Category: Alumni

Title: What Hoyas Remember About The Day They Got Accepted to Georgetown

This week, Georgetown sent acceptances to several thousand high school students around the country and the world to join the Class of 2028.

For many Hoyas, getting into Georgetown is a moment to remember for a lifetime.

As Georgetown gets ready to welcome the next generation of Hoyas, we asked alumni to tell us what they remember about the day they got accepted into Georgetown. These are their stories.

Demystifying the Thin Envelope Urban Legend

A student and professor in commencement gowns.
Brendan Clark-Griffin (B’05, G’22) at his graduation for his master’s in business analytics in 2022 with Sudipta Dasmohapatra, professor of the practice and senior associate dean of MBA programs at the McDonough School of Business.

Brendan Clark-Griffin (B’05, G’22) 

Back in the late 1990s, there was an urban legend that a thin envelope in the mail meant a rejection and a thick envelope meant an acceptance. So, when a thin envelope arrived at my house in early December 2000, I hid the envelope so I could tell my parents I didn’t get into Georgetown on my own time. A few days later, I found out I got into Georgetown when my mother opened a Christmas card from the McDonough School of Business welcoming me to Georgetown. 

I was beyond belief that I got into Georgetown — especially since I had spent a few days feeling bad about the thin envelope. Once I got over the disbelief, I remember going straight to my club swim practice to celebrate with my friends, and later that week, we went out for a family dinner at the good Italian restaurant in town to celebrate.

A young woman holding photos while sitting in a dorm room.
Pilar Dexter (SFS’76) in Darnall Hall.

From Small-Town America to the Nation’s Capital

Pilar Dexter (SFS’76) 

I am from a small town outside of Albany, New York, and being the first of my family to attend college made waiting for my acceptance all the more exciting. It was a thick envelope, and I waved it to my family as I ran to the house from the mailbox. There was no doubt that Georgetown was my first choice. It was October of my senior year in high school, and I was accepted on early decision. 

I didn’t have a big celebration, just pride in knowing I would represent my family at such a prestigious school. 

I am proud and honored to be a Hoya. It wasn’t easy, but my education and experience was beyond anything I ever imagined. The campus is beautiful and my instructors were superb. Living and studying in our nation’s capital opened up opportunities to work on Capitol Hill with a congressman and a senator from my home state of New York besides meeting many individuals from around the country and the world. I was there for the filming of the “Exorcist” and celebrated our nation’s bicentennial. It was a great time. 

Jumping for Joy

A young Black man in graduation robes
Benjamin McAfee (SFS’12) at his Georgetown commencement.

Benjamin McAfee (SFS’12) 

I was sleeping in my bedroom when I got my admissions letter.  My mother decided to wake me up because she saw a small envelope from Georgetown. Leading up to the acceptance, I was nervous because it was one of my top choices.

When I noticed the small envelope, I was certain that I was denied because all of my other acceptances came in a large envelope. I told my mom to read it, expecting a denial, and she told me that I needed to read it. I then read it and when I realized that I got accepted, I jumped out of my bed in happiness and hugged my mom.

Being a Georgetown alumnus is so rewarding. I am grateful for my education because I was able to experience and learn from some of the best professors who challenged us to think differently about the world and students who sought to make a difference in the world. 

Continuing a Family Tradition

A young man and woman standing together in formal attire.
Elizabeth Roche Parija (B’02) with her brother, George Roche (B’10).

Elizabeth Roche Parija (B’02)

I had wanted to be a Hoya, like my dad, since I was in the sixth grade. On the day my “big” envelope arrived, my mom and little brother saw it before I did. They left it in the mailbox, and my brother, who was in fourth grade, picked little blue flowers (Hoya colors) and sprinkled them on top of the envelope. When I opened the mailbox I saw the big envelope and the flowers, and it was one of the best days of my life. 

I was elated. I celebrated with my family that night and shared the news with my friends. I also immediately put a Georgetown bumper sticker on the family car. 

To this day most of my closest friends remain from Georgetown and I am an alumni interviewer, based in Connecticut, for admissions. I love seeing the joy of the students whom I have interviewed when they get in! And I have never missed a reunion. My dad, class of 1967, is on the same reunion cycle as me, which is such a blessing and one I hope to replicate with one of my own children one day. And that little fourth-grader, my baby brother, went on to become a Hoya himself!

Racing Home

Casey Ferrante (C’22) 

A young woman in graduation cap standing on the National Mall
Casey Ferrante (C’22)

I was at school when my parents texted me that my letter had come in the mail. As soon as I found out, I started freaking out — I couldn’t focus on anything at school, my heart was racing, and I was incredibly anxious. The day seemed like it dragged on forever. When last period finally rolled around, I texted my brother that he had to leave class ASAP and run to the car so we could get home as fast as possible. My brother claims I was speeding like my life depended on it. 

I raced home and bolted into the house and ran to the dining room table where my letter was. I wanted to open it alone in my bedroom, but my parents wanted to be there when I opened it. So, I settled for opening it alone in the living room while they stayed in the dining room. I read, “It gives me great pleasure…” and tears started streaming down my face.   I called out, “I got in!” and my parents erupted in cheers. Not to be dramatic, but this was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Getting into Georgetown is a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself, but being admitted through Early Action was unbelievable.  Everything I had worked my whole life for had finally paid off. I genuinely could not stop crying tears of joy.