John DeGioia’s Georgetown admission essay
Adcom, would you accept this man? Or at least spare him a sloppy joe?
Editor’s Note: A couple weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal put a challenge to some university presidents: write a response to your school’s admissions essay prompt. Heartbreakingly, our own John DeGioia was not one of the respondents. Inspired by WSJ, though, Vox asked Georgetown Heckler Editor and noted DeGioia impressionist Jack Stuef to imagine what his response would have been like.
Georgetown’s Prompt: The Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you.
I was sitting on a veranda sipping wine with Chinese Minister of Education Zhou Ji when he asked me a question similar to this prompt. He’d just told me a little bit of his own background.
“I would like to know more about you in words that are your own,” Ji said, finally out of earshot of his wife and concubine. “Submit, please, some words that best describe you.”
“Well, I don’t know, Ji,” I replied, staring off into the Beijing fog. “Does it have to be personal?”
He consulted with his advisors and phoned the Party official who governed the region and open-ended questions asked within it. “It can be personal or creative,” he said.
“Well then, Ji, I’m not much different from you,” I chuckled. “I sit in my office and hope nobody notices me until I have to make a call or go to an event, smile a lot, and babble some vaguely agreeable nothings to the crowd.”
“Yes, but who are you, Dr. DeGioia?” he asked. “It’s obvious from you being here in China that you are a very worldly and important person that any university, such as, say, Georgetown University, would be lucky to have as a student, but I want to know about the man inside your rodent-like exterior.”
I’ll tell you what I told Ji. It’s impossible to describe myself in things so rigid as words! To illustrate the nuanced nature of my personality, I’ll have to use numbers.
You should have found a page of circular stickers of different colors included with my application. If you haven’t already, pass those around the table and have everybody put on one of each color until you’re out of stickers. Put them on your arms or something so you can see them easily. (Unless you’ve got on long sleeves, of course, you sillyhead!)
Got the stickers on? Good. I bet this is turning out to be your most exciting application essay ever!
Now, stand up if you have a red sticker. Seven of you should be standing up, unless you decided to accept Todd Olson’s application instead and are sabotaging me. Okay everyone, look around you. These seven people represent the seven sloppy joes I eat every day. Think about that. Seven sloppy joes. Every day. Have you thought about that? Good. Please be seated.
Could everyone with a yellow sticker stand? Two of you are now standing. You represent the over two decades it took me to rise through the ranks from lowly hall director up to the top until I was the least controversial and least interesting lay candidate for the president job. Think about that. A life of unremitting blandness, avoiding saying or doing anything to which anyone could possibly object, just to reach the summit, where you have to be just as boring. And somehow picking up a doctorate along the way. I know you all probably want to follow my careful path of mediocrity to the presidency, so I’ll give you one tip: be Catholic! Okay, you can sit down, thanks.
Those with a green sticker, please stand up. Only one of you is standing, right? Now everyone go to McDonough Gymnasium. There yet? You’ll see my office has hired over 4,000 people to sit there waiting for you. See them? Good. The person with the sticker represents the one university in the U.S. that gets to have me as its president! Think about that. Isn’t that a good one? My psychotherapist gave me that one. She usually works with children, but I find her a little less threatening. Anyway, tell the people in the gym they can leave. And go find the basketball team out on the tennis courts and tell them they can have their court back. Then sit down.
Finally, stand if you have an orange sticker on you. Oh look, that’s all of you. Who do you represent? Yourselves! So, maybe you don’t accept me. I understand that. I could get into Georgetown 30 years ago, but probably not now. However, if you don’t send me an acceptance letter, I might lock myself in my office, go under my desk, and cry the day away. And then maybe one of my assistants will hear me bawling, put his key in the door, come to my desk, crouch down, and ask me what’s wrong. And maybe I’ll tell him nothing, it’s just… it’s just stupid. People are stupid. And he’ll be like, “C’mon, Dr. DeGioia, what happened?” And he’ll give me some tissues, go get me an emergency sloppy joe, and in between sniffles I’ll tell him you denied my application. And he’ll cheer me up by calling in some favors, calling in some blackmail, and suddenly, oh no, the Admissions Committee doesn’t have jobs! Think about that. Do you want to hurt my feelings, orange sticker people? Huh? You do? Oh… Hmm. Well, I’m very sorry. Sorry, everybody. Really sorry. Never said anything like that before. Sorry.
Umm. Diversity in action! Interreligious understanding. Cura personalis. Working group. You may be seated.
Georgetown University is one of the most selective universities in the country; less than 17% of students who apply there get accepted. However, understanding the application and what Georgetown admissions officers are looking for when they review your application can give you a serious leg up over the rest of the competition.
In this guide, we go over everything you need to know about the Georgetown University application, including what you need to submit, every Georgetown application deadline, what admissions officers are looking for when they review applications, and how you can make each key part of your application stand out from the pack.
Key Info About the Georgetown Application
It’s important to know the key information about the Georgetown University application early on so that you'll have plenty of time to gather and submit all the materials you need before deadlines.
Where to Find the Georgetown Application:You can find the Georgetown application here. That page also has links to application FAQ and deadlines.
How to Submit the Application: When you’ve completed the Georgetown application, you can submit it by hitting the “Submit” button at the end of the application. SAT and/or ACT scores must be sent directly to Georgetown.
When to Submit Your Application: It’s very important to know each Georgetown application deadline because missing just one could mean your application won’t be looked at. Below is every Georgetown University application deadline you need to know about.
Deadline for Early Action applications
Announcement of Early Action results
Deadline for Regular Decision applications
Deadline for financial aid forms: FAFSA and CSS Profile
Announcement of Regular Decision results
Reply date for all accepted first year students
Looking at the above chart, you can see that the Georgetown University application deadline for Early Action is November 1 and the deadline for Regular Decision is January 10, although on their website Georgetown does recommend submitting your application earlier if you can.
Early Action is not binding, which means that, even if you apply Early Action to Georgetown, you can still apply to and accept a place at other schools. Early Action just gives you the benefit of knowing Georgetown’s decision earlier (although some Early Action applicants get deferred to the Regular Decision pool).
How to Apply to Georgetown
Completing and submitting your Georgetown application is a fairly straightforward process. Below are the seven steps you need to follow. Georgetown recommends you complete the first three steps as soon as possible, ideally over the summer or in early fall.
Step 1: Fill Out and Submit the Georgetown Application
The Georgetown application can be found here, and it should only take you about 15 minutes or so to fill out. It contains mostly demographic information, such as your address and contact info, and those of your parents. Submitting this form allows Georgetown to create an applicant file for you, the first step in considering you for admission. It also initiates the alumni interview process (see Step 6).
Step 2: Create an Applicant Profile
Create an applicant profile here. This makes it possible for you to track your recommendation requests and save your work on the Application Supplement.
Step 3: Complete the Georgetown Request for Secondary School Report, Teacher’s Report, and Mid Year School Report
To complete this form, you’ll need to know the name and email address of both your high school counselor and the teacher writing your recommendation. After you submit the forms, those two people will each receive an email from Georgetown telling them what to do next so that Georgetown can receive your transcript and letter of recommendation.
Step 4: Submit the Application Supplement
You’ll next need to submit the application supplement, which you can save and go back to as many times as you need. The supplement is where you’ll enter information about your extracurriculars, what area you plan on majoring in, and write your essays. This is also when you’ll pay the $75 application fee.
Step 5: Submit Your Standardized Test Scores
You’ll need to submit general SAT and ACT scores, and it’s strongly recommended you submit three SAT Subject Test scores as well. Georgetown’s SAT code is 5244, and its ACT code is 0668.
Georgetown requires test scores from all test sittings, so, for example, if you took the ACT twice the SAT once, and SAT Subject Tests four times, you’d need to submit scores from each of those test dates.
If you’re applying Early Action, you are not required to submit three SAT Subject Tests scores by the Early Action deadline, and your application will still be reviewed in full. However, if your application is deferred from Early Action to Regular Decision, it’s expected you’ll have three Subject Test scores to submit by the Regular Decision deadline. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing you from completing three Subject Tests by the Regular Decision deadline, you can write a letter to the admissions committee explaining your situation.
Step 6: Have an Alumni Interview
All first-year applicants are required to have an interview with a Georgetown alum, provided one lives in the same city/region as they do. Georgetown does not have on-campus interviews, and if there are no alumni near you, this requirement is waived and it won’t hurt your application. You’ll receive information via mail or email explaining how to set up the interview, typically two to four weeks after completing Step 1.
Step 7: (Optional) Submit Any Supplemental Materials
If you are interested in an art, music, theater, or dance program at Georgetown, you have the option to send in supplemental materials, but this is not required.
Georgetown Application Checklist
To recap, below is everything you need to submit when you apply to Georgetown. You can use this application checklist to stay organized and make sure you've submitted all the required materials. Your application won’t be considered until all the pieces below have been received by Georgetown.
- Georgetown Application
- Secondary School Report (including transcript)
- Teacher Recommendation
- Application Fee of $75.00
- SAT or ACT scores
- Alumni Interview
- (Optional but strongly recommended) Three SAT Subject Test scores
- (Optional) Supplemental Materials (for art, music, theater, and dance)
What Does the Georgetown Application Committee Look For? What Makes a Strong Georgetown Application?
What makes a standout Georgetown application? Like other universities, Georgetown wants to admit students they feel will excel at their school, both academically and socially. They want to admit students who will do well in their classes and also work well with professors, fellow students, and university groups. Georgetown also wants to admit students who will have a positive impact on the school and the world in general both while they’re a student and after they graduate.
In order to make the most accurate admissions decisions, they look at a variety of factors that could indicate future success at Georgetown. Below are some of the most important factors.
Georgetown wants to know you can excel in their classes, so they'll look for academic excellence in your application. There are usually three factors that show academic excellence: your GPA, the rigor of the classes you took, and your standardized test scores. Being strong in each of these three areas shows Georgetown that you can handle difficult coursework and do well. The next section gives more specific information on what grades and test scores you should be aiming for. If you've participated in academic competitions and done well at them, you can also show academic excellence that way.
Georgetown wants leaders at their school because leaders are more likely to have an impact at the school and after they graduate. You can show leadership skills by taking on higher roles in extracurriculars, starting your own club or fundraiser, or gaining more responsibility at your job or internship. Anything that shows that you took initiative and were able to excel with additional responsibilities shows that you have the potential to be a strong leader at Georgetown and beyond.
Passion for Your Future Major
Students who are passionate about what they are studying are more likely to get better grades and do well in their career after they graduate. In order to show that you're excited for what you're going to study at Georgetown, your application should show that you've taken classes and pursued extracurriculars in that subject area during high school. For example, if you want to major in pre-med and eventually be a doctor, your high school transcript should show lots of science and math classes, and your extracurriculars could include being part of a science club, volunteering at a hospital, or something similar.
Getting good grades is important, but Georgetown also wants students who will be a part of the campus community and get along with other students. This makes the campus a happier place, and more engaged students often have a larger positive impact on their school. Being involved in a group club or sports team shows sociability, and the people writing your letters of recommendation can also mention your strong people skills.
How to Do Well on Key Sections of the Georgetown Application
For a school as competitive as Georgetown, your application needs to be strong across the board. Below are the five key parts of the Georgetown application, as well as how you can excel on each one to impress admissions officers.
High School Transcript
Your transcript shows Georgetown three key things: which classes you took, how difficult they were, and the grades you received in them. Georgetown recommends four years of English and at least two years each in social studies, foreign language, and math, and at least one year of natural science. There are additional class recommendations depending on what you want to major in at Georgetown. You can see those recommendations here.
Georgetown has rigorous classes, and they want to see applicants who have already challenged themselves by taking advanced classes in high school. If your school offers honors, AP, or IB classes, you should aim to take at least some of these advanced classes, especially those in the field you plan to major in.
It’s also important to get high grades in those classes. Accepted Georgetown students have an average GPA of about 4.03. This means you'll probably need to be at the top of your class, taking honors/AP/IB classes, and only getting a few B's during high school. High grades are most important in classes that relate to your future major.
Standardized Test Scores
Georgetown has no minimum score requirements for either the SAT or the ACT, but because admission to the school is so competitive, you should aim for a high standardized test score. A safe score to aim for is the 75th percentile score for admitted Georgetown students. Meeting this score for either the SAT or ACT means you will have scored higher than 75% of other admitted students, which puts you in a strong position during the admissions process.
A 75th percentile score for Georgetown is either a 34 on the ACT or a 1550 on the SAT. You can get scores lower than this and still be accepted, but these are good goal scores to aim for. Georgetown doesn’t look at writing scores for either test, so you don’t need to take the optional writing section for either the SAT or the ACT.
Technically, SAT Subject Test scores aren’t required, but because Georgetown so strong recommends you take them, you should treat it as a requirement. You’ll need three Subject Test scores, and although these likely won’t be quite as important as your general SAT or ACT scores, you should still aim for a high score, ideally a 700 or higher. It’s also helpful if at least one of the Subject Tests relates to the subject you plan on majoring in to show Georgetown you already have strong skills in that area. You can read our guide to learn more about what a good SAT Subject Test score is.
Letters of Recommendation
You’ll need one letter of recommendation for Georgetown, and you should ask a teacher who knows you well and thinks highly of you to write it. A strong letter of rec will include specific examples of your academic abilities and personal skills and explain why you’re a good applicant for Georgetown.
You should speak to the person you’d like to write your letter fairly early, ideally at the end of your junior year or beginning of your senior year, especially since Georgetown recommends filling out the Teacher’s Report (which is sent to your recommender) early on in the application process. Check out our guide for more information on who to ask to write your letter of recommendation and a step-by-step guide for how to ask.
Georgetown requires three essays. Below are the Georgetown essay prompts and recommended lengths.
Short Essay: Briefly discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved. (about ½ page single-spaced)
Essay 1: As Georgetown is a diverse community, the Admissions Committee would like to know more about you in your own words. Please submit a brief essay, either personal or creative, which you feel best describes you. (about 1 page single-spaced)
Essay 2: The prompt for this essay depends on what you plan on majoring in.
- Applicants to Georgetown College: Please relate your interest in studying at Georgetown University to your goals. How do these thoughts relate to your chosen course of study?
- Applicants to the School of Nursing & Health Studies: Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care at Georgetown University. Please specifically address your intended major (Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, Global Health, or Nursing).
- Applicants to the Walsh School of Foreign Service: Briefly discuss a current global issue, indicating why you consider it important and what you suggest should be done to deal with it.
- Applicants to the McDonough School of Business: The McDonough School of Business is a national and global leader in providing graduates with essential ethical, analytical, financial and global perspectives. Please discuss your motivations for studying business at Georgetown.
In the first two Georgetown essay prompts, you're given a chance to discuss yourself and why you’re a strong candidate. Be sure to use specific examples that let admissions officers see what you care about and why you’d be an asset to Georgetown. They want to see someone who is passionate about something and will use that passion to excel in school and have a positive impact on Georgetown.
The final essay gives you a chance to show Georgetown what your plans for the future are. Having an idea of what you want to study and how your education will help you achieve your goals shows that you’re thinking ahead and have big plans for the future. Be sure to reference specific resources at Georgetown, such as study abroad experiences, student groups, and research opportunities you are interested in. This shows that you’ve done your research on Georgetown and know how to make the most of its opportunities to help you achieve your goals. Check out this step-by-step guide for more information on how to write a great college essay.
Your extracurriculars are also an important part of your Georgetown application. The best way to stand out with your extracurriculars is to show passion and leadership skills. You can do this by pursuing extracurriculars in the area related to your future major, sticking with them, and achieving leadership roles in them. Learn more about the types of extracurriculars you need to have to get into top-tier schools.
Recap: Georgetown University Application
Georgetown is a very competitive school, but understanding its application process and what admissions officers are looking for can help increase your odds of getting in. There are multiple parts to the application, and it’s important to know each Georgetown University application deadline. You’ll need to submit either SAT or ACT scores, and it’s highly recommended that you submit three SAT Subject Test scores as well. There are also three Georgetown essay prompts you'll need to complete.
When looking over your application, admissions officers look for applicants they believe will excel academically and also develop strong personal relationships at Georgetown. When applying to a school as competitive as Georgetown is, you really can’t have many weak areas in your application. It’s important to go through each key area: grades, standardized test scores, your letter of recommendation, essays, and extracurriculars and make them as strong as possible to maximize your chance of being accepted.
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