Founding Scholars

Founding Scholars welcomes new, incoming first-generation college students to life at GW. Students will build community with other first-gen students, connect with faculty and staff, and learn about valuable academic and campus resources while getting to know more about Washington, D.C. This program is specifically designed for first-generation students and we welcome you to register if you identify as a first-gen student.  


Founding Scholar students eating dinner at a restaurant.


"The Founding Scholars program helped immensely in my first year of college at a PWI, I was nervous and scared that I would be isolated from spaces because of my background.  This program welcomed me with a community that taught me that I was not alone and that I belonged here.  I found a family that equipped me with the resources and confidence necessary to be successful as a first-gen, second-generation, person of color."

Alejandra Varela
Class of 2023

Program Overview 

Small groups and peer guides are a signature part of our co-curricular programs. Incoming student participants will be placed in a small group led by two upper-year peer guides who act as mentors, lead small group discussions and activities, guide reflection on what it means to be a first-generation student, and help participants get to know more about GW and Washington, D.C. Students that sign up to participate in Founding Scholars are expected to be available to engage during all program dates and times. 

Program Benefits

By addressing the unique characteristics of this population, the goal of Founding Scholars is to reduce barriers between first-generation students and continuing generation peers, acclimating students to their new home, fostering connectedness, and providing a successful start to the college experience.

Founding Scholars participants will:

  • Explore what it means to be first-gen at GW;
  • Build community with first-gen peers;
  • Connect with faculty/staff; 
  • Learn about valuable academic and campus resources to succeed at GW; and
  • Explore your new home of Washington, D.C., learn how to navigate the city, and discover some of what it has to offer alongside your peers.



 of students agreed that they can apply their strengths as a first-generation student after Founding Scholars


incoming students participated in 2019, the first year of Founding Scholars


$75 per participant. The program fee will be charged to your student account in August. The fee will cover program supplies, t-shirt, and snacks. We will provide food for activities that are off-campus, away from dining halls.

We do not want program fees to be a barrier to participation.  Fee waivers are available for those who express financial need.  If you have questions about fee waivers, please reach out to the Founding Scholars team at [email protected]


You can register for Founding Scholars here

If your plans change, you must cancel your registration by July 26, 2022 so that we can open the spot for another incoming student. Refunds will not be issued after this date.

Please note that you can only participate in one pre-orientation program. SEAS students, Women’s Leadership Program (WLP), Civic House Scholars, and others with required programming on these program dates are not eligible to participate in Adventure Bound.

Register today!

Program Dates

Following the pre-orientation participant move-in on Saturday, August 20, 2022. Founding Scholars will take place Sunday, August 21 and Monday, August 22. We will be planning the final details of the program throughout the summer, but you can check out our tentative Founding Scholars 2022 schedule to gain some insight into what to expect.


Additional Information  

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Founding Scholars team at [email protected].

Founding Scholars will be capped at 70 participants. If the program has reached capacity, we will place any additional interested students on a rolling waitlist.