As fall club recruitment season comes to an end, long-established organizations like Blue and Gray, The Corp and GUASFCU are not the only groups on campus that faced difficult hiring decisions. Fast-growing student groups have experienced a surge of interest, becoming increasingly competitive to join.

Blue and Gray, the tour guide society, received more applications than ever before, possibly as a result of its new style of recruitment. This year, the club shifted to all-online applications. Before this change, students had to line up in front of the admissions office in White-Gravenor Hall, with interviews granted to the first 100 and the rest apportioned on a case-by-case basis. Blue and Gray declined to say how many applications it reviewed this year.

Blue and Gray’s disposal of the old application process was due to concerns over equality of opportunity for students applying.

“No matter what your schedule was — if you had class or sports practice — you didn’t have to worry about being able to get there early. This way, everyone had an opportunity to submit their application if they wanted to,” Blue and Gray President Adaire Carey (COL ’14) said.

The Georgetown Speechwriter’s Advising Group, an organization started just last October, is a club facing an enormous spike in interest.

For GSWAG’s 19 available leadership positions, more than 55 students applied. Every applicant is accepted into the club as a general member.

“Last year, we had two application cycles,” GSWAG President Will Simons (COL ’16) said. “We had probably around 15 applicants in the fall and about 20 in the spring to kind of fill out our club.”

Simons attributed the surge of interest in GSWAG to its new Student Activities Commission-certified status.

“Being able to table at [the Student Activities Fair], I think, was huge this semester. We had over 200 people come up to our table and sign up, which we were amazed about,” he said. “Most people didn’t really know who we were last year.”

Scott Lowder (COL ’17) was hired as one of three marketing and communications officers this fall.

“I heard about it initially at [the Student Activities Fair] and then through word of mouth,” Lowder said. “I don’t think I was off-put by the competitiveness. I understand that clubs have roles to fill and only a certain number of people can fill those roles.”

Acceptance rates for historically competitive organizations like the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union and Students of Georgetown Inc. stayed within range of those of previous years. GUASFCU’s acceptance rate remained at around 12 percent, although CEO Chris Kelly (COL ’14) mentioned the quality of applicants has improved.

“I think that we, every year, get increasingly competitive in terms of the quality of kids coming in. I like to say that I probably would not have gotten in if I had applied this year,” Kelly said. “Georgetown kids are just getting a lot more impressive.”

The Corp’s acceptance rate also did not change from last year.

The Corp accepted 58 new hires this fall after receiving just under 1,000 specific service applications. Students can apply to multiple services, inflating application numbers, but the overall acceptance rate was approximately 10 percent.

The recruitment style of GUASFCU is different than that of Blue and Gray and The Corp.

“We interview every single applicant,” Kelly said. “So that could be around 180 to 200 interviews, and in other years it could be even more.”

GSWAG, like GUASFCU, interviews every applicant. Simons echoed Kelly on the rationale behind this practice.

“Some of our positions, especially marketing and communications, require pretty strong interpersonal skills — meeting with clients, dealing with other third parties,” he said.

Certain organizations, however, do not have the same resources as their larger peers.

“We don’t interview every applicant, because we don’t have nearly enough resources to do that,” Will Miller (SFS ’14), CEO of the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, said.

Last year, the group accepted about a third of people who applied. This year, the acceptance rates plunged as the number of applications shot up, with HMFI receiving approximately 110 applications for 12 spots.

“I think HMFI has gained more visibility on campus,” Miller said. “This year we had a much bigger recruitment process. We advertised a lot more to reach more people.”

More established groups with low acceptance rates eventually experience a fatigue in applications.

Georgetown Mock Trial, in existence since 1998, has a maximum capacity of 30 students due to competition restrictions. According to President Bebe Albornoz (COL ’14), the group had 17 open spots this year and witnessed 60 tryouts, contrasted with 85 tryouts for 10 spots last year.

“This year was actually the least,” Albornoz said. “It didn’t make things any easier or more difficult because in the end, we have a really hard time saying no to someone who’s a great person.”

The Georgetown Saxatones, a community service a cappella group founded in 2003, auditioned 100 hopefuls last year, according to President Liz Watson (COL ’15). Despite outreach efforts, this year saw 60 students audition, of whom six were selected and three assumed spots.

“We did a ton of recruiting; we went around and knocked on all the freshmen dorms’ doors,” Watson said. The decline in auditions may be attributed to the first round of auditions coinciding with freshman Community Service Day.

As the applicants increase in volume and quality, some organizations, like The Corp and GSWAG, may consider changing their application process to better suit their needs.

“We are actually in the process of looking at ways that we can revamp our hiring process in order to attract and select applicants that most align with [our] mission and culture,” Deanna Marie Arthur (SFS ’14), The Corp’s director of human resources, wrote in an email.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *