How to Get Into George Washington University: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into GWU?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted GWU Students
- What is GWU Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into GW
Known for renowned programs in areas like international affairs, business, journalism, and many others, George Washington University was chartered in 1821 and has since graduated people across a wide variety of fields, from theater and film to politics.
Students flock from all corners of the world to take advantage of programs in one of seven schools:
- Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
- Corcoran School of the Arts & Design
- Elliott School of International Affairs
- GW School of Business
- Milken Institute School of Public Health
- School of Engineering & Applied Science
- School of Media & Public Affairs
They also have access to top-ranked study-abroad programs, internships within the nation’s capital, and plenty of resources within DC.
How do you get into the largest institution of higher education in DC?
How Hard Is It to Get Into GWU?
For the 2020–2021 admissions cycle, 26,405 students applied to GW, and 11,366 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 43%.
While GW is selective, your personal chances of admission vary according to the strength of your profile. We suggest using our free admissions calculator to better understand your odds, plus get tips on how to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted GWU Students
GWU doesn’t release the average GPA of accepted students but you should aim to get all As in the most rigorous class available at your high school.
With 50% of accepted students submitting SAT scores, the middle 50% range was 1290-1430. The middle ACT 50% range was 29-33, with 27% submitting scores.
For the class of 2025, 50% were in the top 10% of their graduating class, and 83% were in the top 25%.
What is GWU Looking for?
“We are looking for students who have the academic preparation, personal qualities, and motivation to thrive in GW’s dynamic environment,” the university says.
GW seeks students who will bring their diverse voices and backgrounds. Although you will apply to a specific school (with the option of listing an alternate), you are encouraged to explore multiple interests.
Some special programs are particularly rigorous and more selective than others. For this reason, programs like the seven-year BA/MD track and Honors Program have additional requirements.
GW employs a holistic approach when reviewing applications. The university encourages students to take a challenging curriculum, as well as demonstrate extracurricular commitment.
How GW Evaluates Applications
According to the 2020–2021 Common Data Set, the following factors are considered “very important” in the admissions process:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Academic GPA
These are “important”:
- Application Essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Volunteer work
These are “considered”:
- Standardized test scores
- Character/personal qualities
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Work experience
- Level of applicant’s interest
These are “not considered”:
- Class rank
- State residency
- Religious affiliation/commitment
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into GW
1. Achieve a strong GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
Students who are admitted to GW excel academically, all while taking a rigorous curriculum. The majority of accepted students are in the top 25% of their graduating high school class and pursue AP, honors, and/or IB courses, particularly in their area of interest.
If your GPA is low, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Aim for a 1430 SAT and 33 ACT
GW adopted a test-optional policy in 2015. However, students who do submit their scores often have an edge in the admissions process. We recommend taking the test if you can safely do so and submitting scores if they fall at or above the 25th percentile of admitted students. Again, you can use our free Chancing Engine to get a recommendation on whether you should submit your scores.
To be more competitive, aim for the 75% percentile. GW superscores both the SAT and ACT, so you can take the test multiple times (although it’s usually not within your best interest to take it more than 2-3 times).
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”)
Your extracurricular activities should complement your academic strengths. It’s best to focus on a couple well-developed interests rather than have a collection of unrelated extracurricular activities because this will demonstrate real passion.
When considering your activities, understand the 4 Tiers of Extracurriculars. Tier 1 indicates that the extracurricular is rare and exceptional, while Tier 4 represents activities that are the most common (and least impressive). You should aim to have at least one or two Tier 1-2 activities, along with a handful of Tier 3-4 activities.
4. Write engaging essays
Essays are a way to set yourself apart from other academically talented candidates. Use your main and supplemental essays to show your voice and personality. Get more advice on how to tackle the GW-specific essays here.
5. Apply Early Decision
Although GW does not release its ED statistics, in general, ED acceptance rates are higher than RD acceptance rates, even when controlling for profile strength. But before you choose this plan, make sure GW is actually your top choice, because the decision is binding. Bear in mind the limitations of applying ED, too.
6. Develop relationships with teachers early
Teacher recommendations play an important role in GW’s admissions process. In order to secure strong letters, work on developing relationships with teachers. The people you ask should know you well as a student and person.
Here are some tips for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers.
7. Apply to the best-fit program
Some schools and programs are more competitive than others, but you should select the best fit for you. You won’t be able to change your primary and alternate school choices once you’ve submitted your application, although you may be able to transfer schools after your first year at GW.
If you’re worried you won’t get into your top school but still want to attend GW, just list an alternate! That way, you may be admitted to the larger university.
How to Apply to GW
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
- Common Application
- GW supplement (optional; required for Seven-Year B.A./M.D. Program University Honors Program, School of Media and Public Affairs, BFA Programs in the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design)
- Official transcripts
- SAT/ACT scores (optional; required for accelerated Seven-Year B.A./M.D. Program, applicants who are homeschooled, applicants who attend secondary schools that provide only narrative evaluations rather than some form of grading scale, recruited NCAA Division I athletes [test-optional for 2021-2023 entry terms])
- Letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor
- Teacher evaluation
- Portfolio (Corcoran only)
Learn more about GW