How to Write the Georgetown University Application Essays 2017-2018
Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is one of the nation’s top private research institutions. Georgetown offers rigorous academic programs with a particular focus on intellectual inquiry, a global perspective, and making a difference in the world. With a Jesuit tradition and a commitment to diversity, it is truly a unique institution that encourages its students to fully embrace their individuality and focuses on educating the whole person.
The university is comprised of four separate schools/colleges:
- Georgetown College
- The School of Nursing & Health Studies
- The Walsh School of Foreign Service
- The McDonough School of Business.
This past year, Georgetown received a record-high 21,465 applications and accepted a record-low 15.4% of its applicants. Georgetown’s admissions process is different in that it has an application separate from the Common Application, which asks applicants to answer two questions.
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Georgetown Application Essay Prompts
The hardest part about this prompt is deciding which activity you will write about. You could choose the one that takes up the most hours out of your day and is your biggest commitment on paper, or you could choose the activity you are most emotionally involved in — the one that has made the biggest impact on your personal development.
Although the former may be the first to come to mind, the latter almost always ends up being a more memorable essay. Sometimes these two descriptions apply to one activity, and that is fantastic, but sometimes it may take some deeper digging to find the activity that has actually most impacted you.
For example, let’s say you’ve played soccer for the past 6 years, but never really felt a passion for it. About a year ago you started volunteering at a local school for underprivileged kids, and you find yourself most looking forward to your time spent at the school each week. You will probably want to write about the volunteer work. If you reverse it and do a lot of volunteer work, but you find that the team environment of your sports team has made a huge impact on how you collaborate with others, you should write about sports.
Once you have decided which activity you will write about, you need to focus on proper execution of the essay. If the activity is widely known (e.g., Model UN, Speech and Debate), do not spend too much time introducing the activity before jumping into your personal involvement and connection. If the activity is not well known by outsiders, you may want to spend a few sentences discussing the activity before transitioning to its significance. Further, if the activity is something completely unique, you can take this as an opportunity to dive into more detail than you can on the small space given in the extracurricular section.
No matter what, don’t forget the most important rule for any essay: directly responding to the prompt! This prompt asks for you to “discuss the significance to you” of one of your activities, so don’t skimp out on the personal piece.
You can read more about how to answer this type of question in our guide on How to Write “Most Important Extracurricular” Essays.
Main Essay – All Applicants
This question is incredibly open-ended. It is very similar to the Common Application question about your background, identity, interests, etc., so the best strategy here is to use your Common App essay. Even if you answered one of the other Common App questions, they are all trying to get at answers to the four questions:
- “Who am I?”
- “Why am I here?”
- “What is unique about me?”
- “What matters to me?”
You can read more about strategy for answering the Common App essays in our guide How to Write the Common Application Essays 2017-2018.
You will only answer one of these questions based on which school you are applying to, but they are all fairly similar in that they are really trying to assess why you want to study a specific field at Georgetown.
Anecdote can be a very powerful method of conveying this. Did you have an epiphany in one of your classes? Were you conducting structured or independent research and realized this is something you want to continue doing? Whatever your reasoning, make sure to show and not just tell the admissions committee why this is the program for you.
Note: A few Georgetown-specific things to keep in mind are their focus on ethics and morality, due to their Jesuit history and their focus on molding individuals in service of the world. The exact wording of these prompts is no coincidence.
Applicants to Georgetown College
This essay asks how your interest in Georgetown relates to your goals. Don’t forget to mention your goals. How will studying at Georgetown College impact your future knowledge and self? Draw on what you know about what makes Georgetown unique that would contribute to an extraordinary experience in programs that are offered at most other colleges and universities.
Applicants to The McDonough School of Business
In this essay, the school specifically mentions global leadership and perspectives, as well as ethics in concordance with analytical and financial thinking. This is not your typical business program. Make sure you demonstrate that you know this and that it is the program for you. Look at the curriculum for some of the classes that interest you or the topics covered by speakers who come to the school, and see what resonates with you.
Applicants to The Walsh School of Foreign Service
The essay for the School of Foreign Service is slightly different in that it is not explicitly asking for “Why this subject? Why here?” but the way in which you answer this question will implicitly answer that. Because of Georgetown’s location in our nation’s capital, they expect most of their students to be aware of global issues, but those students wishing to matriculate into the School of Foreign Service must exhibit a passion for current events. This is your time to show that. You want to show them how you think through difficult situations and how you come to solutions.
Try to include something that isn’t common knowledge, either something you found through diligent research or a relatable personal or second-hand experience/anecdote.
Keep in mind that the only requirements for these essays is their approximate page length. Aside from the extracurricular short essay, they are all approximately one page in length (or approximately 500-700 words, depending on margins and font). Spend time making sure you have completely answered the questions and have not left out any pertinent information, but don’t overwhelm the Admissions committee with unnecessary details. You want your essay to impart the most pertinent aspects of your identity to the Admissions officer, not bog them down with long-windedness.
Georgetown University prides itself on creating a more personal admissions process by foregoing to use the Common App in favor of their own application. Take advantage of the fact that this is your application for Georgetown alone, and allow them to really get to know who you are and why you are a fantastic fit for their school. You’re going to do great!
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