Aided by a scholarship program targeting Baltimore students, the Johns Hopkins University has admitted its largest group of city public high school students in decades, university officials said yesterday.
Thirty students - most of them from top city magnet schools Polytechnic Institute and City College - were offered full scholarships under the prestigious university's new Baltimore Scholars program. Three other city students were admitted to the university but did not qualify for the scholarship because they didn't meet residency requirements.
Baltimore Scholars provides full tuition for four years to all eligible city students admitted by the university.
The group of incoming city freshmen is more than double the number of city students Hopkins admitted last year - 14. In each of the two previous years, 10 Baltimore students gained admission to the university.
"We were just blown away by their academic preparation and all the things that they'd done," John Latting, the university's undergraduate admissions director, said of the city students admitted this year. "They're really going to add a lot to Hopkins."
In addition to those from City College and Poly, two students from the School for the Arts and one student each from Dunbar and Western high schools also were offered full scholarships, according to the university.
Olivia Claxton, a senior at City College who is interested in political science, was "ecstatic" when she found out over spring break that she had gotten into Hopkins.
"I really didn't think I was going to get it," Claxton said. "My parents actually convinced me to apply."
Gracie Claxton, the girl's stepmother, said she hopes Olivia accepts the Hopkins offer and stays near her family. The 17-year-old is considering other schools.
Students are eligible for the scholarships if they live in Baltimore and are enrolled in a city public high school for three consecutive years before they apply to Hopkins. Applicants from the city go through the same rigorous admissions process as all others.
Hopkins officials said they were surprised by the rise in applications from city students after the scholarship program was announced. The university received more than 130 applications from Baltimore students, nearly three times the number it received last year.
"I knew there were great students in the city. They just weren't applying to Hopkins," Latting said. "That was frustrating to us, and it was one of the reasons we launched the Baltimore Scholars program."
If all 30 students decide to enroll at Hopkins, the university's bill for their $30,140-a-year tuitions would amount to $3.6 million.
Latting said the university had no way of knowing such a large number of students would gain admission, but it is prepared to keep up its end of the bargain.
"If those kids can get in, more power to them," he said. "We'll find a way to pay for them."
City school officials say the scholarship has made the university more appealing to high-achieving students who otherwise might aim for top universities farther from home.
Christen Cromwell, a senior at City College who was admitted to Hopkins, said she had originally considered only out-of-state colleges but decided to apply to her hometown university because of the scholarship program.
"I really wanted to get out of Maryland, but my mother said, `You should at least try,'" said Christen, an aspiring theater performer. She is leaning toward Hopkins but waiting to hear about financial aid from Kenyon College, a small liberal arts school in Ohio.
Lucy Neale Duke, a college adviser at City College, said the number of seniors at that school who applied to Hopkins doubled this year to 42. Thirteen were admitted.
"It certainly attracted some more of the top students who might not have had Hopkins on their list," Duke said.
Barney J. Wilson, principal of Polytechnic Institute, said the Hopkins scholarship is important for the economic well-being of the Baltimore area. Thirty-nine Poly students applied to Hopkins this school year, up from just a handful last year, and 16 were admitted.
"So many talented high school students leave the state to go to college, and they never come back," Wilson said. "It goes to show you what happens when a school takes an initiative ... and doesn't take the local talent for granted."
Baltimore seniors admitted to Hopkins
A list of Baltimore public high school seniors who were admitted to the Johns Hopkins University for this fall.
City College: Jennifer Achkin, Adedayo Bolaji-Adio, Lindsay Bynum, Patrick Carter, Olivia Claxton, Christen Cromwell, Demetreus Gregg, Shannon Jackson, Onyinyech Jeremiah, Devon Nwaba, Dayo Simms, Jessica Turral, Alex Vizzi
Polytechnic Institute: Charles Beebe, Theresa Bruce, Antonio Didonato, Johnny Graham, Terrence Green, Ryan Harrison, Claudine Jones, Jasmine Jones, Cen-bi Liu, Tam Nguyen, Amy Peyrot, Rachel Pierson, Rebecca Rehr, Brandon Roane, Kimberly Smith, Charles Tannouri
School for the Arts: Alice Marks, Michael Davis
Western High: Nicole Clark
Dunbar High: Tierra Gwynn
Source: Baltimore public schools.