AT JOHNS Hopkins University (Homewood), there are more freshmen than ever before and more weekly newspapers. The beginners are from 44 states (the most: New York) and 16 nations; they total 911. The student gazettes, usually one, are now two -- the News-Letter and the Standard. May all thrive.
As the century wanes, what is life like, amid those massive brick-and-marble polyhedrons? A freshman still takes five courses, must choose a major by the end of sophomore year and probably lives on campus (in the dorms on the west bank of 3300-3400 North Charles or the residence halls on the east). There are still day students -- Russell W. Baker '47 commuted by streetcar from and to his rowhouse in far west Baltimore -- but the Class of '97 count is down to 10.
For every five males, three females. Once they are sophomores, many students live in the houses maintained by 14 fraternities and five sororities; no coed houses.
An 8 a.m. class is possible, or one that runs on to 6 p.m. The subject departments exceed 30; in general, no more senior comprehensives but history still requires a senior thesis. It can be hard to tell students and faculty apart, as to apparel, but the administration is instantly identifiable.
Some freshmen hit the quadrangle running; that is, 64 of them were high school valedictorians. How bright are these young people? Their SAT scores averaged 1290.
It costs, at Johns Hopkins. A year's worth of bills now surpasses $25,000; times four, a real whack. The parents of two students in five pay full freight; the others are proceeding via scholarships, campus jobs, long-term loans.
What careers had the freshmen in mind, signing up at JHU? Traditionally, the department with the most majors is biology (med school, here we come); biomedical engineering is second (gene-splicers? before-age-30 millionaires?), and international studies (peace, anyone?) is third.
Commuters . . . computers. More on JHU tomorrow.