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What does it take to gain admission to the UW?

All international students must meet the minimum English proficiency requirement and satisfy the minimum academic distribution requirements.

In selecting students for admission to the University, we consider many factors in a comprehensive review process. Although a student’s overall grades are a very important part of our admission review, we also consider the rigor of a student’s curriculum, the education system a student has been enrolled in, test scores, activities and accomplishments, educational goals, academic preparation, special talents, and a student’s personal background as seen through the personal statement.

Admission will be offered to as many highly qualified students as space allows. It is impossible to say exactly what makes a strong application since it is generally a combination of all the admission factors that we consider.


I have some bad grades. Can I just start over?

Unfortunately, your academic record cannot be erased.

  • Bad news: In calculating the Transfer GPA, the Office of Admissions uses all transferable academic courses from all regionally accredited colleges a student has attended, in which the student has received grades between 0.0 and 4.0 on a 4.0 grading scale. Credits attempted but not successfully completed -- in English, those for which a grade of “F” was earned -- are included in the GPA calculation. And more to the point: Applicants sign a statement when they apply, verifying that all information is correct. "I acknowledge that failure to disclose complete and accurate information, or failure to submit all required application materials...may result in the denial of admission or subsequent dismissal from the University of Washington." So we're clear on that.
  • Good news: One bad grade, or even a bad start early in one's academic career, need not prevent admission as a transfer student. An applicant who shows -- through the personal statement and transcripts improved grades after an extended absence from college or evidence of a new maturity in approaching college work -- can make it successfully through the admission review. If "older but wiser" sounds like your story, contact Admissions for counseling.

What are the freshman deadlines for applying to the Seattle campus of the UW?

The UW uses a “pooling” process: Admissions decisions are made after all applications have been received and assessed.

The application period is October 1 - December 1. However, required test scores, and only test scores, sent directly to the UW from the testing agency no later than December 31.

The UW does not offer any type of early decision or early action program. All applicants will be notified between March 15 and March 31.

All deadlines are the dates by which required materials must be postmarked or submitted.

Quarter of application Quarter begins Application period Deadline Notification period
Autumn Late September October 1- December 1 December 1 March 15-31
Winter Early January August September 1 November- December
Summer * (degree status) Mid-June October 1- December 1 December 1 March 15-31

* Choosing summer means you wish to begin regular enrollment in summer and continue into autumn as a degree-seeking student. Failure to enter summer will cancel autumn admission and any registration.


Does the UW prefer the SAT or ACT?

We have absolutely no preference whatsoever. Do your research and take the test that’s right for you.

Please note:

  • The UW does not “super score,” that is, use your highest subscores from multiple tests. In reviewing your application, we use only your highest combined score from one exam
  • Either the SAT or ACT with Writing must be taken no later than December of your senior year to be considered for admission in summer or fall quarter.

As a Running Start student, am I considered a freshman or transfer applicant?

It depends! Keep reading…

  • If you are currently in high school and enrolled in Running Start in Washington State, apply as a freshman.
  • If you will continue college course work after you graduate from high school, apply as a transfer student.

If you are not sure of your status, contact the Office of Admissions.


Does the major I list on my freshman application affect my chances of admission?

NO. We do not use your intended major (or lack thereof) in the decision about admission to the University. Please keep reading ...

We always recommend that freshman applicants list an intended major on the application. It helps us connect applicants with information, events, and people in their intended major. Three more points to keep in mind:

  • When do I choose a major? At the UW, students are not required to select a major until the junior year. That means time and flexibility, although some majors take more preparation than others. Relax -- you'll hear lots more about this at Advising and Orientation in the summer before school begins.
  • But what about business and engineering?It's called Freshman Direct. A handful of majors -- business, computer science, a couple of engineering departments -- accept a small number of students as freshmen. These departments make their decisions after the Office of Admissions has admitted freshmen to the University. That's why Freshman Direct applicants are often notified later than other applicants -- and then mistakenly conclude that their choice of major affected their admission to the UW. Not so: it only held up the notification process.
  • Second chances. Departments with Freshman Direct admission programs provide a second application cycle, usually takes place at the end of the sophomore year, when they accept most of their students.

How can I speak with someone about admission to the UW?

The Office of Admissions is here to help!

We encourage high-school juniors and seniors and their families to join us for a comprehensive freshman information session. Get the real story on what UW offers, the admissions process and student life — straight from the source! Options, times, and locations vary, so please register online.

Can’t make it to an information session? You can connect with an admissions counselor by phone, in person or via email. Visit our Contact page for details. Please note the UW does not conduct personal interviews for admission.


As a transfer applicant, do I need to take ACT or SAT?

And a question back to you: How many transferable college credits have you earned?

  • Transfer applicants who have completed fewer than 40 transferable credits (slightly less than one year of college) at the time of application are required to submit official scores from ACT or SAT.
  • Applicants who have completed more than 40 transferable quarter credits may choose to submit test scores, which will be used in the admission review.

What classes should I take?

Preparing for your intended major is the best preparation for admission.

It’s important that you work on various requirements — for admission, for your intended major, for graduation from the UW — which overlap and are interconnected. The more you work on multiple requirements at the same time, the smoother and more successful your transfer to the UW will be. Because requirements for transfer admission are so specific, you’ll need to investigate and make decisions early.

As you plan your transfer, you’ll want to use the Academic Planning Worksheet for your intended major to guide you in selecting classes.


I have college credit. Do I still need to send my high school transcript?

Yes! An official high school transcript is required of all transfer applicants.

We use this record to check that an applicant has completed the minimum College Academic Distribution Requirements for admission and to learn more about an applicant’s educational background. For applicants who have completed fewer than 40 transferable credits, high school grades play an important part of the admission review.