First Generation Student Support

The CSE Definition of First Generation Students

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 or members of your support network did not graduate from a four-year college or university

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

First Friday Dinners

Held on the first Friday of the month, these dinners help build a stronger first generation student community. The dinners offer a casual setting where all first generation students are welcome to attend. In this informal setting students will get the chance to know other first generation students, building a network of support that will be invaluable! The first dinner of the year will be Friday, September 15th.

New for 2016-2017- the CSE will be hosting skill development programming, to be held from 5:00 pm-6:00 pm prior to some dinners. Similar to the dinners, they will be informal in nature and will be a mixture of presentations and discussions. Staff from other offices will assist with presentations; all students who attend will be given tangible resources or knowledge that will enhance their college experience!  The months of September, October, November, and February will have pre-dinner programs and the topics will be:

October - Academic  Resources: Connect with individuals from the GW Library, Tutoring Initiative and the Writing Center to find out what resources are here at GW to enhance your GW experience.

November- Cooking for Academic Health: A dietitian from the University will come and discuss how to eat healthfully on a budget while supplying your body with key nutrients to maximize your health to support your brain!

February- Career Coaching: Connect with staff members from the Career Center to get some tips about interviewing and how to be a top contender for the next internship or job! 

March- Personal Budgeting: Building your financial knowledge, financial literacy, strategies for paying back loans, information about credit cards, affordable ways to live in the city, how to keep a budget. Staff from Financial Aid, as well as faculty who teach in finance, will facilitate.

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

Questions: Contact Thomas Germain at

First Generation Faculty & Staff Alliance

There are a number of staff and faculty at GW who are first generation college 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! If you are a member of the GW family who was a first generation college student please submit the following form to help create a database of first generation faculty and staff at the George Washington University! 

To join the Alliance and receive updates about the First Generation community at GW, please fill out this form. 

Want to see where Alliance members are around campus? Look at this interactive Google Map.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Thomas Germain, at


Founding Scholars

Sunday August 28th 11:00 am-4:00 pm, Marvin Center Continental Ballroom

Founding Scholars is a transition program for incoming first-year first generation students. Held on Sunday, August 28th from 11:00 am-4:00 pm in Marvin Center, Continental Ballroom.

Presented by the Center for Student Engagement (CSE) the focus of the day is how to succeed in the classroom, academics in college vs. high school, financial aid, housing, and of course-connecting with fellow first generation students. GW’s only student org for first generation students, First Generation 2 College, will also be there to present and help facilitate the day.

First Generation Connect

Wednesday, August 31st, 7:00pm-8:30pm, Science and Engineering Hall Event Space

Come meet fellow first generation students, both incoming first-years and upperclassmen alike. Connect with offices and student organizations that can support and assist you while you're here at GW. Refreshments will be served so at the very least come for a free cookie and stay for the connections that will help you succeed as a Colonial!