Admitted Freshman Checklist

Congratulations on your admission to Western! We look forward to welcoming you as one of the newest members of the Western family. Below is a list of steps you need to take to confirm your enrollment and set yourself up for a successful transition to our campus community.

1. Finalize Your Decision

Accept Your Offer

Western requires a $280 non-refundable enrollment confirmation fee to secure your space in the incoming class. This one-time enrollment fee funds a variety of academic support services related to new student orientation, advising, and academic success. The fee should be submitted as soon as you are ready to accept your offer of admission and no later than the confirmation deadline listed in your admission packet. Entering fall students need to submit this no later than the May 1 national college decision deadline or within two weeks of being admitted, whichever is later. Students admitted for winter or spring should typically confirm within two weeks of being admitted. After confirmation you will receive important information about how to register for our freshman orientation program, how to activate your Universal Account and Western email address, registering for courses, and more.

  • Online: You can confirm and pay online as soon as you receive your admission packet in the mail.
  • Mail: You can mail the Enrollment Confirmation Form included in your admission packet along with a check or money order. The mailing address is included on the form.
  • Fee Waiver: While the fee cannot be waived, it can be postponed until your first tuition bill if you have demonstrated significant financial need on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To request to have your fee postponed, email with an explanation of your circumstances, along with your name and Western ID number.

Decline Your Offer

If you do not intend to come to Western, please decline your offer so your enrollment space can be considered for another student. 


 2. Get to Know Us Better

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat

  • Facebook: Join the You're In! WWU New Students 2019 Facebook group to begin building community with other students who will be headed to Western in the fall.
  • Instagram: Western on Instagram
  • Twitter: @WWU on Twitter
  • Share the news! Spread the word using #wwubound.
  • See what campus and Bellingham are like through the eyes of our students on Snapchat! @wwuadmissions and feel free to contact our current students with questions about life on campus.

Visit campus

Our gorgeous campus, ideally situated between the mountains and the bay, is a big reason students choose to become part of the Western Family, so come see for yourself!

We offer a variety of visit options for admitted students, including daily campus tours, weekly Discovery Day information sessions, and Western Preview, our admitted freshman open house on April 6, 2019.

First Year Interest Groups

First Year Interest Groups (FIGs) offer freshmen a unique learning community their first quarter on campus. In the FIG program, a group of 25 students enroll in three classes together – two larger general education courses and one small seminar. By connecting students with professors, campus resources and other freshmen, FIGs helps students feel more confident and supported in their first quarter. FIGs are a great way to make friends, enroll in popular courses and meet some of the best instructors! Participating in the FIG program allows you to register early for FIG courses. Learn more at the FIG website.

Viking Launch

Viking Launch offers incoming freshmen a strong, focused head start. The program brings incoming freshmen to campus seven days early to beat the hustle and bustle of the fall move-in while preparing them for a successful Western experience. Participants will be immersed in Western life by completing a one- or two-credit preparation course or thematic seminar, a community service learning project, college success workshops, recreation activities and more. Find out more at the Viking Launch website.

WOOT! Western Outdoor Orientation Trips

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT!) provide incoming students with an incredible opportunity to connect with fellow freshmen, Western and the greater Bellingham community through week-long wilderness experiences. Students get to backpack in the North Cascades, Chuckanut Mountain and beyond. Trips are led by trained upper-class students who serve as outdoor guides and mentors. WOOT! trips occur the week prior to regular move-in for new students. Space is limited; registration will begin in mid-May. Find out more at the WOOT! website.

Watch the Mail

Check your email and postal mailbox regularly since we will be sending additional information to get you excited about Western. If you aren't hearing from us please check your junk folder and make sure your mailing address is up to date with our office.

Stay in Touch

Our Admissions team loves to help answer questions from students and their family. If our staff can be of assistance at any step of the way please give us a shout at or (360) 650-3440. We can also help connect you with others on campus who might be important resources for you. If you are planning a visit to campus our admission counselors are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for drop-in advising; no advance arrangements are necessary.


3. Plan Your Finances

Western's tuition is one of the lowest among universities in Washington state and we have been nationally recognized for providing excellent education at an affordable cost. Washington Monthly Magazine lists Western as the top public master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, as does Money Magazine in its 2016 rankings.

As you review estimated annual expenses it may be helpful to know that payment for tuition, fees, housing and meals is charged quarterly and due at the beginning of each quarter. Also, remember that costs for transportation, books, supplies and personal expenses are flexible and can be reduced depending on your lifestyle choices.

Financial Aid

If you plan to apply for financial aid and have not yet done so, you need to submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA becomes available on October 1 each year. Fortunately, you only have to file one FAFSA regardless of how many schools you may be considering. Please ensure you include Western's Federal School Code on your FAFSA so we receive your results: 003802. Western's Financial Aid Priority Deadline is January 31. Applications submitted after the priority deadline will receive full consideration as long as funds are available. Go to now to apply for a PIN so you can get started with the FAFSA application when you're ready.

The FAFSA4caster is a financial aid estimator that can tell you roughly what to expect for need-based financial aid. 

Admitted fall freshmen are notified about financial aid and scholarships on a rolling basis beginning mid-December. All first year scholarships and financial aid offers for on-time fall freshman applicants will be sent out by the end of April.


Your application for admission also serves as your application for most of Western’s scholarships. We encourage you to seek external scholarship opportunities through your high school, community organizations and local businesses. You can also look at online scholarship search sites such as:

Student Employment

Many students earn money to cover college expenses by working on campus or in the Bellingham community. Refer to Western's Student Employment Center to learn more.


 4. Find a New Home

Living on campus can enhance your overall college experience. While living on campus is a choice, more than 90% of Western freshmen do. Find a new home and submit your housing application online by the priority deadline.

Tip: Connect with potential roommates using WWU's MyRoommate, the You're In! WWU New Students 2019 Facebook Group, and the WWU On-Campus Housing Facebook page.

Also, get excited about moving in by counting down the seconds to move-in day!


5. Prepare for Orientation and Registration 

The New Student Services/Family Outreach Office hosts orientation sessions for new students before classes begin. Orientation programs include an orientation to the university, academic advising, course registration, general interest sessions, and seminars covering a range of topics to facilitate your transition to Western.

Fall Quarter

Fall Advising & Orientation is for new first-year students (Freshmen/Running Start) and supports your transition to campus with a campus orientation, academic advising, and class registration program. Fall A&O is composed of 9 session dates, and each session is a two-day program, featuring a student orientation as well as family orientation experience. For 2019, there are 8 sessions in August, and 1 session in September.

Winter and Spring Quarters

Winter Advising & Orientation (Winter A&O) and Spring Advising & Orientation (Spring A&O) support your transition to campus with an academic advising and campus orientation program. Both programs offer a streamlined process for new students to meet with campus staff to learn about critical campus and advising resources, receive academic advising support to build class schedules, and prepare for the class registration process.

To Do Before Arriving on Campus

View your Countdown to Western Checklist

Keep track of your status in important areas such as your Advising & Orientation reservation, receipt of final transcripts, measles clearance, housing assignment and more with your personalized Countdown to Western checklist. The Countdown checklist opens a few months prior to the start of each quarter. 

Activate your Universal Account

After you have confirmed your intent to enroll at Western, you will need to activate your Universal Account. This is especially important because you won't be able to make your Advising & Orientation orientation reservations, complete the online math assessment or register for classes without it. Your Universal Account provides technology resources to enhance your academic experience, including the myWestern web portal and a web-based email account, on-campus computer labs, personal storage on network servers, wireless internet access, and laptops available for check out. Enrolled students are required to check myWestern email regularly, as official university correspondence will be delivered to myWestern email accounts.

Measles Immunity

Proof of measles immunity is required for all students born after January 1, 1957. This document must be on file with the Student Health Center before you will be allowed to register for courses. Detailed instructions will be provided after enrollment confirmation.

Math Assessment

Most students who plan to register for a math course at Western must first take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) online. The MPA also serves as a prerequisite for some courses in other departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geology, Physics and Science Education. Students must first activate their Universal Account in order to access ALEKS. More information about the MPA, including exceptions and FAQs, can be found on the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment website. Students will need to take the ALEKS assessment at least once as a proctored exam so as to assure the most accurate placement assessment. Western will email you instructions on how to initiate the ALEKS as an online and proctored assessment in early May.

Academic Planning

It is never too early to begin planning your academic future! We encourage you to visit the Academic Advising Center which includes information about the many academic resources available to Western students. The Programs of Study outlined in our University Catalog also offer important planning information as well as contacts for each academic department should you wish to get in touch.

Final Transcripts

Be sure to make arrangements for your high school to submit an official final transcript, including your graduation date, as soon as it is available and no later than August 1. To determine which items we have received in our office, including transcripts, please visit our Application Status website (due to high processing volume there may be a several week delay in posting of final transcripts).

College Credits

If you have earned college credit during high school — through AP or IB exams, College in the High School, Running Start or other college coursework — it is your responsibility to insure that official college transcripts and/or scores are sent to the Office of Admissions as soon as possible and no later than August 1. Your high school will not send this on your behalf, a special request must be made by you to your college and/or testing agency. A credit evaluation of your college coursework will be provided to you after you have confirmed your intent to enroll. Every effort will be made to provide you with an initial transfer credit evaluation prior to course registration. Your initial transfer credit evaluation will generally not include any college coursework completed spring quarter. To ensure you can register for classes that may have prerequisite requirements, you are advised to bring unofficial copies of your transcripts to Advising & Orientation. Additional transfer credit information can be found on our website.


6. Tie Up Loose Ends

Campus Transportation Options

Western is a residential community where you don't need to have a car and using alternative methods of transportation is encouraged. There are a variety of transportation options at Western, including:

  • Bike: Bicycles are the preferred form of transportation on campus and there are over 900 parking spaces within the academic core. All residence halls provide bicycle storage, and there is a student-run bike shop at Western's Outdoor Center that provides access to bike tools, bike repair, and bike parts and supplies. You can register your bicycle through University Police.

  • Bus Pass: The student ID card works as a bus pass on all Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA) routes. Buses run regularly through campus, downtown, and Whatcom County. Most students choose to take the bus over driving a car to get around town.

  • Personal Vehicle: While limited parking is available on campus, you can expect to pay about $282 for an academic year parking permit. If you choose to bring a car, you must apply for a parking pass through Parking Services.

  • Zipcar: Western has partnered with Zipcar to bring self-service, on-demand car sharing to the area, with discounted hourly rates for students, faculty, and staff.

Disability Access Center

The Disability Access Center (DAC) serves students who have a wide variety of disabilities. They partner with over 1,500 students a year. Students who intend to access services provided by the Disability Access Center must contact the office prior to enrollment to insure timely coordination of services.

Email and Mailing Address Changes

Please let us know about email or mailing address changes as soon as possible by emailing Be sure to include your full name and Western ID number.