FAQs

Am I a freshman or transfer student?

A freshman is someone who has not attempted any college credit after graduating from high school or earning a GED (excluding credit earned the summer after high school graduation). Students who earned college credits while also fulfilling high school requirements will be considered freshmen and will need to fulfill the requirements for freshman admission. This includes Running Start students who earned an associate degree while in high school. Freshman applicants may apply for admission as early as the fall of their senior year of high school, or may apply years after graduation.  

A transfer student is someone who attempted college credit after graduating from high school or earning a GED (excluding credit earned the summer after high school graduation). Students who earned college credits while also fulfilling high school requirements will be considered freshmen and will need to fulfill the requirements for freshman admission. This includes Running Start students who earned an associate degree while in high school.

Can I submit an electronic or unofficial transcript with my application?

Freshman applicants may submit either an official or unofficial high school transcript at the time of application. In addition, online applicants can upload an electronic copy of their transcript with the online application. Complete details about submitting transcripts is available in our application instructions page.

Transfer students must submit official college transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, even if you do not expect or desire to transfer credit. For additional information, please review the application instructions.

Do SAT or ACT test scores have to be sent directly from the testing agency?

ACT or SAT scores may come directly from the testing agency or you can also have your high school send them with your transcript.  To be received on time, you should take the test at least six weeks before the application deadline.  Western considers your highest score on a single test date, and does not “super score.”  And, we do not prefer one test over the other.

Visit our Application Instructions page for more details about submitting test scores.

Do you accept the "Common Application"?

No, but we've got something that's equally helpful. Like many other schools, Western uses CollegeNet's ApplyWeb for our online application. This means that you can use the same account login and password for Western as you use for University of Washington, Washington State University, Evergreen State College, University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, Whitman College, and many others across the country. Use the same account login and password because questions that are common between the applications may be filled in automatically.

How do I get technical support when using your online application? (I forgot my login and/or password. I need help paying online. I can't navigate between the form pages.)

For technical support of the online application, please visit the ApplyWeb Help page. You will find help with many technical issues, such as signing in, online payments, or form and navigation issues. You can also use this link to submit your specific question, which will be answered to you by email. If you prefer not to use the Applyweb Help page, you can send an email directly to help@applyweb.com -- be sure to include your full contact information with your questions.

How will I know if my application is complete?

You can check your Application Status after we have received your application to see if your transcripts, test scores and other information has arrived.  If your email or mailing address changes at any time after you submit your application for admission, you should notify the Office of Admissions to update your file.

I've been admitted! What happens now?

Congratulations on your admission! We have a Freshman Admitted Student website and a Transfer Admitted Student website  to help you finalize your decision, get to know us better, plan your finances, find a new home, prepare for orientation and registration, and tie up other loose ends.

If Running Start students are considered freshmen, does that mean my college credits won't transfer?

No. Any transferable college credit (Running Start college credit, AP, IB, etc.) you earned will be considered in transfer to Western. To receive credit, official college transcripts and AP/IB scores are required. Running Start students who have completed college credit are encouraged to request an electronic college transcript be sent from the community college at the time of application. The same policies regarding the acceptance of transfer credit will apply.

What are the application requirements?

For freshman applicants: the completed application, including the essay, $55 application fee, high school transcript or GED equivalent, and ACT or SAT scores are required. Additional information or letters of recommendation are optional. See our complete freshman application instructions for details.

For transfer applicants with less than 45 quarter (30 semester) transferable credits: the completed application, including the essay, $55 application fee, high school transcripts or GED equivalent, ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts from all colleges attended are required. See our complete transfer application instructions for details.

For transfers applicants with more than 45 quarter (30 semester) transferable credits: the completed application, including essay, $55 application fee and official transcripts from all colleges attended are required.  See our complete transfer application instructions for details. 

 

What does the Admissions Committee look for when reviewing my application?

We know there is more to a student than just a GPA and test scores.  Obviously your academic performance is important to us – including courses taken, grades and grade trends. At the same time, we also want to hear what you’ve been involved in with your school or community, how you spend your time and what other passions and talents you’ll bring to campus. We are looking for students who want to be actively involved in their learning and in the Western community. The application’s essay and activities list is your chance to help us learn more about you during our comprehensive application review process. 

What should I expect after I apply for admission?

1. If you apply online you will receive an acknowledgement email within an hour of successfully submitting the application and payment of the application fee.

2. Within two weeks of receiving your application we will send you an email that includes your student number (Western ID) and instructions on how to check your application status online using the Application Status website. This website lists the application items we've received (such as transcripts, test scores, etc.), as well as any missing items needed to make your application complete. This website will not display your decision.

3. You will be notified in writing of an admissions decision. While some students are notified earlier, the majority of decisions are made after the application deadline. Students can generally expect to receive a decision within six weeks after the deadline. We appreciate your patience in this process to ensure every application is carefully reviewed.

Where do I mail my application and transcripts?

Mail all application materials and transcripts to:

                     Western Washington University

                     Office of Admissions

                     516 High Street

                     Bellingham, WA 98225

     We do not accept faxed applications or transcripts. 

Are any scholarships available?

A variety of scholarships are available to new and continuing Western students. A limited number of scholarships are awarded through the Office of Admissions and are based primarily on the student’s academic accomplishments, involvements and may also include financial need.  Students may browse Western's Scholarship Center website for a current listing of all scholarships.

Many academic departments also provide scholarships to incoming students based on previous academic performance, audition, or other criteria; students should contact the department in which they are planning to major to inquire about the availability of department scholarships.

How do I apply for financial aid at Western?

Western's Financial Aid Office makes every effort to help eligible students meet their educationally related financial needs through grants, scholarships, student employment, loans, or some combination of these student aid programs. Students should apply for financial aid well in advance of the February 15 priority deadline for the following academic year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available each January for the upcoming academic year and should be completed as early as possible. While you may obtain the FAFSA packet from your high school counselor or college financial aid office, the fastest and best way is to apply online. Western's Title IV number is 003802.

How easy is it to find a job while I am a student?

The Student Employment Center helps work-study and non work-study students find jobs both on and off campus. Well over 3,000 students hold jobs in a variety of different areas on campus. Student find employment as web page designers, computer programmers, food service workers, departmental assistants, Residential Advisors, student advisors, kayak guides, and grounds crew members.

What is Western’s tuition and total cost of attendance?

Up-to-date tuition, fee, housing and other costs for both Washington residents and non-residents is available on our website.

Will I be able to afford Western?

Western is committed to helping reduce the cost of attendance for students who cannot afford full tuition, on-campus housing and meals, books, and related expenses. Students who submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Western's priority financial aid deadline of February 15 are considered for need-based aid in the form of grants, tuition waivers, work-study employment, and loans.

Nearly 85% of low and lower middle income students - as determined by the FAFSA - who are Washington residents that applied for financial aid are generally awarded need-based grants, waivers and scholarships that exceed the full cost of tuition and fees. These waivers and grants are free money, meaning they do not need to be repaid. The remaining grants, waivers, scholarships, on-campus employment and loans help cover additional expenses such as housing, meals, books and related expenses.

Western recognizes that affordability is also a concern for middle income families. Partial tuition waivers, loans, student employment, and scholarships help these families to reduce the cost of attendance as well.

Does Western have an orientation program?

Yes! Our orientation programs give students an overview of campus resources and services, provide insight into the registration and advising process at Western, and facilitate meeting with an academic advisor. For more information about orientation programs, visit the New Student Services/Family Outreach website.

Freshman Students: admitted freshmen and their families are invited to participate in Summerstart. This two-day orientation, advising and registration session takes place on a variety of dates in August, before the start of the fall quarter. Students will receive their invitation to register after they confirm their intent to enroll at Western.

Transfer Students: transfer students admitted for fall or summer quarters are invited to participate in Transitions, an orientation, advising, and registration program held each July. Students will receive their invitation to Transitions in the late May, after they confirm their intent to enroll at Western.  Transfer students admitted for winter or spring quarter are invited to attend one of three Orientation and Advising dates, which are generally held one or two months prior to the start of the term. Students will receive their invitation to attend one of these sessions after they confirm their intent to enroll at Western.

 

How can I get more information about my areas of academic interest?

Visit departmental websites or check out our comprehensive list of degrees, which provide an excellent overview of our majors and the courses required to earn a degree. You can also reference our online catalog.

Am I required to live on campus as a freshman?

No, you are not required to live on campus, but over 90% of the freshman class lives on campus and it is definitely recommended. Not only does it make it easier to meet new people and to take advantage of all that campus has to offer, but living on campus makes it easier to focus on academics as you have someone to cook your food, clean your bathroom, and keep you informed. We can pretty much guarantee you won't have it so good off-campus.

Western's residence halls are among the nicest in the country – including great facilities, tremendous choice, a spectacular location, and a very welcoming community. On-campus housing is available to all interested students, which includes 92% of the freshman class and nearly 4,000 students overall. After the first year, many students continue to live on campus as sophomores, juniors and even seniors as it just is comfortable, convenient, and fun.

Priority for selecting where on campus you want to live is determined by the date we receive your application for admission.

How big is Western?

Western Washington University has approximately 15,000 students, 95% of our whom are undergraduates. Our 215-acre campus is located within easy walking distance of downtown Bellingham, the historic Fairhaven district, and Bellingham Bay.  You can learn more about Western by reviewing our Quick Facts.

How do I get more information about Western sent to me?

To receive more information about Western, complete the online request form and we will send you information to help you get to know Western better.  If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

I would like to visit campus and talk with someone about admission.

There are many campus visit options available to our guests. Please consult the visit and Admissions Team sections of our website for additional information about scheduling a visit and connecting with your counselor.

What kind of outdoor recreational opportunities are available?

Bellingham is an outdoor-lover's paradise. For the outdoor enthusiast, the San Juan Islands, Skagit River delta, and Mt. Baker National Forest and Ski and Snowboard Area are all at our doorstep. Nearby, Mt. Baker Ski Area has one of the longest seasons in the country (November - late-April), enjoyed world record snowfall during the 1998-1999 season, and is well regarded as the place where snowboarding began!

One great way to get into the outdoors is to visit the Outdoor Center, part of the Associated Students of Western. The student-run bike shop is the perfect place for a tune-up. The Outdoor Center also rents outdoor equipment ranging from backpacks and sleeping bags to snowshoes and snow skis. They also plan kayaking, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, snow-shoeing, snowboarding, biking, and sailing trips with trained student leaders to destinations all over the greater Whatcom County area.

Another location for great outdoor activity is the Lakewood recreational facility located on the shores of Lake Whatcom. The Lakewood facility is surrounded by 30 acres of wooded land and beach property owned by WWU. At Lakewood's Boathouse you can rent over 60 watercraft for as little as $3 a day, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sailboats, sailboards, Lasers, and Alphas. Or, just come to relax and swim off the docks!

Western's location is idea for fieldwork and outdoor research, with mountains, glaciers, rivers, saltwater, and a wide variety of other natural habitats in our backyard.

Where is Bellingham and what is it like?

A coastal city of 80,000, Bellingham is located 55 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and 90 miles north of Seattle. Our location between two major cities provides easy access for national and international visiting artists, scholars, and touring groups. The local music scene and arts community are great, with many places for live music, performances, and art. On and off-campus theatre and other performance opportunities are abundant, including the Up-Front Theater, owned by internationally known improv comedian Ryan Stiles.

The San Juan islands and Bellingham Bay lie directly to the west; Mt. Baker and the North Cascade mountain range are less than an hour east. Bellingham is the only city in Washington and Oregon to be designated a Trail Town USA by the American Hiking Society. In addition, Bellingham has also been rated nationally as one of the top 10 places to live for people in their 20's.