Pre-Orientation Programs

GW Pre-Orientation Programs help first-year students connect with peers around a shared identity, specialized topic, or common area of interest. GW Co-Curricular Programs incorporate both in-person and online participation and are designed and hosted by a variety of offices across campus, including The Office of Student Life, GW Hillel, The Women’s Leadership Program, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement, and more. GW Co-Curricular Programs provide meaningful connections through immersive cohort-based experiences and allow students to explore and discover more about themselves, their new peers, and their new home in Washington, D.C.

Student Life Pre-Orientation Programs for New Students

The Student Life team offers three exciting pre-orientation, co-curricular programs for incoming, first-year undergraduates. These programs help students connect with classmates, discover campus resources, and ease the transition to college life. Incoming students are paired with upper-class guides who mentor, share GW knowledge, and provide personal insights into life at GW and in D.C. For general questions about the programs, please email Student Life.

Students whitewater rafting down a river.

Adventure Bound

This unique experience offers students the opportunity to participate in a range of activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, and paddleboarding. 

Students enjoying conversation at tables at the Founding Scholars welcome session

Founding Scholars

Founding Scholars welcomes incoming first-generation college students to GW through activities on-campus and around D.C. 

The cohort of Lead GW participants posing for a photo in front of Gelman Library steps


LEAD GW is a dynamic co-curricular program that encourages students to learn more about themselves, socially responsible leadership, and their new home.

Additional Pre-Orientation Programs for New Students

The New Student Getaway (NSG) provides incoming students with the opportunity to create close bonds with their peers and upper-class mentors as well as get to know some of the faculty and staff here to support them all before the start of the semester. For questions, email [email protected].

Community Building Community (CBC) is hosted by units across GW’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) and explores the intersections of community engagement and diversity, preparing students for their roles as leaders and engaging them in community and civic engagement both on campus and in the D.C. community. CBC will begin Sunday, August 21 at 5 pm and will continue through Tuesday, August 23. For questions, email [email protected].

First-year students in the following scholar cohorts should register for this program: Chicago Scholars, Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, Civic House, District Scholars, IMPACT/Yes Prep, Posse, Say Yes to Education, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Politics and Values.

The University Honors Program offers a distinctive academic experience. Join your fellow UHP peers and learn more about what to expect in your first year, connect with faculty and staff who support the program, and get to know other members of your cohort. For questions, email [email protected].

The Women’s Leadership Program brings together women of four different cohorts to learn more about program offerings, connect with faculty and staff who support the program, and provide space and opportunity for relationships to form. For questions, email [email protected].

LaunchPad D.C. offers incoming first-year students a unique opportunity to start their experience with Jewish life at GW. Fees are associated. For questions, email [email protected]

Upon your arrival to GW, the International Services Office (ISO) offers events to help you get familiar with GW, explore DC, and make friends. Learn more and sign-up for events you’re interested in attending! For questions, email [email protected].



of students would recommend their co-curricular program to another incoming student


of students felt prepared to start college after their co-curricular program


of students agreed they feel connected to their fellow incoming students after their co-curricular program

Frequently Asked Questions

All pre-orientation programs will take place Sunday, August 21 - Monday, August 22 with optional programming provided on Tuesday, August 23.

*2022 Adventure Bound trip participants: Move-in on Friday, August 19, depart for trips on Saturday, August 20 and return Tuesday, August 23.

Students in the University Honors Program, Women’s Leadership Program, and School of Engineering and Applied Science are automatically “enrolled” in a pre-orientation program. If this applies to you, then you will receive more information via email from your program managers over the summer.

If you are a student in one of the Admissions scholar cohorts, then you must register and attend the Institute for Citizen Leaders.

  • Chicago Scholars

  • Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute

  • Civic House

  • District Scholars

  • IMPACT/Yes Prep

  • Politics and Values

  • Posse

  • Say Yes to Education

  • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

The size of each program varies, ranging from 20 - 300. Student Life co-curricular programs, LEAD GW, Adventure Bound, and Founding Scholars, utilize peer guides and break participants into small groups of about 10-25 first-year students.

All first-year students move in the weekend Sunday, August 21 - Monday, August 22 so opportunities for programs and interacting with other students will take place upon move-in and throughout the following week. By registering for a co-curricular program, you are maximizing your opportunities to get involved in the community and meet new friends.

Some of our pre-orientation programs may maintain a waitlist once the program has reached capacity. It is not uncommon for students' plans to change so if you are interested in a program that is full, sign up for the waitlist. If you are on the waitlist, you will be contacted as space becomes available.

Programs that list “fees are associated” do require a fee for participation. For these details, visit the specific program’s webpage or email the contact provided.

Some programs may have a fee waiver available, for more information contact the program you are interested in.

Once you have registered for a program that requires it, you have secured your spot! Additional communication will come directly from the program contact.