Location
Washington, DC
Undergrads
9,758
Tuition
$47,343
Admission Difficulty
Hard
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Reviews 1579 total reviews with an average rating of 3.5

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3 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I always feel safe at GW, and I have literally never heard of violent crime on campus. One thing that is a real concern is laptops being stolen from the library - seriously, never leave your laptop alone, my friend even had hers stolen from the library on the Vern. There's also the occasional robbery and drunken fight. Date rape happens at every college, and girls should definitely exercise caution about accepting drinks and avoid certain frat houses (cough PSK cough) but I wouldn't say it's a HUGE issue. All of the areas around campus are really safe, even very late at night. The serious crime happens in the far southeast and northeast and maybe a little bit in the Columbia Heights/14th Street area - you can wander around at 2 am and see almost no one. UPD is really annoying. People generally see their role as to get students in trouble, not to help students. I understand why they're necessary, but no one likes them. The most common way to get "in trouble" is for someone (house staff, dorm security or maybe a concerned friend) to "EMERG you" - meaning call the student ambulance service. The administration acts like it's no big deal but really you have to pay a ton of money and it's humiliating, although they have amnesty. Just don't be stupid and you can get away with things. One great thing is that we don't have RAs, just House Staff who have no authority to get you in trouble and will turn a blind eye to drinking as long as you stay safe and don't make too much noise.

4 College Freshman

Drug Safety: I guess it would depend on what you're looking for and what you would consider the best outcome in terms of alcohol and drugs. I would say that virtually everyone drinks at GW. Seriously, you should come here expecting to get drunk often, especially if you live in Thurston. If you want to come here and not drink, you should live on the Vern and get very involved in student orgs so you find a niche, or you will certainly feel really left out and either eventually give in and start drinking, or have very few friends. At CI, they will try to suggest ways to sneakily avoid drinking, like holding a drink and not drinking it, or drinking non-alcoholic drinks. This is by and large a joke. You're not exactly going to find Diet Coke just sitting around a frat basement, and most people pre-game before parties, taking tons of shots with the goal of getting drunk quickly. If you don't participate, people will notice. There is a lot of pressure to drink and moderate pressure to do drugs. If you keep saying no, eventually they will let up (I don't smoke and I've experienced some pressure, but it hasn't been that bad). Just remember that people mean well, and they want you to drink because they want you to have a good time, not to be mean.

Drinking is a lot of fun. There is no shortage of alcohol at frat parties. I would say the majority of people smoke weed at least occasionally, and most people will pop molly on special occasions, but only a few hard-core people are into harder drugs. Unlike alcohol, it's definitely possible to avoid drugs if you want. You'll probably get some pressure but people won't really care.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Greek Life: The thing about GW that surprised me most was how prominent Greek Life is on campus. It sounds like it's not a big deal because only 30-40% of students are Greek, but that percentage dominates the social scene. I would say if you're a guy and want to get into parties, meet girls and obtain leadership positions on campus, you almost have to join Greek life. You will have a very difficult time otherwise. The vast majority of the parties are connected to the frats. Girls don't have to be in sororities to have a great social life or get into parties - I'm not in a sorority and I have a good social life - but I definitely feel left out at times when all my roommates have sorority things and I'm left by myself to party. It seems to be easier to make friends if you're in a sorority but that whole seen is also pretty cliquish and a little snobby. For most frats and sororities, living in "the house" is not really a thing, but each frat or sorority has dedicated floors in dorms on campus and most of the upperclassmen, at least in sororities, live in Greek housing. Each frat/sorority also has a townhouse, but they're just used for parties.

5 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: GW is basically surrounded by a million restaurant options. One of the best things is that you can use your GWorld money anywhere, including several grocery stores and a ton of restaurants around campus. I literally eat out several times a week and still haven't tried all the places on campus alone! The biggest downside is that it's really expensive.

3 College Freshman

Diversity: GW is not what I would describe as a diverse school. The stereotypical student is a white, Jewish, upper-middle to upper-class student from the suburbs of New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts. I would say that's pretty accurate, especially in terms of economic status. It seems like everyone here is really rich and it's not uncommon to hear students talk about really expensive vacations, second homes or private schools. The vast majority of students are white but the community here is very inclusive and tolerant, and I have personally observed a strong multicultural community, including multicultural Greek life and parties. There seem to be more international students than most schools and I have friends from the UK, Asia and South America. Politically nearly everyone is liberal and people love to talk about politics and intern on campaigns or the Hill. However, College Republicans and YAF (a conservative group) do exist. I guess you could say there is "religious diversity" because there are a lot of Jewish students, but in general there is no diversity, regardless of affiliation, because no one cares about religion whatsoever. If you're really religious, this is not the place for you. There are a LOT of gay guys and everyone here bends over backwards to be tolerant and accepting of LGBT students, but I have lesbian and bi friends who complain about the lack of lesbians on campus.

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Facilities: I love GW, but I feel like the feeling isn't mutual for other students. In other words, there is very little school spirit and students tend to complain about the administration a lot - which is not unwarranted. Almost no one goes to basketball games or really takes pride in their school. However, I feel that GW is a special place. The students care a lot about the world around them. I would sum up the community's attitude as "work hard, play hard." During the week, it seems like everyone is studying constantly, doing prestigious internships and getting really excited about politics in particular, but on the weekends there is so much partying that there's always something to do. Obviously there are things I would change, but at the end of the day, GW is the perfect school for me.

1 College Freshman

Parking: The parking situation is kind of a joke at GW. No one brings their car so it's a moot point but I've heard it's extremely expensive.

5 College Freshman

Transportation: Transportation is excellent here. No one has a car - freshmen are not allowed to, and it would be stupid to have one as an upperclassman because parking costs a fortune, driving in the city is insane and you really don't need one. Within twenty minutes, you can easily walk anywhere in downtown DC, the National Mall, Georgetown and Dupont Circle so there are a million places to eat and shop at your fingertips, plus museums and monuments. GW is insanely convenient to everything. There is a Blue-Orange Metro stop (Foggy Bottom) on campus, another one (Farragut West) just off campus (closer to Thurston, Potomac and Mitchell) and a red line stop (Farragut North) a few blocks away so you can get anywhere in the city easily. The bus system is also better than most people realize although figuring it out can be a challenge. You can take Amtrak anywhere in the East Coast and plenty of students go to Philly or New York for the weekend - same with Zipcar and buses. I've found DC's "bike-friendly" reputation is not really accurate - there are few bike lanes around campus which makes it dangerous, and I wouldn't recommend a bike share membership unless you're a very hardcore biker who's used to riding on busy downtown streets. Most people who have one find it's not worth it. The nearest airport, National, is super easy to get to, but the flights are pretty expensive compared to BWI, which is a bit of a challenge to get to since it's not on Metro.

2 College Freshman

Computers: GW1X is the WiFi network on campus and it completely sucks, especially in Thurston and Gelman - of course, the places I need to use it most! There are a million steps and downloads required just to connect for the first time, which is completely pointless. It took me a week to actually get on. If you have Windows 8, you can just log in like any network, but I didn't realize that because the school doesn't provide a lot of information. And it is really hard to connect a smartphone to the network. Every time I go to Gelman it seems I have to disconnect and re-connect, and it kicks me off about once a day. Printing is great, though - black and white pages are so cheap and the kiosks are everywhere so you can just print from a laptop and use a simple code to retrieve your pages. If you have a wireless printer, however, you can't connect to the network. You also can't connect a Wii or Xbox to the WiFi, but you can hook up high speed internet. There is free cable and high-speed internet in every room which is nice but again you have to hook it up which is a hassle. Finally, you REALLY need to bring your own computer because you just can't count on Gelman's. Almost everyone has a Mac.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: The dating scene at GW is basically what it would be at any college. Very few people are in a relationship, unless they're freshmen doing the long-distance thing with someone back home. It's pretty easy to find attractive guys, and I would say if you're a reasonably attractive girl you won't have any trouble. Guys are not overwhelmingly hot but there are plenty of hot guys available.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Majors: I don't have an internship, but GW is easily the #1 school in the nation for internships. You can walk to the White House, State Department and many other federal agencies and take a short Metro ride to the Hill. Most students do several internships during their time and interning on the Hill is basically a standard GW experience. It's only a question of when.

5 College Freshman

Majors: GW has a ton of poli sci-related major options, including International Affairs, Poli Comm and actual Poli Sci with or without a public policy focus. That was the single biggest draw of GW for me. I don't know as much about the other majors. If I was really into science and the arts, I might not want to come here. GW is definitely a poli sci school.

5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Overall, I would say that I love GW. I feel like I fit in with the students and that it's the right place for me. It's possible to have almost any experience - academically, socially and with extracurriculars. It has its hiccups but in general I love my school and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: I'm a freshman, so I'm not allowed to live off-campus even if I wanted to. The vast majority of GW students live on-campus, even in junior and senior years, but I've heard great things about off-campus housing. Because of the city campus, it's possible to find "off-campus" housing that is just as convenient as the "on-campus" dorms. The lower-end apartments are cheaper than campus housing, while there are a lot of high-end options with a ton of amenities that are probably a better value than GW housing.

College Senior

Campus Housing: Again, I'm a graduate student of an executive MBA program. I live off campus.

3 College Senior

Diversity: GW is considered a "rich" school. With that, certain sectors or demographics of people are more noticeable on campus.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Nightlife: Being in dc, the entire city lends itself to the campus nightlife.

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: Dc offers a lot to its citizen, many of which are at little to no cost. It's probably harder not finding something to do on any given night than the inverse.

1 person found this useful Report
College Senior

Greek Life: I'm a graduate student who did not attend GW as an undergraduate. Therefore, I am a bit ignorant to student life on campus, especially that of an undergraduate.

3 College Senior

Overall Experience: The program I'm in and the instructors have been good. They're making some sudden changes that no one is happy about.

College Senior

Facilities: distance student-I've only been on campus twice

College Senior

Nightlife: I don't participate-I'm a distance student

3 College Senior

Weather: too humid for my taste

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: Lots of restaurants to choose from, not anything super cheap.

4 College Senior

Diversity: Lots of people from different backgrounds

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Professor's Gate
Professor's Gate

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

David Glidden
Hometown
Fuquay-Varina, NC
Major
International Affairs (Spanish minor)
View all previous student authors

Students at GW tend to complain a lot about the pricey tuition, lack of school spirit, perhaps unnecessary new facilities, and excessive nickel-and-diming. However, most students stay at GW for four years—GW’s retention rate is 91 percent. Many students are also upset about how GW compares academically to other schools, and that the science labs and facilities are run-down and old. GW students want the best and sometimes the University does not live up to their expectations.

Although GW provides students with a large variety of entertaining on-campus activities, students can also go off campus and enjoy the city. The University’s location in DC makes most GW students’ experiences worthwhile and interesting. GW would not be the same, nor as wonderful, if it were not located in DC. The city adds life, variety, and uniqueness to the campus environment. Students have the opportunity to land incredible internships while taking classes. The city also offers countless off-campus shows, productions, sporting events, restaurants and bars, museums, and (of course) the monuments to visit. Washington is the perfect college town because it attracts young people from all over the country, gives students amazing opportunities, and is easy to manage. GW is a great place to be—most students are happy to spend their four years here.
 

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