Washington University College Essay Writing Checklist

Applying online

Once you've started your online Freshman Application for Admission and Scholarships, you will be able to save your application and return to make changes at any time before final submission. When you are ready to submit your application, you will be asked to provide a credit or debit card, over a secure connection, to pay the $60 application fee. If you are requesting a fee waiver you will have the opportunity to do so at that time.

Do you already have an ApplyWeb account at another university? Save time and use the same account to sign in at Western!

What to expect after you apply

If you apply online, you can expect an email confirmation within an hour of successfully submitting the application and paying the application fee.

All applicants will receive an email within two weeks after we receive your application. This email will include your student number (Western ID) and instructions on how to check your application status online using the Application Status website. This website will list the items we've received, as well as any missing items needed to make your application complete. This website will not display your decision.

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis – most Regular Decision applicants will receive an admission decision by early April. Students will be notified in writing of their admissions decision. We appreciate your patience in this process to ensure every application is carefully reviewed. 

Applying by mail

Print out and complete the Freshman Application for Admission & Scholarships [pdf] and mail it and a check or money order for the $60 application fee to:

    Western Washington University
    Office of Admissions
    Old Main 200, MS 9009
    516 High Street
    Bellingham, WA 98225-9009

Application checklist

Please review the complete application instructions before you submit your application. A complete application includes:

  • The FreshmanApplication for Admission and Scholarships, including essay and activities list
  • $60 non-refundable application fee (fee waiver may be available based on financial need)
  • Unofficial high school transcript, or certificate or diploma of high school equivalency (such as the GED), submitted electronically or by mail
  • Official ACT or SAT scores sent from the testing agency or your high school

Admission to Western Washington University is selective. To qualify for admission consideration, freshman applicants must meet the State of Washington’s minimum college admission standards which include a cumulative GPA of 2.00 and completion of courses that meet the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs). Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission, as the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of available enrollment spaces.

Cumulative academic achievement – including level and difficulty of courses and grade trends – is the most significant factor in our admission decisions. Our holistic review process also considers school and community involvement, special talent, multicultural experiences, strength of character and personal circumstances.

Applicants are encouraged to pursue academic coursework and advanced study beyond the minimum course requirements. Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International, Running Start or other College-in-the-High-School, Honors courses, and even a full load of standard academic courses can provide an excellent foundation for a successful college experience.

Minimum high school course recommendations

Four units of English, including 3 units of college prep composition and/or literature

Mathematics *
Three units of mathematics beyond pre-algebra, including completion of algebra II

Two units of science, with one year of algebra-based science (such as chemistry or physics); one year must include a lab

Social Science
Three units of social science, such as history, civics, psychology, economics, etc.

World Language
Two sequential units in a single world language, Native American language or American Sign Language. This requirement may be satisfied for students from non-English speaking countries who entered the U.S. education system in eighth grade or later.

Fine and Performing Arts
One semester or trimester of fine and performing arts

* During the senior year of high school, students must earn a credit in a math-based quantitative course. Completion of higher-level math (e.g., pre-calculus, math analysis or calculus) prior to the senior year exempts students from the senior year quantitative course requirement.

At the time of application, freshman applicants are required to submit an unofficial high school transcript, or certificate or diploma of high school equivalency (such as the GED) and SAT or ACT scores. Review the complete application instructions regarding submission of transcripts, test scores, and other requirements.

Your essay & activities list

At Western Washington University we use a holistic approach to college admissions. While academic performance is highly important in the process, we realize there are countless additional factors that indicate your true potential. We want to make sure applicants are academically prepared to be successful at Western, and we also want to admit students who will actively contribute to our campus community. To help us consider factors beyond your GPA and test scores in our admission process, seize the opportunity to share your story via your essay and activities list.

We know that academics tell only part of your story, so use the essay and activities lists in your application to help the Admissions Committee learn what is important to you. The essay is a chance to give us a snapshot of who you are – your character, your experiences, your goals. The activities list helps us understand how you spend your time, including, but not limited to, your most meaningful school and community activities, recognition and awards, employment, volunteer work, family activities and enrichment activities.

Not sure where to start? Check out our tips for writing the essay and activities list.

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