2 Great Georgetown Essay Examples
Georgetown is a prestigious university located right outside of Washington D.C. that is known for its great public policy and international relations programs. With so many eager applicants wanting to attend this highly-selective school, you need to have strong essays to stand out from the crowd. In this post, we’ll share real essays students have submitted to Georgetown, and share what they did well and how they could be made even better (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).
Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized.
Read our Georgetown essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.
Prompt: Please indicate any special talents or skills you possess. You should write in either paragraph or bulleted-list format. (200-250 words)
Bending down, I pluck a four-leaf clover from a sea of genetically identical Trifolium. After capturing this anomaly on film, I press it, adding it to my collection. Ever since I first discovered four-leaf clovers, I honed my observational skills until I could find them with ease. Now, I am a master of small details and the proud owner of 22 four-leaf clovers.
My memory for special occasions is unrivaled. Within my brain, I categorize and store dates: birthdays, anniversaries, check-ins, etc. I take pride in remembering my friends’ and family’s important days and being there to celebrate or support, listen or laugh, or simply spend time with them. Attentiveness and thoughtfulness are at the foundation of who I am.
When I saw the unicycle under the tree, I was elated yet apprehensive. All-day on Christmas, I practiced riding it: I waggled my arms as I sought my balance, caught myself each time I fell, and continued to stand up to try again. Through perseverance and determination, I eventually found my balance, and five months later, I could easily ride alongside my sister’s scooter through the park.
My party trick is walking on my hands. With a beet-red face and dirty palms, I carefully fall out of my handstand and back into an upright position. I always giggle when I do so, observing the shocked, entertained faces of the people around me. My unusual talent facilitates joy and laughter, and inevitably, connection.
What the Essay Did Well
This essay is successful because of how random it is! When a prompt asks for a special talent or skill, many people might be tempted to write about some extracurricular they excel at or a characteristic they have like leadership or perseverance, but this student chose to share a collection of unrelated fun facts about themselves. We would never know about their collection of four-leaf clovers or how they walk on their hands from the rest of the application. This essay really takes advantage of the prompt to humanize the applicant and share the little details that make them unique.
Another thing this essay does well is combining the suggested structures. The disjointed paragraphs describing a new talent give the effect of a bulleted list, but each skill is contextualized in its own paragraph. They could have just written “I can ride the unicycle”, but instead we learned about this student’s perseverance through their explanation of riding a unicycle.
Even if they chose to only write about one special talent, this student does a great job of drawing the reader into the moment. We are there, crouching down and looking into the sea of green clovers. We are there, watching them struggle to balance on the unicycle. We are there, hearing them giggle as they dust off their hands and stand rightside up. The inclusion of sensory details like these really brings the reader into the story, making it so much more enjoyable to read.
What Could Be Improved
Since each paragraph is completely unrelated to the others, this essay could benefit from a few transitions to make it clear there’s a jump from one skill to another. If the student wanted to keep the list-like feel, they could start each paragraph with a quick recap and then jump into the rest of the paragraph. For example, the first paragraph would start like “An eye of four-leaf clovers.”, and then go into the paragraph.
Prompt: 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. (Approximately 1 page, single-spaced)
Faded dye. Loose threads. Peeling rank stripes.
On the surface, my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belts are a display of my martial arts progression. But in each worn belt there are stories of sweat and tears, triumph and loss, challenges and growth. Like the changing colors of a seasonal rank promotion, I myself have changed, adopting new skills with each belt added to my collection. These scraps of fabric are more than my prized possessions; they’re an album of my life’s most defining moments.
Crisp white and too small, my first belt was worn by a girl who was eager to learn self-defense, but was anxious to try something new. Enraptured, I’d watch higher ranked students grapple, excitedly envisioning myself performing the same graceful Kosoto-gari throws and powerful rear-naked choke holds that I saw on the mats. However, expectations can be a harsh antithesis to reality: any visions of my future martial arts prowess crumbled upon encountering dive roll drills.
Deceived by its simple, somersault-like appearance, I vaulted my crouched body with gusto, only to flop onto my side like an exhausted cat. No problem. I positioned myself for another attempt. The same “floppy-cat” predicament ensued. Again! This time I rolled into my teammate. Frustrated, I began to ask my coach for pointers, but stopped upon realizing I was holding up the drill line. Over and over, each effort yielded the same undesirable results. Shame coursed through my veins as I returned to the back of the line.
Now, when I watched my classmates spar, I looked on with envy; it seemed like they were speeding towards a rank promotion while I was drowning in my own incompetence, marked to forever remain a white belt. This dismal attitude followed me until I met my training partner, Ann. She was a higher-ranked teammate and seasoned athlete, so I was flustered by the thought of her seeing me struggle. But when it came time to practice our dive rolls, I was surprised to see her fumble like me. Unlike me, Ann wasn’t one to struggle on her own: she shot her hand into the air, immediately getting our coach’s attention. With a patient smile, he walked us through the technique, occasionally allowing Ann to stop and check that I understood; within minutes, both of us could perform solid dive rolls. While this moment brought a surge of pride, it also opened my eyes to my biggest shortcoming – lacking the courage to advocate for my needs.
Realizing this problem, I set on the path to correcting my mistakes. Whenever I struggled with a move, I made an effort to consult my coaches and teammates, working to build both my skills and rapport. Forging bonds with my teammates also allowed me to adopt moves from their grappling style, sparking an appreciation for the lessons learned from each training partner. With each week that went by, my progress became more noticeable. Where there were previously gaps in my technique and hesitation in my movements, I could now see my skills improving and my desire to speak up develop. No longer was my white belt crisp and new; it was now faded and grayish, hiding memories of difficult, yet rewarding matches in its stitching.
Ultimately, my biggest mistake was struggling by myself. While jiu jitsu is an individual sport, it’s not an isolated one. Ann, my coaches, and my teammates were more than my competitors; they were my best learning resources and closest supporters.
Since wearing my first belt, I’ve learned to change my despairing attitude to one of openness and determination. Challenges will continue to come my way, whether they come in the form of a jiu jitsu opponent or a grueling exam. Only I can put in the work to achieve my desired outcomes, but I’ve come to see that I don’t have to face my difficulties alone. Now, I look to the future with anticipation for the next obstacle to overcome. Who knows? Perhaps a black belt awaits.
What the Essay Did Well
For a prompt that asked to get to know the applicant better, this is an amazing essay. We learn so much about this student from her response. We know one of her main passions is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we get to see her biggest weakness stand in the way of her success and then watch as she overcomes that, and we learn about how she approaches challenges both on and off the mat.
How is this essay able to convey so much information while still being interesting to read? The author does an excellent job of placing us in the moment by showing us what is occurring. Right from the beginning, we see a little girl with a brand-new belt eagerly watching tumbles and choke holds. Then, rather than just telling us she struggled with dive rolls, she describes the process in detail and compares her failures to a “floppy-cat”. These depictions help bring the reader into the story and make it so much easier to envision what she went through. She also brings us into her mind, telling us about the shame and envy she felt when she originally struggled and how she now understands the importance of getting help.
Also notice how the essay doesn’t come to an end once she has her “aha” moment and her mindset towards approaching challenges shifts. She takes two paragraphs to bring us down from the climax of the essay and continues to show us how she took time to grow once she started asking for help. We aren’t led to believe she immediately became a jiu jitsu master after her one experience, which is a common mistake students make in their essays. It took months, if not years, for her to get to where she is now, so although her mindset shifted when she was younger, we get to see how her new perspective influenced her after that one example.
What Could Be Improved
One way this essay could be made even greater is by including an internal monologue to show us her emotions. This student already did an excellent job of showing us what happened externally, but when it comes to her feelings and thoughts at the moment, she tells us about them.
Instead of telling us she was frustrated when she kept messing up the dive rolls, she could have written something like this: “With every failed attempt a little voice in my head nagged at me over and over. You’re never going to get it. You’re terrible at this. Stop holding up the line, it’s not going to work.” These lines convey so much more emotion than just telling us she was frustrated. It helps us understand how she thinks, as well as make it more relatable because everyone knows what it’s like to feel hopeless and annoyed at yourself when you can’t do something correctly.
Incorporating more of her internal monologue would further elevate this essay which already does a good job of showing us what happened.
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