April Maguire 3 min read Applying to College, College Lists

What Does It Take to Get Into the University of Washington?

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With a freshman admittance rate of 48%, the University of Washington is considered very competitive. So what does it take to get in?


Want to go to school in a dynamic city famous for its food, festivals, art, and history? Just north of Downtown Seattle lies the University of Washington, a top research institution located on one of the country’s most beautiful campuses. This Greek-friendly school sees more than 4,800 students participate in its fraternities and sororities. Additionally, the university offers nearly 900 clubs, study groups, and honor societies for students to take part in, so there’s bound to be something for every taste and preference.


Wondering if the University of Washington is the right place to pursue your college education? Read on to find out what it takes to get into this exceptional institution.


Applying to the University of Washington: A Quick Review


If the University of Washington is at the top of your college wishlist, it pays to be aware of the important application dates and deadlines. To be considered for the fall semester, be sure to apply by November 15th. Mandatory application components include the following:


  • Completed Coalition Application
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • High school transcripts, only if requested from the Admissions Office
  • $80 application fee


You can expect to hear back from the UW admissions committee between March 1st and March 15th.


University of Washington Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


With a freshman admittance rate of 48%, the University of Washington is considered very competitive. However, students whose grades or test scores are slightly below average shouldn’t give up hope just yet. The University is passionate about welcoming a broad range of “world citizens” who contributed to their schools and communities in meaningful ways. To that end, UW evaluates each candidate based on academics, talent, leadership, culture, and personal experiences.

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So, How Does One Get Into the University of Washington?


Getting into the University of Washington means presenting a strong applicant profile. Last year, the average GPA for incoming freshmen was between 3.71 and 3.95. ACT scores among UW students ranged from 27 to 32, with SAT scores averaging 1250 to 1430.


Additionally, the university prefers students who challenged themselves with rigorous coursework at the high school level. Required curriculum for UW students includes:


  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of math
  • 3 years of social sciences
  • 2 years of foreign language
  • 2 years of laboratory sciences


Students who took a range of AP and IB classes in high school may also have an advantage when it comes to getting into UW.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


The University of Washington seeks out students who excel in a wide range of areas. The goal of the holistic review process is to determine whether students will 1) benefit from UW’s programs and opportunities and 2) contribute to the school’s diverse and exciting campus. To make this assessment, UW considers a number of performance measures, including GPA, test scores, application essays, and extracurricular activities.


UW hopefuls can distinguish themselves by showcasing a commitment to service. The most competitive applicants contribute to their families, schools, churches, and communities. The university is particularly interested in students who can demonstrate an awareness of other cultures and perspectives.


Additionally, UW invites applicants to provide the Admissions Department with further details about their history and circumstances. Students have the option of submitting a written statement of up to 200 words. Topics range from what majors they hope to pursue to personal hardships they’ve endured, professionals goals for the future, and limitations caused by home or work obligations.


What If You Get Rejected?


Rejection is devastating, whether you’re talking about a date, a part-time job, or your dream college. While dealing with disappointment is never easy, students should strive to keep a positive attitude. After all, there are hundreds of great schools out there, and one of them is bound to be a perfect fit for you and your goals.


While the University of Washington does allow students to appeal admissions decisions, it’s very rare for a school to accept a student that was previously rejected. Rather than waste time fighting an uphill battle, consider attending one of the other incredible schools in Washington State. Students considering UW often apply to Walla Walla University, the University of Puget Sound, and Seattle University, as well. Want to learn in a warmer climate? The University of California, San Diego, might be the ideal place to pursue your degree.


For more information about applying to the University of Washington, check out these CollegeVine posts:


How to Write the University of Washington Application Essays 2018-2019

What Parents & Students Need to Know About the 2018-19 Coalition Application


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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.