Washington, DC
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Reviews 1579 total reviews with an average rating of 3.5

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5 College Junior

Transportation: Public transportation in DC is simply fantastic! (Of course, I come from the suburbs of Austin, TX, where the only public transportation I ever used was the school bus). The Metro is pretty cheap and very reliable, even with constant trackwork; the bus system seems pretty good, although a little confusing (I've actually never used it, but my friends say it's fine); and almost everything is within walking distance if you're feeling a little cheap and don't mind a mile hike. GW is about a half hour walk from the National Mall and White House, and has a greener suburban campus for those who don't like the city life as much (we call it the Vern). Many students, including a lot of freshman, live on the Vern but take classes on the main campus, so there's a shuttle called the Vern Express that operates between the campuses full time. On weekdays it makes stops every 15 minutes, and every half hour during late hours on weekends, so you're never stranded.

4 College Junior

Academics: I am a Biology major with a minor in Linguistics. How much you get out of your major at GW really depends on how much effort you put into networking and finding good options. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is literally just a subway ride away from the school, but you have to work to get an internship there. Other career options include museum internships (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History) or working as a TA or research assistant for one of the professors. Professor Doebel, one of the Biology professors, is a great guy--he studies bees, and you can talk to him about working with them over the year and summer.

4 College Junior

Scholarships: Provided that you submit your FAFSA on time, GW manages all of your Federal aid options for you and notifies you of available aid by late June, which you can then accept, accept in part, or decline. GW is usually very generous in the scholarships it offers, as well. However, submitting private loan information can be a long process, so apply early to ensure that your account is paid in full on time.

5 College Junior

Academics: Best known for its Political Sciences program, GW also offers a great courseload for Biology (my major) and has a Law School and Medical School. The professors are great, make time for their students, answer questions in the usually small lectures (not tiny, but anywhere from 12 to 60 is normal), and are very available to meet outside of class. Registration can be stressful, just like anyplace else, but the online system has always worked for me, and as long as you plan out multiple possible schedules (IE many backups) you will always get the courses you want. As a freshman, there are several seats guaranteed for you in many lower level classes, ensuring that you will be able to register. Study abroad is a great option, and many students take advantage of it at GW--more than half the people I know there are going or have already gone abroad, to places such as England, Turkey, France, Germany, and South Africa.

3 College Junior

Drug Safety: While use of alcohol can be very apparent, depending on if you join any groups (fraternities and many clubs will make alcohol available to their members), I have experienced no pressure to participate in anything that would make me uncomfortable. Drug use is not much of a problem at GW, mostly because the university is in DC (with federal laws applying as DC is not a state!) and as such policies are very strict against drugs. Other than occasional word of a pot brownie , I've never had to deal with drugs there at all.

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4 College Sophomore

Majors: I am technically undeclared, but planning to major in Math and Dance with a minor in Psychology. I am very pleased with the dance program at GW, it is different than other programs I have been involved in, but it is a nice change. The math program is not the best, but I am learning how to do more on my own and learning when I need to do my own research for help.

3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: You are not allowed to live in off-campus housing until Junior year. While prices are comprable to dorm life, some places are hard to get into. Also, being in the city makes parking tough and expensive.

4 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: There is great diversity at GW. If you want to be or meet a fraternity guy, you can. If you want to meet a group of guys who do the plays and musicals, you can find that too. The girls also range all over the charts.

5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: DC is a foodie's dream come true! On-campus dining suffers for this, because the off campus options in DC are so enticing. DC harbors a large international community, and that is especially present in the many different cuisines nestled in DC's neighborhoods. If you have a craving for it, you can totally find it in DC (and probably only steps away from campus)!

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: GW students are in the most prime location to take advantage of everything DC offers, both inside and outside the classroom. It is not uncommon to have some of the nation's most well-known politicians making their way onto campus to give a lecture, panel, or even stop at the campus Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Being in the true heart of the city allows access to prestigious DC internships and multiple ways to enhance your college experience.

3 College Sophomore

Athletics: GW has done a great job updating its two main athletic facilities--the Charles E. Smith center (where varsity sporting events are held), and the Lerner Health & Wellness center (where our gym and non-varsity athletic facilities are).
However, varsity sports are not a big part of campus life. Unlike at many schools where sports are the main event on weekends, athletic events get kind of lost in the shuffle of everything else going on at GW and in DC.

3 College Sophomore

Facilities: GW is currently in the process of updating a lot of its facilities. The library is being renovated and the school is in the process of building an updated and modern Science & Engineering school. In the interim though, classes are being held in a mixture of buildings, from newly built to old creaky classrooms from the 70s.
Student life is pretty vibrant. There are plenty of clubs to join and things to do, and if you don't find what you're looking for on campus then you'll almost definitely find it in DC at large!

2 College Sophomore

Parking: Because it's in a city it is difficult to find it.

3 College Junior

Athletics: Athletics are average. There is not a lot of school spirit or attendees at games. There is Also no football team.

4 College Junior

Transportation: Metro is right on campus, which is convenient. 4 ride a gwu transportation system gives studets rides to up to three blocks off campus at night. Taxis are expensive.

3 College Junior

Drug Safety: The most common drugs on campus are alcohol and marijuana. A lot of students drink and party every weekend, but I've never personally witnessed people being pressured to drink. If you don't want to partake, don't! There are always a lot of visibly intoxicated students Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and campus police let it slide unless the student appears in need of help. Students mostly smoke marijuana in their rooms; Campus police do routine checks on each floor of freshmen dorms daily and are pretty good on handling rooms that are suspect of smoking marijuana.

3 College Junior

Guys & Girls: Guy to girl ratio is not good for girls. Other than that, most people are decently attractive.

4 College Sophomore

Academics: Many excellent teachers go far beyond the classroom environment to help students and get to know them.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Love the variety on ethnic food, whole foods, and flex dollars.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Senior

Transportation: Transportation is really good. You can get a taxi from anywhere.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: There are more healthy alternatives and more variety than in the past, but it is hard not to gain weight eating at GW.

3 Recent Alumnus

Transportation: The only downside to public transportation at GW is that it is hard to get some places in the city without multiple connections. Overall it is safe and relatively inexpensive.

3 College Junior

Campus Housing: Like at any school, freshman housing at GW is not great, and sophomore housing is not much better. There are a few dorms that have been built within the past few years, and are a lot nicer. Potomac and West are the nicest, newest options for freshmen. Upperclassmen get treated much better.

3 College Junior

Weather: It snows a little every now an then throughout the winter, but classes generally don't get cancelled unless there is ice on the road. Walking to class in the snow is a bit annoying if your class is on the other side of campus, but the snow in DC is never more than a few inches. The sidewalks get salted often, though, and the snow is shoveled almost immediately.

1 College Junior

Parking: Because GW is located in the middle of the city, the campus was not exactly built to accommodate drivers. The parking decks near campus charge a lot of money, and parking on the street can earn you a ticket if you don't feed the meter often. However, being in the city means that a lot of places are within walking distance, or you can easily take a cab or the metro.


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Professor's Gate
Professor's Gate

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

David Glidden
Fuquay-Varina, NC
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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