For Families



It is an exciting time when your student begins their journey to college. It can also be full of changes and questions but the George Washington University community is here to support you both through the process. Review helpful information and resources on this page, explore current events and happenings via GW Today or the GW homepage, or contact our office with any questions.

At GW, the college experience is anything but typical. Our students might learn from Pulitzer Prize-winners, run into world leaders on campus or be challenged by the first lady to serve our community. But the real difference at GW is that our students immediately put what they learn into action. From the center of Washington, D.C., they can explore hundreds of internship opportunities (in their field alone), take part in groundbreaking research that changes lives, join a student organization and volunteer in the city or around the world. Those who attend GW don’t just live in D.C. — they become a part of the nation’s capital and make a difference in it every day.



University Mission Statement

The mission of the George Washington University is to educate individuals in liberal arts, languages, sciences, learned professions, and other courses and subjects of study, and to conduct scholarly research and publish the findings of such research.





Journey to College

  • Wondering what it REALLY means when a school says they are test optional or about the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?
  • Do you want to understand the difference between need-based aid and merit aid?  And what role the FAFSA and CSS Profile play in helping you finance your student’s education?
  • Wondering how you will survive all the layers of this complicated process?

For students and families just beginning the college search, we developed a virtual curriculum to help demystify things. Watch our video series to be guided through the many steps involved in finding - and financing - the college of your student’s dreams.




Academic life at GW is defined not only by the ability of faculty and students to put knowledge in action, but also by the ability to take full advantage of GW’s vast access to world-class partnerships, policy-research initiatives, and one-of-a-kind learning opportunities.  An undergraduate education at GW provides students with a wide range of opportunities to pursue both professional and liberal arts degrees, ensuring that our graduates leave with a body of knowledge that shows a depth of understanding in at least one field. In addition, the General Education Requirement that is common to the education of students in all GW schools and colleges, ensures that students develop key analytical abilities that transcend disciplinary boundaries and support personal development, civic consciousness, and successful careers.


Program Flexibility 

Students are admitted to a primary school or program as part of the admissions process, but once they matriculate at GW, they can choose to add a minor, double major, double major across schools, or internally transfer between schools. For policies and provisions, please see University Regulations.

Academic Advising

Each GW school offers academic advising to undergraduate students to ensure each student is on track to graduate on time. Undergraduate students interested in careers in medicine, veterinary science, or law should also meet with a pre-professional academic advisor. Pre-professional advising is designed to assist and support students as they explore graduate and professional programs.



Special Programs

  • Is your student excited about attending an urban research university but craving a sense of community at the same time?
  • Would a residential honors program be something that would energize your student’s inner “intellectual omnivore?”
  • Is your student interested in seminar-sized classes, special advising, faculty mentoring, and other personal touches in their college experience?

We encourage you to learn about our special academic programs to explore all the ways to personalize your student’s first year experience. 

NOTE: Many of these programs require an indication of interest or an application essay on the Common Application - please explore these possibilities before your student submits their GW application!




As a global, comprehensive research university, GW prioritizes its contribution to solving problems and breaking barriers to greater knowledge and understanding. In particular, our undergraduates have unparalleled access to participation in cutting edge research throughout the disciplines.




Our connections to the world’s most influential organizations and institutions, many of which are in walking distance from our Foggy Bottom Campus, mean our students’ education is not limited to the classroom. With more than 12,000 internship opportunities, students can gain experience from a variety of organizations, including the White House, Vox Media, PwC, General Dynamics, National Institutes of Health, CNN, the World Bank, and more.

We also offer numerous funding opportunities to support unpaid internships to ensure that students can choose the best GW experience without worrying about financial considerations.


Student Life

College is a time to grow, as students discover the world around them and develop long-lasting relationships. From first-year students to first-generation students and transfer students, Student Life tailors services and events to reach each member of the GW student body. GW has unique traditions, designed to give students the opportunity to realize their full potential through a wide range of programs, activities, and support services. GW’s innovative programs are personalized to support students and ensure their academic success.




GW aims to promote residential experiences rooted in vibrant communities where students can learn, grow, and feel at home. Students will be inspired to form lifelong connections; advance their personal, academic, and professional goals; and engage with all the university and D.C. offer. First-year residence halls offer a variety of room types and amenities, yet each residence hall is coed by room, includes streaming cable, has building-wide wireless internet, and is managed by a full-time professional Community Coordinator. 




At GW, our meal plans are designed to fit students’ unique needs. With flexibility, convenience, and value in mind, students can enjoy all-you-care-to-eat meals at dining halls in Thurston and Shenkman Halls on the Foggy Bottom Campus and at The Eatery at Pelham Commons on the Mount Vernon Campus. These locations provide made-to-order, culturally diverse offerings, and allergen-friendly concepts to the GW community. Students can find a variety of food options such as vegan, vegetarian, and allergen free, and all dining services prioritize sustainability in their food-serving practices. GW’s student-athletes can expect a dining program that provides training meals through an athletics-focused performance food hub that is also available to all GW students. All students residing in residence halls are required to purchase a meal plan. Students will have an opportunity to choose their meal plan at the same time they apply for housing.



GW Traditions

At GW, we know history. Founded in 1821 through an Act of Congress, we have fulfilled George Washington’s vision of an institution in the nation’s capital dedicated to educating and preparing future leaders. Our students have shaped and celebrated the quintessential moments that make the GW experience truly unique. Explore GW’s traditions and university events.


student org

Student Organizations

Student organizations are one of the best ways to get involved on campus. Assembled under an array of causes, identities, and interests, student organizations at GW put on some of the most highly anticipated campus events and offer endless opportunities for involvement and leadership each year! GW offers over 500+ student organizations, so there is something for everyone!

GW’s gateway to all student organizations is Engage, which allows students to access information about any student organization at GW, find out about events and activities on campus, manage their organization’s communications and finances, and stay up to date with life outside of the classroom.



Health & Safety

GW’s Police Department works with local law enforcement and community partners to provide a safe and secure campus environment for all members of the university community. Services include residential hall security, patrol services, and crime prevention education. Encourage your student to add GWPD’s emergency and non-emergency numbers to their contacts: 

  • GWPD emergency line: (202) 994-6111
  • GWPD non-emergency line: (202) 994-6110
    GW Safe Ride

    GW provides a free and safe ride to/from Foggy Bottom Campus residence halls and academic buildings during late-night hours for students, faculty, and staff who prefer not to walk alone.

    GW EMeRG (EMS)

    EMeRG (GW Emergency Medical Response Group) is a student-run and -operated volunteer EMS agency serving the greater Foggy Bottom community and the GW Mount Vernon Campus. As nationally certified EMTs, EMeRG and its members are committed to providing free prehospital care and transport to the GW community. If you are sick or injured on or around campus, call the GWPD’s Emergency Line at (202) 994-6111.

    GW Alerts

    GW uses a number of tools to notify students, staff, faculty, and community members of emergency situations and safety-related information. All students will automatically receive GW email alerts. If you listed your mobile number during the admissions process, it will automatically be signed up for text alerts upon enrollment. Students may customize their GW alert settings to include a parent or family member. GW also uses the Guardian app, which includes safety times, a direct link to the GWPD  Emergency line, and a directory of important resources. 



    Value & Cost

    Most families find the process of financing a college education for their student a daunting undertaking. Unfortunately, many rule out universities and colleges that might serve their students well, out of an abundance of caution regarding expense and anxiety over debt. However, the proper research into actual cost and available institution-based financial resources can result in pleasant surprises about the actual affordability of higher education.

    The Office of Undergraduate Admissions administers our merit-based scholarship offerings. All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships, and no additional application is required for most scholarships. 

    Return on Investment/Outcomes

    In addition to reviewing scholarships and need-based aid, we encourage you and your student to think about your return on investment - basically, where their GW degree will take them. GW’s Office of Career Services hosts the Undergraduate Employment and Education Outcomes page, where you can search by major to see where GW’s recent graduates are employed (by employer and geographic location), how many go onto graduate programs, and what their salaries are upon graduation.