives, develop their interests, and pursue new experiences. Use this space to share something you’d like the admissions committee to know about you (your interests, your background, your identity, or your community), and how it has shaped what you want to get out of your college experience at Hopkins. (300-400 words)


The main theme of this prompt is “exploration and discovery,” so a good portion of your response will focus on your goals for the future and how you intend to explore those goals at Hopkins. However, the prompt also asks you to reflect on how your background has inspired your goals. As a whole, this Johns Hopkins essay is a blend of a “Community” essay and a “Why This School” essay.

Start by identifying your aspirations. These goals might be related to your intellectual interests, but if you haven’t decided on a major yet, you could also identify aspects of your identity that you hope to explore or values you want to enact on campus.

Next, reflect on what motivates you to pursue these goals. What experiences, inside or outside the classroom, have influenced your principles or inspired your primary interests? For example:

  • A student who intends to major in civil engineering might write about the moment when they learned their community’s water supply had been contaminated. This injustice spurred their dedication to solving global problems through design and construction.
  • A student who hopes to connect with a Jewish community in college might write about her experiences growing up in an area where few other people shared her religious beliefs. Her experience of being othered motivates her to explore her religious identity and connect with people of other faiths in an environment that values pluralism.

Now, how will you pursue these goals at Hopkins, specifically? What do you hope to learn and discover? What opportunities will you explore? And, as you do so, how do you envision yourself sharing your unique perspective with your classmates?

In summary, to craft a compelling Johns Hopkins essay, connect your background to your goals, and make sure to leave the reader with an idea of how you’ll contribute to the JHU community!

Get started with our free brainstorming tools!

Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

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