George Mason University is a relatively new university, beginning as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1949 before splitting off into its own institution in 1972.

Today, the university is extremely diverse, with a large international contingent representing about 130 countries. The main campus, in suburban Fairfax, is about 15 miles from Washington, D.C., giving students vast opportunities for internships while they’re enrolled.

Once a largely commuter school, GMU now requires that freshmen live on campus, and it has grown into the largest public university in Virginia, with over 39,000 students, about 27,000 of them undergraduates. It offers more than 80 undergraduate majors in its 11 schools and colleges.

George Mason prides itself on its values, among them innovation, integrity, inclusivity, and freedom of thought and expression. The university likes to say “there’s something for everyone” on campus. Indeed, GMU fields 20 men's and women's teams in NCAA Division I sports, and students not into sports can check out the more than 500 clubs, ranging from the Anime & Gaming Society to Voice Acting Club. The school’s mascot, the Patriot, is a nod to the university’s namesake, one of the country’s founding fathers.