George Washington University

Washington, D.C: George Washington University was everything I thought I didn’t want. I thought I wanted to go to a small school with a real campus in a small town near a big city. GW is pretty much the exact opposite. Located in downtown Washington, GWU matriculates 8,800 undergraduates who come from 139 countries and 50 states.

GW doesn’t have a traditional campus; the buildings are all right on city streets. Although they are close together, a campus with gates does not encompass them. GW students consider the National Mall their quad and the Library of Congress one of their main libraries. Students use the city for every aspect of their life, but the city also uses George Washington: CNN’s “Crossfire” is filmed in one of their buildings.

GW offers more than a thousand courses and 88 majors, more than many schools its size. The average class size is 28 students, which is also impressive. According to the university’s website, only eleven of the majors have more than 100 students.

GW’s athletic teams include ten sports for men and women, but not a football team. They poke fun at that situation with a t-shirt which reads, “GW Football: Undefeated.”

The information session was a bit intimidating. Much larger than any other I had attended, it was held in a giant lecture hall. Sitting in the back, listening to an admissions officer lecture about the university’s selectivity, I felt overwhelmed. This feeling passed as soon as the tour began.

My tour guide was a sophomore who warned us that he would use four corny jokes during the tour. He kept his promise and only told four jokes, all of which lived up to the warning, but he was charming and very informative. (He later mailed letters to each of us offering to answer any additional questions we might have.) At the end of the tour, we were invited to watch a taping of “Crossfire,” but I had to leave. George Washington students can watch anytime.

Because I had been so wrong about what I thought I wanted in a college, experiencing the type of life that George Washington University offers forced me to reconsider all my requirements a school should meet. Washington, D.C. became the city for me, which is extremely different from what I originally believed! Check out

Reviewed in 2005