It’s the time of year where eager first-years and burnt-out sophomores and juniors send in their hopeful applications, dress up in their suits for interviews, and make it to the last round of interviews — only to face that final rejection. Georgetown fosters this toxic club culture where students with no prior experience are extremely disadvantaged from joining competitive clubs that heavily favor students with prior experience. Club culture’s exclusivity leaves inexperienced students feeling as if they only have two options: simply not apply or apply and wait for the rejection.
Not to name clubs specifically (consulting) but Georgetown’s club exclusivity perpetuates an interesting paradox. Students curious about new fields look to clubs as a way to gain experience but are often rejected if they do not have that experience. I’m not big on using comparisons, but it’s like the chicken and the egg: Without one, you can’t get the other.
If you’re someone like me who came from a public high school that didn’t offer every single club known to mankind, you’re already at a disadvantage. At my high school, clubs like mock trial, FBLA and model UN didn’t even exist. So, when I got to Georgetown, I saw these clubs as a way to explore my interests and learn about subjects outside my intended major…
As a government major, I was (surprisingly) interested in investing. I figured if Warren Buffett could have a net worth of $1 million by 30, I had about 13 years to catch up to him. Needless to say, I regret to inform you that the world has so far lost the opportunity to see all my investing potential.
If this all sounds excessively bitter, then it has successfully conveyed my purpose. My hope is that as Georgetown’s clubs grow and become more established, the club leaders of these exclusive and highly coveted clubs will focus on the establishment of novice programs for new members to integrate better and learn about the basics of the program before being thrown in headfirst. Expanding training programs for all or even creating shadowing programs for novices would help many eager students learn about the fields and causes the clubs support.
Anyway, instead of sulking about Georgetown’s club culture, I thought it’d be useful to compile a list of clubs that didn’t require you to win a Nobel Peace Prize, intern under Dr. Fauci, or discover a new chemical element. Apart from their open membership, these clubs give students the opportunity to meet peers in all different majors with similar interests. They often offer more of a noncompetitive environment with more flexibility and are great for students looking to explore their interests without having to commit a burdensome amount of time.
Cultural clubs: Asian American Student Association, Armenian Student Association, Arab Society, Black Student Alliance, Central Americans United Student Association, Iranian Cultural Society, Japan Network, Korean Student Association, Latin American Student Association
I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t think anyone’s going to bar you from your own culture or exploring others. This list in no way encompasses all the cultural clubs offered on campus!
This one is for all my consulting rejects. Unlike the other heavily competitive consulting clubs, DCivitas prides itself on its open-membership policy. Even if you’re not a consultant, you can still participate in training programs, so when the next application period opens, you can try again — this time with experience.
Investing: Georgetown Collegiate Investing (GCI)
GCI requires no application, just that you attend the training sessions and pass a midterm. It might seem like a heavy commitment, but honestly, for a club that lets in people who aren’t in the MSB, it’s not bad.
International affairs: International Relations Club, Model UN (MUN)
This one I found really surprising. Considering how Georgetown’s MUN team is ranked No. 2, its open membership is something to definitely take advantage of. If it helps, my MUN friends are always raving about their conferences — and gatherings!
Law/debate clubs: Moot Court, Parliamentary Debate
To all my fellow Mock Trial rejects and aspiring law students, I have found some hopeful alternatives. Moot Court doesn’t require any applications. Parliamentary Debate does, but the process is fairly lax from what I have heard and experienced.
Political clubs: College Democrats (GUCD), College Republicans (GUCR)
For all my fellow students interested in starting political debates in the common room at 1 a.m., I’m happy to inform you that GUCD and GUCR have open membership and are a great way to become even more polarized!
School spirit clubs: Hoya Blue, Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program, and Georgetown Program Board
There’s nothing like cheering on our teams and being the literal embodiment of hype.
All joking aside, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to get into every single club to find your community. Despite my caustic remarks, getting into the most competitive clubs doesn’t mean everything. It definitely doesn’t hurt to apply, but don’t feel discouraged. Many open-membership clubs — like the ones listed above — do amazing work while providing similar experiences and resources to its members. As our amazing editor said, “People find their way to their community eventually, but it just takes time.”
Header Image: Poets&Quants