First-Generation Student Support

GW First Generation


The Center for Student Engagement (CSE) recognizes that there are many definitions for what it means to be a First-Generation college student. The University defines First-Generation college students as those whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree.


Thus if any of these statements apply to you then you're welcome at any and all CSE events or programs for First-Generation students:

  • You identify with the above definition.
  • You feel as though you have a similar life experience to those who identify with this definition.
  • You’re looking for a place to build community and support that will help you integrate into life here at GW.

We are excited to welcome you to GW and look forward to how the strength and experiences you bring will enrich our community. 

Programs to Support First-Generation Student Success

Founding Scholars

This day-long orientation offers an overview and refresher of GW information for incoming first-year students. Examples of information covered: time management, tools, and resources for academic success, career exploration, and CSE offerings. The goal of the program is to teach students about resources available to them at the start of their academic career, so they can pair that information with their own strengths and knowledge to be the most successful student they can be.

Join us for Founding Scholars 2018 on August 27th & 28th, 2018, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM in District House B205.

RSVP here!

First-Generation Connect

This networking event kicks off the school year! Attend this event to meet faculty and staff who will be important to your GW experience. Students, staff, and faculty are invited to come, mix and mingle. Invitations are sent to campus partners such as:

First-Generation Connect date: September 5th, 2018, 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

RSVP here!

First Friday Dinners/Workshops

Held on the first Friday of the month, these free dinners/workshops help build a stronger First-Generation student community. The dinners offer a casual setting where all First-Generation students are will get the chance to get to know other First-Generation students, build an invaluable network of peers, and meet university staff.

Prior to the dinners,  the CSE also host skill development workshops. Similar to the dinners, they will be informal in nature and will be a mixture of presentations and discussions. Staff from other offices assist with presentations; all students who attend will be given tangible resources that will enhance their college experience!  Workshop topics include (but are not limited to): academic support, managing your finances, healthy eating on a budget, career coaching and more. (student suggestions are welcome)

Fall 2018 First Friday Workshops and Dinner Schedule:

Workshops: 5:15-6:00 pm | Dinners: 6:00-7:30 pm

September 7th (Workshop: Library/STEMworks Resources & Dinner)

October 5th (Workshop: Resume and Cover Letters & Dinner)

November 2nd (Workshop: Leadership and Imposter Syndrome & Dinner)

December 7th (Dinner)

Note - students can attend the workshops without attending the dinners and vice versa.

Questions: Contact Brittany Abraham at [email protected].

First-Gen United

This is GW's only student organization for First-Generation college students. This student organization is made of and for First-Generation college students. Being a First-Gen students is something to celebrate and this student organization seeks to assist First-Generation college students in three areas: Social Support, Advocacy, and Academics. In order to get in contact with the First-Gen United organization, please click here

First-Generation Residential Community

Join the inaugural First-Generation Residential Community in Thurston Hall!  This living community brings together first-generation students on a residential floor to live, learn, and grow together in their first year at GW.   Living in this community will provide the residents with dedicated resources and opportunities. Residents will:

  • Learn to manage the transition from high school to college
  • Develop academic skills via targeted programming and access to dedicated faculty in the halls
  • Connect with the greater first-generation community at GW
  • Experience exclusive programs and events in and around DC

This community provides a unique environment to foster connections among first-year first-generation college students experiencing a similar transition.

Questions? Contact Brittany Abraham, Program Coordinator for Community Support, at [email protected] or Marcella Wong, Area Coordinator - Thurston Hall, [email protected]

Programs for Upperclass Students

The CSE seeks to support second, third, & fourth-year students as they explore internships, consider graduate school, and figure out career paths/navigate the job market post-graduation. Thus specific programs are offered related to the development and the transition out of college.

Other Initiatives

First-Generation Equipment Bank

Through the generosity of a donor, the CSE is able to offer professional clothing for interviews, cookware, and laptops for usage.
An application will be available in August.

Contact Britanny Abraham at [email protected] for more information. 

First-Generation Faculty & Staff Alliance

There are a number of staff and faculty at GW who were First-Generation students or in their roles and lives work as allies to First-Generation students. These staff and faculty are willing to support and assist students during your time at GW; after all they know what First-Generation students are going through! Alliance members are invited to connect with students at the annual First-Generation Connect event.

Want to see where Alliance members are around campus? Look at this interactive Google Map.

Faculty and Staff: If you are a member of the GW family who was a First-Generation college student please fill out the following form to join our First-Generation Faculty & Staff Alliance and connect with the First-Generation students. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Brittany Abraham, at [email protected]  
Email Listserv

Information about CSE events for First-Generation students, opportunities in other offices where students can seek support, and updates from the university are shared through the listserv. As a First Generation Student, you will be automatically added to this listserv. 

Other Resources

The Store

The Store is a student-run food pantry at the George Washington University that is managed by GW Class Council and the Center for Student Engagement. Over the past couple of years, the awareness of food insecurity has increased on college campuses. Many students skip meals and go hungry because they cannot afford enough to eat. Our mission is to alleviate food insecurity at GW by offering food items to ensure that every student has enough to eat. For more information, please visit

2121 H St. NW
District House, Rm B121
Washington, DC 20052

The Multicultural Student Services Center

The Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC) focuses its work on underrepresented undergraduate students who are racial, ethnic, and identity-based minority students. The work overlaps with graduate students, international students, and other students who develop an interest in learning around diversity and inclusion. The MSSC offers cultural heritage events, diversity training, tutoring services, and a warm welcoming atmosphere!

2127 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20052

Office of Student Success

The Office of Student Success is responsible for the implementation of the recommendations in the strategic plan to increase undergraduate retention and graduation rates. The Office of Student Success offers academic support programs and more for students.

If you have questions, please contact Oliver Street, Executive Director, Office of Student Success at 202-994-3235

714 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20052