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Georgetown Day School

School rating 4 / 5 by

4200 Davenport Street NW Washington DC 20016 United States
PK to 12th


Georgetown Day School review by .

GDS's (Georgetown Day School) academics are, like everything else about the school, what you make of them. There are the traditional challenging AP classes for the overachievers who crave them (like me), and the kids who need a less challenging or more creative course load have that option as well. In my experience, the classes at GDS are incredibly stimulating. They're very rigorous, but focus on truly learning valuable information and skills rather than filling out worksheets and doing busywork. GDS's English department has traditionally been its strongest, but the history and social studies department has made tremendous strides in recent years and is probably the strongest now. GDS is generally more known for arts and humanities, but the science department in particular has a number of true stars with fantastic classes. Competition amongst the student body is generally very limited--stressing over grades is pretty widespread, but the class is not ranked, so there's little competition between students. GDS has a reputation for being easygoing, and the school retains an enjoyably offbeat outlook most of the time. However, it's one of the most demanding schools in the area. Students do a lot of reading and a lot of studying. Alumni generally say GDS was more challenging for them than college. The workload is usually manageable, though--if a student is a naturally stressed person, he will probably feel stressed overwhelmed, whereas kids with cooler composure usually don't feel particularly stressed. Regardless, GDS is very good preparation for college across the board due to its emphasis on student independence. Most of the work is reading, studying, or writing rather than smaller assignments that are consistently handed in. The classes at GDS are all discussion-based. Most teachers lecture here and there, and all teachers guide discussions, but all classes--even science and math--have a strong discussion element to them. GDS places emphasis on the "value of each individual," so student voices are generally strong. A typical English class has probably 12 students, while classes in other departments range from as few as 4 to as many as 18. 15 is pretty typical for classes other than English. GDS has an absolutely outstanding faculty. As many know, students at GDS call their teachers (and all other members of the community) by their first names, which truly does help to foster a sense of camaraderie amongst everyone. GDS teachers all have office hours and are remarkably accessible--one teacher I had commented that GDS teachers were required to be more accessible than teachers at any other school in the area. The very close student/faculty relationship helps to balance the degree of independence GDS students are given. The school expects students to be self-directed, but the friendly and accessible (and often fun and funny) faculty members are always very helpful for advising and guiding students. On the whole, GDS academics offer something for everyone. Each student is somewhat responsible for directing himself, but faculty members and older students are typically very helpful in the process.

College Counseling

I was admitted to all 11 schools to which I applied, and I credit my....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

GDS admissions are probably not the most challenging of the area schools, but GDS is....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Quality of life is really what sets GDS apart from other area schools. GDS is in Tenleytown, which is in Washington, DC proper but has a definitive neighborhood (rather than urban) feel. Because it's in the city, GDS has a devoted security staff, so it's a very safe campus. GDS has a completely open campus to students of all grades. This allows students to explore the immediately surrounding neighborhood, which has a number of shops and cafes that are perfect for lunch. GDS also brings in lunch vendors each day for students who want to stay at school, and probably half....

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