Georgetown University is one of the nation’s top destinations for students who want to be involved in politics.
Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown provides its students with unparalleled access to professors and internships connected to national and international affairs (politically-minded alumni include Bill Clinton; ever heard of him?). With a renowned business program and a school for nursing and health studies as well, politics is not the only game in town. Furthermore, half of the student body studies abroad during their Georgetown tenure.
The school has a strong Jesuit identity, which has at times led to controversy on campus. Because the school does not allow fraternities or sororities, most students spend their weekend nights at dorm parties or off-campus bars. Though Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit University, students from all religions are represented on campus. While the stereotypical Georgetown student is a Lacoste-wearing basketball fan (the Hoyas are consistently ranked among the top basketball programs in the country), the student body boasts a large international population and is quite diverse.
Located in Washington, DC, Georgetown University has a reputation for churning out ambitious political and business leaders. This should come as no surprise given that the school’s strongest programs include – you guessed it – government and business, in addition to the fact that many students take advantage of the city’s endless internship opportunities. Make no mistake, though: unlike other politically active schools like Berkeley or Wesleyan, the Georgetown student body tends to be more moderate in character. “Students are very ‘pre-professional,’ looking towards their future careers with high aspirations,” notes one senior. “However, I find that most students are individually quite thoughtful. Although they may value wealth over ending world hunger, they generally have well-reasoned thoughts to back up their opinions.”
One cannot discuss the school’s identity without mentioning its Jesuit roots. There are no Greek organizations, students find that institutional support for LGBTQ groups is ho-hum at best, and it is currently impossible to purchase any sort of contraceptives on campus. The university itself has a somewhat conservative bent, and students’ mores aren’t always congruent with those of the institution. “The worst thing about the school, in my opinion, is the lack of sexual health resources,” says one senior involved with H*Yas for Choice (the asterisk is necessary because Hoyas can’t officially be associated with pro-choice groups). In spite of these characteristics, at many times it is not readily apparent that one is on a religiously-affiliated campus. There are 144 clubs, and naturally enough, the College Democrats and College Republicans are two of the more popular organizations, though the university also has Jewish and Muslim student groups. The dynamic between the political and religious spheres is one of the school’s most unique qualities.
Even though Georgetown students live in the bustling US capital, they still seem to find time to hit the books. One junior studying accounting explains that “even those people who love to go out on the weekends, or weeknights, know when they have to buckle down and do work. Everybody wants to succeed.” Most students seem to hold their professors in high regard (a lot of the faculty come with DC insider expertise) and aren’t too overwhelmed with the size of their classes. However, many undergraduates view the school’s core curriculum as a source of frustration. “There are so many requirements that I no longer have any room in my schedule for electives,” says a junior business major. “My first two years were jam-packed with introductory-level courses that were mostly prerequisites for what I'm taking now, and my last two years will be almost all business classes. I wish it was just a bit more dispersed.”
The stereotype of the typical Joe and Jane Hoya (“[p]reppy, political, rich, well-connected,” says one student) doesn’t always hold true. Sure, many take pride in the fact that they “definitely dress well for class,” as one freshman observes, but not everyone at Georgetown is a collar-popping, Abercrombie and Fitch-sporting, future CEO of America. “The stereotyped preppy-dressing crowd only comprises a tiny percentage of the undergraduate population; there's a group for everyone on this extremely diverse campus,” notes on sophomore. Yet for some, the school isn’t necessarily diverse enough, especially in terms of its racial composition. As one junior writes, “there are definitely not enough minorities, and the groups don't really mix. In some ways it is quite segregated, but [it’s] not a tense atmosphere.”
While students from different backgrounds may not intermingle as much as some would prefer (an issue familiar to most college campuses across the country), there is certainly an overarching sense of Hoya pride, especially when men’s basketball season rolls around. One junior describes the experience of the team qualifying for the Final Four as chaotic: “As soon as the buzzer rang my friends and I ran out of Copley Hall (where we also saw hoards of students emerging from wherever they were watching the game)…About 400 Hoyas ended up outside of the gates of the White House…ah…incredible." Furthermore, the appeal of the school’s location cannot be overstated. One senior remarks that the “[b]est thing about Georgetown is the location. Perfect college area, you feel like you’re in a college town at the same time that you’re in the capital of the most powerful country in the world. The bars, sights, food options, and entertainment options are the best.” Most undergrads agree that living out their college years in DC gives them both practical opportunities and a one-of-a-kind college experience.