Holistic review

The University of Washington seeks students who can benefit from its wealth of academic and cultural opportunities and contribute to its amazing energy and rich diversity of experience. Choosing students from a very able group of applicants requires a selection process that looks beyond grades and standardized tests…

While these factors are important, they tell only part of an applicant’s story. The University uses an individualized application review more typically found at smaller private universities and colleges. In addition to grade-point average (GPA) and test scores, the University takes into account many aspects of an applicant’s achievements and personal history.

Academic Preparation & Performance

While the UW looks at many factors in reviewing applications for admission, academic preparation and performance are still primary. Indicators of preparation and performance include:

  • An overall strong level of academic achievement as demonstrated by GPA, rigor of curriculum, standardized test scores, and academic distinctions
  • Taking advantage of college-preparatory courses during high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Running Start, or college in the high school; or academic subjects beyond the minimum required for college entrance
  • Taking full academic advantage of the senior year
  • Demonstrating a positive grade trend
  • Demonstrating habits associated with independent intellectual growth such as self-guided reading, engagement with other cultures, or research activities
  • Demonstrating exceptional artistic talent and achievement

Personal Achievements & Characteristics

In addition to academic preparation and performance, personal achievements and characteristics can also indicate promise to benefit from and contribute to the University of Washington. These include:

  • Demonstrating a commitment to community service and leadership
  • Exercising significant responsibility in a family, community, employment, or through activities
  • Attaining a college-preparatory education in the face of significant personal adversity, or disability
  • Attaining a college-preparatory education despite economic disadvantage (Washington state residents only)
  • Demonstrating cultural awareness or unique perspectives or experiences
  • Demonstrating notable tenacity, insight, originality, or creativity

The entire application, including the essays and short narrative of activities, is important in the individualized application review. We encourage you to use the application to share with the University who you are and what is important to you. Put your best foot forward and never stop preparing for your transition to college-level studies.

Because the University receives more than 30,000 freshman applications, the entire review process takes time to complete. While this process requires patience on the part of applicants, the benefit is that each applicant is reviewed as an individual.

Admission decisions are made only after all freshman applications have been reviewed. Therefore, all admission decisions are sent between March 15 and March 31. The UW does not participate in an early decision or early action notification plan.