Objective II: Attract the Best Students

Attract the Best Students

“We will pursue enrollment strategies that will attract the most academically competitive candidates, while also aspiring to attract students from diverse and underrepresented populations. We seek to develop new, expanded, and more flexible academic programming for new student populations, including strengthening partnerships within the university and with top international academic institutions. We will enrich student-centered services and support in the areas of financial aid, career services, physical infrastructure, and technology.”

More fellowship aid allowed us to admit the most competitive students.

Our ability to offer financial support increased as the result of concerted philanthropic and outreach efforts, allowing the school to increase fellowship coverage overall by 1%, which allowed the school to offer fellowship opportunities to its most competitive applicants. Fellowship coverage of entering 2016 Master of Arts degree admitted pool increased from 28% to 39% from last year. In previous admissions cycles, we noted a preference among prospective students for our competitors based on their greater financial aid offerings. We will continue to improve our financial aid procedures and philanthropic focus to address that issue.

We found innovative ways to reach prospective students.

Last year, we hosted virtual information sessions to engage prospective students from our campuses in Washington DC, Nanjing, and Bologna. We also developed an “Around the World” global meet-up program in the summer of 2016 for prospective students to connect with alumni in 19 cities in Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the US. Through targeted on campus information sessions and forums, we also raised the profile of the school’s most innovative initiatives and academic programs within regional studies programs and the Energy, Resources, and Environment program, which are large draws for prospective students. 

We prioritized diversity initiatives.

Diversity in the student experience, the student body, and in the curriculum is critical to achieving the Johns Hopkins SAIS vision. This year we focused our diversity initiatives on current student experience and in the recruitment of prospective students from underrepresented groups. Throughout the year and during Black History Month, we hosted panel discussions and speakers on the role of gender and race in foreign policy. The Global Women in Leadership student group, the Women’s Alumni Network, and many scholars at the school’s Foreign Policy Institute led the public conversation on women’s leadership. The school hosted and promoted these initiatives widely among the Johns Hopkins SAIS family as well as with policymakers, thought leaders, and the private sector. During Black History Month, we hosted a forum with Black Professionals in International Affairs with a panel of pioneers in international development, security, and economics to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the black community in international affairs.

We will talk more with the Johns Hopkins SAIS family.

This year’s achievements greatly depended on the close collaboration between the offices of Admissions, Career Services, Student Affairs, Development, and Financial Aid. They also are the result of greater engagement with campuses in Nanjing and Bologna. Now that we have processes in place for ongoing coordination, we would like to build a pipeline of activities and engagement that will allow us to succeed in achieving unfulfilled parts of this objective. We are eager to continue soliciting feedback from within the school on efforts to attract the best students.

We will find new ways to target underrepresented student populations. 

We would like to utilize specific faculty members and alumni in reaching certain prospective student populations as well as expanding our geographical reach into Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Financial aid remains our biggest challenge.

Our biggest challenge remains the need for more financial aid. While the percentage of merit based aid coverage of the admitted pool grew from 28% in 2015 to 39% this past school year, we aren’t keeping pace with our competitors. We hope to further build the processes and communication we have set in place between the offices of admissions, financial aid, and development to address this challenge.