Prefrosh Preview: A guide to Georgetown College
In a few weeks, you’ll join the College—the largest, oldest, and (in Vox‘s opinion) best school at Georgetown University. So, what do you need to know?
More choices than you can imagine
Do you already know your major? Are you sure? Considering the wide variety of departments in the College, we bet that you’ll change your major before you graduate. And you’ll certainly have enough options to choose from—Georgetown College offers almost 40 major courses of study. As you’ll soon learn, the College’s lack of academic specialization can be a blessing for incoming freshman. But we won’t lie. At times, it will also frustrate the hell out of you.
Because the College emphasizes a liberal arts education, students must gain intermediate proficiency in a foreign language and complete two courses in humanities and writing, philosophy, theology, math and science, social sciences, and history. Try not to fret over the required courses; you may learn that you have a passion for Irish history, ethics, biology, or who-knows-what. However, plenty of students opt out of required courses thanks to Advanced Placement credits.
“Required” doesn’t have to mean “boring”
You might be surprised to read that many of the College’s general education requirements aren’t boring. (Although, we can’t vouch for them all.) Instead of taking something like “Intro to College Writing,” for example, the English department offers a wide array of Gateway courses that fulfill the humanities and writing requirements. Gateways are split into three time periods—Medieval/Renaissance, 18th/19th Century, and Modern/Post-modern literature and culture—and each course is different from every other. You’ll see the same kind of academic variation throughout the College. In other words, get ready to choose—you’re going to have a lot of options.
Your advisers will probably tell you to focus on your required classes first. While they’re right, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the other course offerings. If you see something interesting, sign up for it. If you don’t like it, you can always drop it and find a replacement.
Some of the University’s best professors work in the College
As the end of every academic year, students give the Dorothy Brown Award to the professor who “recogniz[es] teaching excellence and the spirit of the Georgetown University community.” Professors in Georgetown College, such as Fr. James Schall (Government), Francis Ambrosio (Philosophy), and Heidi Elmendorf (Biology) have brought home the award in recent years.
But, you shouldn’t discount those professors who haven’t won the award either. (Personally, Vox recommends English professor Michael Collins and History professor James Collins.) When it comes time to register for spring semester classes, talk to other students in the College. With their help—and Rate My Professor—you’ll find some fantastic teachers and mentors.
You already know plenty of College alumni
From Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz (Class of ’85) to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Class of ’57), the College boasts more than its fair share of accomplished alumni.
As an indicator of the College’s diverse field of studies, its most notable alumni span a variety of industries, such as politics, professional sports, acting, journalism, and philanthropy. College alumni include the Hangover‘s Bradley Cooper (Class of ’97), comedian Mike Birbiglia (Class of ’00), Pat Buchanan (Class of ’60), NBA player Alonzo Mourning (Class of ’92), Maria Shriver (Class of ’77), and The Dark Knight screenwriter Jonathan Nolan (Class of ’99).