How to answer the Georgetown supplemental essay prompts 2019-2020

Posted 14 days ago

Georgetown University - Washington D.C.’s premier private research university, was founded in 1789 as a Jesuit college - the oldest Catholic affiliate in the United States. Now, Georgetown has a global reputation for its footprint in the social sciences and its education of countless American policymakers -- as well as growing programs in the humanities, sciences, and health sciences.

A walk through Georgetown campus takes you through a quaint, affluent corner of D.C., including a campus filled with Gothic architecture and bustling M street, full of boutiques and designer brands.

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Georgetown requires a number of supplement essays, regardless of undergraduate school, so let’s take a look:

Essay 1 (required for all applicants): Indicate any special talents or skills you possess (250 words).

This is a tricky essay, and your aim should be to avoid the most common pitfall students will make when writing this: either sounding arrogant / bragging or underselling yourself. The difficulty will be walking the line between these two.

Here are some steps to writing this essay:

Make a list of as many talents/skills you can think of as possible. The difficulty is being exhaustive, so here are some ideas:

  • Technical skills: whether it’s coding in Python or riding a motorcycle, make a list of skills that are practical and related to a specific task
  • Language skills: in which languages are you native, fluent, or conversational?
  • Talents: what would you do for a school talent show… juggle? Do a back handspring? Any special talents, list them here
  • Trainings: are you a certified lifeguard, EMT, coach, or anything else?
  • Personal skills: do people tell you that you’re a really good listener? Maybe you work really well under pressure, are a strong leader, or are really good at time management.

Identify which of these skills are not already apparent in the Common App.

  • For example, if you’ve already included your gymnastics history in the resume section, there’s probably no need to write about it here - you want to use this space to give your reader additional information, rather than repeat what they already know.

Essay 2: 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.

This is an easy one: a chance to show that you (1) did something you were passionate about and (2) that you learned something from it.

Write about something you were passionate about

Remember, you’re writing an entire essay about this activity - it should be something you have stuff to say about! Maybe your parents made you run cross country last year, but you didn’t enjoy it much -- probably not the right topic. However, if you’ve been training for a marathon, on your own volition, over the past six months, that’s a great topic.

Whatever it is, you’ll want to choose something where you feel like you learned something about an activity, a group of people, or yourself.

Tell us what you learned

This essay should be more focused on your takeaways from the experience, rather than the details of how you did it.

Tell your reader - did the activity make you think something different about yourself or your community? How did it change your relationship with your family? How did it change your perspectives or interests?

Try to avoid common takeaways like, “it taught me to work hard” or, “it taught me that everybody is equal.” The more personal the better - tell your reader something that is unique to you, that (probably) no one else would have also taken away from the experience.

Remember to be humble - avoid any takeaways about how great you are, or how much better you are than other people on your team or in your class.

Essay 3: 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. (1 page, single-spaced, or approximately 300-400 words depending on font size)

This essay is a bit of a free-for-all. At the very least, it should express elements of your personality that are not accessible elsewhere in the application. Most importantly, you shouldn’t aim to write what you think the admissions committee wants - you should aim to write what you want.

The question beneath the question here is -- there will be lots of applicants to Georgetown with similar applications to yours. They will have similar test scores, extracurricular activities, and academic achievements. But as a real life person - how are you different from these people who seem similar to you on paper?

If you have a great sense of humor, let it come out here. If you have a powerful value system taught to you by a family member that guides you in every decision you make, talk about it here. If you see the world differently, or have different beliefs from your classmates, feel free to write (respectfully, of course!) here. The “essay” can even be something that’s not an essay - a poem, or a song. Regardless, this essay should be unique to you.

Essay 2: 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).

This is really a two part essay: first asking a difficult general question, and the second asking for a standard “why our school” essay. Once you can nail down your answer for the first essay, the second will be pretty straightforward.

Another way to think about “what it means to be educated” would be - what are the different types of ways to be educated? For example, part of your education is academic - you gain a body of knowledge around certain subjects which has both practical applications (sometimes it’s actually necessary to read or be able to do arithmetic), as well as more obtuse applications (part of school is “learning how to learn,” to absorb and apply information, follow instructions and deadlines, to produce bodies of work).

So, ask yourself - what types of education are you most excited about at Georgetown? Maybe it’s your classes, your classmates, or the internships you’ll pursue in DC. Maybe it’s a certain Georgetown program, or a club you want to start, or a conference where you’d like to speak.

In this essay, you should… First, answer what it means to be educated, focusing on what ‘types’ of education excite you most.

Then, use specific Georgetown information to demonstrate why Georgetown can give you this type of information. For example, let’s say you’re interested in economics. Sure, you could discuss in your essay how you’re excited to take Georgetown’s intro economics course - but every college has this class! Instead, try writing about more Georgetown-specific facts - for example, Georgetown is unique among peer institutions in having a specific major in “Political Economy.” If you’re interested in the economic forces driving politics, Georgetown can uniquely help you become “educated” in the way you want to be.

Essay 2: Applicants to the School of Nursing and Health Studies-

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).

This is really the same essay as for Georgetown College - first, give a fairly straightforward answer about how you became interested in health care. Then, use the above guidance to link Georgetown-specific programming to this interest.

Essay 2: Applicants to the Walsh 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.

The key here is to be specific. Something too broad like “the economy” will be very tough to make compelling. In your essay, make sure to do two things:

  • Justify the importance to you personally. If you’re interested in solving poverty in Africa - tell your reader why Africa specifically? What is the personal significance to you?
  • Justify why Georgetown is the best place to study this. Using similar guidance as detailed above for Georgetown College, defend to your reader why Georgetown specifically is the best place to study this topic. What specific courses, programs, or faculty would allow you to study this topic - and even make an impact on it - that other schools would not allow?

Essay 2- Applicants to the McDonough 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.

Similar to above - make sure you are highly specific in justifying both your personal reasons for studying business, and why Georgetown particularly is best positioned to help you pursue these motivations.

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