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.

Apply for LEAD GW today!

LEAD GW 2023

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, Class of 2026


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.

LEAD GW Peer Guides smiling

I enjoyed working to develop further as a leader--learning how to better understand and working to remove boundaries for those around me as I also try to lift them up. I also enjoyed all the friends I made. Coming from California I did not know that many people coming into GW, but now I can confidently say that I have so many friends and know that these friends will last throughout my college career. Lastly, I enjoyed working to discover my true color (team gold forever!) which really allowed me to understand what kind of leader I am and how I can best work with other type of leaders."

LEAD GW Participant
Class of 2027

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 $115 and will be charged to the participants' student accounts in August.

The fee will cover program supplies, a t-shirt, meals/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].

Program Dates and Schedule

For the 2024-2025 academic year, LEAD GW will be taking place Thursday, August 15 through Saturday, August 17 from approximately 1pm to 9pm. We ask that those that apply to the program have total availability from 1pm to 9 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Participants that are selected for the 2024 cohort will be provided the early move-in date of Wednesday, August 14

The schedule for this year's program has not been released yet but you can check out last year's schedule to gain some insight into what to expect!


The application for LEAD GW 2024 will open on our website beginning Wednesday, May 14 at noon with the priority deadline of Friday, June 14. Applicants will be notified if they are part of this year's LEAD GW cohort by Friday, June 21. Applications received after June 21 will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, depending on program space availability. No applications will be considered past July 21.

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.

Apply for LEAD GW today!

"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."

Julia Kerrigan
Class of 2023

Students taking a group selfie

Additional Information

If you have any additional questions, please email [email protected].