A pre-orientation program focused in leadership development and community building.

LEAD GW is a dynamic, co-curricular program for incoming, first-year undergraduate students. This program empowers students to learn more about themselves, socially responsible leadership, and their new home. LEAD GW is one of three exciting pre-orientation programs for new students offered by the Office of Student Life. These programs help students connect with classmates, discover campus resources, and ease the transition to college life. 

Photo of 80 LEAD participants in front of Gelman Library.

Start your GW experience with an amazing group of your peers!

"I really enjoyed how we were divided into small groups and hence were able to build a bond with not only members of the groups but our guides as well. In addition, I enjoyed the small chat and talk session as I really got to know a lot more about others as well as more about myself. Lastly, this program was really thought-provoking as I believe I now have a clearer idea of what I really wanted to do in the future and how I should be as a person or even a leader." 

LEAD GW Participant, 2019

Program Overview 

LEAD GW stands for "Leadership Exploration and Development" and helps first-year students start their leadership journey at GW through a variety of activities and self-reflection. Participants attend presentations and workshops, engage in small group activities, and explore D.C. with their new classmates. 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.

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

As a result of attending LEAD GW, 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 GW


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


of participants agreed that they made at least one new friend as a result of participating in LEAD GW

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



The program fee for this year is $90 and will be charged to the participants' student accounts.

The fee will cover program supplies, a t-shirt, snacks, and more. We will provide food for activities that are off-campus, away from dining halls and GWorld vendors.

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 [email protected].


Registration for this year's program is closed as all participant spots are full. Registration for LEAD GW 2023 will open during Summer 2023.

Please note that you can only participate in one co-curricular 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 LEAD GW.

Program Dates and Schedule

Following the pre-orientation participant move-in on Saturday, August 20, 2022. LEAD GW will take place Sunday, August 21 and Monday, August 22. We will be planning the final details of the program throughout the summer. You can check out our 2021 LEAD GW schedule to gain some insight into what to expect. Please note that this year the program will begin on both days at or around 9 AM.

Students taking a group selfie

Julia Kerrigan

Class of 2023

"LEAD GW 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 email [email protected].