GU admissions picks applicants over rankings

October 14, 2010

As this year’s admissions process begins, thousands of high school students across the country will be applying to colleges using the Common Application, which an ever-increasing number of schools—including every school in the Ivy League—now accept. But none of those students will be able to send their Common Application to Georgetown University, which has recently garnered attention for being one of two U.S. News & World Report Top 20 schools that continues to use its own unique admissions application.

Georgetown deserves praise for sticking with its own application, which strengthens its ability to review applicants thoroughly while preventing the University’s application process from becoming overly inhuman.

Colleges claim that they use the Common Application to reduce the burden of applying to college and to increase accessibility to minority students, who filled out about a third of the Common Applications created in the 2009-2010 admissions cycle. But prospective students, on average, fill out seven to eight applications apiece. This reveals that even making the application process easier does not reduce the workload for students. And, as Georgetown’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon pointed out, Common Application administrators have not revealed the exact demographics of minority students who use their application.

The real reason colleges use the Common Application, though they rarely admit it, is to boost the size of their applicant pool. Thus, unless they simultaneously increase their acceptance rates, switching to the Common Application is often used by schools as a way to artificially decrease their acceptance rates.

Georgetown benefits from sticking with its own application. The University already has more than a sufficient number of applications, with roughly 10 applicants for every open spot. Switching to the Common Application would cause that ratio to swell, but as a result, applicants wouldn’t get as thorough of a review. An influx of applicants would also jeopardize Georgetown’s requirement that most applicants sit for an alumni interview. The only new applicants the Common Application would likely draw are students who are just applying to Georgetown because it’s easy, not because they truly want to study on the Hilltop.

Georgetown’s unique application sends the message to its prospective students that Georgetown values their individual application more than inflated ratings. That commitment to a thorough review of the whole applicant helps set Georgetown apart from its peers, and is a crucial first step in the University’s attempt to educate and value the whole person.

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The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead. The Board strives to publish critical analyses of events at both Georgetown and in the wider D.C. community. We welcome everyone from all backgrounds and experience levels to join us!


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