Chance Pre-Med Applicant for Johns Hopkins Early Decision + Reach Schools

Close friend’s son is pre-med at JHU. Class of 2025 has 200+ neuro majors and roughly equal number of mol bio majors and guess what? They are all premed. And that’s just two majors! How many will make it? So, yes. There is no sabotage from what I am told, but the competition is more than fierce.

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As others have said, don’t mention your “extenuating circumstances” – Your stats are solid, you’ve got a chance.
Everyone had to deal with Covid. I’m very sorry about the loss of your cousin. As others have said, let your counselor mention it. But it is not a unique enough hardship. Making excuses on your application isn’t wise. (Now… if you had missed AP exams because you were hospitalized with Covid… that’s different, its something concrete).

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I would urge you to reconsider your approach to your college list. Most of the colleges on your list are going to be in a similar cost bracket to Johns Hopkins, and others have detailed the effects of cost when pursuing a medical education. But if you’re really interested in getting in to medical school, your GPA is a huge factor and most of these schools not named JHU are going to have similarly competitive pools of students who are all looking for med school admittances. That means not just difficulty getting a high enough GPA, but it also means increased competition in accessing the prime clinical, research, and shadowing opportunities.

You are a very strong applicant who had a dip in his junior year. There are TONS of colleges that would be very interested in you and would throw lots of money and special opportunities your way to attend. UTD, already on your list, is probably one of them. But think about

  • Trinity
  • Baylor
  • SMU
  • Texas Christian
  • Southwestern
  • U. of Houston

All of them have great opportunities for pre-meds and all will want you. I would send in an application and have them compete for you to attend. What special mentoring, research, meeting of renowned campus visitors, etc, opportunities will they give you? (And yes, mentoring, research, shadowing can happen anywhere, but isn’t it nice when they reserve the best options for you rather than needing to fight for a chance to get them?) Maybe one or more might put you in consideration for early consideration or placement for medical school, who knows? They are likely to also show you the money with generous merit aid, particularly helpful when considering the cost of medical school.

Plus, the learning environment might be more helpful for you. I’d be very interested to know about class sizes at JHU, Emory, etc, for the pre-med classes. See how it compares at some of the schools on this list (like Trinity or Southwestern). The schools where there are big classes probably have an honors college to which you’d be invited which will have small sections of those classes for honors students, whereas at JHU, Emory, etc, they’re probably not going to have the smaller classes for honors students because all their students are honors students. Where are you likely to learn the material better? Because you need to learn the material for 1) a high GPA, 2) high MCAT, and 3) good preparation for when you start med school classes.

Also, for ALL colleges you’re looking at, see what the pre-med clubs are like (as well as any other clubs you think you might want to join). What are the admission requirements to join? What percentage of interested students are accepted? Who decides who gets in? Compare what the opportunities are going to be like for you as an enrolled student at every university you’re accepted to before making any final decisions.

ETA: This link might provide some food for thought: Here Are the 10 Best Pre-Med Schools in Texas - collegegazette.com. Also, with any stats about percentage of students accepted to med school, make sure you dig in a bit to see whether it was the actual percentage from the school or whether it was the percentage who met the requirements of an internal pre-screening committee (i.e. a 95% med school acceptance rate may not mean that 95% of pre-med students received a medical school acceptance but just the ones that the committee deemed worthy).

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Alright, thank you all for the insight.
I had another question, separate from ED or what not. What do you think my chances of getting into UT Austin are?
Non-auto admit, so its definitely a reach for me already, I have heard UT’s most competitive majors are computer science, business, engineering, and biology/biochem isn’t the most difficult, but the non auto rate is already fairly low to begin with. While my stats are subpar, I’d like to think my extracurriculars are pretty good for UT austin based on people I know who got in, but again, because of the low non-auto admit rate I’m really not sure.

I agree with everyone here who is suggesting that you seriously consider staying in TX at public schools, since it is the cheapest path to becoming an MD, and with the quality of TX flagship U’s, you most certainly don’t give up anything, academically. If you do wind up going the med school route, you’re so lucky that you’re in-state for TX, since it has 5 public med schools, all with the cheapest tuition in the US.

Speak with your guidance counselor and let her tell your Covid/grief story in her letter. That way, it won’t come off as whiny excuses for a brief slip from A to B. At most, in the “How I spent my Covid vacation” section on the Common App (if they still have the space for this, which I imagine they do, since your cohort was hit in March of 9th grade), tell the story of what happened to you in very simple terms, without adjectives or drama, just in very stark terms. Don’t refer to depression (colleges are leery of taking students with mental health issues, since they’re already swamped with more than their student health centers can handle), but you could honestly refer to it as a grief reaction, if you truly had a close relationship with the cousin. “In late summer 2021 we (not I) lost my first cousin Bert to (filli in the blank). Bert and I grown up together, more like brothers than cousins. I experienced an intense period of grief in fall semester of 2021.” That’s it. You don’t say it affected your academics - you let the evaluator make that connection, aided by the cover letter from your guidance counselor. But it’s tough to blame your fall jr yr slump on Covid burnout when that was when things really were totally back to normal for students, especially in TX. You were back in normal full time school, probably unmasked if I recall, with all activities going on without restrictions. So you really can’t blame it on Covid burnout, not that there’s that much to blame - you still did quite well. But certainly, a grief reaction to the loss of a loved one would explain a temporary slump in performance.

For UT Austin, I would recommend that you apply for a less competitive major, in the hopes of maximizing chances of acceptance. I’ll leave it to those with local knowledge to advise you on this, but it looks as if the College of Liberal Arts is less competitive than the College of Natural Sciences. Since premeds can major in anything, and since the year of Bio, 2 yrs of Chem, and yr of Physics all are applicable to a bio science major, it would be very simple for you to apply to a non-competitive major in Liberal Arts, take both first year Bio and first yr Chem in your freshman year (assuming you can handle that load), take a full year of Orgo over the summer, and then assuming that you have done well in them (and if you haven’t done well in them, you’re going to be reconsidering your career path anyway, same as probably about 85% of people who enter college as premeds), you can take another class towards cell bio/biochem, and transfer into the major. You can also start doing research in some prof’s cancer lab at the beginning of freshman year. Your work at Hopkins’ cancer lab will get your foot in the door; they shouldn’t care what your supposed major is. If you do well in these things, I don’t see how they could deny you transfer into cell bio or biochem, plus assuming that you get involved in cancer research, and publish, you’d be likely to get into a UT med school. You might even wind up choosing to go the MD-PhD route, which would open up tuition-free grad ed for you at many prestigious institutions.

Those with more knowledge of UT Austin’s degree of selectivity when evaluating applications by major will surely chime in, but try to think outside the box, try to set yourself apart from the crowd, in order to break free of the competitive scrum of premeds all seeking admission to cell biology or biochem. Maximize your chances of acceptance by making a plausible case that you’re sincerely interested in a far less competitive major in the school of Liberal Arts. Who knows? You might find that you really do want to major in something in that school, while you also do your premeds and continue with lab research at UT Austin. And if you do well in science and research, they’re going to have to let you transfer into the cell bio/biochem major if that’s what you want.

If you’re hell-bent on Hopkins, and your family has an extra 250K to burn, sure, go ahead and apply ED to Hopkins. But I wouldn’t go that route if your family is anything less than truly wealthy. For medicine, a UT school, especially Austin, but even UTD, would serve your goals just as well, and for a lot less money.

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You have a 3.91. That’s not low - or we have huge grade inflation :). Apply and you’ll see.

Typically ECs are a nice to have but not a reason to admit someone if the academics are not there.

Most schools rate their importance in the common data set - so you can measure importance vs GPA. Unfortunately UT doesn’t do this. They label all categories the same.

Apply and hope. I would choose your intended major. If you go in with an easy major, it could work. But check internal transfer policies to see if you’d have a chance to move later to your desired major. Unlikely.

I’m not familiar enough with UT-Austin’s admissions to give any kind of educated guess. It’s up to you whether you want to go with something in the College of Natural Sciences or the College of Liberal Arts. If the latter, the major in Health and Society might be of interest: Health and Society | Liberal Arts | UT - Austin. If the former, it may be that the Medical Laboratory Science or Public Health majors might be less competitive for admission, but this is something that you will need to investigate yourself.

Your stats are excellent. If you truly think your stats are subpar, then I would recommend that you speak with a counselor (school counselor or outside counselor) for either a reality check or an exploration of why you feel that way and on steps to help change those feelings.

And yes, I’ve purposefully made this a separate post because I don’t want you (or anyone else) overlooking it while focusing on the “college” piece. How you view yourself is more important than what college you go to or if you even go to college.

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Thank you again for the insight. I understand I guess my stats aren’t really subpar, its just in the context of the reaches I’m applying to they seem pretty average or below average. I’ll look into the UT majors and see which fits the best and which is less competitive. I also had a question, do you think there are chances for any other schools on my list? most of the focus went to JHU ED and I’m not sure about the other reaches or targets like Rice which is extremely hard to CWRU which I think is like a reasonable target and the others

You have amazing accomplishments, truly. It’s the fact that there are lots of seniors who also have amazing accomplishments that makes it hard for people to grasp that being amazing isn’t always going to get you into the most competitive schools. Saying that you’re pretty average when all the people you’re comparing yourself to are amazing is an awesome thing to be able to say. It’s as though all the presidents of the U.S. got together and are trying to see who is more amazing than the others. Politics aside, getting elected president is an awesome accomplishment, and something that many incredibly awesome people have tried to do. Only 46 have accomplished it. That’s not a slight on everyone else who ran. It’s just a fact of life. Ditto for admission to highly rejective colleges.

Realize that I am not an admissions officer. I also tend to chance people conservatively. But, if I had to sort your list, this is how I would sort it.

Extremely Likely (80-99+%)

  • UT-Dallas
  • Texas A&M

Likely (60-79%)

Toss-Up (40-59%)

  • UT-Austin (this is more of just an…I don’t know)

Low Probability (20-39%)

  • Case Western (the more interest/love you show them, the higher your chances, in my estimation)
  • Emory
  • UNC-Chapel Hill

Lower Probability (less than 20%)

  • Johns Hopkins
  • Rice
  • Duke
  • Brown
  • WashU
  • Pomona

Again, the reason why I’ve chanced you this way is because there are so MANY amazing people applying to these schools. Having a school ranked with a lower probability of acceptance is not saying that these are automatic rejects or that you aren’t qualified. It’s basically just what I think your odds are. Are there potential weaknesses in your application? Yes. Does pretty much everyone have potential weaknesses? Yes. If a college wants you, will those potential weaknesses keep them away? Highly unlikely. But if you want to be pretty sure you have more options than just UT-Dallas and TAMU, then I’d recommend that you add some likelier options to your list.

I’m not so sure that going to a big public state U will be much better than a place like JHU for premed. Instead of having a few hundred competitors, you’ll have several thousand. Its possible to maintain a high GPA at a state school, but you’ll still have the problem of standing out from the rest.

I suggested small LACs because you could get a great education, good scholarship and graduate at the top of your class. Smaller colleges you’ll only be competing against a few dozen other premeds.

It sounds like you want to stay near home. Why not look at LACs like: Trinity U, Davidson, Rhodes, Baylor, Hendrix, Southwestern, Austin College, Elon, etc

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Be careful in that going outside the box in this way may keep out you outside the box when you really want to be in the box.

Changing to a CNS major at UT Austin involves another admission process, where space available in the major matters in terms of competitiveness: Internal Transfers

Therefore, it is not a good idea to apply to UT Austin with a major that you are not really interested in, with the goal of changing major later. If the actual desired major is more competitive for frosh admission, it is likely more competitive for changing to it later.

Of course, if you really are interested in a CLA major and willing to stay with it to graduation, then applying to UT Austin in such a major can make sense. But check to see that the typical pre-med courses can be enrolled in by those outside of the majors that require them. You can make in anything and take the pre-med courses alongside, but if the pre-med courses are filled by students who need them for their majors before you can enroll in them, that can be a problem.

UT Austin should be considered a reach or low probability for students who are not in the automatic admission category (top 6% in Texas) who fill up about 3/4 of the space.

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yes from what i understand, ut austins acceptance rate for non auto admits goes all the way down to 10%, although there have been an okay amount from my area as we send a lot to UT, and CNS majors aren’t as selective as cs/mccombs, the rate still is so low. I’ve seen students with lower stats/extracurriculars than myself get UT and students with better stats outside auto admit and better profiles not, so I think its just a big toss up

I’d rather not pick a COLA major for UT, MLS sounds like an interesting choice because it fits all pre-med reqs and is in CNS, although the fact only 18 students took the major in '25 in such a large school seems a bit worrisome, I might have to ask what keeps people away from the major, but I did speak to a few friends at CNS and they also said transferring in UT is hard, but transferring within CNS (mls to bio or bio to biochem) is quite easy, so it might be the wisest choice to maximize my shot? not sure though