LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Development) is a dynamic, co-curricular program for new, incoming undergraduate students. This program empowers incoming students to learn more about themselves, socially responsible leadership, and their new home.

Register for LEAD

Due to the changes in the fall semester schedule, LEAD will no longer occur before New Student Orientation. This program has been reconfigured as a virtual co-curricular program for incoming first-year students that will primarily take place on September 19th and 20th.


Photo of 80+ LEAD participants in front of Gelman Library.


Program Overview and Changes 

This year, LEAD has been modified to accommodate changes in university operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshops, panels, and discussions will take place virtually. 

Students that sign up to participate in LEAD are expected to be available to engage during the program dates and times.

Small groups and peer guides are a signature part of our co-curricular programs and will continue. Incoming students will be placed in a small group led by two peer guides who act as mentors and are responsible for leading small group discussions and activities.


Photo of Kamiah Brown, a GW Student, at a museum posing with a dinosaur.

Kamiah Brown

Class of 2023

“LEAD was really fun and I highly recommend participating in the pre-orientation. I got the chance to explore DC, learn more about leadership, and I created friendships that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t apply for LEAD! LEAD gave me tips I often use on the daily whether that be learning the community outside of GW or how to work well on a team.”

Program Benefits

Participants attend presentations and workshops, and engage in small group activities. Incoming students are paired with upper-class guides who mentor, share resources, and provide personal insights into life at GW and living in D.C. Participants and guides will have the opportunity to further engage in leadership exploration opportunities through our Excellence in Leadership Session offered throughout the academic year. 

As a result of attending LEAD, participants will:

  • Learn about leadership styles, skills, and practices 
  • Connect with peers, staff, and the GW community 
  • Learn how to engage in leadership opportunities at GW



of participants agreed that they gained skills and knowledge that will make them more successful in college after participating in LEAD


of students agreed that they know their strengths as a leader after participating in LEAD

Photo of LEAD guides and incoming students in front of a neon map of the US at a museum.



There is no program fee for Fall 2020.


Registration will open on Thursday, July 30th at 12:00 PM EST and remain open through Thursday, August 13th at 12:00 PM EST, or when spots are filled. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. A wait list will be made available should the program fill before the registration deadline.

Register for LEAD

Program Dates

Saturday, September 19 | 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Sunday, September 20 | 12:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The times are tentative and subject to change; however, participants should plan to spend the majority of the day in LEAD activities. Breaks will be built in for meals and any required orientation activities. We ask that participants attend all activities and discussions. Some additional activities and discussions may take place throughout the fall semester; however, attendance at those additional events will be optional. 

Sample Schedule

We are working diligently to craft the final schedule for this year’s Founding Scholar program in light of the recent change to a fully virtual experience. The sample schedule will help you envision this year’s program. Times and session formats are subject to change, and all times are Eastern. More information will be provided as details are available. 

August 31 - September 18

Flipgrid video introductions (on-going)

Saturday, September 19

12:00 PM  |  Welcome and Introductions
1:00 PM    |  Panel
2:00 PM    |  Small Group Discussion + Break
3:30 PM    |  Leadership Workshop
4:30 PM    |  Break + Dinner on Own
5:30 PM    |  Small Group Discussion

Sunday, September 20

12:00 PM  |  Welcome and Reflection
12:45 PM  |  Adulting at GW Workshop 1 (guide-led)
2:00 PM    |  Adulting at GW Workshop 2 (guide-led)
3:15 PM    |  Workshop & Activity
4:15 PM    |  Leadership Trivia
5:15 PM    |  BYO Dinner + Small Group Discussion


Photo of LEAD incoming students in a workshop.

Julian Kerrigan

Class of 2023

"LEAD gave me the opportunity to reassess and embrace my leadership style before putting it into action during the school year. Its focus on both leadership and student life helped get me on my feet and feeling confident, and it was great to know that my peer guides would be supportive figures throughout the school year."

Additional Information

If you have any additional questions, please contact Denise Remedios, Program Coordinator for Leadership.