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 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.

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, applicants can upload an electronic copy of their transcript with the online application. Additional details about submitting transcripts are available in the application instructions.

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 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 are the application requirements?

For freshman applicants: the completed application, including the essay; $60 application fee; high school transcript or certificate or diploma of high school equivalency (such as the GED), submitted electronically or by mail; 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; $60 application fee; high school transcript or certificate or diploma of high school equivalency (such as the GED); 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; $60 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 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 FAQ

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 new and continuing 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 January 31 priority deadline for the following academic year. Submitting the FAFSA after the priority deadline may limit your financial aid eligibility. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available October 1 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. Students find employment in positions as diverse as web page designer, computer programmer, food service worker, departmental assistant, Residential Advisor, student advisor, kayak guide, and grounds crew member.

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 offering an excellent education at an affordable cost and is ranked as one of the 100 best values in public colleges (Kiplinger's Personal Finance). Western helps 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 January 31 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: 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.

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

How are new students assessed for math placement?

Most students, including transfer students, who plan to register for a course at Western that has a mathematics prerequisite 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 activate their Universal Account in order to access the ALEKS MPA. Because this is an online assessment, students will need access to a computer and high speed internet connection.

Additional information about math placement and the online ALEKS MPA is available from the Testing Center.

 

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 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. 

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 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.