New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation aims to aid new undergraduate students and their families in the academic, personal, social, and cultural transition to the George Washington University and D.C. community. Our goal is to introduce you to the academic culture, community expectations and resources, and involvement opportunities both on-campus and around the city. We hope you take advantage of all that GW has to offer and that you utilize the people around you for support and guidance as you begin your journey here at GW.

Fall Orientation

Orientation for New Students takes place the week following move-in and includes academic sessions, social activities, and opportunities to explore campus and the city. Events and activities are both in-person and online. Check out the next steps for new students, preview the Orientation program schedule, and get to know the O-Team before you arrive to campus this fall!


Register for New Student Fall Orientation 



Sophomore Orientation: August 25-28

We're excited to welcome you to campus! Your in-person Orientation experience will be more like a 'choose your own adventure' over the course of a few days, where you can pick and choose from options provided. Some events include:

  • Buff & Blue Kick Off
  • Excursions around D.C.
  • Dining Food Festival
  • GW Late Night events
  • Games and food on the National Mall
  • Late night monument walks

All events are geared toward acclimating you to campus (yes, we'll be offering campus tours!) and the city, all while getting to know your fellow classmates.

Sophomores will receive more details, including links to sign-up for events in August. We'll also provide the schedule via the GW Mobile app and on our website.



Cover of the Buff and Blue Book: Blue overlay photo of the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin

First-Year Buff & Blue Book

The fall 2021 Buff & Blue Book is first-year students’ guide to GW. The Book has relevant and helpful information about academics, student support services, student well-being, living on-campus, navigating GW systems, student involvement, understanding campus resources, and more. 

Download the Buff & Blue Book (PDF)

Statue of George Washington in a blue overlay. "Buff & Blue Book Transfer Students"

Transfer Buff & Blue Book

The fall 2021 Buff & Blue Book is transfer students’ guide to GW. The Book has relevant and helpful information about academics, student support services, student well-being, living on-campus, navigating GW systems, student involvement, understanding campus resources, and more. 

Download the Buff & Blue Book (PDF)


"...I feel for the first time I was fully engaged in an orientation and could retain a lot of information. Thank you for the wonderful virtual experience and the hard work that went into planning and implementing everything. It's amazing."

New Student 2020


George the mascot cheering at the Orientation welcome event


Students and families attending the 2019 Orientation welcome event in the Smith Center


Dean Petty speaking to the crowd on stage at the Orientation welcome event


Frequently Asked Questions


As an incoming student you should plan to attend Orientation sessions offered in your schedule. We want you to be as prepared as possible before you begin classes and Orientation programming is designed to do just that.

There is an equal distribution of courses and class seating availability among all registration times. Select a date and time that works best for your schedule - there is no advantage for signing up for an earlier date and time.

A reminder that registration for sessions will close 3 days prior to the date (or until filled). Links to register for a session are available in your admitted student portal.

GW’s Foggy Bottom campus is located conveniently to three major airports (DCA: Ronald Reagan Washington National, IAD: Washington Dulles International, and BWI: Baltimore/Washington International) and D.C.’s Union Station (for Amtrak, MARC, and VRE rail services, as well as local Metro service). Public transit is available from each airport and train station. The Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro Stop is located right on campus, with service to the Orange, Blue, and Silver Metro lines.

Please visit the Families & Guests tab to learn more about opportunities for new family members to learn more about the GW community. There is no in-person formal Orientation for families and guests during Fall Orientation Week

First-year, first-time students will register for classes online in early August. After registering for New Student Orientation (available on May 1 in your admitted student portal), you will see the option to sign-up for a class registration window. Then, in August, on your selected and confirmed registration date & time, you will login to Banweb and register.

You should complete sections 1 & 2 of the Online Orientation module. At the end of those sections, you will have the opportunity to sign-up for a First-Year Group Advising Webinar with your academic school. Virtual group advising takes place over the summer. You will receive more information to your GW email from your school’s academic advising office in May about this process.

GW offers special rates to a number of local hotels. If you use another website to find accomodation, GW is near the following DC neighborhoods: Foggy Bottom, West End, Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Downtown. 


Please note: we advise not to book travel or other accomodations until after your student has selected a move-in date and time.

You will fill out a profile as part of your Housing application, which inculdes ranking residence halls by preference. The Campus Living & Residential Education team works hard to place students in one of their preferred choices (unless you are already assigned to a living-learning community with a designated residence hall).

Housing assignments will be released over the summer. Updates will be communicated via email to all students.

Undergraduate students living in GW residence halls will be assigned a dining plan based upon the availability of a kitchen in a student's housing assignment. All undergraduate students living in GW residence halls are required to participate in a dining plan. More information about dining plans and rates can be found on the Dining website.

Preliminary bills will be issued in June and are due on the first day of classes (August 30). Learn more about paying your bill, payment plans, and how to update authorized users online through Student Accounts. More information is available in the Buff & Blue Book and Online Orientation module.


In addition to reviewing & completing the Authorized User eBill Access & FERPA waiver (if applicable), you will need to submit an Immunization Form to the Colonial Health Center patient portal ( by August 1 and review and waive (or be automatically enrolled) the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) by September 12. The waiver period begins on August 1. Learn more on the CHC website.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Once a student enrolled at GW, they have the right to inspect and review their own education records, as well as designate who has access to view their student records. You can access the Student Consent form online.