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Students at GW shouldn’t feel superior to those at American University

Clare Sausen, a freshman majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Updated: Oct. 16, 2015 at 2:14 p.m.

It’s fair to say GW students are competitive in many regards: how many internships they’ve had, their GPA, the number of sweatshirts they own embroidered with a pink whale. But there’s one area in which we take this competitiveness too far – the faux superiority over students at American University.

All over GW’s Yik Yak feed, there’s a constant stream of jokes mocking the value of a degree from our peer school. An especially popular model follows the pattern of, “Looks at Nicki Minaj’s Wikipedia page, gets music history degree from AU.” But even less creative jabs, like a simple “AU sux,”  go straight to the “most popular Yaks” page.

Why do we do this? Maybe it’s to cope with the fact that some consider GW to be a safety school for those who don’t get into Georgetown University. So, we feel like we have to bring someone down with us. We’re not quite Georgetown University, but at least we’re no American University, right?

But here’s the thing: We kind of are.

Let’s face it. Most of our “only at GW” moments aren’t only happening at GW. Students at American University get to see great speakers on their campus, can intern on Capitol Hill and will get tickets to the presidential inauguration in 2017 – just like us.

This past year, GW’s acceptance rate jumped to 45 percent, 10 percentage points higher than American University. As reluctant as we may be to accept it, GW is currently much closer to American University’s acceptance rate than we are to Georgetown University’s, which has remained fairly steady at 17 percent.

And our national ranking isn’t so different, either. This past year, U.S. News & World Report ranked GW No. 57. And in national rankings, GW and American University are far below Georgetown University, which lands at No. 21.

Even if GW does have an advantage over our Tenleytown neighbor in some regards, like proximity to the city and direct access to the Metro, the condescension we display reveals our true insecurity. If we didn’t feel as though we were even slightly in competition with American University, we wouldn’t be so worried about constantly proving ourselves and bringing them down in the process.

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This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to outdated information from U.S. News & World Report, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that American University’s acceptance rate is 46 percent. It is 35 percent. We regret this error.

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