George Washington University


Washington, D.C. is most certainly the cultural capital of the world. In addition to the countless foreign embassies and international organizations present in D.C., the city serves as home to the full spectrum of values, beliefs, and tastes inherent in our own nation. And within the District there is no greater single embodiment of this cultural, ideological, and individual diversity than The George Washington University campus (GWU). Situated next door to the State Department, three blocks from the White House, across the street from the World Bank, and minutes from Downtown, GW offers unparalleled access to some of the most powerful institutions in the world—not that you would know it from the games of barefoot Frisbee out on the university’s yard, or creative writing classes sitting out on Kogan Plaza. What makes GWU truly remarkable is its ability to foster an engaging student environment in the center of the most international city in the world, simultaneously offering students new ideas or skills as well as the perfect setting in which to put them into practice.

The Campus

Such has been the case ever since the university was chartered by Congress in 1821. Originally known as the Columbian College, the university moved to its current location in Foggy Bottom early in the 1920s. GWU currently occupies a vibrant section of Northwest D.C. stretching from Virginia Avenue to 19th Street, and from E Street north to K Street, the heart of the financial district in the city. In 1998, the school offered several satellite campuses in Northern Virginia and a sister campus known as Mount Vernon—located amid the rolling green hills of Foxhall Road. While the name and location may have changed over time, the university’s commitment to providing quality academics has not. With a student body that hails from all fifty of the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and some 136 foreign countries, the university encourages scholarly research and learning that encompasses many perspectives. Each of the 10,000 undergraduates can choose from over 100 different major fields of study in any of seven different schools—from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences to the world-renowned Elliot School of International Affairs.

Organizations and Tradition

When it’s time to take a study break, students can check out the activities going on in one of more than 350 student organizations ranging in focus from ethnic and religiously affiliated groups, to academic honor societies, to Xbox gaming clubs. Students watch the fall colors spread across the National Mall while playing intramural football or club lacrosse. Freshmen members of the Watergate Living and Learning Community learn about the 1972 political scandal while living in the building where it took place. Colleges from all over D.C. and the mid-Atlantic region gather in sold-out Lisner Auditorium to cheer on their own students at Step and Bhangra dance competitions. Exam week finds thousands of students in their pajamas migrating to the J Street eatery to enjoy Midnight Breakfast together. Seniors cheer the Graduation Countdown Clock at Lindy’s Red Lion, a popular hamburger joint just off campus. These represent just a fraction of the traditions that build a true college spirit in the middle of D.C.

Beyond Campus

For those ready to venture beyond campus, the city also represents the ultimate playground for college students. Less than five minutes from campus, students can attend free concerts every night on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center. The Foggy Bottom area is surrounded by neighborhoods known for their own culinary treats and tasteful stores—just spend an afternoon walking through Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, or Georgetown and you’ll find it hard to resist the smells of Malaysian, Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai, and Spanish cuisine. Hop the Metro on Saturday evenings to U Street and Cardoza for some of the best jazz on the East Coast, not to mention Latin dancing; right around the corner you’ll find the legendary 9:30 Club, home to the most popular bands, seven days a week. Grab the Blue Line on Sunday mornings to Eastern Market and browse among fresh seafood, vegetables, pastries, and fine local artwork. Socially or professionally, the city offers an infinite number of possibilities; for those students willing to seek them out, something truly happens here.

The George Washington University is an institution constantly moving forward. A strong academic reputation continues to grow thanks to a strong commitment to education and innovation. The opportunities available to students for social and professional engagement are constantly growing due to the university’s premiere location. The diversity and culture present in Washington, D.C. is echoed by the liberal and engaging learning environment that GWU’s faculty creates, offering to students a college experience that challenges, motivates, and equips students to enter successful careers at home and abroad. Visitors often hear “Something Happens Here.” This sentiment is no stranger to students at all levels on campus; the feeling in the air is of more excitement, more success, and more achievement about to come. It goes beyond the new buildings, classrooms, and halls that provide space for students to live, learn, and play. It encompasses something far more intangible—a feeling that to succeed, to achieve your goals and dreams, to learn, requires an element of risk. It requires an understanding of the diversity of our nation and our world, a desire to learn from the various cultures and perspectives encountered. GWU offers students a glimpse of the innumerable cultures and perspectives present around the globe, instilling in them the confidence and the skills necessary to face challenges and accept the risks that learning and life offer, to build airplanes no matter where they go. Something has always happened here, but as anyone on campus will tell you, even greater things are getting ready to happen.


Information Summary

Ranks 4th in Dist. of Columbia and 210th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 92.3
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $71,930
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 32 / 1460
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 17 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 93% / 33%
Enrollment Total (all students) 28,172


The foundation of any university is the quality of its academic programs. This quality, reflected in the accomplishments of its students, is generated by the faculty through their innovative teaching methods and their commitment to the furthering of knowledge by investigative research. The faculty here excel on both fronts: the professors have proven a commitment to generating new information and being on the forefront with knowledge that benefits not only their students, but their society as a whole. Additionally, the professors constantly seek a problembased approach to learning that takes advantage of the numerous experiential opportunities available in the city. For instance, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) recently undertook an initiative to place every incoming freshman in an internship that would provide real world experience, as well as offer a unique perspective on the applications of the student’s discipline. This type of initiative helps students take advantage of Washington’s many professional opportunities and provide unique methods of integrating academic pursuits with life experiences. Professors encourage students to get out of the bounds of campus while doing research by using the resources at the Library of Congress or visiting one of the dozens of museums in the city within walking distance, or meeting any number of international experts who call D.C. home. This integrated approach not only benefits student academic performance, but provides students with vast networks of contacts and resources that benefit them both professionally and personally.

Most Popular Fields of Study


University building :: George Washington University Department of Medicine :: George Washington University
Biochemistry Department :: George Washington University Public Health and Services :: George Washington University


Admission to GWU is highly competitive, with more than 20,000 applications for 2,400 spaces. The school is one of only sixteen private schools with over 15,000 applications per year, and one of only a handful of private institutions with more than 20,000. Quality academics, an unparalleled location, and amazing professional opportunities combine to make the school very attractive to students all over the country and the world. This mass appeal provides for the incredible diversity found at the university—diversity in thought, in religion, in demographics, and in disciplines, a fitting match for one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. Such appeal also ensures that the thirty-eight percent of applicants who are accepted represent the most qualified students possible. Sixty-five percent of those admitted rank in the top ten percent of their graduating class, and ninety-two percent of freshmen ranked in the top twenty-five percent. The middle fifty percent of incoming freshmen score between 1240 and 1390 on their SAT tests, with 37 percent of those admitted scoring above a 28 on the ACT.


The Admissions Office looks at a number of other factors in determining acceptance. High school transcripts, recommendations from teachers and counselors, standardized test scores, and personal essays are required. Emphasis is placed on performance, involvement, and excellence in academic pursuits. Applicants may interview with an Admissions representative. For those who are certain that GWU is the best fit for them, two Early Decision options are available—ED I and ED II, with deadlines in October and early December (respectively).

Special Programs

The University offers a number of honors and integrated programs to which students can apply. These opportunities are designed to increase the academic challenge for students while promoting an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Several offer a chance to jumpstart professional and graduate education by collaborating with the Law School or the School of Medicine. Many of these programs require additional credentials; please consult the Admissions Web site for specific requirements.

These programs include

  • University Honors Program
  • Seven-Year Integrated B.A./M.D. Program
  • Six-Year Integrated B.A./J.D. Program
  • Science Scholar Program
  • Integrated Engineering and Law Program
  • Integrated Engineering and Medicine Program
  • Presidential Arts Program in Theater, Dance, Music, and Fine Arts
  • Elizabeth Somers Women’s Leadership Programs

Visiting GWU

For those students with an interest in having a truly engaging college experience and living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, the university offers year-round campus tours and information sessions. These visits encompass a range of activities, including guided walks through the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses led by STARS (Student Admission Representatives), and tours of District monuments and sights aboard the GWU Trolley. Interested students should consult the admissions website for current schedules. Don’t stop with here though; the Visitor Center can also provide plenty of maps and suggestions for local events going on in the District that will help make your visit even more enjoyable.

I’ll never forget my campus visit —that’s what really sold me on the university. The folks at the Visitor Center were incredibly helpful, not only in terms of answering my questions, but making sure I had my itinerary straight for the rest of the day and knew how to get to my appointments. I grabbed lunch with a couple of STARS, watched a large political debate taking place outside the Marvin Center, had a personal meeting with Financial Aid, and left the campus that evening convinced that this was the place for me.

Financial Aid

The university administers more than $85 million in aid each year to students, with the average aid package in recent years totaling around $21,800 per student. The office of Student Financial Assistance works tirelessly to help students secure aid in the form of institutional and federal grants, work study, and federal loans. To be considered for financial assistance, students must submit the Free Application for federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to submit these materials as early as possible. In addition to the aid provided by the federal government, the university also offers a number of academic and need-based awards, which include the University Alumni Award, The George Washington Guaranteed Grant, and more than 100 various university scholarships.

Students can check eligibility, learn about specific requirements, and obtain application materials by visiting the office of Student Financial Assistance website.

Fixed-Tuition – Lead the Way

As everyone applying to college knows, tuition costs continue to rise even while students are in school, thus making tuition more expensive each year and increasing the burden of aid that students must seek as they continue their education. GWU is one of the first schools in the nation to offer a fixed-tuition plan that promises students a fixed-tuition amount throughout all four years of college. What students pay their freshman year will be the same amount they pay as seniors. This approach allows families to more accurately budget college expenses and eases the burden on students to find increased funding while still in school.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2873rd for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Dist. of Columbia.


Any university located in the heart of a large metropolitan area will have a plethora of social activities available to help students enjoy the extracurricular aspects of their college experience. What makes this school unique is how many of those metropolitan activities actually occur right on campus—primarily a result of the fact that their students are active, concerned, and passionate about the causes they believe in. With a Metro station literally right in the middle of campus, those that need to get off campus for a while can, but those that stay behind are in for a treat.

Along with academic and cultural diversity, a myriad selection of student life options exist across both the Foggy Bottom and Mt. Vernon campuses. The fun begins within the residence halls; the Community Living and Learning Center not only provides some of the most attractive and modern residence halls in the country, complete with computer labs and apartment-style living options, but also hosts a number of in-house programs for freshmen. In particular, students can choose to take part in Living and Learning Communities.

These communities are theme-based, providing funding and leadership for students to get to know one another and conduct activities around a certain subject; recent options have included the Residential Arts Community (the RAC Pack), the Culinary Arts Community, the Outdoor Adventure Community, and the Elections and Campaign Strategy Community.

University Writing Program

In an effort to help students prepare for their academic careers and create a more scholarly environment in class, the university recently instituted a new writing initiative. The program includes courses for freshmen designed to introduce students to the norms of academic and publishable writing, as well as upper-level classes for juniors and seniors known as Writing In the Discipline courses. These classes focus on the particulars of writing in certain fields and provide students with the practice needed to be comfortable participating in scholarly research, publication, and peer review during their careers.

Student Organizations

Those looking for more ways to get involved can choose from the nearly 300 student organizations present on campus. From academic honor societies to a cappella music groups, students are provided funding, meeting space, and support to create their own unique communities. Additionally, this university is home to nearly thirty Greek chapters whose members account for approximately fifteen percent of the student body. Recently, the university proudly opened Townhouse Row, a collection of Greek-only housing options boasting special features such as large common areas for chapter meetings.

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and entertainment options abound on campus as well. Venues such as the Hand Chapel, Lisner Downstage, and the Mitchell Hall Theater host student-led theater productions nearly every weekend. The Program Board is responsible for bringing big-name acts to campus for events including Fall Fest and Spring Fling; some headliners have included the Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Eat World, Busta Rhymes, and Dana Carvey. Those interested in art, theater, and dance are treated to a continuous host of performances in Lisner Auditorium, one of Washington’s most popular venues. Whether it’s the classic jazz of world-renowned artists such as Dave Brubeck, or side-splitting comedy from The Second City improv comedy troupe, students are constantly amazed at the performers who appear on campus.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The Lerner Health and Wellness Center, is a state of the art wellness and workout facility with everything from Pilates and yoga to weightlifting and squash. Two top-floor basketball courts provide amazing nighttime views of the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall. The facility provides a perfect place to work on skills for the wide range of intramural and club sports available for students. Those interested in training for NCAA sports will be pleased to see the selection GWU offers—from basketball and gymnastics to crew and softball. The Smith Center hosts some of the most exciting basketball action in the D.C. area. Students can join the “Colonial Army” and become one of the thousands of fans sporting a yellow foam hat and cheering on our women’s and men’s teams.

Local Community

D.C. Life

If all of those options aren’t enough, D.C. lies just beyond the bounds of campus. Students can attend groundbreaking Supreme Court proceedings or watch Congress in session. The nearby neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Woodley Park provide some of the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in the metropolitan area. One of the best ways to see the city is to join a project through the Office of Community Service; whether volunteering at a homeless shelter or tutoring underserved children, students become more familiar with the city and form intimate connections with their friends and neighbors in other parts of the District. Hundreds of miles of bike and running trails along and over the Potomac River provide a perfect backdrop for those looking to play outside.

GW in the City

Visitors to campus will no doubt hear some impressive statistics about the university’s role in D.C. Not only is the university the largest private employer in the city, it’s also one of the largest private landowners. What most visitors may not hear is an even more impressive set of statistics—the university’s service to the city:

  • GWU provides over 100,000 hours of community service annually to District residents.
  • More than 2,300 students each year take part in volunteer opportunities.
  • The school partners with some fifty community agencies and four domestic agencies to match willing volunteers with needy residents.
  • For six years in a row, GWU has entered the largest team in the annual AIDS Walk.


Graduates typically go on to be as active, concerned, and committed as they were as undergraduates. Many stay on to pursue advanced degrees from among the university’s top ranked graduate programs, including the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the Law School, or the School of Medicine. Many students go on to put their passion to work in politics.The House of Representatives office, Senate and United States Supreme Court employ many GWU alumni.

Many students are also among those routinely considered for prestigious post-baccalaureate fellowships including Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman Scholars. The Office of Graduate Student Assistant-ships and Fellowships coordinates efforts to secure such awards and works closely with students to ensure that their applications are among the most competitive. In addition, the Career Center provides professional development tools and resources, and oversees a large database of available positions and jobs on behalf of employers across the country and the globe. The Career Center employees work with students throughout their undergraduate careers to prepare for internships, part-time or full-time work, and postgraduate plans. Second, the Alumni Association provides outreach and support for grads no matter where they end up. Chapters across the United States—from Seattle to Miami to New York—and across the globe host social events, organize members, and look forward each year to attending the annual Colonials’ Weekend alumni gathering.

Prominent Grads

  • Secretary of State Colin Powell, M.B.A., ’71
  • President, Fisk University Carolyn Reid Wallace, Ph.D., ’81
  • Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid, J.D., ’64
  • President, NASD Securities, Inc. Mary L. Schapiro, J.D., ’80
  • Governor, State of Virginia Mark Warner, B.A., ’77
  • President, D.C. Board of Education Peggy Cooper Cafritz, B.A. ’68, J.D., ’71
  • President and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America Dan Glickman, J.D., ’69
  • Managing Director, Goldman, Sachs & Company Abby Joseph Cohen, M.A., ’76
  • Former Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow, J.D., ’67
  • Former Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Charles T. Manatt, J.D., ’62 m Delegate to Congress, U.S. Virgin Islands Donna M. Christensen, M.D., ’70 m Independent Counsel, Kenneth W. Starr, B.A., ’68 m Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, B.A., ’51


More than ninety-two percent of the faculty members have a doctorate degree. Students also benefit from a wealth of adjunct faculty in the D.C. metropolitan region who are often considered experts in their fields. Lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, artists, engineers, and many other professionals share their knowledge and expertise with students in a number of specialized courses designed for students with a particular interest in a certain subject. No matter what area students are hooked on, they’re certain to find it among the nearly 100 majors available to undergraduates through the seven schools:

  • Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Media and Public Affairs
  • School of Business
  • Elliott School of International Affairs
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • School of Public Health and Health Services

Classrooms and Facility Space

To facilitate learning, this university pays special attention to the classroom and facility space available to students. In recent years the school has witnessed the opening of several new teaching facilities, including the Media and Public Affairs building—home to Jack P. Morton Auditorium and permanent CNN offices, 1957 E Street—home to the Elliott School of International Affairs and The George Washington University Hospital. The University also completely remodeled Mount Vernon Campus science laboratories and will soon celebrate the opening of Duques Hall, future home to the School of Business. This explosive growth has been accompanied by the installation of the newest teaching technologies available, providing laptop hook-ups, multimedia equipment, LCD projectors, and microphones standard in all lecture halls. Such developments allow students to enjoy a learning environment that offers smaller class sizes and more intimate discussions. Almost fifty percent of the undergraduate courses have fewer then twenty students and almost twenty-five percent have fewer than ten students.


The university offers a number of resources in support of its academic mission for undergraduate students. The Gelman and Eckles libraries offer more than two million volumes, subscribe to hundreds of print and online periodicals, and offer a number of study and group meeting spaces. Additionally, the local consortium of libraries gives students access to a total of more than five million volumes in the D.C. area. The Study Abroad Office is a resource for individuals who are interested in academic challenges abroad. Last year, some 870 students participated in study abroad programs that took them to fifty different countries. Additionally, the Writing Center on campus is a free student resource that uses peer mentoring and collaborative learning to help students improve their own writing. For international students, the International Student Office provides invaluable service in helping students transition to their new home comfortably.

Improving Health at Home & Board

Created in 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services is one of only thirty-six accredited schools of Public Health in the country and the only one in the District of Columbia. As such, D.C. officials, federal officials, and members of large international development organizations such as the World Health Organization and the World Bank rely heavily on its faculty for research and expertise.

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