FAQs

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 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.

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.

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 transfer applications for admission?

The Admissions Committee considers many factors when making an admissions decision. Our comprehensive review process considers cumulative academic achievement, clarity of academic goals, completion of major prerequisites and related experiences, number of transfer credits and distribution of current students, contributions to and/or experiences with multiculturalism, special talent, personal circumstances, and space availability.

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. 

Financial Aid

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.

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: 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.

Is on-campus child care available?

Western's Associated Students Child Development Center is a cooperative childcare program made up of teachers, students and parents working together to provide a healthy and safe environment for children. Information, including registration details, is available at the CDC website.

Math Placement Test

Are there MPT exceptions?

For access to certain beginning math courses at WWU, some students may not need to take the MPT. If you are unsure if you meet one of the following exceptions, contact the Department of Mathematics at (360) 650-3785.

  • The MPT is waived for students who scored three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus Exam (AB or BC), with the following exception: To qualify for Math 134 or Math 138 (WWU Honors Mathematics courses) students must take and pass the Advanced MPT even if they have passed an AP Calculus Exam. The AP Calculus Exam official score report must be sent directly to Western from the College Board.
  • The MPT may be waived by a Math Department advisor for students who have college credit for a calculus course equivalent to Math 124 (Calculus and Analytical Geometry). Note: High school calculus courses are not considered equivalent to Math 124.
  • Students who earned a C+ or better in the final course in a college pre-calculus sequence may register for Math 124 (Calculus and Analytical Geometry) without taking the MPT. Note: Completing only the first course in such a sequence (i.e. Pre-calculus I) will not meet this requirement.
  • Students who earned a C- or better in a college Intermediate Algebra course or who received a score of at least 480 on the SAT (Math) or 18 on the ACT (Math) may register for Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods) or Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications) without taking the placement test. However, the MPT is required for placement into any higher level math course.
  • Students who plan to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary or Special Education Endorsement and have earned a C or better in a college Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, or Pre-Calculus course within the last five years may, after admission to Western’s Elementary or Special Education programs, register for Math 381 (Teaching K-8 - designed for Elementary and Special Education students only) without taking the placement test.
  • The Math Placement Test is not required for entrance into Math 99 (Review Algebra – no degree credit). Math 99 is offered through Extended Education as a fee-based course.
  • Students who have completed an approved Washington Community College Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree do not generally enroll in additional math courses at Western unless required by their academic major/minor. If you are unsure whether or not your intended academic program requires math, familiarize yourself with the degree requirements by reviewing the Program of Study.
How can I prepare for the MPT?

You are encouraged to review your mathematical skills prior to the test, since such review will help you be successful at Western and the resulting score will determine your math placement. Detailed information about the Math Placement Test, including sample test questions, is available on Western’s Testing Center website. Taking the test early, while your skills are current, is recommended, particularly if you plan to take math during your first quarter at Western.

 

When should I take the MPT?

Western recommends that students take the MPT while attending an orientation program (Transitions, Summerstart, or the Advising and Orientation programs offered each quarter during the academic year.)  Register for the test (online) separately when making your advising and orientation program reservation. 

For students who are unable to attend an orientation program, you may take the MPT at your earliest convenience when you are in Bellingham.  Please review the "What are the MPT test dates?" section on Testing Center website for upcoming test opportunities.

Which MPT should I take?

There are two levels of the Math Placement Test, Intermediate/General and Advanced.

You should take the Advanced test only if you aim to take calculus as your first math course at Western and you have completed high school math through math analysis or pre-calculus.

All other students should take the Intermediate/General test.

Students who are uncertain about which test to take are welcome to call Western’s Mathematics Department at (360) 650-3785 for advising.

Which Western courses satisfy the QSR requirement?

The six options that satisfy the requirement are listed below. You will receive more detailed information about the QSR (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning) requirement during orientation.

  1. Complete Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications) AND one course from the following:
  • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
  • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
  • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
  • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
  • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
  • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
  • Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods)
  • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
  • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  1. Complete Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods) AND one course from the following:
  • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
  • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
  • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
  • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
  • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
  • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
  • Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications)
  • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
  • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  1. One transfer course with an MPAR attribute AND one course from the following:
  • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
  • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
  • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
  • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
  • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
  • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
  • Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods)
  • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
  • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  1. One course from:
  • Math 114 (Precalculus I)
  • Math 115 (Precalculus II)
  • Math 118 (Accelerated Precalculus)
  • Math 124 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)
  • Math 134 (Calculus I Honors)
  • Math 156 (Algebra with Applications to Business and Economics)
  • Math 157 (Calculus with Applications to Business and Economics)
  • Math 240 (Intro to Statistics)
  • Computer Science 138 (Programming Fundamentals in Visual Basic)
  • Computer Science 139 (Programming Fundamentals in Python)
  • Computer Science 140 (Programming Fundamentals in C++)
  • Computer Science 141 (Computer Programming I)
  • Computer Science 145 (Computer Programming and Linear Data Structure)
  1. One transfer course with an MSAT attribute.

For a list of such courses, review Western’s Transfer Course Equivalency Guide. Students with transfer credit will also receive an individualized Transfer Equivalency Report prior to course registration.

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary Education students only:

Math 381 (Teaching K-8 Mathematics I) and Math 382 (Teaching K-8 Mathematics II)

Who is required to take the MPT?

All students, including transfer students, who plan to register for a math course at Western must first take the MPT. Some exceptions do apply (see "MPT Exceptions" below).

Students generally take mathematics courses at Western for one of the following reasons:

Each undergraduate at Western must satisfy the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) part of the General University Requirements (GUR). The QSR requirement is generally satisfied by taking one or more math courses at Western or the approved equivalents from an accredited community college or baccalaureate institution. Students transferring with a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree from a Washington state community college have generally already satisfied the QSR requirement, but may need more advanced math coursework for their academic program at Western.

Many academic programs, such as business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and pre-professional pathway programs (pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, etc.) require additional math course work beyond the QSR requirement. Students interested in these academic programs should begin their math course work in their first quarter at Western so as not to delay progress in their major.

Transferring

Do I have to take math at Western?

Students who transfer with a DTA associate degree generally have satisfied all of Western's GUR including the quantitative & symbolic reasoning (QSR) requirement for graduation. Such students usually need to take math at Western only if it is required for their major or minor. Please note that the QSR requirement at Western is more rigorous than that required for the DTA associate degree. Therefore, students who plan to take math courses at Western should begin taking preliminary math classes at their community college as early as possible. For questions about placement into an appropriate math course, students should review the math placement test information.

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 departmental information in my area 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 fulfill Western's GUR in full.

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 (received after enrollment confirmation) to determine which GUR remain.These students will need to fulfill their remaining GUR at Western prior to graduation.

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. 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. 

Will my transfer credits count toward my GPA at Western?

No. Grade points earned at other institutions are excluded in the computation of your cumulative GPA at Western. Your Western GPA will be based on your course work at the University. However, transfer credits are used to determine your class standing (i.e. sophomore, junior) which affects your priority for class registration.

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 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.