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Articles / Applying to College / Will A Nursing School Application Open A Back Door to Georgetown?

April 28, 2019

Will A Nursing School Application Open A Back Door to Georgetown?

Will A Nursing School Application Open A Back Door to Georgetown?
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I'm a high school junior and I really want to go to Georgetown -- I plan to apply there this fall. My friend's mother went there years ago and told me that the "back door" to get in is to apply to the nursing school and then once I'm in there, transfer into another major. I really have no interest in nursing so I only want to do this if it's guaranteed to work. Is this common?

The dean of admissions at Georgetown may have been born at night, but he wasn't born last night! So this “back-door" gambit, which may have had some merit when your friend's mother was in high school and when all of Georgetown acceptance rates were far lower than they are today, is likely to bite you hard in the butt if you try it ... and then you'll wish you had a real nurse handy!


For starters, if you don't have any interest at all in nursing, you will need to put on an Academy Award winning performance to convince Georgetown officials that you do. Demonstrated interest in the field is a key criterion for acceptance. If, however, your passions already lean toward pre-med and so your transcript and resume are rife with top grades and test scores in the most challenging math and science classes and with extracurriculars that include hospital volunteering, science enrichment programs, heath care-related research or other similar endeavors, then you might pull off the deception and convince your evaluators that a nursing degree is right for you.

But should you try? Georgetown's School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS) has very high admission standards. Acceptance rates are only slightly above those at other Georgetown schools, and median GPAs and test scores -- while perhaps fractionally lower -- are in the same ballpark. So if you're not qualified to get good news from any of the other Georgetown schools, don't count on an acceptance from NHS either. Then, if you do get in, be prepared for a rigorous freshman year. You will be taking required Human Biology classes that are often viewed as among the toughest in the entire university, and you'll be starting your nursing clinical work right away as well. You'll also be taking career-specific classes such as “Health Assessment" and “Professional Nursing Foundations for Practice."

I bet this doesn't seem like quite the stroll in the park you're expecting, nor does it sound remotely like the way you should be spending your time if you don't want to be a nurse. Above all, if your grades in this demanding program aren't strong, you won't be positioning yourself to transfer out of NHS and into another Georgetown program, and you may not be able to continue in the nursing program either!

Check here, here and here to see what other College Confidential members have said about NHS.

If you begin as a nursing major, it's possible that you could transfer to another major in a different Georgetown school, but it's certainly far from the guarantee that you're seeking. Thus “The Dean's'" advice is to apply to the programs at Georgetown that actually excite you and to try to convey this excitement in your application so it boosts your acceptance odds. But if these odds seem far too steep, you should seek out other institutions where you will be admissible that share some of the traits that you most like about Georgetown and where you can do what genuinely interests you.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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