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Last updated March 6, 2024

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How to Get into Georgetown

Key Takeaway

To stand out in Georgetown's competitive applicant pool, you'll need to show how you stack up in your academics, extracurricular accomplishments, commitment to your community, and personal characteristics.

Right in Washington, DC, Georgetown University has educated countless political figures (and also a surprising number of comedians?).

It’s also the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution in the country—and one of the most sought after. Of the almost 30,000 hopefuls each year, Georgetown can only admit a small fraction.

With an acceptance rate of only about 12%, Georgetown is a “reach” school for pretty much everyone who applies. Even the perfect student with perfect grades and activities still has their work cut out for them.

So what do you do if you really, really want to go to Georgetown? Enter: application strategy.

In this post, I let you in on the application strategy tips and tricks we use with our clients to get them into schools like Georgetown year after year.

Shall we begin?

How to Apply to Georgetown

Georgetown doesn’t use the Common App (more on that in a minute), but you’ll still need the standard application basics. These include:

  • The Georgetown application
  • The application supplement
  • Application essays
  • Your high school transcript
  • Your school report
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Required admissions interview
  • Required standardized test scores

When you apply to Georgetown, you’ll also indicate your school or college preference, and you’ll fill out some related questions.

Now that that information is out of the way, we can talk a little bit about why in the world Georgetown doesn’t use the Common App.

Does Georgetown use the Common App?

No! Georgetown has its own application, so you’ll have to jump through a few more hoops to apply.

According to Georgetown, the admissions office continues to use its own application because it keeps the process more personal. Because there are fewer applicants, the volume of applications is more manageable and allows admissions officers to read applications from the regions in which they are experts. The smaller applicant pool also makes room for each applicant to have an interview spot, and applying through a system separate from Common App or Coalition lets your recommenders submit unique letters to Georgetown on your behalf.

Georgetown Application Options

Georgetown has two application plans: Early Action and Regular Decision.

While there isn’t an Early Decision option, the Early Action plan does come with a catch. If you apply Early Action to Georgetown, you’re not binding yourself to attend Georgetown if you are admitted. But you are agreeing not to submit any Early Decision applications to any other institution. Read more about the policy on Georgetown’s website.

If that’s too restrictive for you, or if you just need more time to work on your application, then Regular Decision is your best bet. Georgetown explains that EA and RD have roughly the same acceptance rates, so you won’t be at a disadvantage if you decide to go RD.

Georgetown Application Deadlines

Early Action: November 1

Regular Decision: January 10

How hard is it to get into Georgetown?

Georgetown’s acceptance rate is just shy of 12%. That’s around the same mark as USC, Notre Dame, Tufts, and Tulane.

While a 12% acceptance rate isn’t impossibly low (hello, Stanford!), it’s still quite competitive. At that level, you’re going to need more than good grades and a few extracurriculars to get in. You’re going to need a solid application strategy.

To develop that strategy, we’ll start by going over what Georgetown looks for in applicants.

What does Georgetown look for in applicants?

We’ve already covered the fact that Georgetown’s admissions process is really personalized. But why is that?

Even though Georgetown enrolls around 1,500 students each year, admissions officers want to make sure that each of them is the perfect fit for the academic and campus culture. They want students who will equally grow from and contribute to the Georgetown community.

As you can see on their website, there are a few key factors admissions officers want to see in your application:

  1. Academic ability: This factor is first and foremost. As you’ll see in the next section, Georgetown students have to have excellent academic preparation—there’s no way around it. You can show that you’re prepared for Georgetown by taking a rigorous courseload each year of high school, demonstrating excellent writing skills in your essays, and showing deep levels of intellectual curiosity across your application.

  2. Out-of-the-classroom accomplishments: If you want to be a Georgetown student, you can’t sit in your room doing homework all day. Sure, those days will happen. But Georgetown students know how to get out in the world and do something with their passions and talents. They know how to make an impact. Georgetown admissions officers will expect that you’ve done the same, no matter what those passions or talents may be.

  3. Commitment to community: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Admissions officers aren’t just admitting you to be a student. They’re inviting you to join their community. And when you invite someone to join your community, you want to make sure that they know how to be a good community member. You can highlight your commitment by showing how you’ve contributed to any of the communities you’re already part of: school, your city, athletics, church, volunteering, a club, your friend group or family—any significant contribution you’ve made, highlight it.

  4. Personal character: We know from the Georgetown Common Data Set that personal character is one of the most important considerations Georgetown admissions officers make. That’s why we always recommend writing strengths-based essays that show how motivated, compassionate, intellectual, creative, etc. (you get the idea!) you are. If you want to take your strengths-based writing to the next level, check out the Essay Academy.

Start to think about how each of these categories applies to your own life and accomplishments as we continue on. Now let’s talk about stats.

Georgetown GPA requirement

There’s not a specific GPA you have to have if you want to get into Georgetown. But a higher GPA always helps.

Sadly, Georgetown doesn’t report very much information about the GPAs of their successful applicants. But we know from the Georgetown Common Data Set that 85% of enrolled first-year Georgetown students were in the top tenth of their high school graduating classes.

And to be in the top tenth, you’ve got to be a good student. We’re talking near-perfect and perfect 4.0 GPAs. To extrapolate a bit, we can guess that most successful Georgetown applicants are likely to be above the unweighted 3.75 range.

Georgetown SAT Scores

Georgetown is not test-optional. In a unique departure from the majority of testing policies these days, you must submit your test scores to Georgetown.

Since you don’t have the option to omit them if you don’t like your scores, you might find it helpful to at least know what you should be aiming for.

Let’s take a look at Georgetown’s middle 50%—the score ranges within which the middle half of students scored.

SAT Composite: 1380-1530

ACT Composite: 32-35

So half of all enrolled first-year students scored a 1380 to 1530 on their SATs and 32 to 35 on their ACTs. If you want to be in the next class of successful students, your goal should be to land somewhere within or above these scores.

If you’ve read any of our other “How to Get Into” guides, you might have noticed that the lower sides of these ranges are a little lower than other highly-selective schools, like Cornell, Duke, or UChicago. Since Georgetown’s acceptance rate is slightly higher, and since they do require test scores to be submitted, the higher scores make sense.

Hopefully you’ll welcome that news, given the testing requirement. Good luck out there!

Does Georgetown superscore?

“Superscoring” is the process some admissions offices use to help students get the highest composite SAT and ACT scores possible. When a school superscores, they’ll take your highest scores in each individual section of the standardized test, even if you got those scores across different test dates.

Georgetown’s superscoring process is a little complicated. They will take your highest SAT section scores into consideration, even if they come from multiple test dates. But Georgetown does not use Score Choice for the ACT, so you’ll need to send all of your scores from every ACT test you've taken.

What high school coursework do I need to get into Georgetown?

Georgetown’s recommendations for your high school coursework aren’t as prescriptive as some other colleges. Here’s what they suggest:

  • English: 4 years
  • Social Studies: 2+ years
  • Math: 2+ years
  • Languages: 2+ years
  • Natural Science: 1+ year

Only one year of natural science? Kind of surprising.

As always, the particular programs you’re applying to may have different requirements. If you’re interested in nursing, for example, you should have at least three years of math, one year of biology, and one year of chemistry. Be sure to check your preferred program so you have all the information you need to plan your coursework.

The most important planning advice to keep in mind, though, is that you should be taking as many rigorous courses as you can manage. Georgetown admissions officers want to see your schedule stacked with AP, IB, and dual-enrollment courses.

What extracurriculars do I need to get into Georgetown?

I hate to break it to you, but there is no magical extracurricular that will get you into Georgetown.

As you can see on page two of the 2022 Georgetown student profile, enrolled first-year students were involved in all sorts of extracurriculars: music, student government, debate, drama, Model UN, religious groups, varsity athletics, and more.

You don’t have to be a literal rockstar or Olympian to get into Georgetown. Showing deep and committed involvement is enough. But having some level of recognition for your work (e.g., participating in your state orchestra, winning a regional robotics championship, earning a special award) or being able to demonstrate a notable impact (e.g., raising $2000 for a charity that's important to you, volunteering for 500+ hours, hitting 5k downloads on an app you developed) can help a lot.

Regardless of what your extracurriculars are, how you communicate them is what’s most important—and we have a whole post on how to approach your extracurricular activities section that shows you how to do so in a way that draws out the magnitude, impact, and reach of your activities.

Final Takeaways + Georgetown Supplemental Essays

Feel like an expert on applicant strategy yet? We’ve covered Georgetown’s unique application, evaluation process, recommended high school preparation, and more. I think you’re ready to get going on your Georgetown application.

Next on your list: the supplemental essays. We’ve got a lot to say about the Georgetown essays, so we broke them up into a separate post. So get your metaphorical pen and paper out and head on over to the Georgetown Supplemental Essay Guide to get started.



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