Frequently Asked Questions

Applying

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 high school equivalency certificate or diploma such as the 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 high school equivalency certificate or diploma such as the 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.

Does Western require credential evaluations?

If we are unable to interpret your academic credentials, we will notify you that it is necessary for you to provide a course-by-course evaluation of college credit from AACRAO or a NACES member credential evaluation service.

How do I get technical support when using the 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 verify if your transcripts, test scores and other information has arrived by checking your Application Status. This online service is available approximately two weeks after you submit your application. If your email or mailing address changes at any time after you submit your application for admission, you should notify the Office of Admissions so we can update your file.

I've been admitted! What happens now?

Congratulations! 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.

What academic credentials are required to apply?

Freshman applicants must submit official secondary school credentials with certified English translations when necessary.

Transfer and Postbaccalaureate applicants must submit official credentials from all postsecondary institutions attended, even if you do not expect to transfer credit. Transfer applicants with fewer than 45 transferable quarter (30 semester) credits must also submit official secondary school credentials with certified English translations when necessary.

Students who have attended Washington State community colleges are encouraged to have their transcripts sent electronically from their college.

What are the admission requirements for international students completing an International High School Completion (IHSC) program at a Washington State Community College?

International students completing an IHSC program concurrently with an associate degree program should apply as transfer students and submit their official community college transcripts. Students must have a transferable associate degree completed or in progress (including Associate in Arts DTA, Associate in Arts and Sciences DTA, Associate in Science – Transfer or MRP transfer degrees). IHSC applicants who are not completing their associate degree will be required to submit all secondary school transcripts with certified English translations if necessary.

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.

What tests are required of International Students?

Unless they are applying for conditional admission, international students for whom English is not the first language are required to submit a TOEFL (80 iBT or 550 paper-based) or IELTS score (minimum score of 6.5). The SAT/ACT is not required for international students, yet if you have taken either exam we encourage you to submit these optional scores as additional evidence of academic achievement. Students who are earning a transferable associate's degree from a Washington State community college and have "B" or better grades in two English composition courses are NOT required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Where do I mail my transcripts and other application materials?

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. 

Financial Aid

Do you offer any scholarships for International Students?

Yes! We offer the International Achievement Award (IAA), a merit-based scholarship for incoming international freshmen and transfer students. Eligible students will receive an annual reduction in non-resident tuition in the form of partial tuition waivers. The amount of the annual award varies between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on a student's GPA at time of admission. The International Student Scholarship is also available for continuing international students.

General

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: freshmen admitted for fall quarter 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. Freshmen entering winter and spring quarters will attend on campus Orientation and Advising the Monday before classes begin.

Transfer Students: transfer students admitted for fall quarter are invited to participate in Transitions, an orientation, advising, and registration program held each July. Students will receive their invitation to Transitions after they confirm their intent to enroll at Western.  Transfer students admitted for summer, winter or spring quarter are also invited to attend an Orientation and Advising program, 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?

Check out our comprehensive majors pages, which provide an excellent overview of all 160+ majors. Each major page links to program of study details including the courses and credits that comprise each degree and a personal contact whom you can ask questions. For additional information you can also visit department websites and reference the detailed program of study available for each major in our online catalog.

International Students

Does Western have an orientation program specific for International students?

A general orientation for new students occurs just before the start of classes each quarter. During orientation you will have the opportunity to attend informational workshops on academic support services and campus life and participate in programs designed to welcome you to Western. In addition to New Student Orientation, there is an International Student Orientation held just before the start of Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. The information presented at this orientation session is very important and attendance is required for all new international students. This orientation will provide important information about academic issues, registration, maintaining visa status, SEVIS, WWU student ID cards, health insurance, etc.

Does Western offer Conditional Admission?

Conditional undergraduate admission may be offered to applicants who do not yet meet the university's English language requirement or who need more university preparation and English language study before entering a degree program. Students do not need a TOEFL or IELTS score to apply for conditional admission. Conditional admission students attend the Intensive English Program full-time for a minimum of one quarter.

How and when will I get my I-20 visa?

In order to receive an I-20, students must:  

  1. Be accepted to Western.
  2. Confirm their enrollment by submitting the $280 enrollment confirmation fee.
  3. Show proof of sufficient funds by completing and submitting the Statement of Financial Responsibility and proper bank documents as part of the admission application.
What qualifies me as an International Student?
  • You are considered an International Student if you are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, political asylee or refugee. If you hold dual citizenship with the U.S. and another country you should use the appropriate domestic freshman, transfer, or postbaccalaureate student application for admission.

Transferring

Do I need to apply to my major?

Students should contact the academic department in which they are interested as major declaration requirements vary. While many academic programs are open to all interested students, others are selective and require completion of prerequisite coursework, a separate application process, and/or an elevated GPA. The following departments require additional information prior to admission to Western: Art, Design, Fairhaven College, Music, Recreation, and Teacher Education (elementary and special education). Students interested in these programs should contact department advisors for information prior to submitting application materials to the University. Admission to Western Washington University does not guarantee admission to a particular major nor assure enrollment in specific courses.

How can I get information about my areas of interest?

Visit departmental websites or check out our list of degree programs, each of which provides an excellent overview of the major and the courses required to earn a degree. You can also reference our online catalog.

How can I prepare to transfer to Western?

If you are attending a Washington state community college, you are encouraged to plan all your community college course selections well in advance of applying to Western. By working closely with your community college advisor, reviewing publications such as the Transfer Viewbook, reviewing information available on Western's website, and contacting an advisor at Western for the program in which you are interested in majoring, you should receive the information necessary to plan a successful transition.

If you are earning a DTA associate degree prior to transfer you should include major prerequisite coursework whenever possible in fulfilling your associate degree requirements. Failure to complete prerequisite coursework prior to transfer may jeopardize admission to the University, negatively effect admission to competitive majors and/or significantly delay your progress to graduation. This is particularly true of programs which require sequential courses such as the natural, physical, and social sciences, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, music and world languages. You should also complete the English and mathematics requirement prior to submitting an application for admission to Western.

How is my transfer GPA calculated at Western?

In calculating your transfer admission GPA, the Office of Admissions uses all transferable academic courses, including repeats, from all regionally accredited colleges you have attended. Some majors at Western have a GPA requirement that may be different than your transfer admission GPA. For example, admission to the major may be dependent on your GPA in the last 45 college credits earned or in prerequisite courses for your major.

How long will it take for me to graduate after I transfer?

The length of time necessary to complete a degree at Western depends on several factors including the number of transferable credits awarded, students' preparation for their major, competitiveness of the major chosen, number of credits required for the selected major, and whether a student attends full- or part-time.

Students should work closely with department advisors to select appropriate courses prior to transferring. Failure to complete prerequisite coursework prior to transfer may negatively effect admission to competitive majors and/or significantly delay progress to graduation. This is particularly true of programs which require sequential courses such as the natural, physical, and social sciences, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, music and world languages. You should also complete the English and mathematics requirement prior to submitting an application for admission to Western.

How many of my credits will transfer?

A transfer credit evaluation, including a GUR evaluation, will be made available to all confirmed transfer students prior to registering for their first quarter's classes. A total of 135 quarter (90 semester) credits are allowed to transfer, of which a maximum of 105 quarter (70 semester) credits may be at the lower-division (100 and 200) level.

Which courses at my community college satisfy Western's General University Requirements (GUR)?

Students who complete a Washington state Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree prior to initial enrollment at Western will generally satisfy all of Western's General University Requirements (GUR) and be considered juniors upon transfer. To be accepted in lieu of Western's GUR, the associate degree must meet Washington state's Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC) guidelines and include at least 90 credits. The DTA degree must include 75 credits of specified distribution that are directly transferable to Western. Up to 15 credits not normally transferable may transfer if used as part of the DTA associate degree. The pass/fail grading option may be used only in the general elective area.

Students who earn the Associate of Science (AS-T) degree in the biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental sciences, geology, or physics from a Washington state community college are also generally given junior standing, however this degree does not satisfy Western's GUR in full. Students transferring with an AS-T can familiarize themselves with options for completing Western's GUR in the transfer credit section of our website.

Students transferring without a DTA associate degree, including those who complete an Associate of Science - Transfer (AS-T) degree, will undergo a course-by-course evaluation of their transcripts for applicability to Western's GUR. Students should carefully review their degree evaluation to determine which GUR remain; instructions will be sent after enrollment confirmation. These students will need to fulfill their remaining GUR at Western prior to graduation. If any student wishes to complete a DTA associate degree in order to have it satisfy the GUR at Western, it must be earned by the time the student has 1) completed 45 credits at WWU, or 2) one calendar year has passed from initial enrollment at WWU, whichever comes later.

A list of currently transferable Washington community college courses and university courses is available online.

Who do I contact if I need academic advising?

Transfer students should contact the department of their intended major for advising; contact information is located within each major's Program of Study. Prior to transfer, the Office of Admissions provides admissions advising and assistance related to general university requirements as well as information for students who have not yet declared a major. Students will be assigned a faculty advisor at Transitions - Western's orientation and advising program for newly admitted transfer students - prior to registering for their first quarter at Western. 

Western & Bellingham

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 you and your family. Please consult the visit section of our website for additional information about scheduling a campus visit. The Admissions Team page will allow you to identify and connect directly with your admissions 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 85,000, 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.

Please take a moment to check out our Life in Bellingham page to learn more about the city students love to call home.