I grew up and lived in Baltimore City for many, many years and graduated from HS there Western HS on Falls Road.
The area immediately around JHU is not all that bad compared to other areas (the area around Johns Hopkins Hospital is a different matter) or even Glen Burnie or Severna Park or Brooklyn Park :) , but its not totally safe either, as if any place is now days. I currently work in a small town in Lancaster County PA in the heart of Amish country and believe me, its not completely idyllic; there are drug problems, hold ups, muggings, armed robberies, home invasions, etc. If your kid has good common sense and some street smarts he should be fine where ever he decides to go to school.
I know people who graduated with engineering degrees from both MD and JHU both good schools for engineering. But Maryland has a well deserved reputation as a party school; not to say that all kids who go there are part of that scene or that it doesnt happen at JHU, but its something to consider.
Personally if Hopkins is offering a good package Id seriously consider it. An engineering degree or any degree for that matter from Hopkins opens a lot of doors and offers many post grad networking opportunities that a lot of schools cant quite match.
On the safety issue, you'll get no argument from me. I don't think Hopkins is much worse than a school in any other large city. And the on-campus security is frighteningly (and creepily) good.
“I know people who graduated with engineering degrees from both MD and JHU both good schools for engineering. But Maryland has a well deserved reputation as a ‘party school’; not to say that all kids who go there are part of that scene or that it doesnt happen at JHU, but its something to consider.”
When I was young, Maryland was possibly the single largest potential AA group in the world, with 40,000 drunks. I exaggerate. But not by much.
But it isn't really a party school anymore. It started working on this issue, and the related issue of its academic quality, within a few years of my own graduation from high school in 1978. By the mid-1980s, they were already doing many of the right things to become a better school.
It's a big place - 27,000 undergrads and another 10,000 or so grad students. I imagine the number of hard partiers still numbers in the few thousands.
But it just isn't that sort of place, overall, anymore. For one thing, it's academically a lot tougher than when I graduated high school. Median CR + M SAT is about 1325 for undergrads as a whole. For the Honors College, which comprises about 25% of incoming freshmen, it's about 1410.
As well, Hopkins ISN'T offering a good package, and Maryland would be free. Tuition. Room. Board. Books. Plus a stipend for “educational opportunities.” In fact, Hopkins is considerably more expensive for us than Harvard.
My son can understand taking FREE over Harvard, but is having a tough time understanding paying a PREMIUM not to go to Harvard, LOL.