Apply Now: The Benefits of the Club Application Process

August 29, 2015

“Just enter your Net ID, and we’ll send you more information about the application in the next few days.”

As I sheepishly made my way across Healy Lawn during CAB Fair, that was the phrase I heard over and over again. I was suffocating from the sheer heat, the amount of enthusiasm exuding from fellow Hoyas, and the ambition of students surrounding me. I felt overwhelmed as I tried to navigate through the different clubs, hearing Latin American beats in my left ear and the Saxatones in my right.

At the end of the day, though, it all came down to the same thing: the application. From GUASFCU to The Hoya, each club had some sort of ‘app’ requesting the same level of basic information coupled with tried and tested essay prompts. Even the Alternative Breaks Program—where Hoyas volunteer to spend time engaging with issues plaguing underserved communities—required an application. Not only that, but each application usually came with an interview, asking the conventional questions, such as, “Why do you want to join this club?” along with more atypical ones, like, “If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?”

I was frustrated by this seemingly bizarre process. Didn’t every Hoya just go through an arduous application process to attend Georgetown in the first place? Why do I need to go through such a competitive process to serve fellow Hoyas coffee? Most importantly, why is this system of revealing your ambitions, idiosyncrasies, embarrassing stories, and rejections the status quo at Georgetown?

It seems ridiculous, and yet the applications overload might just be a good thing. Over the summer, I compared stories with my friends back home who attended various colleges across the U.S. (private and public, large and small) and realized that Georgetown’s culture was very unique.

Even before I applied to Georgetown, it seemed to me that every Hoya was involved and eager to contribute to the campus in some unique way. I was attracted to the idea that the student body didn’t see Georgetown as a stepping stone but rather as a community they felt compelled to enrich. That whole idea resonates strongly with me, and after I got over my initial disdain for the process, I began to feel proud of it. For me, while other college students got involved, they were never really invested in the club of which they were a part. In some ways, this highly competitive process forces students to reflect on the clubs they actually want to be involved in.

Yes, it drives me crazy that I spent days working on applications, asking peers for advice, and constantly editing and preparing for interviews with no certainty about the outcome. Yes, that precious time could have been spent catching up on sleep, studying for a class, or even just having a nice night out with friends. But ultimately, this process fills each club with individuals who are heavily invested in that particular club’s ideals.

Living in a world where you are forced to compete with not only other Hoyas, but also other students from other top-tier universities, requires grit. This constant competition forces you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes, stay focused, and move on to the next problem. The club application process on the Hilltop serves as excellent preparation.

It comes as no surprise that I too have had my fair share of rejections. I’ve pulled myself out of bed at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, all suited up, to get interviewed by a couple random Hoyas for a position in their club.  I’ve spent countless hours questioning single words on my application as if changing them would have made a difference. I’ve even reached out to upperclassmen in the hopes of nailing that case interview.  But even after all that is said and done, there can be no certainty of acceptance during  the application process.

Regardless of the outcome, every application and interview we go through gives us experience. Yes  it’s absolutely disheartening to get those rejection emails, but the process is also what makes those acceptance phone calls from the ‘hiring’ board all the more worthwhile. Moreover, it teaches us how to avoid saying, “I don’t know, it seems good” the next time we are asked, “why do you want to be a part of this club?” The process of juggling academics and social lives while committing hours of time to the perfect application cultivates time management skills needed to keep our sanity. On top of all this, the process of being so particular as to which student is accepted into which club is ultimately what makes our clubs unique, impactful, and attractive to current and prospective Hoyas alike. Essentially, this system contributes highly to the culture here at Georgetown.

So this year, when the CAB Fair rolls through Healy Lawn, try to be smart about the clubs to which you apply. There are times when it’s worth it to apply to something on a whim; after all, you never know what club you’ll engage with the most. But in most instances, think about applying to the clubs that you sincerely want to join and those that will work symbiotically with you. There is no lesson to be learned from getting rejected from a club you never cared about. Lastly, remember that although a majority of clubs do have an application process, there are those that omit it completely. It really all comes down to which club(s) fit you best and how much you put into it.

So Hoyas: roll up your sleeves, and head to the front lawn. Let the clubbing begin.


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