LEAD GW (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.

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 

Students that sign up to participate in LEAD GW 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, engage in small group activities, and explore DC 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 DC. 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 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 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.



The anticipated program cost for fall 2021 is $100-$150. Final costs will be posted this summer. 


Registration will open later this summer.

Program Dates

LEAD GW will take place over two days following new student move-in and during Orientation week. More information about the fall 2021 program dates will be available later this summer! 

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 contact Andrea Davis, Program Coordinator for Leadership.