Georgetown University Guide
The Ivy Scholars guide to Georgetown University’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Mascot: Jack the Bulldog
Type: Private Research Institution
Population: 19,000 (7,500 undergrads)
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Year Founded: 1789
4 Year Graduation Rate: 89%
Gender Distribution: 56% female, 44% male
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Residency: 1% in state, 82% out of state, 17% international
Location Type: Urban
Schedule System: Semesters
Student/Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Average Class Size: 20
Demographics: 53% Caucasian, 9% Asian, 10% Hispanic, 6% Black, 22% Other
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US News Rankings:
- #16 Best Undergraduate Teaching
- #19 Study Abroad
- #24 National Universities
- #27 Best Value Schools
- #33 Most Innovative Schools
- #1 Best Colleges for International Relations per Niche
- #9 Best Colleges for Business per Niche
- #14 Top Research Universities per Forbes
- #15 Top Colleges per Forbes
- #29 US Colleges per The Times of Higher Education
- #57 Best Value Colleges per Forbes
- #83 Best Colleges per Money Magazine
Georgetown Admissions Information
- Early Action: November 1st
- Regular Decision: January 1st
- Transfer Deadline: March 1st
- Early Action: December 15th
- Regular Decision: April 1st
- Transfer: June 1st
- EA: 12%
- RD: 15%
- Transfer: 7%
Average Applicant Pool: 21,000
Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 3,400
Average Number Enrolled: 1,600
Application Systems: Georgetown Application
SAT Scores: 25th percentile – 1370, 75th percentile – 1530
ACT Scores: 25th percentile – 31, 75th percentile – 34
*Test mandatory. Writing sections required.
Demonstrated Interest: Georgetown does not consider demonstrated interest.
Recommendation Letter Policies: A letter or report from a counselor is required. One letter from a teacher is required. The teacher who should write the letter depends on the applicant’s desired school/major: Georgetown college: science or pre-med, math or science teacher; foreign language or linguistics, a foreign language teacher; all other majors, any teacher from a core academic subject. School of Business: math or social studies teacher. School of Nursing: science or math teacher. School of Foreign Service: teacher in a core academic subject.
Georgetown Essay Prompts:
- Common App Personal Statement (650 words)
- Briefly (approximately one-half page, single-spaced) discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved.
- Compose two essays (approximately one page, single-spaced each) on the topics given below, based on which school you are applying to.
- (All Applicants) 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.
- (Applicants to Georgetown College) What does it mean to you to be educated? How might Georgetown College help you achieve this aim? (Applicants to the Sciences and Mathematics or the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics should address their chosen course of study).
- (Applicants to the School of Nursing) Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major (Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, Global Health, or Nursing).
- (Applicants to the 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 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.
- Students may only apply using Georgetown’s own application.
- Alumni interviews are a required part of the admissions process, these are scheduled once your application is submitted.
- Students intending to major in art, music, theatre, or dance are allowed to submit a supplemental portfolio to the department in question for review as part of their application.
- Transfer students need to have graduated from high school (or the equivalent) and completed at least one semester of college. They cannot have completed more than four full-time semesters of college.
- Standardized test scores are required unless the student has been out of high school for more than 5 years.
- Transfer applicants are not guaranteed alumni interviews, though they will be granted if available.
- Reports from an academic professor and a dean from your prior institution are required.
Georgetown Admission Strategy
The most important factor Georgetown is looking for is academic excellence, as demonstrated by GPA, course rigor, and standardized test scores. Note that at least three SAT Subject Tests are “recommended” for students applying to Georgetown.
Other important factors are essays, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, interview, talent, and character.
Factors which are considered are legacy status, first generation status, race/ethnicity, geographic origin, and work or volunteer experience.
Being a recruited athlete can help your admissions chances, with approximately 10% of the incoming class being designated as recruited athletes. While the school still wants to see proper academic preparation, recruitment does give a boost to admissions chances.
While the school has a Catholic affiliation, applicant’s religion has no impact on admissions decisions.
The school wants students who will impact campus and the world for the better, and those who demonstrate leadership ability in their extracurriculars or teacher recommendations are more likely to do so. In the same vein, students who are passionate about theta they are studying are more likely to make an impact in the field. The school wants students to leave a positive impact and the world, and will be drawn to those students who have already shown an ability to do so.
The school looks for passion and involvement generally in extracurriculars. While it is great if they all fall in line with your intended field of study, it is not required. What is important is that extracurriculars, and the short essay which discusses one of them, describe a student’s passion for what they are doing. A student deeply involved at a high level in a few activities will stand out more to admissions here.
Students who are descendents of the 292 slaves sold by the university in the 1800s will receive the same boost to admissions as legacy applicants.
The school is currently actively working to increase the number of low income and first-generation students on its campus, along with increasing recruitment rates for underrepresented student populations.
While Georgetown does practice holistic admissions, having good academic preparation is still a very important part of an application. While a few low grades or lower than average test scores can be made up for by truly stellar achievements in other areas, it isn’t good to rely on that, especially as the school’s acceptance rate is so low. Having a high GPA, taking rigorous classes, and achieving good test scores will aid your application.
The school requires all applicants complete an alumni interview, and treats this as a key component of the application. Doing poorly on this will hurt your application, and performing well will aid you. It is a good idea to practice once or twice before attending. Be ready to answer questions about why you like Georgetown specifically, and what field you want to study. Don’t be overly scripted in your response, nor should you only say what you think interviewers want to hear. The interview is a chance for the school to better know you as a person and applicant, and you should take full advantage of that.
Your character will be an important part of your application, and the essays are the best place to show this. While Georgetown does not require students to be Catholic, they do base their values on their Jesuit culture, and look for complementary values in students. While you don’t need to swear undying loyalty to the pope, they are looking for compassion, leadership, and a desire to make the world a better place. Demonstrating these traits in your essays will show the school that you fit in with the culture they are trying to nurture.
For extracurriculars, what they are looking for specifically will change each year, as they try to ensure a diverse and well-rounded community overall. That said, they will always seek passionate and involved students, who are dedicated to and specialize in one extracurricular activity, and excel in their chosen field.
Students should consider which of the schools they are best suited for when applying to Georgetown, as admissions decisions are made by school, and changing between them is difficult.
Students should be aware of the culture at Georgetown, and ok with it before they decide to attend. While students are not required to be Catholic, or indeed show any religious affiliation, the school is still associated with the Catholic faith, and the Jesuits in particular. While this manifests differently from Notre Dame, it does still impact campus culture.
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- Georgetown College (15% acceptance rate)
- McDonough School of Business (17% acceptance rate)
- School of Nursing and Health Studies (16% acceptance rate)
- Walsh School of Foeign Service (15% acceptance rate)
- Changing schools requires students write an essay explaining why they believe the change is necessary, and receiving permission from the dean.
- The school has two tiers of core requirements. The first tier is required for all undergraduates, the second tier is developed by the separate schools to support their individual missions. The global core includes: Philosophy (2 courses), Theology (2 courses), Writing (2 courses), Humanities (1 course), Engaging Diversity (2 courses), Science (1 course)
- Comprehensive Core Requirement Information
- Georgetown College Core
- McDonough School of Business Core
- School of Nursing and Health Studies Core
- Walsh School of Foreign Service Core
Courses of Study:
AP Credit Policies:
- Georgetown awards credit for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP exams and for 6 or 7 on IB exams.
- Comprehensive AP Credit Information
- There is no separate Honors College, however Georgetown College offers three Honors Programs: Oxfords Honors, Science Honors, and Independant Honors. Each of these comes with scholarship and research funding. Students have to apply to these programs separately, and may only receive funding from one.
- Departmental Honors (contact individual departments for more information)
- Graduation and Semester Honors (including Latin Honors, based on cumulative GPA)
- Academic Honor Societies
- Students are encouraged to participate in research on campus.
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
- The McDonough School of Business has an undergraduate program, which offers seven majors. They offer a further dual degree program with the School of Foreign Service.
- The career development center connects students with resources for jobs and internships.
- Business related student organizations
- The school offers a 5-year program, which offers a BS in Business Administration and a MS in Foreign Service.
- While there is no pre-med major, the Pre-Health Program seeks to advise students who want to go on to advanced degrees in medicine. It includes a set plan of study and career and school advising.
- The Early Assurance Program for the School of Medicine allows undergraduate students at the end of their sophomore year to receive early admission to the school of medicine, so long as they meet the needed requirements to apply, and maintain the expected academic performance.
- Pre-Med Society
Computer Science Options:
- The Department of Computer Science offers both a BA and a BS in CS, as well as a minor for non-majors.
- Accelerated MS in computer science allows students to get a BS/MS in only 5 years.
- Undergraduate Awards in Computer Science.
Additional Specialty Programs:
Programs for High Schoolers:
- The College Prep Program is a five-week program for high schoolers where they take academic classes and learn about the college applications process.
- Academies are 1-week or 3-week programs that offer in-depth introductions to various academic topics, taught by Georgetown faculty.
- College Credit Courses allow high school students to enroll in classes at Georgetown during their summer session for college credit.
Student Life at Georgetown University
School Motto: Both in One
Mission and Values:
- Mission: Georgetown is a Catholic and Jesuit, student-centered research university. Established in 1789 in the spirit of the new republic, the university was founded on the principle that serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures, and beliefs promotes intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding. We embody this principle in the diversity of our students, faculty and staff, our commitment to justice and the common good, our intellectual openness and our international character. An academic community dedicated to creating and communicating knowledge, Georgetown provides excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional education in the Jesuit tradition for the glory of God and the well-being of humankind. Georgetown educates women and men to be reflective lifelong learners, to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.
- Additional Information
- Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Grad Reports)
There are 13 residence halls on campus, 4 of which are set aside for first years. Residences generally are divided into halls, which are traditional dorms, and villages, which feature apartment-style accommodations. While upperclassmen are not required to live in campus housing, many do for the entirety of their stay at Georgetown.
- 99% of freshmen live on campus
- 85% of undergraduates live in on-campus housing at any given time
Campus & Surrounding Area:
- The main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of DC, and contains the undergraduate schools and the medical school. Located on elevated land overlooking the Potomac River, the campus has mainly Gothic and Georgian architecture.
- Points of interest on and near campus include the Astronomical Observatory, Dahlgren Chapel, the M-Street Commercial Area, and the Waterfront Park.
- Located only a few miles from the Capitol and the museums and sites there.
- Safety Information: (Georgetown, College Factual)
- Virtual Tour, Virtual Visit
- There is a free shuttle which runs through campus and to two metro stations. There are various public transportation options for travel within DC.
- Parking Information
- Georgetown Day – A celebration on the last Friday of the semester before finals begin, involving parties and celebrations both on and off campus.
- The Big Hunt – A day-long DC-wide scavenger hunt for first years and transfer students, where teams of 4-6 compete to win prizes.
- Midnight Madness – This late-night event kicks off the basketball season with performances, shooting contests, and showcases by the men’s and women’s teams.
- Homecoming – The school welcomes alumni back to campus, and celebrates a football game with a weekend full of events, celebrations, and activities.
- Organization Database
- Sample Organizations (The Philodemic Society, Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society, Students of Georgetown Inc.)
- D1 Athletics – Big East Conference (Good Men’s Basketball and Women’s Lacrosse)
- Intramural Sports
- Club Sports
- Main Rival: Villanova
- Parties, both on and off campus, are quite common on weekends, either sponsored by clubs or greek life.
- DC itself has vibrant nightlife, including bars, clubs, and live music.
- The Department of Performing Arts hosts live performances every Friday.
- Sports games are often social events, featuring tailgating and celebrations.
Georgetown Financial Information
Yearly Cost of Attendance:
- Total: $69,720
- Tuition: $55,059
- Room & Board: $11,451
- Books, Travel, and Personal Expenses: $3,210
- Note: Costs of housing and dining depend on residence and plan
More than half of students receive some form of financial aid. A student’s ability to pay is based on their family income which must be reported in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students are required to make a minimum contribution, regardless of financial need. Most financial aid awards include work-study and loans as part of the award.
Students are automatically considered for a number of need-based scholarships when they apply. Georgetown is committed to meeting all demonstrated financial need of its students. They have also collected a list of outside scholarships which students are encouraged to apply to.
- While the school is Jesuit-run, only 41% of students are Catholic. The school employs a full-time rabbi for their Jewish students, and was the first school in the US to employ a full-time imam.
- The campus hosts one of the nation’s oldest student debate societies, The Philodemic Society, founded in 1830. The Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society is the oldest continually running student theatre troupe in the country.
- Georgetown hosts the largest student run company in the world (The Corp). Only current undergraduates may be employees or sit on the board of directors.
- 1,141 students and alumni of the school enlisted during the Civil War.
- Notable alumni include President Bill Clinton, Justice Antonin Scalia, comedian John Mulaney, and Andrew Haley, America’s first space-lawyer.
- Nobody is certain where the cheer “Hoya-Saxa” used to spur on the school’s sports teams, actually originates from.