About University of Washington

Should You Attend the University of Washington

UW was founded in 1861 and is located in Seattle, Washington. By attending UW, you will have the opportunity to enroll in more than 250 bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree programs. Read the information below to find out if UW is the right school for you.


  • Ranked in the top 50 among National Universities, Primary Care/Research Medical Schools, Engineering Schools, and Business Schools by U.S. News and World Report
  • Graduation rate is 40 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Student-faculty ratio is 13:1, which is lower than the national average
  • High number of academic programs
  • Student debt following graduation is $6,052 lower than the national average
  • Diverse student body


  • Total cost is $6,723 higher for in-state and $11,840 higher for out-of-state residents than the national average for a 4-year public university (includes tuition, room and board, and living expenses)
  • Acceptance rate is 7.5 percentage points lower than the national average

The University of Washington at a Glance

UW is a highly ranked 4-year public institution. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the university ranks #46 among Best National Universities, the medical school ranks #1 in Best Primary Care and #10 in Best Research. Additionally, the engineering school ranks #26 nationally, and the business school is ranked #35 nationally. In addition to offering a high number of academic programs, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that UW has a strong undergraduate graduation rate (80%), as well as strong first-year retention rates (93% for full-time and 76% for part-time students).

UW is a high-research university and the university website reported that UW has received the most federal research funding of any American public university. In 2009, the university received 4,038 research grants to the tune of $1,150,013,488. Consequently, UW offers more than 7,000 undergraduate research opportunities and houses more than 270 research centers.

UW employs a high number of faculty members (more than 4,000) to meet the needs of a large student body (more than 40,000). Approximately 22% of courses are taught by TAs, as reported by NCES, which is typical of a large state university. Likewise, UW has a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. Although the cost of attending UW is higher than the national average for both in-state and out-of-state residents, the College Board reported that student debt following graduation is lower than the national average of $26,660.

Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Washington

Applying to UW is selective, with 58% of applicants in 2011 were admitted according to NCES. You may submit either an online application or a paper application. UW does not have a hard minimum GPA or SAT/ACT test score requirement. Furthermore, UW does not require official transcripts or letters of recommendation in order to fulfill a complete application packet. Instead, UW bases admission criteria on several factors that measure your academic ability, individual talent, determination to perform at a high level, and life experiences. That being said, UW does require you to submit either SAT or ACT test scores, and 85% of student's submitted SAT scores in 2011, as reported by NCES. Furthermore, UW requires you to submit multiple writing samples, including a 500-650 word personal statement, a 250-500 word short essay, and a list of extracurricular activities and achievements. Additionally, you are encouraged to write additional comments that do not fit into the above categories.

For those concerned about the cost of attending UW, the university has various merit-based and need-based financial aid options. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the College Board reported that 82% of students eligible for need-based assistance received grants from the school. The average first-year financial aid package in 2012-2013 was $15,500, as reported by the College Board. UW participates in the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013-2014) December 1****
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013-2014) February 28 (priority deadline)***
Notification of Acceptance (2013-2014) March 31***
Application Fee (2011-2012) $60**
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 58%**
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2011-2012) $24,059 for WA residents; $41,543 for non-residents**
Average Financial Aid Package (2012-2013) $15,500***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2012-2013) 82%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012-2013) $20,608***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 3.1%**

Life at the University of Washington

As a part of the UW student body, you will be living five miles away from downtown Seattle. Most students live off-campus (89%), as reported by U.S. News and World Report. As an incoming freshman, you do have the option of living on-campus, but the university does not require you to do so. Greek life thrives on-campus and UW has 27 fraternities and 16 sororities. U.S. News and World Report stated that approximately 94% of undergraduates were members of a fraternity or sorority in 2011.

While attending UW, you will be part of a diverse student body. In the fall of 2011, NCES reported that 47% of undergraduates were Caucasian, 26% were Asian, and 6% were Hispanic. UW competes in the Pac-12 NCAA I athletic conference, which gives the chance to cheer on the Huskies in nine men's and 10 women's varsity sports. Additionally, the university has over 500 student organizations including intramural sports, as well as various campus events.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large city**
Student Population (2011-2012) 29,022 undergraduates, 13,422 graduate students**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011-2012) 48% to 52%**
% of Full Time Students (2011-2012) 89%**
% of In-state Students (2011-2012) 73%**
% of International Students (2011-2012) 12%**
Retention Rate (2011-2012) 93% for full-time and 76% for part-time students**
Campus Housing Available Yes**
% of Students Living on Campus 11%****
Number of Libraries 15*
Extracurricular Activities Over 500****
Noteworthy Incoming freshman are not required to live on-campus

Sources: *University of Washington, **College Navigator, NCES, ***The College Board, **** U.S. News and World Report.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, University of Washington, Box 355852, 1410 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195
  • Phone: (206) 543-9686