Will your GW story be history in the making?; graphical presentation of tricorner hat, GW statue and bust of George Washington

First-Year Application Process

You should apply to the George Washington University (GW) as a first-year applicant if you are currently in your senior year of high school, have earned a GED or completed high school, but never enrolled in college courses.

You will submit the Common Application to apply to GW. You can submit certain materials, including your transcript, recommendations, and essay through the Common Application, but we also accept documents that are sent via mail and email.

The GW Admissions Committee carefully reviews each applicant based on academic background, the rigor of high school coursework, and GPA. In addition, the committee takes into consideration essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. Submitting standardized test scores is optional.

We are looking for students who have the academic preparation, personal qualities, and motivation to thrive in GW’s dynamic environment.

Don't Miss Your Chance to Tell Your Story

Early Decision 1: November 1


Early Decision is a binding choice. If admitted, you agree to attend GW, submit a non-refundable enrollment fee by your deposit deadline and withdraw applications submitted to other colleges. The deadline for Early Decision I is November 1.

Apply Early Decision I by November 1

Early Decision 2: January 5


The second binding deadline for Early Decision is January 5. If admitted, you agree to attend GW, submit a non-refundable enrollment fee by your deposit deadline and withdraw applications submitted to other colleges.

Apply Early Decision II by January 5

Regular Decision: January 5


The Regular Decision deadline is January 5. This phase is non-binding.

Apply Regular Decision by January 5

Spring First-Year Admission


The First-Year Spring admission application deadline is October 1.

Apply for Spring Admission by October 1


First-Year Application Steps

Complete and submit the Common Application online.

Note that there are multiple decision plans at GW. We offer Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Early Decision plans utilize a binding agreement, meaning that you are required to attend should you be admitted to the university. The Early Decision agreement form can be found on the Common App website. Be sure to pay attention to application deadlines.

The essay portion of the application provides an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their English language writing skills. Applicants will choose one of two specific prompts that best allows them to share their story with the Admissions Committee. The essay will be 250 to 650 words and detailed instructions can be found in the Common Application.

In addition to the Common Application essay, the applicant can complete the optional 250-word Writing Supplement. The GW supplemental essay question is a chance to show their personality and make connections between your experiences and GW’s institutional values.

Please note: The application is not complete and we cannot begin the application review until we receive all required forms. Be sure to complete the last step after Summary and Review, which finalizes payment of the fee, and be certain it is successfully submitted. The application requires a nonrefundable application fee of $80 for students. The Common Application opens in early August for fall and spring admission.

Supporting documentation, including School Report, transcripts, and letters of recommendation, can be submitted electronically via the Common Application, via email to [email protected], or via mail to our office:
     The George Washington University
     Office of Undergraduate Admissions
     800 21st St NW Suite 214
     Washington, D.C. 20052

Please note that electronic submission is preferred and will allow us to complete your application in a timely manner.

Please allow us several weeks from the time the application is submitted to process all documents and post them in the GW Admissions Portal. During the busy application period, the portal is the best resource, as we are continually updating students' applications and documents. You will receive a link to the portal with instructions on how to log in after your application is submitted.

On the Common Application and corresponding documentation, please ensure the applicant’s name is written as it appears on their passport or government identification. Students should use the Common Application's “preferred name” field to include a nickname, if it differs from the name on official identification. All international applicants must provide a permanent, physical mailing address (that is not a post office box).

All applicants have the option to submit the GW Supplement as a part of their Common Application.

If you are applying to any of the special programs listed below, you must submit the required supplemental essay(s) or portfolio and/or schedule an audition. Further information about these programs can be found on our undergraduate admissions website.

If you are applying to any of the special programs listed below, you must submit the required supplemental essay(s) or portfolio and/or schedule an audition. Further information about these programs can be found on our undergraduate admissions website.

  • School of Media and Public Affairs
  • BFA Programs in the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design

Applicants must submit official transcript copies representative of their entire secondary school career. We consider secondary school to be four years of academic study including the current year in progress. Transcripts are required from each secondary school they have attended as well as marks from any national examinations.

Also, applicants are expected to submit a mid-year report from their senior year which includes grades for all classes. For Early Decision I students, first quarter or first trimester grades will fulfill this requirement.

Your School Counselor or other School Official may upload your transcript along with your School Report via the Common Application. They may also email your transcript along with your School Report to [email protected]. The transcript must be sent directly from the sender's school email address in order to be considered official.

GW is test-optional, meaning students applying for freshman or transfer admission are not required to submit standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), except in the following select circumstances:

  • Applicants applying to the accelerated Seven-Year B.A./M.D. Program
  • Applicants who are homeschooled
  • Applicants who attend secondary schools that provide only narrative evaluations rather than some form of grading scale
  • Recruited NCAA Division I athletes

Because we take a holistic approach to the application review process, we have no minimum GPA or SAT/ACT requirements for admission. However, admission to GW is competitive and admitted students are typically strong academic students in their high school graduating class.

GW’s member screen on the Common Application asks applicants whether they would like test scores considered as part of their application. Once that selection has been made and the application submitted, it cannot be changed. If an applicant has previously submitted test scores to our office but indicates on the application that they would not like their scores considered, test scores will not be viewed during application review. Please note that following the release of our admissions decisions, we will ask admitted students to submit test scores for research purposes.

Should you submit SAT or ACT scores, please be mindful of GW’s test score codes:

     SAT Code: 5246
     ACT Code: 0664

Note, we consider only the critical reading and math sections of the SAT for admission.

GW requires a letter of recommendation from both your high school guidance counselor and from at least one academic teacher. Both letters can be submitted directly by the recommender online through the Common Application's Teacher Evaluation form, emailed to [email protected], or mailed to our office.


Portfolio reviews are required for our BFA programs, with the exception of the BFA in Interior Architecture. Your portfolio should tell your story in a way that makes sense to you. We have no restrictions or requirements on what should be in your portfolio other than what you believe to be your strongest work. It is important to make sure that this is the best representation of you as an artist, and of your work up to the point of your application. Here are a few portfolio guidelines:

  • All students are required to submit 12-20 completed works of art.
  • The included work should be your best and most recent work.
  • If possible, the work should be related to your area of interest.

It is very important that the majors match in both the CommonApp and SlideRoom. Please take care when selecting the program (ex. BA in Fine Arts vs BFA in Fine Art), and make sure you've selected the same major in both locations.

You may receive credit for college-level coursework through International Baccalaureate (IB) or College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, allowing you to skip introductory courses, enter higher-level classes, and fulfill general education requirements.

Find out if you can bring credits to GW.

After submitting your application, please allow 7-10 business days for GW to receive it. Upon receipt, we’ll send you an acknowledgement email with instructions about how to log in to your GW Admissions Portal where you can track application materials and view your admission decision.

Please allow several weeks from the date you submit your application to process your documents and post them in your GW Portal. During the busy application period, your GW Portal is your best resource, as we are continually updating students' applications and documents.

If you have any questions about the application process, visit our contact us page.

Enhance Your GW Experience—Choose a Special Interest Program

  • Expand Your Interests and Passions
    Collage of GW students, in classrooms, in labs, outdoors and dancing

    Expand Your Interests and Passions

    GW offers a variety of special interest and academic programs so you can expand your interests and passions in diverse fields. To be considered for these programs, you must fulfill the application requirements for regular freshman admission and complete each program’s appropriate requirements within the Common Application. These programs are available only to entering freshmen.

    Find a program and review the entrance requirements

Choose a Primary and Alternate School

You may be committed to one specific field of study during your time at GW, but you may also choose GW because of the breadth of our curricular offerings.

For this reason, we offer you the option to select both a primary and an alternate school choice on your application.

You are required to select a primary school to apply to, but you are not required to choose an alternate school or college. If you wish to choose an alternate, include your choice on the Common Application.

Still have questions about your choice? Review more details about primary and alternate school choice.