FAQ's for Incoming Freshmen

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Academic Advising

What is academic advising?

Academic advising is a developmental process founded upon an exchange of knowledge and ideas between the student and advisor. An Academic Advisor can assist students with clarifying academic/career goals and developing educational plans for the realization of these goals. In other words, we're here to serve as your academic guide, mentor, and cheerleader!

Where is the Office of Academic Advising located?

We are located on the third floor in Garland Hall. If you take the elevator up, we are in the suite immediately to your right.

Who is my academic advisor and how can I get in contact with him/her?

Advisors are assigned to incoming students in mid-to-late June.  Once your advisor has been assigned, you can find their contact information in SIS.  If you have questions before your advisor is assigned please call the Office of Academic Advising at 410-516-8216 or e-mail advising@jhu.edu.


I don't know what I want to major in.  What should I be doing?

Most entering JHU students don't have firm plans about majors and careers. Your first year at JHU will give you the opportunity to explore and begin to make plans. We have many resources to assist you. For starters, read through The Freshman Advising Registration Preparation List, paying special attention to Step #2 and reading the First Year Academic Guide (especially Section II "Selecting Courses"). You are also encouraged to browse the Major/Minor Overview page to take a look at your options; these pages will give you a brief idea of what each program is about and what types of classes you might think about taking in your first semester. Whatever you do, don't stress - you can add or drop courses that aren't a good fit during the first two weeks of each semester and most of our majors total only half of the necessary credits you must earn to be eligible for graduation, there is definitely room to explore. You can always call or email us this summer for assistance.

I know what I would like to major in.  How can I find out what classes I will need to take?

Check out the Majors/Minors section of the advising website.  It will provide you an example of first semester courses.

Pre-Professional Advising

What do you mean by Pre-Professional Advising?

The JHU Office of Pre-Professional Programs and Advising is dedicated to encouraging students interested in pursuing careers in the health and legal professions to make conscious and thoughtful decisions about their future paths. For more information, please visit their website at http://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/preprofadvising/

I may want to apply to medical school after college graduation. How do I find out what courses to take?

To learn more about what courses are required for medical school admission, read the Guide One: Pre-Med and Pre-Health Planning on the office of Pre-Professional Programs & Advising website.

Placement Exams

I've taken a foreign language and/or calculus in high school. How do I find out what level course to take this fall at JHU?

There is detailed information on our homepage to help you select the right courses in math and foreign language, including instructions for taking online placement exams in these areas. Click on the link for "Math, Music and Foreign Language Placement."

Freshman Grades

How are Hopkins freshmen graded in the first semester?

Most of our courses use a standard letter grading system (A,A-,B+,B,B-,C+,C,C-,D+,D,F) and your transcript will show your earned grade. Some courses, however, are only offered using the Satisfactory (C- or higher)/Unsatisfactory (D+ or lower) grading system. Additionally, students are permitted to take up to one course each semester using the S/U grading system, but only if the course is not being used to satisfy a major, minor, or writing intensive requirement.

AP/IB scores/Transfer Credit

I don't know my AP/IB scores yet. How do I choose courses?

We know that you may not have received your AP/IB score report when JHU registration begins. So, make your best guess as to possible scores and go ahead and register at the beginning of the registration period beginning in early July. You can make changes to your schedule online later in the summer once you have received your score report.

If I earn credits from AP/IB scores, how do I know what level of course to select?

AP/IB tests were created to give high school students the opportunity to challenge themselves. Therefore, earning a high score demonstrates your mastery of introductory-level college material in this field. This usually means that you are qualified to move into a higher-level course in the field. It may be appropriate for you to take this course as a freshman, it may be better to take it as an upperclassman. Having AP/IB credits may allow you space in your first-semester schedule to take a course that others would take later. Read through the information we've provided in the First Year Academic Guide and on our website. If you still have questions, contact an advisor by email or phone.

How can I get AP/IB credit to appear on my Hopkins transcript?

  1. Double check in the First Year Academic Guide that we award credit for the exams you took.
  2. Obtain your College Board Account name and AP number or AP Student ID. Have College Board send a score report to JHU. You can make this request online at https://apscore.collegeboard.org/scores . There is a fee. All scores for all AP tests taken in the past 4 years will be sent.
  3. If you took IB exams, you can request an IB transcript via the directions on this page: https://rrs.ibo.org/replacement_orders/ .  Select Johns Hopkins University as the institute to receive the transcript.

I took a course from another college, can I get credit for it?

Students who entered Fall 2014 and after may be able to receive transfer credit from another institution. To transfer courses click here.

Course Registration

I've made a list of courses I want to register for. They all seem to meet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday or just Tuesday/Thursday. Is this a problem?

There are many issues to consider when selecting your courses. You need to consider both the course content as well as the days and times that courses meet. Try to create a mix of courses that allow you to break for lunch daily, accommodate athletic practices, and spread out your class attendance over the five days of the week. Many Hopkins courses meet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday—this is especially true of courses popular with freshmen. Try to balance this with other courses, sections, or labs that meet on Tuesday–Thursday.

When I tried to register for courses, one of them was full. What do I do?

For now, select another class and register for that. Although some classes will have a waitlist this summer, the course may become available at a later time. We recommend checking your @jhu.edu email address every day because you will only have a short time to register for the course if a space becomes available to you for a waitlisted course. Please note that you are allowed to be on a maximum of three waitlists at any point in time.

I've played a musical instrument for several years. Should I bring it to campus? Can I take lessons at JHU?

We have many resources and opportunities for musicians in everything from ensembles to taking lessons at Peabody or completing a music minor. If you are interested in taking private lessons in the fall, you may find registration procedures for private lessons on our website. Bring your instrument to campus if you wish to have the option of lessons, but be certain that it is insured. If music has been a large part of your life, you may enjoy performing in a group at Hopkins or just having the option to occasionally pick up your instrument to bring balance to your campus life. Piano students may arrange to use pianos on campus so bring your sheet music from home.

Where can I find more information about my course textbooks?

Inside the course description in SIS, you should find a link that will take you directly to the textbook information for each class at the Johns Hopkins bookstore. *Pursuant to an agreement with Barnes & Noble to manage the bookstore at Charles Commons and the Peabody Institute, the Johns Hopkins University receives a portion of the income generated from bookstore operations. Students may choose to purchase or rent textbooks from any seller