New Student Guide

Welcome to the George Washington University! Please use the information below to get started with the technology at the University.

What to Do Before You Arrive

What Should You Bring?

Should I bring a laptop or a desktop?

That depends on you. Whether laptop or desktop, here are the suggested minimum specifications:
Processor: Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5, or Apple M1
Storage: 256GB SSD
OS: Windows 10 Version 2004 or macOS 10.15 
WiFi: WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Encryption: Microsoft BitLocker or Apple FileVault
  • Anti-malware: Microsoft Defender or other third-party anti-malware product
  • Firewall: Built-in Firewall Enabled

We also recommend that you check with your school for any additional specifications that may be required for your discipline.

Desktop vs. laptop is largely a matter of personal preference. Consider the following questions: Will you need the portability of a laptop, or do you prefer the cost advantage of purchasing a desktop?  Laptops are portable and can ease the trip between residence hall room, library, classroom and home over break. Desktop computers tend to be less expensive than laptops and allow for increased expansion and upgrades. Regardless of what you choose, you will need to take some common-sense precautions to protect your investment. Laptop locks can be purchased from most electronics stores. Whether you have a desktop or a laptop, you should ALWAYS lock your door when you leave your room, and never walk away from your computer in a public place. Ultimately, the physical security of your computer and the security of your files and documents are your responsibility. 

Is there wireless in residence hall rooms?

GW offers two types of wireless network to GW students. 

  • GWireless is a secure wireless network that uses an authentication method that works with computers, Apple iOS mobile devices and a variety of Android devices. GW community members may log into GWireless using their GW NetIDs (the GW NetID is the part of a GW email address before the “@” symbol) and the passwords that correspond to their NetIDs.
  • GW is also pleased to offer to GW students the ability to connect certain models of gaming consoles and streaming devices to GWConnect network. GWConnect wireless network currently supports Roku, Apple TV, Playstation 4, XBox One, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Alexa Device, and Nintendo Switch. Use Martha Chat to connect your device(s). GW's knowledge base has details, or get more information.
  • GW also offers students living in the residence hall with GWired, a high speed wired network connection. The ITSC Walk-Up Support can provide equipment to connect devices with an ethernet port to our wired dorm network. For ITSC Walk-Up Support contact info and office hours, please visit and click on support.

Is there network storage space for my documents?

GW offers GW Box, and Google Drive as backup and storage services for GW students.

  • GW Box is the university's enterprise file sharing service for online cloud storage and collaboration and is free for GW students. 
  • Google Drive, Google's online storage service that allows for seamless storage and access to data between multiple devices, is also available as part of your GW email (GWMail) account. 
  • Please visit for more information.

Should I bring a cell phone?

Yes, the University does not provide telephone service in the dorms. A cellular telephone would be needed for basic communication. There are some publicly available phones located around campus.  Note that we offer WebEx for students which offers internet or IP-based collaboration and connectivity. 

Should I bring my TV, gaming console, or streaming device?

Yes. GWConnect wireless network currently supports Roku, Apple TV, Playstation 4, XBox One, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Alexa Device, and Nintendo Switch. Have a device that's not on the list? We're open to suggestions for investigating support for additional GWPlay devices!

Can I set up a router?

Students are not permitted to set up routers, gateways or access points in their residence hall room. Routers can disrupt network connectivity for other users. Students who set up routers in the residence halls will be subject to judicial action per the GWired Code of Conduct and may lose their Internet connection for the year. 

Do I need a printer?

As a student of GW, you have access to WEPA printing with printing locations throughout the University. Printing is "pay-for-print", and GWorld Colonial Cash can be used for printing and copying services across GW's multiple campuses. There are many Colonial Printing kiosks available in these convenient locations. Many students also choose to purchase a printer to use in their residence hall rooms. Please choose a wired printer for easy connectivity. Printers cannot connect to our Wireless Network for security reasons. For your convenience, the GW Bookstore sells printers as well as other computer accessories.

What are GW's policies regarding use of the network?

GW Network users agree to adhere to the GWired Code of Conduct as well as the Code of Conduct for Users of Computing Systems and Services at the George Washington University.  Violation of either policy may result in judicial action and possible loss of your connection. 

Other Items You May Want to Bring

Surge protector
Ethernet dongle
Laptop lock
External hard drive
Flash drive

What to Do When You Get Here

Get on the Network


Use Martha Chat to register your streaming and gaming devices with GWConnect

Watch TV or learn something new


Download free software

Download University provided software available for free to members of the GW community.

What to Do When You Need Help

Need technical support? Check the Knowledge Base, submit a ticket, or contact the IT Support Center.

Problem with your housing? Need routine and emergency maintenance, moving services, pest control, or HVAC repairs? Contact GW Housing for housing-related questions.