How to Write the Georgetown Essay Supplements 2019-2020
Georgetown University is a prestigious research university, located in Washington, D.C. and ranked 22nd nationally. A Roman Catholic institution, Georgetown places a strong emphasis on Jesuit values such as serving others, maintaining intellectual openness, and promoting intercultural, ethical, and spiritual understanding. Georgetown University is a highly selective school, having accepted 11.78% of early applicants and 14% of applicants from the regular pool for the Class of 2023.
Georgetown University is comprised of four distinct schools, each with a unique academic emphasis:
- Georgetown College
- School of Nursing & Health Studies, which specializes in health sciences
- Walsh School of Foreign Service, which prepares students for careers in international relations, diplomacy, politics, and the foreign service
- McDonough School of Business, which offers undergraduate programs in business, finance, and related disciplines.
Georgetown is not on the Common Application, and, as such, it requires all applicants to respond to two general prompts in addition to writing an additional essay specific to the school of their choice and completing an application form through the university’s portal. Want to know your chances at Georgetown? Calculate your chances for free right now.
The prompts for the 2019-2020 academic year are:
How to Write the Georgetown University General Supplemental Essays
This prompt gives you a lot of freedom in determining which talent or skill you choose to highlight. The first thing to remember is that you should only select one talent or skill because you’re only given 250 words to work with; any admissions officer will value depth over breadth. The other crucial idea to keep in mind is that the admissions panel will not read each of your essays in a vacuum. Rather, you should think of all the essays you’re going to complete for Georgetown as a package. This means that you shouldn’t select a skill for this prompt that you will also highlight in essay #2, about your most meaningful extracurricular (see below). So, if you’ve decided to write about involvement with the crew team for the second prompt, and to highlight your ability to collaborate with your peers, “teamwork” shouldn’t be the skill you describe when answering this prompt.
In fact, the special talent or skill you talk about does not necessarily have to show up as part of an organized extracurricular activity in your resume. If you have a particular hobby that you pursue on your own free time, this prompt gives you the perfect opportunity to highlight a skill you’ve gained through that hobby. For example, if you’re an avid amateur chess player, you could write about your ability to think quickly or your analytical prowess here. If you run a popular blog about your favorite book series or TV show, you could talk about your resulting ability to write code and to design websites, or your uncanny ability to recall the most obscure trivia on the subject you’re passionate about.
You are free to choose almost any interest or talent you have. The most important thing is to highlight the transferable skills you have acquired as a result. Almost any hobby, no matter how silly you may think it may seem, teaches you skills you can apply beyond that narrow interest. With your Grey’s Anatomy blog, it can be website design. With your collection of rare stamps, it can be your networking abilities that helped you acquire new objects for your collection, or your superb archival research skills.
When drafting your answer, remember to briefly introduce the talent or skill and explain how you’ve come to possess it. Then, you should spend the majority of your response explaining what makes the skill worthwhile, how it has served you in the past, and how it can serve you in your future.
The key strategy to responding to this prompt is to figure out which activity or program best exemplifies your interests and values. Rather than reach for the club you’ve committed the most hours to or an activity that you think would look the most impressive to the admissions officer, take a moment to pick one that inspires you. You’ll never be able to divine which specific activity the adcom may find the most appealing, so your best bet is to select the one that you’re most passionate about and show them why.
A few bits of advice:
If you decide to talk about a summer program, be very careful which one you pick and how you frame it.
For example, spending a few weeks traveling Europe or participating in a paid summer program on a college campus may have been a very enriching experience for you, but it is easy to stumble into cliches and run out of things to say in this context. It is highly likely that there will be many other applicants who have had similar experiences, which will make it much more difficult for you to convince the adcom that your activity is unique and indicative of your specific interests.
Further, it is harder to justify a one-time summer experience as an activity demanding the greatest level of involvement.
However, if you spent three summers in a row working as a camp counselor or participating in community service projects with a particular organization, you can definitely highlight your commitment to the activity.
When the prompt asks for an activity with which you have been most involved, it does not necessarily refer to the number of hours you spent.
For example, you may have devoted nine years of your life to playing an instrument and performing. At the same, you may have joined the school paper as a junior, written several articles for every edition, and created a brand new features section to highlight student accomplishments beyond the classroom.
While counting hours would lead us to conclude that you’ve spent more time being a musician, it is evident from this example that you’ve shown most initiative as a reporter, despite the short period you spent at the paper.
While it is fantastic if your chosen activity directly ties into the major you’re planning to pursue, don’t worry too much about picking something that you deem most relevant to your field.
In this essay, the adcom is looking to understand your passions, the skills you gained, your strengths as a leader or a team player, and your dedication. If you can demonstrate your commitment to, say, teaching ukulele to small kids and your creativity and excitement in approaching the task at hand, you will show the adcom that you have acquired transferable skills, which you will apply with the same intensity to your collegial pursuits.
Don’t try to second-guess what the adcom may or may not wish to see. Pick an activity that makes you the most excited —the one you never cease to talk about with your friends and family — and write about why it’s important.
Although Georgetown is not on the Common App, this prompt asks essentially the same questions as the Common App prompts for 2019-2020. This essay is an opportunity for the adcom to get to know you as an individual. Through this essay, they want to learn who you are, what your values are, what drives you and gets you out of bed in the morning, in other words — what makes you unique. The most efficient approach here is to use your Common App personal statement.
Notice the prompt’s emphasis on the importance of diversity. Whether or not you end up using your Common App essay, make sure that your response highlights the unique perspective you will contribute to the Georgetown community. Remember that diversity does not necessarily imply belonging to an ethnic or religious community, which is a topic many students tend to initially gravitate towards. For example, if you are someone who has lots of experience traveling, you can talk about how exploration is a key aspect of your personality. If you devote all of your free time to designing sets for your school’s plays, you can emphasize your identity as an artist and team player in your response.
The admissions committee will be choosing among hundreds of applicants, many of whom will have academic profiles, grades, and scores similar to your own. The key to producing a successful response here is to make yourself stand out in the eyes of your reader.
How to Write the Georgetown University School-Specific Supplemental Essays
The primary purpose of each school-specific prompt to determine why you want to study a particular discipline and why you want to study it specifically at Georgetown. While your responses to the general prompts will give the adcom a picture of who you are beyond your academic accomplishments, the school-specific essays seek to assess your intellectual motivations for choosing a particular program of study.
When responding to any of these prompts, it is important to keep in mind Georgetown’s unique characteristics, such as Georgetown’s values of educating “men and women for others” (those who will seek to improve their communities and society at large) and its emphasis on ethics and worldliness.
In this essay, you want to underline your academic and career-related goals and demonstrate why Georgetown is the perfect school to help you achieve them. Be sure to draw on Georgetown’s unique Jesuit identity and its specific values when responding to this question. For example, if you are planning to study politics, you can discuss your interest in improving people’s lives and connect it with Georgetown’s emphasis on serving others.
For the purposes of this prompt, it is also important that you establish what being educated means to you. You want to explain your definition early on in your response before diving into specific examples from your life. Receiving an education can mean a number of different things, and this open-ended questions gives you an opportunity to define education in a way that will highlight your unique experiences.
You could discuss how education to you means broadening your horizons beyond the classroom by attending independent film screenings or local art exhibits in your town. You could define education as exploring new ideas by connecting to those around you with different opinions and points of view. Education could mean learning new languages in order to be able learn about new cultures and belief systems. Whatever position you decide to take, be sure to explicitly address what being educated means to you in your introduction.
Here are a few ideas to help you in crafting a perfect response:
1. As mentioned in the prompt, if you’re applying to a specific program within the College, you need to focus on the specific opportunities it has to offer you. Do some research on the university’s website to see if there is anything that jumps out at you—Georgetown, and D.C. in general, are home to many symposiums, conferences, and nationwide events that can provide you with ample opportunity to learn beyond the classroom.
2. Don’t be afraid to discuss Georgetown’s wide network and the possibility of connecting with important practitioners in your field. Many faculty members at Georgetown have previously worked in the public or private sectors, and being able to take their courses will afford you the opportunity to better understand your chosen field.
3. Washington, D.C. is a wealth of museums, historical sites, non-profit organizations, and interest-based societies that will enable you to apply your academic knowledge out in the world. If you choose to highlight the importance of the university’s location to your learning goals, keep in mind that D.C. is home to a number of prestigious universities.
Don’t focus solely on D.C.’s advantages at the expense of the opportunities unique to Georgetown. If you wish to discuss the wealth of historical resources available at the National Archives, talk about the unprecedented access that being a Georgetown student will provide. Visiting a museum is something any tourist can do, but having a conversation with a field specialist and witnessing the conservation process on a class trip is a chance only Georgetown students have!
Remember, when the prompt asks you to discuss what being educated means to you, it does not refer solely to the classes you will attend. Drawing attention to opportunities beyond the classroom that being a member of the Georgetown community will offer you is a key difference between a good and a great response.
This prompt is a chance for you to explain to the adcom why you’re choosing to devote your academic career to health sciences. Prior to writing your response, make sure to research the major you’re applying to and understand what sets it apart from the others.
For example, health care management & policy majors really focus on the policy aspect of the health industry, learning about key stakeholders in the policymaking process and understanding what goes into managing and improving the industry. So if you’re applying into this major, you want to highlight your interest in the legislative and managerial aspects of the field, rather than discuss your passion for taking care of individual patients. Above all, this essay is a time for you to reflect on and narrow down your interests.
As with any school-specific essay, you want to write something that sets you apart from all the other applicants. It’s very likely that they, too, will have experiences working in labs or volunteering at a local hospital to speak about. You need to find an angle that highlights your unique perspective and approach.
Read on for some ideas below:
1. If you are someone who lived through a serious or chronic illness, you can address your experiences here as a way to explain your interest in the health industry. While an illness can be a challenging and extremely personal topic to write about, you can focus on the ways it helped to develop your passion for helping others or for conducting scientific research as a way to put your academic accomplishments in context.
2. If you have a family member who works in the healthcare industry, you can discuss your first exposure to the field in the context of building connections with your loved ones. Perhaps your uncle has spent countless hours pointing out inefficiencies in the ways we currently manage large hospitals based on his work as a doctor. You can recount these conversations as a gateway to your passion for healthcare and even mention some projects you may wish to pursue to combat these problems in the future.
3. If you spent a summer or your after-school hours volunteering at a local hospital or other medical establishment, you can use an anecdote describing your experience to underline your interest in the industry. Keep in mind that many other students applying to this school will likely have similar activities on their resume. Try to find a unique angle that will exemplify your experience.
What was the specific moment that you first realized you want to study health? What were you doing when you had that revelation? Was their a particularly jarring conversation or event that led you to this conclusion? Perhaps you volunteered in a childcare center at the hospital and spending time with a particular child first prompted you to realize that you find caring for other people especially fulfilling. Perhaps you prepared a research project for your biology class and became fascinated with genetic disorders, leading you to seek out a summer internship in a local lab. Whatever angle you choose, be sure to reflect on the questions above as you prepare to write your essay, and try to pick an anecdote that highlights your personality.
When you sit down to write, remember that your main goal to explain to the adcom why what you want to accomplish cannot be accomplished by studying any other field. Focus on program features that set Georgetown apart from other universities and find a connection to your personal experiences that will help to humanize you in the eyes of the reader.
Applicants to the School of Foreign Service are expected to be well-versed in global affairs. This essay is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your passion for and understanding of current issues. It is important to pick a prompt that is unique and related to your interests and experiences. Don’t try to write an essay about solving the Israeli-Palestinian because it is the hot topic of the day. Think of a prompt that speaks to you, whether it is an issue that you’ve researched extensively or a topic that connects to you personally.
This essay is not just a MUN-style paper proposing a solution to a distant problem from which you are entirely disconnected. The adcom wants to understand why the issue is important to you, and personal anecdotes are the most powerful way to convey this.
Find some examples of strong responses below.
1. If you devoted some time raising money for a charity that helps to finance the education of a child in need, you can connect your personal experience to the larger issue of income or education disparities. Spend a paragraph detailing the moment that first sparked your interest in this issue and follow it up with a nuanced analysis of the topic.
2. If you’ve taken a class or worked on a project that exposed you to a variety of international issues, explain why this topic struck a chord. While you may not have a direct experience with the issue at hand, try to think of ways to connect it to your own life.
3. If you’re passionate about female participation in politics, you could discuss your first voting experience and highlight how the lack of female candidates on the ballot sparked your outrage. Or you could mention the insufficient number of female role models in the political arena that struck you as a child interested in politics.
4. Even if you lack an academic or extracurricular experience that ties into current affairs, there are other ways you can make a personal connection to the topic. If there is a book you read or a movie you watched that exposed you to an issue of global significance, which you’ve been curious about ever since, this can be your link! Make sure to show to the adcom why this topic grabbed your attention and to highlight your intellectual curiosity and passion.
Whichever topic you choose to write about, remember that your essay should be well-researched. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to include citations, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the issue, any action that’s been taken to combat it, and any key actors involved. This essay is your chance to demonstrate both your research and analytical thinking skills. And don’t forget to make a policy recommendation at the end of your essay—it need not be long, but keep it accurate, appropriate, and realistic!
This prompt should not be regarded as yet another “why business school” essay. Note the question’s emphasis on a global approach and its reference to ethics. As mentioned earlier, Georgetown’s identity is built upon its Jesuit values, which manifest themselves in all its academic programs. When you write this essay, keep those keywords in mind. In responding to the prompt, highlight the unique perspective that this program seeks to provide and emphasize your appreciation for the opportunities it will offer you.
Here are a few response ideas:
1. If the school’s focus on ethics appeals to you, you could discuss your passion for developing sustainable business practices and link it to a local business in your community whose model you particularly appreciate. If you have ever worked for a small business or if your family or friends own one, you can mention it to point out the origins of your focus on sustainability.
2. If the McDonough’s global approach attracted you to the school in the first place, you can talk about your interest in economic models different from that of the U.S. For instance, if you’re fascinated by India’s initiatives to combat deep poverty in its rural regions, this is your opportunity to discuss it.
Be sure to tie it to the programs and opportunities offered at the school. For example, if there is a course on the economics of poverty that you are particularly eager to enroll in or a professor who is an expert in this field, talk about it in your response!
3. You can never go wrong with harnessing Georgetown’s advantageous D.C. location to help you justify your interest in its business school. In particular, if you’re interested in financial policy or the interaction between the government and entrepreneurs, you can reference the internship opportunities that McDonough’s strategic location will provide you and the star faculty, who frequently come to teach at Georgetown after working in D.C.’s public and private sectors for many years.
The main reason that Georgetown does not use the Common App is that it wishes to only attract students who are dedicated enough to their university and its values that they are willing to go through a separate application process to get there. As you work on your application, remember what makes Georgetown unique and why these particularities appealed to you when you first put Georgetown down as a potential school on your list. Think hard about your motivation for applying, do your research, and reach out for help when needed!
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