First Year Experience

Congratulations on your acceptance to GW, and welcome to the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the necessary terms and deadlines as you prepare for your first year at GW!



Key Terms

  • Academic Advisor: A professional staff member in the Office of Undergraduate Studies who assists students with course selection and academic decision making appropriate to their personal, professional and academic needs and goals. Learn more and find your academic advisor.
  • CCAS: Established in 1821, CCAS is one of the 5 main undergraduate schools and the original college of liberal arts and sciences at GW. CCAS is the largest of GW’s schools with over 60 majors and minors and the largest number of undergraduate students. The Corcoran School of Arts and Design and the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) are both part of CCAS.
  • GPAC: The general education curriculum of The Columbian College, which educates students to engage in active intellectual inquiry by developing analytical skills, communication skills and diverse perspectives. Learn more about GPAC requirements.
  • POD: POD stands for Place of Discovery and it is the advising model we use in CCAS. There are three PODs in CCAS and students are assigned to an advising team based on the first letter of your last name: POD 1 (A-G), POD 2 (H-N), POD 3 (O-Z). When you email the POD for advising related questions, you may get a response from anyone on the team, however, you will also be assigned an advisor within the POD in your first semester at GW.
  • Prerequisite: Course(s), or course content mastery, which must be completed prior to taking subsequent courses in an academic discipline.
  • Transfer Credit: Credits not earned at GW. Can be divided in pre-matriculation (taken before coming to GW) and post-matriculation (taken after coming to GW).



Common Topics

Incoming first year students can make one-on-one appointments after completing the pre-orientation online module and attending a first year group advising webinar.

CCAS Advising works in a POD model, meaning that you will be assigned a specific advisor in your first semester, but you can also meet with any of the advisors in your POD. As you complete your orientation module and first year group advising webinars, we encourage you to direct questions to your advising POD via email.

First year students register in two hour blocks which they register for using their admission portal. From your second semester on, we use a tiered registration model based on earned credits. The registrar’s office has a detailed video showing you How to Register and utilize the Plan Ahead feature.

CCAS 1001 is a 1 credit extended orientation course required for all incoming first-years in the College of Arts and Sciences. First year students are required to take the course in their first semester at GW.

All CCAS Students (with the exception of SMPA and Corcoran students) enter as undeclared majors. Students can declare as early as their first semester, or wait and take exploratory courses if they are uncertain of their intended major. We just ask that you declare no later than the end of your sophomore year. You have over 60 majors and minors to choose from in CCAS, but you can also double major/minor outside of CCAS while keeping CCAS as your home school.

New Student Orientation is an event held for students across the university prior to matriculation. New Student Orientation occurs in the summer up to the start of your first semester. CCAS Advising offers some summer programming and will continue throughout your entire time at GW, including the CCAS 1001 First Year Experience class. For orientation-specific information visit the NSO website or contact the Orientation Team at [email protected]

CCAS 1001

CCAS 1001 is a one credit extended orientation course.The class meets once a week for 50 minutes and it is required for all incoming first year students, effective Fall 2022.

The course is offered Pass/No Pass, which is a grade mode designated when a course is taken for credit but not for a letter grade. A grade of D‐ or higher is considered a Pass for undergraduate courses.

This course provides an exciting opportunity to reflect on your own identities, strengths and values; understand what it means to have a liberal arts education, navigate campus resources available at GW, explore majors and minors, develop a four‐year academic plan, build a resume, and increase career‐based knowledge.

The course will help you transition to college, make friends with other CCAS first years, and learn all that GW has to offer!

CCAS 1001 is taught by GW advisors, faculty, and staff, and we look forward to working with you in the classroom!

CCAS 1001 Four Year Plan Assignment

Students in CCAS 1001 are asked to develop a tentative Four Year Plan that accounts for all graduation requirements and any other academic considerations. This assignment will factor into the students’ grade for the course and can be used as a planning tool throughout their time at GW.

Students will be instructed on how to create a four year plan during their CCAS 1001 class and will likely have time in class to work on their own Four Year Plans during class time as well. Students seeking additional support are invited to attend a Four Year Plan workshop session.

CCAS 1001 Students Only – submit your plans here using our available template (PDF).

Submit Your CCAS 1001 Four Year Plan

Submit your PDF file using the button above. Your file must include your name and GWID!

Events and Workshops

The First Year Experience Team is excited to offer workshops and events throughout the year.

Register for an Upcoming Event/Workshop

Upcoming Events:

CCAS 1001 Four Year Plan Workshop

  • This one hour virtual workshop will guide students through the step-by-step process of creating a four year plan using GW resources. As needed, advisors may be available for one-on-one support in breakout rooms toward the second half of the event. This event is for students currently enrolled in CCAS 1001 only!
    • October 17, 2022, 10:30 am - 11:30 am
    • October 18, 2022, 9:00 am - 10:00 am
    • October 18, 2022, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    • October 26, 2022, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Spring 2023 New Student Group Advising Session

  • This one hour virtual group advising session is mandatory for all incoming first year students admitted to CCAS for the Spring 2023 term. It will provide important information about GW and CCAS. Do not register for this meeting if you have already matriculated to GW.
    • October 19, 2022, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    • October 20, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Past Event Recordings: