Undergraduate Admissions

The goal of GW’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions is to create a community of students who pursue academic excellence, thrive in a dynamic environment, and make lasting contributions to GW and the world. In order to identify these students, the admissions review process is holistic and thoughtful, taking many factors into consideration. GW receives applications from every state and nearly 100 countries, allowing us to enroll a bright, talented, and diverse student body.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions recruits students for Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (including Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and School of Media and Public Affairs), Elliott School of International Affairs, School of Business, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Other schools/colleges at GW have their own admissions offices and policies.

First-Year Students—Early Decision

The University offers two Early Decision options for students who have chosen GW as their first choice school. The deadline for submission of all required documents is November 1 for Early Decision I and January 5 for Early Decision II. Both Early Decision options are binding; if admitted, students agree to attend GW, submit a nonrefundable enrollment deposit by the deadline detailed in their acceptance packet, and withdraw all applications submitted to other colleges.

First-Year Students—Regular Decision

The Regular Decision application deadline is January 5. A complete application file, including the Common Application and writing supplement, official secondary school transcript/academic record, counselor recommendation, teacher recommendation, and application fee must be submitted by that date. The secondary school transcript must be submitted to GW directly from the school in order to be considered official. Incoming first-year students must have their secondary school submit a final transcript that shows all final grades and certification of graduation before enrolling at GW in the fall semester. Failure to submit an official final high school transcript to the Undergraduate Admissions Office could impact a student’s ability to move into on-campus housing.

Portfolio Requirement

Applicants for admission to bachelor of fine arts (BFA) programs in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design (except for the BFA in interior architecture) are required to submit a portfolio of 10 to 15 completed works of art as part of the application process. Once a student indicates an interest in a BFA program at the Corcoran School on their Common Application, they are directed to a third-party website, SlideRoom, to submit their portfolio. The Undergraduate Admissions Office reviews portfolios only for students who are applying to a BFA program.

Entrance Examinations

As a test-optional institution, GW allows most applicants to decide whether to submit scores on either the College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or on the American College Testing (ACT) to be included in their application.

This test-optional policy does not apply to the following groups of applicants:

  • Applicants to the accelerated seven-year BA/MD program; such students also are required to submit SAT Subject Tests in mathematics and science.
  • Applicants who are homeschooled.
  • Applicants from secondary schools that provide only narrative evaluations rather than grades based on some form of grading scale.
  • Recruited NCAA Division I athletes.

Students who choose to submit scores must have them sent by the testing agency directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. All entering students who have scores are asked to submit these scores to GW prior to enrolling for their first year at GW.

International Students

In addition to the Common Application and the supporting credentials listed above, international students must submit the following documents in order to be considered for admission:

Required Records

International students must have all previously attended educational institutions send copies of official certificates and records listing subjects studied, examinations taken, grades received, and degrees received directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Certified copies of diplomas and certificates from all secondary schools, colleges, and universities attended as well as records of state examinations and certificates are also required. These records become the property of the University and cannot be returned. In addition, documents must be in the language in which the institution keeps its official records. If they are in a language other than English, the copies sent must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Documents must be submitted for the years of 9th through 12th grades or the equivalent in countries other than the United States.

Language Tests

Applicants who indicate on their Common Application that their first language is not English are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic, regardless of citizenship or country of residence. The minimum required scores are 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL and 6.5 on the IELTS; however, strong applicants to GW typically score much higher than the required minimums, and scores of at least 100 on the TOEFL and 7.0 on the IELTS are recommended. The TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Academic requirement may be waived for applicants who score 650 or above on the Critical Reading section of the SAT or a 29 or above on the Reading section of the ACT. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions may, at its discretion, require additional English language proficiency results for students who have taken ESL/ELL courses in their high school.

Students should plan to take the test in question well in advance of the application deadline in order for scores to be available in time and should request to have the scores sent to the GW Office of Undergraduate Admissions directly from the testing agency. TOEFL scores more than two years old are not be considered valid.

GW's application review process is holistic, paying close attention to the strength of the student’s high school curriculum and achievement in the classroom over time. The University reserves the right to make exceptions to the stated English proficiency standards, or to waive submission of required official test results, when considering a student’s candidacy for admission.

If a student’s application suggests that they might benefit from additional English language support, they may be required to take additional English language courses at GW through the University’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program.

Financial Certification

All international students planning to study on either a student (F) visa or exchange visitor (J) visa must complete and submit a George Washington University financial certificate. The completed and signed financial certificate and a bank letter are required for the issuance of Form I-20 or DS-2019, one of which is needed to apply for the F or J visas.

Transfer Students

GW considers for transfer admission any student who has completed at least one college course since secondary school graduation. Transfer applicants must submit the Common Application and supporting credentials (including official college transcripts, the Transfer College Report for each institution attended, and a faculty recommendation) by April 15 for fall admission and October 15 for spring admission.

Transfer applicants must be in good standing in terms of academic record and conduct at all post-secondary institutions previously attended. Applicants who have attended one or more institutions of higher education must submit official transcripts from each institution even if credit was not sought or earned or if advanced standing is not desired. In addition, applicants must submit an official secondary school transcript if they have earned fewer than 30 credits at the time of application. Prior to enrolling at GW, incoming transfer students must submit final official transcripts with grades for all courses pursued from any college or university previously attended.

All international transcripts must be evaluated by a professional evaluation agency and include an English translation if the transcript is in a language other than English. It is the sole responsibility of the student to obtain and cover the cost of this service. GW’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepts evaluations from any company recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) (www.naces.org) but recommends the World Education Services (www.wes.org) and Educational Credential Evaluators (www.ece.org).

Assignment of Credit for Transfer Students

Note: Separate policies apply to undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and College of Professional Studies.

Provided there is no duplication involved through coursework or examination, domestic transfer credit may be granted for coursework successfully completed at other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning. International transfer credit may be granted for coursework successfully completed at an institution of higher learning recognized by the relevant country’s ministry of education or equivalent body. Transfer credit is not awarded for the Joint Services Transcript (JST) to undergraduate students admitted to these schools. 

Assignment of transfer credit depends on the grade earned, the appropriateness of the coursework, the standing of the institution at which the coursework was completed, and the regulations of the school or college to which the student is transferring. Coursework completed at another institution must have received a minimum grade of C- to be accepted for transfer credit. 

While there is no limit to the number of credits that can be transferred to the University, GW’s residence requirement limits the number of transfer credits that can be applied toward a degree. Students must complete at least 60 credits of the total credits required for their degree at or through the University. Credits earned through GW study abroad, GW satellite campuses, GW distance education, and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area are treated as in residence.

Transfer credit must satisfy the requirements for the degree sought as stated in this Bulletin. The University reserves the right to determine course equivalency and degree applicability. Transfer credit is not assigned for coursework completed in vocational/technical programs (e.g., secretarial studies) or sub-freshman level remedial work. Each GW school or college reserves the right to refuse credit for transfer in whole or in part. If a grade earned in a course is below the minimum to be accepted for transfer credit, the course may satisfy a curriculum requirement.

Transfer credit that is accepted and applied to a student's GW academic record counts toward the number of credits completed only. The grades from these courses are not used in calculating a student's GW grade-point average.

See separate policies applicable to undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and College of Professional Studies.

Advanced Standing and Advanced Placement

Assuming there is no duplication of coursework, a maximum of 24 credits may be awarded upon admission to the University for any combination of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations. An incoming student also may be granted advanced placement in a sequence of courses or waiver of a course requirement based on additional college-level coursework taken in secondary school or before matriculation; however, this does not affect the number of credits needed for the degree.

College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

Credit may be awarded for Advanced Placement tests with certain score results, typically 4s and 5s. (Refer to the GW Undergraduate Admissions website for the AP credit assignment chart.) Students must have AP score reports sent directly from the College Board to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

GW typically awards 6 to 8 credits for scores of 6 or 7 on the higher-level examinations. (Refer to the GW Undergraduate Admissions website for the IB credit assignment chart.) Students must have IB score reports sent directly from International Baccalaureate to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Enrollment Deposit

After notification of admission, all new undergraduate students are required to submit a nonrefundable enrollment deposit. This deposit is due May 1 for first-year students. For transfer students and full-time readmitted students, the deposit usually is due two to three weeks after notification of admission.


This policy is in effect for students previously enrolled in and wishing to return to Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (including Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and School of Media and Public Affairs), Elliott School of International Affairs, School of Business, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. A student wishing to enroll in another GW school or college should refer to that school/college’s readmission policy.
Students who previously were registered at GW who wish to resume studies at the University after discontinuing enrollment for one or more semesters (summer sessions and leaves of absence excluded) must apply for readmission. Deadlines for applications for readmission from students in good academic standing are March 15 for the fall semester and October 31 for the spring semester. Students seeking readmission must have official transcripts sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions from all other institutions of higher education they attended in the interim. Students seeking readmission as degree candidates after previous enrollment in non-degree status at GW must submit the Common Application and all required credentials that were not submitted previously or required for non-degree admission.

Applicants for readmission are subject to the University regulations in effect at the time of readmission. The application fee is waived for students applying for readmission after previous enrollment as a degree candidate.