Is the University of Washington a Good School? College Spotlight

The University of Washington (Washington or UW) is a public research university that’s located in Seattle, Washington.

Established in 1861, UW is the flagship institution of the 6 public universities in the state of Washington and one of the oldest on the West Coast.

It’s ranked #55 in National Universities and #19 in Top Public Schools by US News.

You can choose from more than 180 majors at the University of Washington.

Some of the most popular include computer science, political science, psychology, and communications.

AT UW, the acceptance rate is 53%, and tuition and fees cost $12,645 for in-state students and $41,997 for out-of-state students. The average GPA of successful candidates is 3.8.

Read on if you are thinking about shortlisting the University of Washington.

In this post, I will talk about this public institution’s academics, campus and student life, among many different things, so that you can decide so much better whether or not it’s the best place for you to pursue an undergraduate degree.

University of Washington

Here are some quick stats every UW aspirant need to know:

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Founding date: 1861
  • Motto: Lux sit (Let there be light)
  • Campus size: 634 acres
  • Campus type: Urban
  • School type: Liberal public research university
  • Reputation: Party school
  • Selectivity level: Somewhat selective
  • Number of majors: Over 180
  • Popular majors: Architecture, Business, Communications, Computer Science, Education, Math, Physics
  • Student body: 51,487 (as per Common Data Set 2020 to 2021)
  • Students per class: 20 to 29 in most classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 20:1
  • Retention rate: 93%
  • Graduation rate: 84%
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I
  • Color: Purple and gold
  • Mascots: Dubs and Harry the Husky
  • Number of varsity teams: 22
  • Sports: Baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball

The University of Washington Ranking

The University of Washington is #20 in Top Public Universities and #59 in National Universities by US News. The same college ranking site ranks it #29 in Best Colleges for Veterans.

Meanwhile, UW is #85 in the QS World University Rankings, although the public school was #72 the year before.

Being the flagship school among all six public colleges and universities located in Washington, it’s not surprising why UW ranks highly in various college rankings.

It’s not just across the land that it shines but also in the Evergreen State.

For instance, Niche ranks the University of Washington #1 in Best Colleges in Washington.

The well-known college ranker also names the school #1 in Top Public Universities in Washington, #1 in Most Liberal Colleges in Washington and #1 in Most Liberal Colleges in Washington.

Here are some other local or statewide rankings of UW by various college ranking sites:

  • #1 in Best Colleges in Washington (College Factual)
  • #1 in Best Public Colleges in Washington (College Simply)
  • #1 in Best Value Colleges in Washington (College Simply)
  • #1 in Top Universities in Washington (UniRank)
  • #2 in Best Colleges in Washington (College Simply)
  • #6 in Top Ranked Universities in Washington (
  • #8 in the West (Forbes)

The University of Washington is a pretty good college. Its location is in an area that is convenient for students, as it is in Downtown Seattle, and its classes can be hit or miss depending on its teacher and course.

What is the University of Washington Known For?

The University of Washington is known for top-ranking programs in the healthcare field because it is home to a distinguished medical facility. UW is also known as a highly-ranked flagship school.

Due to its academics, the school is considered one of the many Public Ivies.

Students who are likely to succeed in earning a degree from UW are those who tend to thrive in an urban environment.

This is true for those who are interested in research and majors such as:

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Math
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences

Like to party whether all the time or once in a while?

You will be more than happy to learn that the students of the University of Washington know how to have a blast.

When it comes to the school’s athletic life, on the other hand, there are numerous sports available.

However, UW is best known for football.

As a matter of fact, it has a couple of NCAA championships in football. The University of Washington also has a total of four division titles and 17 conference titles.

Is the University of Washington a Party School?

Since fraternities and sororities are integral to the lives of its students, the University of Washington is a party school.

As a matter of fact, it’s one of the top party schools in Washington, says Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose student survey rates the institution’s party scene 3.5 out of 5.

More eager to earn a degree than party all the time?

You will be more than happy to know that only 10% of UW’s admits say that there are raging parties almost any night of the week.

On the other hand, 15% of them say that they couldn’t seem to find any parties.

Still, the general consensus is that the University of Washington is a party school.

Proof of this is the fact that Niche ranks it #2 in Top Party Schools in Washington — second only to Washington State University.

Greek life at UW is average, admit 50% of students who participated in Niche’s polls.

Wondering which institutions in the state of Washington are party schools so that you may apply to or steer clear of them, depending on your ideal college experience?

They are the following, according to Niche:

#1Washington State UniversityPullman
#2University of WashingtonSeattle
#3Cornish College of ArtsSeattle
#4Gonzaga UniversitySpokane
#5Eastern Washington UniversityCheney
#6Western Washington UniversityBellingham
#7Whitman CollegeWalla Walla
#8Tacoma Community CollegeTacoma
#9North Seattle CollegeSeattle
#10Central Washington UniversityEllensburg
#11University of Puget SoundTacoma
#12Bellingham Technical CollegeBellingham
#13Seattle UniversitySeattle
#14Evergreen State CollegeOlympia
#15Skagit Valley CollegeMount Vernon
#16Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma
#17Seattle Central CollegeSeattle
#18South Seattle CollegeSeattle
#19Lake Washington Institute of TechnologyKirkland
#20Spokane Community CollegeSpokane

UW Campus Life: Location and Safety

The 634-acre campus of the University of Washington has an urban setting. It serves as a home to a diverse population consisting of 51,487 students.

UW has over 1,000 registered student organizations. Outside the campus, there are many places to visit, from historic marketplaces to modern museums.

Because of where it’s located, UW is perfect for students who wish to earn a degree in one of the largest and most affluent metropolises in the country.

Co-existing with busy streets and high-rise buildings are the Cascade Range to one side and the Olympic Mountains to the other.

The campus is also located near Portage Bay and Union Bay, both of which can serve as a place of escape for students who wish to enjoy a little nature without leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind.

Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District — there are tons of places to explore.

Planning on being miles away from your loved ones to be an out-of-state student at the University of Washington?

You can breathe a sigh of relief and your family can have peace of mind as Seattle is a pretty safe place.

As a matter of fact, the city is #15 in 15 Safest Largest Cities by MoneyGeek.

Schools are Similar to UW

Being the flagship school of all public institutions in the state of Washington, there are many schools similar to the University of Washington.

UW is often compared with various public and private colleges and universities. Some of them are in Washington, while others are elsewhere in the country.

Got a clear idea of the kind of college experience you would like to have?

Then chances are that, if you like the University of Washington, your college list will be filled with schools very similar to it.

Whether you plan to become an in-state or out-of-state student, you have plenty of options to choose from.

Here are just a few of the colleges and universities that are similar to UW one way or the other:

  • Clemson University. In South Carolina, Clemson University, a public land-grant research institution established in 1889, is the largest according to the number of attendees (26,406).
  • Oregon State University. Some of the highly ranked programs at Oregon State University are in the STEM field, such as Electrical Engineering and Environmental Science.
  • Seattle University. Founded in 1891, Seattle University is not only a private Jesuit school but also the largest independent academic institution in the Northwestern US.
  • University of Portland. In the City of Roses, the University of Portland is considered the only comprehensive academic institution, consisting of many different schools.
  • Virginia Tech. A public land-grant university, Virginia Tech has six academic facilities in the US, a research center in the Dominican Republic and a study-abroad site in Switzerland.
  • Washington State University. The flagship school of the WSU system is the Pullman campus, which also happens to be the oldest. It’s also one of the oldest institutions in the Western US.

Related Article: Is the University of Washington Hard to Get Into?

Acceptance Rate at the University of Washington

The acceptance rate at the University of Washington is 52%. Because a little more than half of all applicants get accepted, UW is a somewhat selective school.

The majority of admitted students have an average GPA of 3.79 and standardized test scores of 1220 to 1430 (SAT) or 30 to 36 (ACT).

Most colleges and universities located in the state of Washington have 100% acceptance rates.

Unfortunately, UW is not one of them.

Even though the school’s 52% acceptance rate is so much higher than the acceptance rates at most competitive institutions nationally, it’s one of the lowest locally.

Here’s a ranking of Washington schools acceptance-rate wise:

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%

To have a much better idea on whether it’s easy or hard to get into the University of Washington, please check out the entirety of this informative article on the school’s various admissions-related stuff.

Early Admissions at UW

The University of Washington does not Offer Early Decision.

As a matter of fact, there are no early admission plans available for students whose top-choice school is UW and who would commit to enrolling if accepted.

All interested students may apply to the public institution Regular Decision only.

Is UW at the top of your college list, and do you wish to apply to it ahead of everyone else?

UW is a huge school and it is hard to not just feel like a number there. My first year was tough in that way, but by joining clubs and really engaging in classes I felt like I have found a community.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an Early Decision application at the University of Washington. And unlike many colleges and universities that offer Early Action instead, the school doesn’t offer such an admission plan, either.

No matter if UW is your safety, match, or dream school, there is only one application deadline to beat: November 15.

You may apply as early as September 1 — that’s when applications open. Admissions decisions, which take place from March 1 to 15, are made only after all first-year applications have been reviewed.

Having one available admission plan only is a good thing as it helps make applying to UW less stressful — you only have to remember one deadline.

Also, you can wait for your senior grades and, if they are high, use them to improve your application and thus increase your admissions chances.

University of Washington

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the University of Washington?

The estimated total cost of attending the University of Washington for a year is $34,554 for in-state students and $63,906 for out-of-state students.

Compared with the average in-state and out-of-state tuition costs in the state of Washington, UW is more expensive for both residents and non-residents.

Being a public institution, attending UW is cheaper for those who live in Evergreen State.

At the University of Washington, in-state tuition amounts to $12,645.

On the other hand, out-of-state tuition costs $41,997.

Both are higher than the national average in-state and out-of-state tuition costs in Washington — $9,480 and $29,300, respectively.

Still, UW is #2 in Best Value Colleges in Washington by Niche.

Related Article: 425 Colleges Charging In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants

Fortunately, the school awards about $400 million in financial aid to its undergraduate students every year.

As a matter of fact, more than 52% of admits receive some form of aid.

Here’s the breakdown of the estimated cost of attending UW for a year, using the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate:

Room and board$17,982$17,982
Books and personal$3,408$3,408

Please note that the estimated total cost of attending the University of Washington for a year varies by campus.

For instance, the figures above apply to first-year students at the Seattle campus.

The estimated cost of going to the Bothell and Tacoma campuses are as follows:


How Much Do the University of Washington Graduates Make?

Six years from initial enrollment, University of Washington graduates make an average of $48,700 a year.

The amount climbs to around $65,800 annually ten years from the time they attended UW for the first time. The said yearly earning is more than 90% higher than what’s considered the national median.

At UW, undergraduate students are expected to declare a major after earning 105 credits and completing five quarters, says the University of Washington Satisfactory Progress Policy.

Choosing the right major when it’s time to declare one is of utmost importance.

Besides giving you the college experience that suits you, it will also pave the way for the right career path for you.

The major you will commit to can also have a huge impact on your annual earnings after graduation.

Here are the average initial salaries per year of employed UW graduates by major:

Computer Engineering$112,300
Computer Science$92,000
Registered Nursing$71,100
Nursing Administration$71,100
Computer and Information Sciences$68,300
Electrical Engineering$68,200
Communications Engineering$68,200
Materials Engineering$66,800
Civil Engineering$61,900
Mechanical Engineering$60,800
Industrial Engineering$58,500
Applied Mathematics$57,200
Chemical Engineering$56,800
Human Resources Management$54,900
Social Sciences$51,900
Business Administration$44,600
Political Science$35,800
Social Work$34,900
Criminal Justice$29,700
Fine and Studio Arts$26,600

Is UW a Good School: Conclusion

The University of Washington is a good school for degree-seeking students who prefer to study in a big city, be amongst a diverse student body, and have access to on and off-campus parties.

UW is also ideal for students interested in research and majors associated with STEM, business, and healthcare.

Here’s a fact that will blow you away: Bubble gum was invented at the University of Washington.

It’s also the school that gave birth to things such as synthetic rubber and vinyl.

What’s more, the color TV tube, which paved the way for the manufacturing of colored TVs, was invented by a UW alumni member.

The University of Washington is revered for a lot of things, from its academics to social life. It’s a good school for students who like to earn a college degree from a flagship school whose campus has an urban setting and offers a great party scene and Greek life for anyone who loves to have some fun and build a network.

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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