For many prospective students descending on campus today, the Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program weekends are more about connecting with Georgetown itself than with other accepted students.
The majority of students come to GAAP in an attempt to see if the academics are the right fit.
“I took it from a very academic perspective, especially when I came to GAAP, when I arrived, I was curious more about learning about what my time at Georgetown would be like from an academic purpose,” Pietro Bartoli (SFS ’17) said.
Due to this academic focus, making friends becomes a secondary concern.
“More than anything I think GAAP is for academics and just seeing the school, so I didn’t go into GAAP saying, ‘I’m going to make friends here,’” Eric Wu (SFS ’17) said. “It’s more of a way for students to find out whether or not they are compatible with the school as a whole rather than the specific people they find at GAAP weekend.”
The atmosphere of Georgetown’s campus and of Washington, D.C. is what most students base their decision off of, rather than the community of prospective students.
“GAAP’s what made up my mind. I wasn’t sure I wanted to come here,” Lauren Miller (SFS ’16) said.
Despite focus elsewhere, friendships still develop. Wu and Bartoli became roommates after meeting at GAAP.
“Honestly I have no complaints about GAAP; it did exactly what it was supposed to do. And there’s no such thing as orchestrated friendship building. You can’t really say that GAAP did this correctly in order to make you friends with this person. I think the way that [Pietro and I] became friends was very organic,” Wu said.
GAAP allows prospective students the opportunity to make friends mostly by noticing and befriending prospective students with similar interests. Sapir Yarden (SFS ’15) felt the weekend allowed her to befriend those she perceived as interesting or relatable, mentioning one of her friends.
“We kind of were in the same group. We did icebreakers together and he mentioned that he spoke like 12 different languages and I was like, ‘That kid seems awesome, I want to be friends with him,’” Yarden said.
In terms of the degree to which prospective students reflect the Georgetown community, many prospective students felt GAAP leaders and current students were a more accurate reflection of the community.
“It was nice to kind of get a vibe for the people, but I think I got a better vibe from the GAAP leaders than the kids in my group because I knew a lot of these kids aren’t going to come to Georgetown and I’m not necessarily going to be friends with all of these kids,” Bartoli said.
For students accepted early to Georgetown, some did not feel making friends was a focus throughout the weekend, as many prospective students were uncertain of their attendance.
“I was early action too so half the people I met weren’t planning on coming to Georgetown. …Maybe it was different for people who are regular decision but for early [action] those kids tended to get into really good schools so for me it didn’t really matter because a lot of them I was never going to see again,” Kate Schertz (NHS ’15) said.
Other students did not search for specific types of possible friends throughout the weekend, but rather the identity of the community as a whole.
“I think it’s a good way to get everyone together who has been accepted to kind of get that feeling I was talking about of trying to see who is going to school with you, the community that you would be going to school in,” Yuhao Shi (NHS ’15).
In the end, some students prefer GAAP the way it is, even without the focus on friendship building.
“I think GAAP works well the way it does now. I don’t think much should change about it. The focus shouldn’t be friendship building,” Bartoli said.