What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Washington University in St. Louis

What’s Covered:


Washington University in St. Louis (also referred to as WashU or WUSTL) has built a reputation for its excellent academics and top students from across the globe. While numerous WashU alumni have gone on to have incredible achievements, some of its most notable alumni left before earning a degree—Tennesse Williams, after failing to win a playwriting contest at the university; Enterprise Rent-a-Car founder Jack C. Taylor to fight in World War II; and Marilyn vos Savant, the record holder for world’s highest IQ, to work in the family investment business. 


Whether you aim to do great things before or after earning a degree from WUSTL, the first step is to gain admission into this exceptional university. 


Average Stats of Accepted Washington University in St. Louis Students


Like other top-ranked colleges, WashU attracts students who have succeeded at the highest academic level. Roughly nine out of ten (89%) of accepted applicants graduated in the top 10% of their high school class and their average GPA was 4.2. The middle 50% SAT/ACT score of those admitted to WashU is 1490-1570/33-35.


Applicants to WashU generally have great grades and stand-out test scores; consequently, excellent academics don’t guarantee admission. They do, however, ensure an applicant is given serious consideration for admission. Highly selective colleges like WUSTL use a tool known as the Academic Index to screen out under-qualified applicants—failing to meet the university’s benchmarks puts you at risk of having your application passed over. 


WashU is test-optional for applicants entering in fall 2023 and 2024, meaning that test scores are not a factor in admissions decisions. Students with strong test scores should still consider including them, though—it’s typically advised that students submit scores that fall in the middle 50% range of accepted applicants (this is particularly true for scores on the high end of the spectrum).


Washington University in St. Louis Application Process


Application Overview


WUSTL accepts two applications: the Common Application and the Coalition Application. There is a $75 application fee, however, it’s waivable for students to whom it presents a financial hardship. 


There are three decision paths at WashU: Early Decision 1 (ED1), Early Decision 2 (ED2), and Regular Decision (RD). 


Application Path 

Application Deadline

Early Decision 1 

November 1 

Early Decision 2

January 4

Regular Decision 

January 4


Both Early Decision pathways are binding and applicants who apply through them are committed to attending the university if accepted. Early Decision normally provides better odds of admission and this holds true at WashU—WashU’s Early Decision acceptance rate is a robust 27% compared to its slim 11% overall acceptance rate. More than half of WUSTL’s class is fielded from the Early Decision rounds.


Application Components


  • Official transcript
  • School report 
  • Counselor recommendation 
  • Supplemental essay 
  • SAT/ACT scores (optional)
  • Portfolio (required for students applying to the College of Art and strongly encouraged for students applying to the College of Architecture)
  • Interview/Introduction video (optional)


Supplemental Essay: All WashU applicants are required to complete one supplemental essay with their application, and many of the other programs WashU offers also necessitate their own essays. 


All applicants must compose a response to the following prompt: 


  • Please tell us what you are interested in studying at WashU and why. Undecided about your academic interest(s)? Don’t worry—tell us what excites you about the academic division you selected. Remember that all of our first-year students enter officially “undeclared” and work closely with their team of academic advisors to discover their academic passions. You can explore all of our majors and programs on our website. (200 words)


Applicants to the Beyond Boundaries Program must also respond to the following prompt:  


  • Many of our students broadly explore the connections across WashU’s five undergraduate divisions and three graduate schools and engage with the community before declaring a major. The Beyond Boundaries Program equips students with a set of tools to critically understand and make a difference in a complicated world where challenges do not come pre-packaged as territory of a single discipline. Tell us what great challenge you might want to understand and tackle leveraging two or more of WashU’s schools and how you would pursue an interdisciplinary path of study that explores that challenge or an aspect of that challenge in a unique and innovative way. (200 words)


Those seeking admission into the Joint Program in Business and Computer Science must respond to the following prompt: 


  • Students in the Joint Program in Business and Computer Science will be equipped with the fundamental knowledge and perspectives of computer science and business and will have unique opportunities to converge these two disciplines.


This is a distinctive degree program that captures the intersection of business and computer science and the growing demand for people with this special and sought-after skill set. Graduates of the program will be able to pursue careers in technology, data analytics, finance, consulting and business development, to name a few.

Tell us how you would use this combined degree to explore the intersection of these two disciplines? (200 words)


Applicants to the Danforth Scholars Program are asked to compose responses to the two following prompts: 


  • Consider the legacy of Chancellor Danforth and the four Program Pillars. How have you demonstrated your commitment to the ideals of the Program? Please provide 1-2 specific examples. (250 words)
  • What matters to you? (200 words)


Ervin Scholars Program applicants are also required to compose essays in response to two prompts:


  • Describe a high school or community activity in which you have taken initiative. What were the challenges and outcomes? What did you learn? (200 words)
  • Dr. John B. Ervin was a nationally renowned black educator and the first African American Dean at Washington University. The Ervin Scholars Program was founded on and continues to live out his legacy through scholars’ dedication to the Program Pillars. Review the biography of Dr. John B. Ervin and the four Program Pillars. How have you demonstrated your commitment to the ideals of the Program? Please provide 1-2 specific examples. (250 words)


Lastly, applicants to the Rodriguez Scholars Program must also write essays in response to two prompts:


  • Describe a high school or community activity in which you have taken initiative. What were the challenges and outcomes? What did you learn? (200 words)
  • Consider the biography of Annika Rodriguez and reflect upon your commitment to bringing diverse groups together and/or celebrating the cultures of diverse peoples. How do you demonstrate this commitment? How do your service activities demonstrate your dedication to the ideals embraced by the Rodriguez Scholars Program? (250 words)


Check out CollegeVine’s article How to Write the Washington University in St. Louis Essays 2022-2023 for more detailed information about WashU’s supplemental essays and advice on how to create essays that will grab the attention of admissions officers. Have you already started writing your essays? CollegeVine Essay Review allows you to get free feedback from other students or feedback from essay experts for a fee. 


Portfolio: Submitting a portfolio is required for students applying to the College of Art and although it’s optional for students applying to the College of Architecture, it’s wise to consider it a must-do for applicants with their hearts set on attending WUSTL. Applicants can have their portfolios reviewed in person and online during National Portfolio Review Days, or they can submit them with their applications using SlideRoom


Interview/Introduction Video: Applicants have the option of a short interview with a current WashU student or alumni or submitting a 90-second video. These allow applicants to highlight something important that might not come across in other aspects of the application and provide another chance to stand out in a competitive field of candidates. 


When Will You Hear Back?


The date applicants receive their admissions decision depends on the application path they took.   


Application Path 

Application Notification 

Early Decision 1 

December 16

Early Decision 2

February 17 

Regular Decision 

April 1


Washington University in St. Louis Financial Aid


Financial Aid Generosity


WashU is committed to keeping cost from being a barrier to education. The university practices need-blind admissions and meets 100% demonstrated need—more simply, an applicant’s ability to pay for college isn’t considered in admissions decisions and the school guarantees to meet the financial aid needs of all admitted students.


The sticker price of WashU for students living on campus for the 2022-2023 academic year is $79,823*. Below is a breakdown of expenses: 






Student Activity Fee


Student Health and Wellness Fee


Housing and Food





*The University of Washington in St. Louis also estimates students will spend $1,180 on books and supplies, $880 on travel, and incur $2,356 of miscellaneous expenses, adding up to $4,416 and bringing the ultimate cost of attendance up to $84,239.


WUSTL’s six-year graduation rate is 95%—far above the 64% national average—which ensures students are getting into the labor force in a timely fashion rather than spending expensive extra years at the school. The average student loan debt of a 2018 WashU graduate was $22,500, which is also considerably less than the national average of $29,200.  

WashU has generally proven a good investment for its students; the website Payscale ranks it 155 (out of 1,978 schools) on its list of best-value colleges. To learn more about the expense of WUSTL and what it actually costs to attend this excellent university, check out our article What Does It Cost to Attend Washington University in St. Louis?


How to Apply for Financial Aid


Washington University in St. Louis applicants applying for financial aid are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS profile. Below is the timeline for financial aid applications and when to expect a decision by. 


Application Path 

Application Deadline

Financial Aid Decision 

Early Decision 1 

November 15

December 16

Early Decision 2

January 12

February 17 

Regular Decision 

February 1 

April 1


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Admissions at prestigious schools like WashU are extremely competitive, however, admissions odds vary from applicant to applicant. CollegeVine can help add clarity to your chances at WUSTL with our free chancing engine, which uses factors like academics, extracurriculars, and demographics to provide applicants with their personal odds of acceptance not only at WashU, but hundreds of colleges across the country. 


Learn more about Washington University in St. Louis, including information about its diversity, the majors it offers, and how long your application should take.

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.