Monday, January 11, 2016

HNC Application Tips

With the application deadline less than one month away, the HNC Washington Office has been receiving many questions about the application process. Below we have some tips for preparing your application and navigating the application process. 

Join Admissions Representatives on January 27th from 10:00-11:00am EST for a virtual information session with more application advice. To join the chat, click on this link at the scheduled time. This is a good opportunity to ask any last minute questions before the February 1st application deadline. If you have questions in the meantime, email to speak with an admissions representative. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone or arrange a time to Skype.

Chinese Language Proficiency (STAMP )Test
  • The STAMP test is an online, multiple-choice test that takes about two hours to complete. The only required portions of the test are the reading and listening sections. You will see writing and speaking sections on the test website, but you can disregard these sections. This past blog post includes frequently asked questions and tips for preparing for the test.
  • Before taking the test, you will need to find a proctor who will administer your STAMP test and complete the STAMP request form. Anyone in a professional capacity (not a friend or a family member) can serve as a test proctor. Applicants have asked anyone from professors to librarians to work colleagues. 
  • STAMP test requests take at least one business day for processing. Keep in mind if you submit your request form on a Friday, your form will not be processed until the following Monday.
  • The deadline for taking the STAMP test is February 1st. If you have completed your HNC application, but have not yet received your test scores, you can still submit your application. The HNC Admissions Office keeps an official record of your scores. 
Requesting Test Scores and Transcripts
  • When requesting official test scores for GRE/GMAT (not required for Certificate applicants) or TOEFL/IELTS, be sure to have scores sent to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. There are many institutions affiliated with Johns Hopkins, so make sure you send your scores to the correct institution. The Johns Hopkins SAIS code for the GRE and TOEFL is 5610-0000 (KGB -GX-99 for GMAT).
  • It can take 2-3 weeks for official GRE/GMAT scores to arrive. If your official scores won’t arrive at our office by February 1st, be sure to include unofficial scores in your application.
  • Transcripts can be mailed to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Washington Office or electronic transcripts can be sent to  
Tips for Writing your Personal Statement
  • Applicants to all of the HNC programs are required to submit a personal statement on the prompt: Discuss one event, whether historical or personal, that influenced your decision to study China. How do you expect Sino-global relations to impact your future, and how do you believe your time at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center will assist you in achieving your long-term career objectives?
  • Be memorable. Your personal statement is an opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee more about your personal interests in the program and your career objectives. Don’t waste this opportunity by rehashing your resume. In the past, we have had students write about lessons from playing ping pong with a Chinese classmate. Another student wrote about her experience at a Chinese rural hospital. We encourage you to get creative.
  • Be specific. Remember that reviewers reading your application do have a background in China studies; therefore you don’t need to spend time on background information regarding a particular topic. You can use this opportunity to go into detail about your area of study.
  • Avoid clichés.  A common cliché we hear from students is that they hope to become a “bridge” between China and the U.S. While this is a worthy goal, we hear this vague phrase so often that it’s lost its significance. If you want to use this analogy, tell us what type of bridge you want to be and why this bridge is needed. 
Additional Tips for MAIS Applicants
  • If you are applying to the MAIS program, you will need to write an additional essay on your proposed thesis topic. You are in no way held to this topic and can change it once you are at the HNC. The Admissions Committee wants to see that you are considering a research field for your thesis. Use this opportunity to go into depth on a particular research area. 
Additional Tips for HNC Certificate/SAIS MA Applicants
  • If you are applying to the HNC Certificate/SAIS MA program, you only need to submit one application. Make sure you are selecting your program as “HNC Certificate/SAIS MA.” If you select “MA,” your application will only be reviewed by SAIS DC Admissions, and you won’t be considered for admission to the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.
  • HNC Certificate/SAIS MA applicants submit three essays: HNC personal statement, SAIS DC personal statement and an analytical essay. Keep in mind that reviewers from both admissions committees have access to all application materials, so be sure to write separate personal statements for each committee.   
Applying for Financial Aid and Fellowships
  • The HNC awards fellowships to 100% of all applicants who submit a financial aid application by the February 1st deadline. Additionally, MAIS applicants who apply for financial aid by the deadline will receive a guaranteed $10,000 fellowship per each year of study.
  • Applying for financial aid is a simple process. There is no additional essay required. Submit the two-page Hopkins-Nanjing Center Financial Aid Application to   All applicants only need to submit the HNC Financial Aid Application, including HNC Certificate/SAIS MA applicants. You do not need to submit the SAIS DC Financial Aid Application.
  • Federal funding in the form of loans and work study can cover up to the full cost of attendance, including the cost of living. To apply, submit a FAFSA at by February 1st. After you submit your FAFSA, you can login to make changes after filing taxes.