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. 

Pre-Orientation Program Group

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

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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.

“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.”

Kamiah Brown
Class of 2023

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.


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The program fee for this year is $100 and will be charged to the participants' student accounts in August.

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].

Program Dates and Schedule

For the 2023-2024 academic year, LEAD GW will be taking place on all day on Thursday, August 17 and Friday, August 18 from approximately 9:30am to 9pm. We ask that those that apply to the program have all day availability on both of those dates. Participants that are selected for the 2023 cohort will be provided the early move-in date of Wednesday, August 16. 

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 2023 opened on Tuesday, May 16 with the priority deadline is Friday, June 16. Applicants will be notified if they are part of this year's LEAD GW cohort by Friday, June 23. Applications received after June 16 will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, depending on program space availability. No applications will be considered past July 23.

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.


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"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].