May 2016 Edition

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2016 Commencement Speakers Announced
Admission Yield Steady At 47.6%
Housing and Moving Advice from Hoya Parents & Family

2016 Commencement Speakers Announced

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Alexandra Cousteau (COL ’98), an explorer, storyteller and environmental advocate; Humana, Inc. President and CEO Bruce Broussard; National League for Nursing CEO Beverly Malone; and United States Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith will be among 11 speakers to address graduates during Georgetown’s commencement weekend from May 19 to May 22, the university announced today.

Each school will have a separate graduation, beginning with the McCourt School of Public Policy on May 19 and ending with the Georgetown University Law Center on May 22.

In a statement on the university website, University President John J. DeGioia said the speakers represent excellence in a variety of fields.

“These women and men represent the very best of their respective fields, animating our commitment to leadership through service,” DeGioia wrote. “We look forward to the ways in which their insights and experiences will offer inspiration to our graduates as they embark on their own paths, seeking to make an impact on our world.”

Johnson, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, will address the School of Foreign Service on May 21. Before becoming the secretary of homeland security, Johnson was the general counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012. During his tenure as secretary of homeland security, Johnson has sought to improve the department’s ability to respond to threats and has reformed the department’s response to illegal immigration.  In his position as general counsel of the Department of Defense, Johnson was responsible for legally reviewing and approving all military operations, including drone strikes. Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College, and received his law degree from Columbia Law School.

Students in the College will hear from Cousteau, who will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, May 21. Cousteau, who is the granddaughter of renowned documentary filmmaker and oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, founded EarthEcho International, an organization that seeks to help young people develop solutions to environmental challenges, with her brother Philippe Cousteau in 2000. She also founded Blue Legacy, a charity that seeks to use storytelling to encourage environmental protection, in 2008.

Broussard will address undergraduate students in the McDonough School of Business on May 21. Broussard has had a long career in the health industry, serving as CEO of McKessson Specialty/US Oncology, Inc. before becoming CEO of Humana, a health insurance company, in 2011. Broussard will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Students in the School of Nursing and Health Studies will hear from Malone on May 21. Prior to becoming the CEO of the National League for Nursing, Malone was the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in the United Kingdom. Through her work at the NLN, Malone has been an advocate on the shortage of nurses and nurse educators and the importance of nursing in serving diverse communities. Malone was ranked as one of the 100 most powerful people in health care by industry publication Modern Healthcare in 2010 and 2015. Malone will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

Smith will address the McCourt School of Public Policy in the weekend’s first graduation. Before being appointed USAID administrator in 2015, Smith was a Special Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the U.S. National Security Council.

Other commencement speakers will include Elena Poniatowska Amor — a journalist, novelist and poet and the first woman to receive Mexico’s National Journalism Award — who will address the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Penny Pritzker, the U.S. secretary of commerce since 2013, will address MBA students and Daniel Pink, author of The New York Times bestsellers “A Whole New Mind,” “Drive” and “To Sell is Human,” will address graduating students in the School of Continuing Studies.

Stanford University professor of medicine Kelley Michael Skeff will address students graduating from the School of Medicine on May 22, while World Trade Organization appellate body member Zhang Yuejiao (LAW ’83) will address law school graduates.

Smith, Amor, Pritzker and Pink will each receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees, while Skeff will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. Yuejiao and Disability Rights International founder and Executive Director Eric David Rosenthal (LAW ’92) will receive honorary doctor of laws degrees.


Admission Yield Steady At 47.6%

By Shannon Hou

The university’s undergraduate admissions yield for the Class of 2019 stands at 47.6 percent, an approximate 1.6 percent increase from last year’s rate, as of May 1.

Before moving to the wait list, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions received 1,525 acceptances of admissions offers, the exact same number as last year at this point. Students have since been moved off the wait list. The target enrollment per class is 1,580, given the stipulations of the 2010 Campus Plan agreement.

The slight increase in yield may also be attributed to the marginal decrease in acceptances this application cycle, from 3,235 for the Class of 2018 to 3,205 for the Class of 2019.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon emphasized the relative consistency in recent years’ yields.

“It’s pretty predictable, so when you get to numbers of the size we have, unless we behave differently, or the world behaves differently, it’s going to be pretty predictable, and it’s coming out that way,” Deacon said.

Early action yield boosted the overall rate, with around 56 percent — approximately 570 students — accepting early action offers. Students admitted during the regular decision round accepted at a rate of roughly 44 percent.

Minority student yields across the board were slightly lower than the total yield.

The yield for black students, who will make up nine percent of the entire class, was around 37 percent. The yield for Asian-American and Hispanic students, who will make up 14 percent and 12 percent of the total class, respectively, was around 35 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

The yield for international students, who will compose 8 to 9 percent of the freshman class, was around 35 percent. According to Deacon, the fact that the university does not guarantee full financial aid for international students may contribute to the lower rate.

He added that yields also vary by geographic location, attributing this trend partly to legacies and recruited athletes, who tend to come from closer regions.

“In general, the states that yield the highest are the ones that are in the more typical areas in the Northeast: New York, New Jersey, Maryland,” Deacon said.

Of the 1,200 to 1,300 students who attend a Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program weekend event, around 75 percent will choose to attend Georgetown. Deacon said he believes that much of the student-to-student contact from GAAP weekends helps students choose Georgetown.

“There’s a lot of things that I think are done pretty much student to student,” he said. “We obviously are encouraging that, and helping to facilitate it or whatever we can do.”

Deacon also said he believes that the GAAP Facebook page, alumni reception events and Georgetown Scholarship Program special communications help admitted students with their decision.

Tanner Davis (SFS ’17), GAAP director of national prospective student outreach, said increasing yield is a goal of the program, which involves hundreds of volunteers and months of preparation.

“I’m glad to hear that the weekends have such a high yield because it means that we are doing something right,” Davis said. “Nevertheless, we are constantly working to improve the experience for both the students and parents in order to achieve even higher yields in the future.”

Spots for the Class of 2019 in the McDonough School of Business and the School of Nursing and Health Studies have been completely filled, with a 55 percent yield for each school. Wait list offers will be awarded to select applicants to the School of Foreign Service and Georgetown College, which yielded 45 percent and 41 percent of offers, respectively.

In the College, science classes and incoming science major spots have all been filled. A record-high of 25 students in the Class of 2019 have also indicated that they intend on becoming physics majors. Because of the high number of intended science majors, Deacon said the College wait list is expected to see movement only for students with undeclared majors.

The admissions office first offers around 2,000 people wait list spots, and roughly 1,200, or 55 percent of those applicants, will accept. By the end of April, around 1,000 students will opt to stay on the wait list.

By May 15, the admissions office will have offered around 100 students on the wait list a spot for the fall semester. Deacon estimated that around 80 will accept the offer.

Additionally, 100 to 150 students will also be given the opportunity to stay on an extended wait list through June 30, of which Deacon estimated around half will accept. The final spaces in the Class of 2019 will be filled from this pool of students.

Deacon said that unlike many other universities, an enrollment cap set by the 2010 Campus Plan  agreement tightly constricts the Georgetown undergraduate admissions office to a set number.

“With the enrollment cap outside the gates being a big issue, we can’t take the chance of being over so we always try to be conservative and the wait list is the way we fill [the class] up to the top,” Deacon said.

He also estimated that around 60 to 65 of the students who originally committed on May 1 will not end up joining the Class of 2019 in the fall. He said roughly 25 of these students are expected to defer admission, while approximately 40 will likely withdraw after receiving wait list offers from other schools or in the face of financial difficulties or illnesses.

According to Deacon, there are 10 schools that Georgetown will most likely lose a student to if he or she receives a competing offer, including the eight Ivy League schools, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke.

He added that Georgetown tends to lose admitted students to schools with more competitive financial aid packages. Around 45 percent of students at Georgetown receive financial aid, and although around 25 to 30 percent receive aid with reduced loan packages, admitted students will still tend to pick schools with grant-based packages rather than Georgetown’s loan-based ones.

Due to Georgetown’s gentleman’s agreement with its peer schools in the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will stop all wait list action by June 30. To fill the remainder of the class, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions often uses the transfer wait list to help round out the final numbers for the undergraduate enrollment.

Just under 2,100 students applied for transfer to the university, and 190 applicants received offers. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions aims to matriculate around 150 transfer students, and works closely with the registrar to determine how many seats are still available for classes in the fall.

The transfer wait list lasts until August, with some students receiving acceptances the first day of registration during the fall semester. Starting last year, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions created an extended wait list that selects a few students for admission.

“[For] about the last 25 transfer students on the wait list, we said, ‘If you’re willing to stay on the wait list and would be willing to accept enrollment on the first day of registration, we will give you a place if there’s space, and if there’s not, we will guarantee you admission in January,’” Deacon said.

Other students on the transfer wait list are accepted for the spring semester. Last year, around 12 students accepted this enrollment plan, and four students were able to enroll in the fall. The remaining eight students enrolled in January.

Deacon said he does not plan to use this system with freshmen.

“[Transfers] are a little more willing to take it to that edge,” Deacon said. “That’s the ultimate precision with enrollment.”


Housing and Moving Advice from Hoya Parents & Family

The school year is at its end! Your student is probably beginning to feel relieved that the semester is over and excited for their summer break. Moving out at the end of the semester can be stressful for students whether your student lives on-campus or off-campus.

We’ve compiled a few tips from other parents of Georgetown students to help alleviate tension and stress for both of you as the semester draws to a close:

 “If your student is returning home for another year on campus, storage is your best option. We were able to look into several companies that allow you to pack up your items and they will pick them up and store them for you. This was especially helpful for us being in California.” – Susan K.

“Ask the right questions! Make sure to know your student’s living arrangements for the following year. Are they living on campus or renting an apartment? Will they have roommates, and if so, how many? Who? How to contact them over the summer? How will the bills be divided/paid for? My son did this in the fall. They decided to store their items together and split the cost.” – Jim M.

“If your student lives in a residence hall, charges may be applied to their student account if rooms are not properly cleaned. If they live in an apartment, many apartment complexes withhold deposits if the apartment is not clean or if there are any damages. We arrived early to help pack and clean with our daughter. We were able to carve in some family time in DC. It was nice to bond and help her de-stress after finals.” – Laurie H.

“We received a bill for $250 in damages last summer for our son’s dorm in Harbin. We wished he had notified us or done something sooner. He damaged his door’s lock and it could’ve been replaced during the year. If your student has any maintenance concerns in their room or apartment—from damaged screens to ripped fabric on furniture, lights or outlets not working, etc., they will need to submit maintenance requests now, rather than letting problems go until the end of the semester. Between finals and wrapping up the semester, students will have little time to deal with filing maintenance requests.” – Rett P.

“Get your ducks in a row! We were sure to make sure that our student completed her Housing Contract, room selection through their new system, and paid her deposit. It gave her less to worry about.” – Anonymous

“A great way to get rid of unwanted items is to have your student donate them! There are several local charities in DC that could use gently-used or old items. Have your student drop off any of these items. Georgetown also partners with local charities that have a pick-up for clothing and household items. Donations of used furniture are also accepted. It’s a great feeling and it also instills their Jesuit identity in service for others!” – Stephanie R.

Students must leave campus 24 hours after their last exam or by 12pm (noon) on Sunday, May 15, 2016. Only graduating seniors and students approved for May Transition Housing may remain in campus housing past closing. 

 For more information: