Each year, applicants to Georgetown are asked to check a small box next to the name of one of the undergraduate schools.
They write essays explaining their interest in that specific school: the dream of being the next Secretary of State, a love for the liberal arts, a passion for entrepreneurship and bringing health care to poor regions of the world among them.
But for some, the courses they take in their freshman year inspire them to seek an alternate path.
Hence, they choose to fill out another application, this time an internal one.
In order to transfer to a different undergraduate school, students have to complete an application that consists of an essay explanation of the request, along with an approval from the student’s dean.
Georgetown’s four undergraduate schools receive a majority of their transfer applications in the spring semester as students can only transfer before arriving on the Hilltop or after the completion of the freshman year.
Jessica Ciani-Dausch, an academic counselor for the College, said that many students transfer into the College because they want more freedom in their curriculum or have chosen a different field of study. Students are often apt to select a specific major too early, according to Ciani-Dausch.
“Pretty much all the other schools are specialty schools, so the students came in thinking that’s what they were attracted to, and through their first year they realized either they don’t know or they know it’s not the thing,” she said.
Georgetown College welcomes all students who wish to apply and reviews applications on a case-by-case basis, according to Ciani-Dausch.
“We consider [Georgetown College] as sort of the home-base of the university. We don’t want to turn people away from a good Georgetown experience,” she said.
Internal transfers to Georgetown College have a high acceptance rate, and there are no specific academic requirements as long as students are not on academic probation. Ciani-Dausch declined to provide exact statistics, however.
“There’s the good standing issue, but otherwise we’re going to be pretty lenient in terms of accepting,” Ciani-Dausch said.
The McDonough School of Business accepts about 30 percent of students who wish to transfer into the institution. Nicole M. Houle, associate director in the Undergraduate Program Office of the MSB, said that applicants are required to have a minimum 3.0 grade point average to apply. Students are further evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“Our acceptance rate depends on space, so it varies each semester. We accept as many students as possible based on the number of seats that are available,” Houle said in an email. Applications to the MSB are rated as more competitive if students have taken business and accounting courses and can transfer credits. Catie Barile (MSB ’13), who transferred from the College to the MSB at the end of her freshman year was notified of her acceptance the summer before returning for her sophomore year.
“I showed interest in the classes the MSB provided, and I had a pretty good GPA. It’s not difficult at all,” Barile said. “I’m glad I transferred — I think it’s a better fit. Since I had already taken some of the core classes the MSB offered, I’m not behind in the curriculum.”
Transferring into the School of Foreign Service is comparable to the MSB’s process. Interested students are encouraged to begin the transfer process early in the fall semester, however, to ensure that they will be able to meet the school’s extensive degree requirements and graduate on time. The SFS was unable to provide internal transfer statistics.
Sara Moufarrij (SFS ’12) initially applied to the NHS but then transferred to the SFS after becoming enamored with international politics in government professor Andrew Bennett’s international relations course her freshman year.
“I always wanted to combine international politics and pre-med,” she said. Assistant Dean in the SFS Kendra Billingslea helped Moufarrij throughout the transfer process, ensuring that she did not overload her schedule.
In pursuing an international politics major along with the pre-med program, Moufarrij said she has discovered the best path for her at Georgetown, adding that any student in the SFS can find a way to combine his or her divergent passions.
“As long as you have enough space in your schedule, you can do it,” Moufarrij said.
Applications to the School of Nursing and Health Studies require more specific criteria than the processes for the other undergraduate schools, according to Marianne Cardillo Lyons, assistant dean for Enrollment Management at the school. The requirements for the NHS depend on each student’s respective program, but the advising staff of the NHS is available to discuss the necessary criteria with potential transfer students.
“Last year, 12 students transferred to us. This year, we have approximately the same number that have expressed an intent on applying for transfer,” Lyons wrote in an email.
She added that students who transfer earlier are more likely to graduate on time.
“NHS has a strong and comprehensive advising system. Developing an academic plan as early as possible and maintaining open lines of communication are important in helping students achieve their academic goals,” she said.
Nancy Oduro (NHS ’13) transferred from the College into the NHS as a sophomore. Although choosing to study heath care and management was a far cry from what she originally planned to study at Georgetown, she described the process as quite simple.
“They really care about you, and they made the process really easy,” she said.
Oduro purposely chose classes that would strengthen her application and raved about how helpful the NHS deans were throughout the transferring process.
Oduro nevertheless emphasized her satisfaction with her initial experiences in the College as well as her gratitude for the multitude of academic options she has discovered at Georgetown.
“I think a lot of people do use the College as a place to figure out what you want to do,” she said. “I think that’s great. I love the fact that we have all these different schools.”