The Requirements: 1 essay of 300-400 words.
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Collaboration
Known for its competitive science programs, Johns 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.
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.