Co-Curricular Programs

GW Co-Curricular Programs help first-year students connect with peers around a shared identity, specialized topic, or common area of interest. These programs incorporate both in-person and online participation and are designed and hosted by a variety of offices across campus, including The Office of Student Life, GW Hillel, The Women’s Leadership Program, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement, and more. GW Co-Curricular Programs provide meaningful connections through immersive cohort-based experiences and allow students to explore and discover more about themselves, their new peers, and their new home in Washington, D.C.

Program Overview 

The Student Life team offers three exciting co-curricular programs for incoming, first-year undergraduates. These programs help students connect with classmates, discover campus resources, and ease the transition to college life. Incoming students are paired with upper-class guides who mentor, share GW knowledge, and provide personal insights into life at GW and in D.C. For general questions about the programs, please email Student Life.

Students whitewater rafting down a river.

Adventure Bound

This unique experience offers students the opportunity to participate in a range of activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, and paddleboarding.

Students enjoying conversation at tables at the Founding Scholars welcome session

Founding Scholars

Founding Scholars welcomes incoming first-generation college students to GW through activities on-campus and around D.C.

The cohort of Lead GW participants posing for a photo in front of Gelman Library steps


LEAD GW is a dynamic co-curricular program that encourages students to learn more about themselves, socially responsible leadership, and their new home.

Additional Co-Curricular Programs for New Students

SEAS New Student Experience (School of Engineering and Applied Science first-year students)

Each academic year, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) Office of Undergraduate Studies and the SEAS Student Peer Advisory Network (SEASSPAN) mentors assist first year students with their transition to college through a series of events called the New Student Experience (NSE) which includes a day trip referred to as The Getaway. For questions, email [email protected].

The University Honors Program offers a distinctive academic experience. Join your fellow UHP peers and learn more about what to expect in your first year, connect with faculty and staff who support the program, and get to know other members of your cohort. For questions, email [email protected].

The Women’s Leadership Program brings together women of four different cohorts to learn more about program offerings, connect with faculty and staff who support the program, and provide space and opportunity for relationships to form. For questions, email [email protected].

Looking for a way to ease the transition into college? Want to be connected with other incoming Jewish first year students? GW Hillel’s LaunchPad offers incoming first year students a unique opportunity to 'find your people' and arrive to campus welcomed with open arms by Hillel student leaders and staff.

Upon your arrival to GW, the International Services Office (ISO) offers events to help you get familiar with GW, explore DC, and make friends. Learn more and sign-up for events you’re interested in attending! For questions, email [email protected].

Institute for Citizen Leaders

The Institute for Citizen Leaders (ICL) is a 2.5-day institute hosted by units across GW’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) that explores the intersections of community engagement and diversity, preparing students for their roles as leaders in community and civic engagement both on campus and in the D.C. community. 

Students have the opportunity to interact and work with GW administrators, faculty, staff and expert facilitators to understand the core values and vision of cultural intelligence, inclusive excellence, social responsibility, and innovative thinking that is a hallmark of the GW educational experience. 

ICL attendees are a mix of first-year students and upper-class civic and community engagement leaders from the Nashman Center and the Multicultural Student Services Center. ICL is open to any first-year student but please note there are certain first-year programs and scholar cohorts that are required to attend ICL. If you are a student in any of the following programs and scholar cohorts, please be sure to sign-up for ICL: 

  • POSSE Scholars
  • Say Yes to Education Scholars
  • Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute Scholars
  • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholars (SJT) Scholars
  • District Scholars
  • Chicago Scholars
  • IMPACT / Yes Prep Scholars
  • Civic House Academic Residential Community
  • Politics & Values Living and Learning Community 

Questions about ICL? Reach out to us at [email protected].


of students would recommend their co-curricular program to another incoming student


of students felt prepared to start college after their co-curricular program


of students agreed they feel connected to their fellow incoming students after their co-curricular program

Frequently Asked Questions

All Co-Curricular programs will take place prior to New Student Orientation, up to Saturday, August 17, 2024 depending on the program. Please see each of the program pages for details.

Students in the University Honors Program, Women’s Leadership Program, and School of Engineering and Applied Science are automatically “enrolled” in a Co-Curricular program. If this applies to you, then you will receive more information via email from your program managers over the summer.

If you are a student in one of the Admissions scholar cohorts, then you must register and attend the Institute for Citizen Leaders:

  • Chicago Scholars
  • Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute
  • Civic House
  • District Scholars
  • IMPACT/Yes Prep
  • Politics and Values
  • Posse
  • Say Yes to Education
  • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

The size of each program varies, ranging from 20 - 300. Student Life Co-Curricular programs, LEAD GW, Adventure Bound, and Founding Scholars, utilize peer guides and break participants into small groups of about 10-25 first-year students.

All first-year students will participate in a variety of opportunities and welcome events during New Student Orientation from August 18 - August 21. By registering for a Co-Curricular program prior to New Student Orientation, you are maximizing your opportunities to get involved in the community and meet new friends.

When applying to participate in a Co-Curricular program, rank your preferences to maximize chances of participation. Since spots are limited, some students may not be selected to participate. Some of our Co-Curricular programs may maintain a waitlist once the program has reached capacity. If you are on the waitlist, you will be contacted as space becomes available.

Programs that list “fees are associated” do require a fee for participation. For these details, visit the specific program’s webpage or email the contact provided.

Some programs may have a fee waiver available, for more information contact the program you are interested in.

Once you have applied for a program and rank preferences through your GW eServices portal, your request will be reviewed. Most programs will let students know if they have been selected by the end of June. Please review the page for the program you are interested in for specific information on decision dates, and for contact information for the program's coordinator.