Is the University of Washington Hard to Get Into?

The University of Washington is both a flagship school and Public Ivy. Due to this, you might be wondering if adding it to your college list would result in an acceptance letter or a nicely-worded denial.

It’s not that difficult to get an offer to enroll at the University of Washington. With an acceptance rate of 52%, a little more than half of all applicants get admitted. Based on publicly available data, the acceptance rate for applicants residing in the state of Washington is a little higher: 59%.

There are no Washington colleges and universities with a single-digit acceptance rate.

To give you a much better idea of the selectivity level of UW, take a look at the following table showing the acceptance rates at various institutions located in the Evergreen State:

DigiPen Institute of TechnologyRedmond34%
University of Washington – SeattleSeattle52%
Whitman CollegeWalla Walla56%
Gonzaga UniversitySpokane62%
Cornish College of ArtsSpokane73%
University of Washington – BothellBothell74%
DeVry University – WashingtonFederal Way74%
Washington State UniversityPullman76%
Seattle UniversitySeattle78%
University of Puget SoundTacoma84%
Central Washington UniversityEllensburg85%
Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma87%
University of Washington – TacomaTacoma87%
Western Washington UniversityBellingham90%
Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattle91%
Whitworth UniversitySpokane91%
Northwest UniversityKirkland93%
Eastern Washington UniversityCheney96%
Saint Martin’s UniversityLacey96%
Evergreen State CollegeOlympia98%
Bellevue CollegeBellevue100%

GPA Required for the University of Washington

There is no published minimum GPA requirement applicants at the University of Washington should meet. Admits have an average GPA of 3.79. Washington residents who have completed an associate’s degree at a state community college and earned at least a 2.75 GPA are automatically admitted into UW.

At the University of Washington, the high school GPA is one of the most important academic admissions factors.

University of Washington

The percentage of first-time, first-year students who submitted their GPAs during the admissions process is 99.91%. This means that only a tiny fraction of the school’s admits submitted a GED certificate or was homeschooled.

Wondering if your high school GPA is high enough to make the heads of UW’s admissions officers turn toward your application and send you an acceptance letter? Check out this table showing the percentage of admits at the University of Washington and the range of their high school GPAs:

3.75 to 3.9956.27%
3.50 to 3.7422.87%
3.25 to 3.496.54%
3.00 to 3.241.71%
2.50 to 2.990.51%
2.0 to 2.490.01%
1.0 to 1.990.00%
Below 1.00.00%

As you can see, even applicants with a GPA of as low as 2.0 could be admitted into UW. However, since the school has a holistic admissions policy, it’s safe to assume that they are welcomed to the campus probably because some components of their applications, such as their admissions essays or volunteer work, are remarkable.

Most colleges and universities also take into account factors such as academic rigor and class rank so that they may be able to put the high school GPAs of applicants into context so much better.

True enough, UW considers the rigor of secondary school record in the admissions process.

However, the flagship school of all public institutions in the state of Washington does not take into account the class rank of applicants.

This means that students at high schools with a ranking system and those without are on an equal footing. In a few, we will talk about UW’s various admissions factors — don’t stop reading now.

Related Article: University of Washington Spotlight

Good Test Scores for the University of Washington

Like the high school GPA, there is no published minimum SAT or ACT score requirement applicants at the University of Washington have to meet. Most admitted students have SAT composite scores ranging anywhere from 1220 to 1430 and ACT composite scores ranging anywhere from 30 to 36.

At UW, 81% of first-time, first-year students submitted their SAT scores during the admissions process. On the other hand, only 28% of them submitted their ACT scores while applying to the University of Washington.

Keep in mind that the school does not prefer one standardized test over the other.

Because the school does not require students to have at least a certain SAT or ACT score in order for their applications to be considered, you might have a hard time figuring out whether the standardized test score you are about to submit is enough to win you an offer to enroll at UW.

The good news is that even though the school does not have any published minimum SAT or ACT score requirement, its Common Data Set reveals the kind of standardized test scores for which it has a penchant.

Here’s a table of the percentage of admitted students and the range of their composite SAT scores:

1400 to 160033.50%
1200 to 139946.26%
1000 to 119917.10%
800 to 9993.02%
600 to 7990.12%
400 to 5990.00%

Wondering how students typically accepted into UW did in each of the SAT sections? Allow the following table to give you a peek so that you may have a much better idea of whether or not your test score is good enough:

700 to 80025.31%45.11%
600 to 69948.49%34.34%
500 to 59921.69%17.49%
400 to 4994.36%2.79%
300 to 3990.16%0.26%
200 to 2990.00%0.00%

Took the SAT instead of the ACT or took both standardized tests and happier with your ACT score? Take a look at the table below indicating the percentage of students accepted into UW and the range of their composite ACT scores:

30 to 3654.14%
24 to 2934.38%
18 to 239.62%
12 to 171.85%
6 to 110.00%
1 to 60.00%

And now, let’s check out the ACT section scores of first-time, first-year students at UW:

30 to 3659.24%44.21%
24 to 2926.56%43.18%
18 to 2310.81%9.68%
12 to 173.19%2.93%
6 to 110.21%0.00%
1 to 60.00%0.00%

Take note that, at the University of Washington, the SAT middle 50% range for most applicants who get accepted is 1220 to 1430. On the other hand, the ACT middle 50% range for most students admitted into the school is 27 to 33. An SAT or ACT score within the given range is good — the closer to the upper range, the better.

We can come up with the following conclusions based on the figures above:

  • 25% of accepted students who submitted SAT scores had composite scores lower than 1220.
  • 25% of accepted students who submitted SAT scores had composite scores higher than 1430.
  • 25% of accepted students who submitted ACT scores had composite scores lower than 27.
  • 25% of accepted students who submitted ACT scores had composite scores higher than 33.

By the way, the admissions officers at the University of Washington superscore standardized test scores. So, if you took the SAT or ACT more than once, consider submitting the scores you obtained from all administration dates. The school will combine your highest section scores no matter the test date, using the result as your composite score.

Which Admissions Factors are Considered at the University of Washington?

The University of Washington considers three very important academic admissions factors. They are academic rigor, high school GPA and admissions essay. On the other hand, some of the most important non-academic admissions factors are extracurriculars, talent, volunteer work and work experience.

As mentioned earlier, UW has a holistic admissions policy, just like many colleges and universities.

This means that its admissions officers check out various components of an application when evaluating an aspirant. Having an idea of the things that the school takes a look at exactly might help you enjoy increased chances of getting an acceptance letter because it allows you to improve your application.

Want to know which academic factors are major role players in the admissions process? They are the following, together with their relative importance:

  • Academic rigor – very important
  • High school GPA – very important
  • Admissions essay – very important

UW does not care about class rank as well as recommendation letter — there’s no need to approach a high school teacher or guidance counselor to ask him or her to talk about your strengths and college readiness.

And now, these are the non-academic admissions factors considered and the relative importance of each:

  • Extracurricular activities – important
  • Talent or ability – important
  • First-generation – important
  • Volunteer work – important
  • Work experience – important
  • Personal qualities – considered
  • State residency – considered

There are a few non-academic factors typically used in the admissions process that do not impact the admissions outcome at the University of Washington. They are interview, alumni member relations, geographical residence, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity, and demonstrated interest.

Just Before You Apply to the University of Washington

The state of Washington’s flagship school is the University of Washington. Considered a Public Ivy, many college rankers give the public institution a high ranking. For instance, it’s #20 in Top Public Universities by US News and #1 in Best Public Colleges in Washington by College Simply.

But despite its top-tier status, it’s not that difficult to get into UW — it has a 52% acceptance rate.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you can expect an acceptance letter from the school to come your way even with a weak application.

Above, we discussed some of the most important admissions-related stuff about UW. Use them to your full advantage as soon as the college admissions season strikes for a favorable outcome.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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