School Profile: Are You Ready for the Academic Rigor of Georgetown University?

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the country. This private research university in the tony Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. was founded in 1789 by Bishop John Carroll, and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Georgetown University is dedicated to a combination of faith, service, scholarship, and research to create the next generation of responsible and compassionate world citizens.

The university’s main urban campus houses the undergraduate program and is next to Georgetown University Medical Center housing the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and others. The School of Law is located near Congress in Washington, D. C. and the University has several other programs around the globe, including the School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Mediterranean Studies in Turkey, and Transnational Legal Studies in England. Students may also study at Georgetown facilities in Italy, China, Chile, and Argentina depending on interests.

Academically, Georgetown undergrads may be accepted into one of four schools; Georgetown College (liberal arts), the School of Nursing and Health Services, Walsh School of Foreign Service, or McDonough School of Business. Students may take courses from any of the schools, and often minor in a school other than their majors. All study is within the context of the Jesuit traditions of social justice and holistic personal development. A rather rare opportunity comes with a Georgetown education, and that is a list of extraordinary internships available to students at ABC News, The Smithsonian, a number of Embassies, The World Bank, on Capitol Hill, and others; the University reports that 95% of students participate in an internship. Like some other elite universities, Georgetown practices grade deflation, so don’t expect those As to keep rolling in once you get to college without a serious amount of increased effort. The list of graduates from Georgetown University reads like a Who’s Who of business and world leaders.

Students at Georgetown stay in dormitories, villages, or apartments. On-campus student housing is mandatory for the first two years. Approximately one-third of students live off-campus. Georgetown has one of the most politically active student bodies in the nation, with student organizations working for worker’s rights, Fair Trade, reproductive rights, and against gender violence, as well as an array of national and international social justice issues. The campus is uncharacteristically gay-friendly, has a bit of a hipster vibe, is vegan-friendly, and has a top ranking ROTC program. There is no Greek life to speak of. Due to the Jesuit roots, there are no contraceptives sold on campus and there are no abortions at the University’s medical center. If either of these services become necessary, you’ll have to seek services off-campus that will not be covered by your student health services plan.

There are countless student organizations and publications that students can get involve with at Georgetown. The Corp and its subsidiaries is a nonprofit student-run charitable organization that generates about $4 million a year. The Corp runs Vital Vittles, a campus grocery store; Corp Student Storage and Shuttles, for summer and study-abroad storage, and campus/airport shuttles; Uncommon Grounds, MUG, and Midnight MUG—coffee ships on campus; and Corp Catering that offers professional catering services. All aspects of The Corp are student-run from the facilities employees to the boardroom. Another amazing student-run project is the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union for your banking needs, including student loans. The credit union also gives out annual student scholarships.

The Georgetown Hoyas are an NCAA Division I program with over 800 student-athletes playing on 11 men’s and 12 women’s varsity teams. They are part of the Big East Conference. Georgetown teams excel in nearly every sport, and over 100 student-athletes have gone on to play professionally in their respective sports. The men’s basketball team and the women’s cross country team hold NCAA national championships. Georgetown has also excelled at the national level in track and field, sailing, rowing, lacrosse, soccer, and rugby.  Club sports include dodge ball, squash, tennis, racquetball, and basketball. Students can also participate in individual fitness activities or in group fitness or recreational classes at Yates Field House. The blue and gray school colors were chosen by the 1876 rowing team to represent unity between students from the North and the South. The Hoya mascot is Jack the Bulldog.

Besides Georgetown University’s traditions of academic excellence and Jesuit social justice, there are a few other traditions that are less noble, but more fun. Every few years someone steals the hands off the 200-foot clock tower. Homecoming means several annual traditions including a dunk tank, powderpuff football game, wing eating contest, class vs. class tug-of-war, and more as students attempt to win the Traditions Day Award. Two other traditions are getting your picture taken in the lap of Bishop Carroll’s statue sometime before graduation, and participating in the Healy Howl at midnight on Halloween in the campus cemetery.

If you are ready to work harder than you ever have in your life, you love causes and making waves, politics intrigue you, and you prefer challenges over comfort, put Georgetown University on your short list.

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By Colleen Hill