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How to Ace the Georgetown Supplement Essay (2018-19)

NOV 18, 2018

Georgetown 2

Georgetown essays

At Georgetown, the structure for application essays is a little bit different to some other US schools. Students write the first two essays and then the essay for the school to which they are applying.

Georgetown Essay Prompts

Georgetown essay prompt 1:

[same as 2017-18] 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)

Similar to the Common Application essay prompt regarding one's background, identity, and interests, this essay is meant to allow you to express who you are and is, thus, intentionally open-ended. Supplementary questions, generally speaking, are a part of an application to enable you to provide admissions officers with the fullest possible sense of who you are. To this end, you should use this essay to highlight a topic or aspect of yourself that is not extensively covered in other sections of your application--give the committee a proverbial peek behind the veil.

In doing so, you need to demonstrate what makes you unique and therefore, show what you can contribute to the university community as a potential member of the student body. This is where your background and identity really come into play. Did your background pose any unique challenges that you've had to overcome, or did your identity play a pivotal role in guiding your personal development? 'Background' includes experiences, such as interactions and relationships with family and friends; training in the arts, music, and sports; and political, social, and economic environments. 'Identity' is closely related to background and includes ethnic, cultural, sexual, and religious identity. If framed and discussed correctly, these topics can lead to compelling essays.

For example, you could discuss the unique challenges you faced given your socio-economic background and how that impacted you. Or you can explore how your multi-cultural background taught you the importance of intercultural dialogue and how to act as an ambassador between two different worlds. The latter example provides an opportunity to highlight the intersection between multiple backgrounds/identities and show how it has positively impacted your personal growth.

Additionally, you shouldn't be hesitant to play upon your personality. While your Common App essay should be a tightly edited narrative picked to best exemplify a certain quality, achievement, or piece of growth, this essay can be guided more by rhetorical personality, or more intangible topics that relate especially to self-identity. For example, if you have a great sense of humor, let it come out here. Alternatively, if as long as you can remember you have been influenced by recurring moral idioms passed down by your family that guide you in every decision you make, then talk about that here.

But how do you truly demonstrate the qualities that make you unique in a short piece of writing? Tonal sincerity, concision, and storytelling through experience are three points to keep in mind. Strong essays will not approach achievements with too much arrogance or overplayed humility, and trade overly generalized proclamations about what their subjects are like for well-wrought statements about how their subjects felt or what they thought at specific moments in time. Trying to define or express yourself can be a more difficult task than you might expect (especially if you haven't yet written your Common App essay!)--once you've gotten some of your initial thoughts out, make sure to edit out qualifying statements that take a reader out of the narrative.

Georgetown essay prompt 2:

[same as 2017-18] Briefly discuss the significance to you of the school or summer activity in which you have been most involved. (approximately 1/2 page single spaced)

Try not to utilize this question merely to brag about your most impressive extracurricular activity. First, humility is an important characteristic to maintain throughout your application. Second and more importantly, the prompt is inquiring about the activity's _significance to you, _which provides you the opportunity to frame an otherwise impersonal topic into an intimate narrative. Picking the activity you are most passionate about, not the one that most easily allows you to spout resume-style achievements, therefore, is usually the best course of action. Your passion and positive emotional connection with that experience will naturally shine through your essay.

You should use the essay to highlight how the activity you are passionate about has shaped you as a person--always remember to relate the activity to a personal narrative. Like with the first essay, make sure to write from experience. Pick vivid moments you remember from starting, practicing, or participating in the pursuit you're describing. Then, think about how your involvement with the activity has changed over time. Did persistence in pursuing it teach you something about determination? Work ethic? Emotional expression? Forming friendships or communities? You should ask yourself why you spend time on this activity; thinking this through will help you to understand what about the pursuit of this activity is unique or individual to you. Why is/was it significant, how did the experience transform you, your previously held conceptions, or goals? For example, you could discuss your involvement in a volunteer program for underprivileged kids, and demonstrate how it inspired you to pursue public policy in education or child development. For this example, you would, if possible, express how you have followed up on (or plan to) this interest through other activities. Similarly, you could write about their experience as a peer-tutor and how it became an unlikely vehicle by which you simultaneously made new friendships, became more sympathetic to others, or learned about your strengths and weaknesses.

Georgetown essays for specific schools

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). (approximately 1 page single spaced)

At the outset, the task assigned by the prompt seems quite superficial: simply define what it means "to be educated." However, an overly general, opaque discussion about academia will not make for a captivating essay. The question is actually an opportunity for you to discuss your belief in education's power to reform and improve the self, and therefore, the world, and why you believe the opportunities at Georgetown specifically will allow you to maximize the power of education in the real world. In this regard, knowing a little about Georgetown University goes a long way. The applicant should be aware that Georgetown is a Jesuit university, and while that identity may not govern the institution to the degree that it did during its founding, it still very much informs the university's character. One Latin phrase often used by the Jesuits, and which serves as a prominent motto embraced by the Georgetown community, is cura personalis, meaning "care for the whole person." It denotes an approach to life that maintains a deep respect for the individual and their potential, which entails striving for ever-greater personal excellence in ALL aspects of life–intellectual, emotional, moral, and physical. This motto is revealing of the fact that the committee at Georgetown will most likely look favorably upon essays which regard education as not only the attendance of classes but as a developmental process of transforming the self into a motivated and obligated citizen.

Furthermore, you should be ready to address how this conception of education will enrich and inform your own educative journey, and why it has prompted your application to Georgetown. Strong essays will feature both in-depth research on academic and non-academic programs, as well as thoughtful, analytical insights that show a willingness to be transformed by education. Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as examining how you have gone about building a complete and educated self so far, is also crucial. For example, the applicant could discuss how Georgetown's education major and outside-the-classroom education-related programs (experiential learning) play to the applicant's passion and prior experience in education, while the program's sociology requirement will help develop their lack of knowledge in this subject and allow them to better understand the sociological underpinnings of current education policies and issues.

The McDonough School of Business:

_[same as 2017-18]_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. (approximately 1 page single spaced)

This question is very clear and direct with the task presented to the applicant–explain their interest in pursuing business studies at Georgetown. Note that the prompt is not asking for a vague discussion about your passion for business or finances; rather, it wants you to connect your passion with the specific elements offered by the McDonough School of Business (MSB). Therefore, you must address the following question: why, out of any business school available to you, does this one appeal to or complement your interests best? To this end, carefully studying both academic and extracurricular offerings at the MSB will be crucial to writing an effective supplement essay. Lots of strong, analytical sentences that directly relate the necessity of MSB programs to pursuing an ideal field of inquiry or topic of study will create successful supplement essays. Additionally, the applicant should mention aspects about Georgetown as a whole that truly makes studying there appealing. For example, the applicant could mention how Georgetown's global perspective, inherent in its location in D.C. (a hub for international politics and finance), perfectly supports their interest in international finance or international business development, especially given the university's proximity to related organizations and institutions, such as the Treasury Department, Department of Commerce, the International Money Fund, and the World Bank. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, you could mention an interest in developing their business acumen and that Georgetown offers a variety of opportunities for students to participate in real-life financial, business, and social ventures, whether by participating in the Compass Fellowship program or by working at the Georgetown University Alumni & Student Federal Credit Union. Specifics like this are what make an essay stand out, and are recommended not only for the MSB essay, but also the supplemental essays for the School of Foreign Service (SFS), College, and School of Nursing and Health Studies (SNHS).

School of Nursing and Health Studies:

_[same as 2017-18] _Describe the factors that have influenced your interest in studying health care. Please specifically address your intended major (Global Health, Health Care Management & Policy, Human Science, or Nursing). (approximately 1 page single spaced)

Again, this question is relatively straightforward. The prompt asks for you to explain your interest in pursuing healthcare studies. When writing this essay, you should avoid generalities, and be very specific about your motivations and intentions. Why are you interested in your particular field or topic? What experiences inform this interest? How will the specific programs at Georgetown help to enrich your study more effectively than other institutions? And how does study at Georgetown align with your vision about the role of healthcare study in the world? Drawing on your personal experiences with healthcare issues, either your own or someone close to you makes for a compelling and emotional narrative. For example, if you lost a parent or a sibling to cancer, you could relate this experience to their passion about oncology (to treat cancer patients) or biochemistry and molecular biology (as an avenue to study how to prevent or better treat cancer).

In addition, you should address the advantages that Georgetown's SNHS, specifically, offers their future university studies. For example, you could emphasize your passion for healthcare policy making, and that the combination of Georgetown's strong medicine program and its prime location in D.C. make it the optimal location for this specific field. Perhaps you are familiar with the work of a prominent medical researcher at Georgetown and are interested in learning from them or working as a research assistant with them. Finally, you could make note, as with the "Georgetown College" essay, that the SNHS is guided by the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, or "care for the whole person," and how this deeply resonates with your personal philosophy or the proper study of nursing more generally, as well as with your motivation to become a skillful and compassionate physician or biomedical scientist dedicated to the care of others and health needs of society.

Walsh School of Foreign Service:

[same as 2017-18] Briefly discuss a current global issue, indicating why you consider it important and what you suggest should be done to deal with it. (approximately 1 page single spaced)

To prepare a strong supplemental essay in this case, you should be prepared to address an appropriately specific global issue, justifying both its importance to you, and how exposure to foreign service education like that offered at Georgetown might help better clarify or craft a solution of reformation. To write this essay, you will need to prepare in two ways. Firstly, you should be well-versed on a narrow topic of international importance. Issues like "the economy" will read as overly vague--topics like "the economy of apartment rentals in fast-growing African and Asian cities" will provide a more manageable arena for a 1-page essay to seem well-reasoned. Secondly, you must be prepared to craft a personal narrative around your chosen issue. How did you happen to become aware of the issue? Has it affected you or one of your own communities intimately? Does it concern the violation or manipulation of a value that is central to you? Are academicians, especially those at Georgetown, striving to remedy it? Not trying hard enough? Explaining your passion, i.e., why you think it is important, takes deeper insight and personalizes a rather impersonal topic.

This essay essentially asks the applicant to play an analytical academic, concerned citizen, and policy-maker simultaneously. While seemingly a daunting task, applicants should not be intimidated. The admissions committee does not really expect you to be able to fully resolve a global issue; instead, it wants to see how well-informed you are about international affairs, whether you can effectively apply an analytical lens to one particular issue (both in describing the problem/implications and a potential solution), and what motivates you to study and address such issues. As an applicant to the SFS, you should already be familiar with international relations, and as a student, capable of providing an accurate portrayal and analysis of a given situation. Therefore, you should not only elaborate upon the various implications the issue has broadly, but also provide a personal touch that can intimately relay your enthusiasm in addressing the subject. For example, if you were of Iranian heritage could discuss the U.S.'s recent withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear deal with Iran), noting not only its negative implications on international nuclear non-proliferation efforts, but also on the trajectory of U.S.-Iran relations. Perhaps you would provide a personal anecdote about how your experience as an Iranian-American has informed your outlook on U.S.-Iran interactions and the unique political psychology of each nation.

Finally, the applicant should delve into what they believe they could gain from studying the issue at Georgetown2. After all, this is a supplementary essay for a Georgetown application--you should keep in mind that a committee will always be looking for supplements that make a strong case that their applicants genuinely want to attend _their specific school. _To this end, do some research. Georgetown's biggest assets, by far, are its world-class faculty members, many of whom are former international policy-makers (including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright), and its location in the (arguably) most consequential city for global politics. You should identify faculty members who are conducting a study that interests you particularly, and can further reference how these unique situational dynamics are appealing, particularly regarding your academic and professional aspirations. Furthermore, noting the SFS's excellent language and study-abroad opportunities, proximity to global think tanks, and fascinating majors ("Regional and Comparative Studies," "Science, Technology, and International Affairs," etc.) would distinguish the applicant's essay.

With this essay, as with all supplemental essays, you are looking to craft an engaging personal narrative that also deals substantively with the specific offerings and identifying creeds of the school. Adherence to the tips above should make the process of approaching this essay a little easier.

Best of luck!

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