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Duke University
Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write Georgetown’s “School or Summer Activity” Essay

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Alexander Oddo in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info. 


What’s Covered:



Georgetown’s second supplemental essay asks applicants to respond to the following prompt:


Briefly discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.


For this essay, students have approximately half of a page, single-spaced, to craft their response. In this article, we will discuss how to choose your topic, structuring your response, and tips to avoid common pitfalls.


Choosing Your Activity


When brainstorming topics for this essay, it is critical to pick an activity that you have had a lot of involvement in and that is really significant to you. Consider activities that you have spent a lot of, if not the most time on, as well as activities that you are highly interested in and passionate about. 


Keep in mind, however, that passion trumps the amount of time invested. Often, students may have an extracurricular in mind for this essay that they have not been doing for very long, but really love. These activities, even when the student has not been involved for an extended period of time, typically are more impressive than an extracurricular that a student has been in for longer, but that they are not as passionate about.


Don’t Just Restate Your Resume


This essay should not be a restatement of your resume; it should instead emphasize the significance of the activity to you.


While including details can definitely have a place, such as in providing context about an uncommon activity, like curling for example, that portion of your essay should be limited to create room for reflection. 


To avoid being too detail-heavy, focus instead on making your essay story-based and include anecdotes. Writing in this way does a great job of showing who you are rather than telling, which allows your essay to be more creative and engaging rather than too professional or resume-like.


Consider Your “Why”


As you plan your essay, consider your “why,” or why you enjoy participating in the activity that you have chosen. Including your “why” allows you to demonstrate your authentic interest in the activity and make your essay truly stand out.


This is a crucial component of this essay, but it is unfortunately common for students to underplay this aspect in their essay. 


For example, there are a lot of common activities that many students participate in, such as Mock Trial or Model United Nations. If one student does Model UN just because it’s a fun activity, that might not lead to the best essay. 


Instead, if their “why” is that their participation in Model UN prepared them to achieve a specific career goal, helped them build community, or led to a formative life story, then that could contribute to some more interesting anecdotes and a better essay overall.


Discuss How the Activity Has Impacted You


In addition to your “why,” it is also important to reflect on how participation in this activity has impacted you. A strong essay will demonstrate to the admissions reader how this activity has made you who you are today.


Consider the following questions as you brainstorm: How has the activity has catalyzed your development of key personal traits? How has participating in this activity shaped your values? How has this activity helped you develop important friendships and professional relationships? If possible, try to tie the answers to these questions into your response. Specifically, you want to show Georgetown who you are and what is important to you, so it is important to take the time and reflect before writing this essay.


Structuring Your Essay


As you structure your essay, try to include “I statements.” These statements typically lend themselves to personal reflection and can ensure that your essay is focused on the significance of your activity to you. 


Additionally, when including anecdotes, you can leverage anecdotes from your childhood in this essay. These types of anecdotes can make for great introductions to an essay, or can help explain a lifelong interest. That said, in your essay you will still explain who you are right now, since that is what admissions officers are most interested in.


Looking for advice on how to write the other essays for Georgetown? Check out this article on CollegeVine!