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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 offers--for the most part--fantastic classes. The English department is traditionally hailed as the best. A highlight of the English curriculum is the senior paper, a 15-30 page paper on two books of the students' choice. As with all assignments, students work in close consultation with teachers and get the chance to get to know both the teachers and the books at hand very well. GDS students all take at least one year of literature in addition to the required four years of English; kids and teachers care a lot about literature, and this emphasis is apparent students' work and thought. But GDS' other academic departments are arguably on par with the English department. The math department offers the most advanced curriculum of any private school in the D.C. area, with about six classes beyond calculus. GDS offers French, Spanish, Latin, and Chinese, though, sadly, the French department is at the beginning of what may become its death. It still offers one or two classes beyond the AP each year, but the number of teachers and students has been dwindling in recent years. Students have a lot of flexibility in determining their schedules, so they can create very taxing schedules or easier ones. That said, most juniors and seniors have quite a heavy workload. For upperclassmen, the work load per night can range from about three to eight hours. Most GDS alumni say they are very well prepared for college, often saying they find college much easier than high school. But GDS is not just grueling; it's enjoyably difficult. There's a strong sense of comaraderie among students, and many of the hardest classes are also the most fun. And the work is usually not tedious--it's mostly reading and writing, almost never busywork. It's often hard to participate in classes without having done the reading, so kids are generally pretty on top of things. The average class size is probably about 14, though it varies by department. Some classes are as small as four students; the biggest classes--usually sciences--are capped at 18. All classes center around discussion, particularly those in the humanities. Math classes often involve work in groups, with kids figuring out proofs and formulas on their own instead of simply being told by a teacher. GDS teachers are remarkably accessible. They can usually be found pretty easily around the building, and they're keen to get to know kids. Most kids meet regularly with teachers out of class to discuss academic issues, but it's even more common to have a casual conversation about non-academic issues in the hall. GDS' halls are lined with couches, providing excellent opportunities for consultations about papers or other matters.

College Counseling

GDS has three college counselors to whom the senior class owes its sanity. Discussions about....

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

I started GDS in kindergarten; to get in, I read, played with blocks, and did....

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

GDS kids are always tired and busy, but they're engaging and excited and constantly ready for discussion, protest, or games. GDS has a very casual atmosphere, so kids get to know each other and their teachers well. The students' opinions are always valued, and major changes are always subject to discussion. Frequent town meetings provide a chance for all opinions to be heard about whatever subjects students find worthy of attention, and kids' opinions are always considered at least as much as teachers'. The Forum, the central social space of the school, serves as a home base for much of....

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