Georgetown accepted 11.9 percent of its 7,822 early action applicants to the Class of 2021, 1 percent lower than last year’s 13 percent and the lowest acceptance rate in university history.
Georgetown notified the early action applicants about their acceptance or deferral to the regular admissions pool by mail Dec. 15. The applicant pool also increased by 11 percent from last year.
Of the early applicants, 4,415 applied to Georgetown College and 502 were admitted at an 11.3 percent acceptance rate. 1,618 applied to the School of Foreign Service and 204 were admitted at 12.6 percent acceptance rate. 1,263 applied to the McDonough School of Business and 157 were accepted at a 12.4 percent acceptance rate. Finally, 526 applied to the School of Nursing and Health Studies and 68 were accepted at a 12.9 percent acceptance rate.
This year’s application pool also marked an increase in students from minority groups from last year’s pool. The number of black student early action applicants rose 22 percent from 620 to 755. Applications from Latino students increased 25 percent from 792 to 989. Asian-American applicants rose 24 percent from 1025 to 1271. There was also an 8 percent increase of American Indian applicants.
Overall, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon (CAS ’64, GRD ’69) noted a 6 percent increase in applications from students who were the first generation in their family to attend college.
Deacon said the increase in early action applicants could be attributed to the increased attention on Washington, D.C., and Georgetown’s reputation within the nation.
“Maybe because it’s an election year, people are looking to Washington,” Deacon said. “Increasingly people recognize that this is a power center. It’s not a financial power center, it’s not an entrepreneurial, Silicon Valley-type power center, but it’s a power center.”
Deacon said although the top 10 places students apply from remained the same, he saw a notable increase in applicants from southern states. The top 10 regions this year are California, New York, foreign countries, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Of the top ten places applications came from, the largest increase was from Texas, which saw a 29 percent increase in applications. Virginia saw a 28 percent increase and Pennsylvania saw a 20 percent increase. The smallest growth came from international applications, which Deacon categorized as coming from students with a foreign address. The number of applications from foreign countries increased by 2 percent.
“Being strategically located in the nation’s capital, which is unique but also kind of at the gateway to the South, we are pretty well-positioned for these changes,” Deacon said. “We have the brand and reputation, we have the strategic location and we’re in the region of the South.”
Georgetown strategically keeps its early action acceptance rate lower than that of the regular acceptance rate, Deacon said. The overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2020 was around 16.4 percent.
Deacon highlighted that Georgetown refuses to use the Common Application, instead using their own application as well as encouraging students to take and submit the SAT II tests and requiring all test scores. Despite the distinctive process, Deacon said it was interesting that the number of applicants continues to grow.
“It’s what keeps our pool down a little bit, because we don’t have the frivolous applicants. They’re not going to waste their time doing our application,” Deacon said. “We do a lot of things that would be different than most colleges and get very good results. The fact that we’ve held these lines in this hyper-aggressive college marketing world and our pool continues to go up, even though it’s harder in some ways, Georgetown stands out a little bit as a place that’s different.”
He expects the regular decision pool for this year to fall between 21,000 to 22,000 applicants, an increase from last year’s pool of around 20,000. Deacon said the overall acceptance rate could also fall given the expected increase in applicants.
“As the pool goes up, if it keeps going up until the end, it means the admit rate will go down. We think that the regular admit rate could come down, and if the admit rate goes down, you’re increasingly admitting the best students, because you’re obviously admitting the best students of the pool and they then usually have more options. The yield rate could go down too. But, we’re not planning on that,” Deacon said.
For the Class of 2020, the yield rate remained consistent with previous years’ rate at around 48 percent. The Class of 2019 had a 47.6 percent yield rate.
The average admitted student was in the top 2 percent of their class with SAT scores ranging from 710 to 770 in critical reading and 700 to 770 in math. The average ACT score was between 32 and 35.
However, Deacon noted the competitiveness in the admissions process forces Georgetown to reject more students.
“We try to make things better all the time, but we don’t tend to make substantial changes. We do things essentially with the same principles guiding us,” Deacon said. “It’s not our goal to have 35,000 applications. We don’t love rejecting people.”
Early action applicants that were not accepted are deferred to the regular decision pool and will receive notification of final decisions April 1. All accepted students will have until May 1 to commit to the Class of 2021.
Deacon emphasized that Georgetown’s application process, which separates itself from the Common Application and schedules alumni interviews for applicants, is student-centered, which is a guiding principle in the way Deacon puts together the admissions process.
“We want what we do to be student-centered,” Deacon said. “We don’t want phony numbers that make us look better. We want what’s right for students. Going to college is not a transaction, it’s a personal experience.”