The Admissions Process

The Hub for Equity and Innovation in Higher Education explores the entirety of a student’s educational arc. The impetus for this research is to inform Georgetown on best practices as they relate to expanding the diversity of students who have access to Georgetown and building a more equitable Georgetown to support their success and to increase their impact on our community. As such, the Hub’s research begins with the admissions process and asks, how do schools attract and yield talented students from across the socioeconomic spectrum?

There’s no question about it, applying to college is a stressful, complex, and an increasingly competitive process. Turning the Tide, a 2016 Harvard Graduate School of Education report, reflects on the issue that the college admissions process promotes a shift that achievements are for one’s self and their application rather than for the common good. This process is even more difficult for individuals that do not have access to resources their higher-income counterparts do. This, in turn, both discourages and restricts high-achieving, low-income individuals from having the means to apply to selective universities. This is highlighted most evidently in Hoxby & Avery (2013) which emphasized that access to information plays a crucial role in expanding educational opportunity .

Georgetown University has created unique programs in response to this issue such as the Georgetown Scholarship Program, Community Scholars Program, and Regents Science Scholars Program – all aimed at recruiting and informing high-achieving, low-income individuals of the opportunities available for them and guiding them through the transition from high school to college. Specifically, regarding admissions, Georgetown has differentiated itself from its peers in two critical ways. One, rather than adopting the Common App, Georgetown continues to use its own application. Two, Georgetown has a lower acceptance rate for early admissions than for its overall admissions rate. Both practices grew in strategic prominence over the same period of time and early admissions specifically continues to be a thorn in the side of equity of access.

In a small series of blogs we will explore admissions policies and how they impact Georgetown admissions. Specifically, we will focus on the Common App, early cycles of admissions, need blind admissions, and affirmative action.

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