The University of Washington: Your Guide to This Top School

You’ve probably heard about the University of Washington, aka UW. It’s a top school located in Seattle known for its strong academics, research programs, and rainy weather. But do you really know what makes this public university stand out? In this guide, we’ll give you the inside scoop on everything from UW’s famous quad and iconic cherry blossom trees to its top-ranked Computer Science program and medical centers. You’ll learn all about student life, from Dubs the Husky mascot to Greek Row. We’ll also cover admission stats, notable alumni, and tips for visiting campus. By the end, you’ll be a total expert on this excellent university in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Get ready to become a UW pro!

Overview of the University of Washington

History and Campus

Established in 1861, the University of Washington (UW) is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast. Its main campus spans over 700 acres in Seattle, Washington, with views of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. The campus has a mix of historic and modern buildings, as well as beautiful gardens, lawns and an arboretum.


UW offers over 370 programs of study across its 16 colleges and schools. It has top ranked programs in medicine, engineering, education, and more. UW takes an interdisciplinary approach to education, with opportunities for students to explore connections across fields of study. Small class sizes, even in intro courses, allow for more personal attention. UW also has study abroad programs in over 50 countries.

Student Life

There are over 50 student organizations and clubs to join at UW, from sports teams to cultural groups to community service clubs. The campus has an active arts and music scene, with multiple theaters, art galleries, and music venues. UW’s sports teams, the Huskies, compete in the Pac-12 conference. Seattle, located just minutes from campus, offers students a culturally vibrant city to explore.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Admission to UW is competitive, especially for out-of-state students. Applicants are evaluated based on GPA, test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and other factors. Academic scholarships and need-based financial aid are available for both in-state and out-of-state students. UW participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which provides reduced tuition for students from certain western states.

Overall, the University of Washington is a prestigious university that provides rigorous academics, opportunities for personal growth, an exciting campus environment, and proximity to a lively city. If you’re looking for a well-rounded college experience, UW deserves strong consideration.

Academics at the University of Washington

The University of Washington offers over 370 academic programs across its three campuses. No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something that sparks your curiosity.

Undergraduate Majors

As an undergrad, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from over 180 majors across UW’s schools and colleges. Some of the most popular majors are Computer Science, Psychology, and Business Administration. UW has highly ranked programs in fields like Engineering, Nursing, and Environmental Science.

Graduate and Doctoral Programs

For graduate students, UW offers over 260 master’s and doctoral degrees. UW’s graduate schools, especially for fields like Medicine, Law, and Public Health, are nationally renowned.

Learning Outside the Classroom

UW provides amazing opportunities for hands-on learning. Undergrads can participate in research projects, internships, study abroad programs, and community service. For example, UW’s Undergraduate Research Program allows students to work closely with professors on their research. Through UW’s study abroad programs, you can spend a summer, semester or year studying at one of over 400 partner institutions in more than 50 countries.


UW employs over 5,700 faculty members, including Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and members of the National Academy of Sciences. The student-faculty ratio at UW is an impressive 15 to 1, so you’ll get to know your professors and receive guidance tailored to your goals.

Overall, the University of Washington will challenge you academically and provide a wealth of resources to support your success. The possibilities for learning and growth at this top university are endless.

Campus Life and Student Activities

The UW has over 700 student organizations, so there are endless opportunities to get involved in campus life. Whatever your interests or passions, you’re sure to find your tribe.

Join a Club

With clubs centered around academics, culture, recreation, and more, you’ll have no shortage of options. Some of the most popular clubs include the Husky Marching Band, the Harry Potter Alliance, and the Hip Hop Choreography Club. Clubs are a great way to pursue your interests, gain leadership experience, and make new friends.

Get Involved in Greek Life

About 20% of UW students join one of the 65 fraternities and sororities on campus. Sororities and fraternities organize philanthropic events, host social activities, and provide housing and dining options for members. Rush week at the beginning of the year is when you can visit different chapters to find the right fit for you.

Cheer on the Huskies

UW has a lively sports scene, with teams competing in the Pac-12 conference. Home football games at Husky Stadium draw over 70,000 spirited fans. You’ll also want to catch basketball, soccer, softball, and more. Even if you’re not an athlete yourself, attending sports events is a quintessential part of campus life.

Explore Seattle

Although there’s plenty to keep you busy on campus, don’t miss out on exploring Seattle. Take a stroll through Pike Place Market, visit Chihuly Garden and Glass at the base of the Space Needle, catch a show at The Paramount or Neptune theaters, or just grab a coffee at the original Starbucks. The natural beauty and vibrant culture of Seattle complements campus life perfectly.

With endless opportunities to get involved in sports, clubs, Greek life, and enjoying all Seattle has to offer, you’ll never run out of things to do at UW. Campus life is what you make of it, so jump in and find your place in this diverse, tight-knit community.

Applying to the University of Washington

Before you apply

Before starting your application, make sure you meet the basic requirements for admission. The UW looks for a minimum 2.0 GPA and accepts either SAT or ACT scores. They also consider your extracurricular activities and personal essay.

The application opens on September 1st for the following autumn quarter. Apply as early as possible, as some majors like Engineering and Computer Science fill up quickly. The application deadline is November 15th for freshmen and January 15th for transfer students.

Gather the necessary documents

You’ll need your high school or college transcripts, test scores, personal essay, short answer responses and a list of your activities and achievements. For freshmen, a letter of recommendation from a teacher who knows you well can also strengthen your application.

Make sure your essay and short answers show your passion for learning and how you’ll contribute to the UW community. The essay prompt will ask you to describe an experience that demonstrates your character and motivation. Share a meaningful story that gives insight into your values and goals.

Apply online

The UW uses the Coalition Application. Create an account on and complete the application, including the UW-specific questions. The $75 application fee can be waived based on financial need.

Submitting test scores and transcripts is required for most applicants. Have your high school or college send official copies directly to the UW. Scores from the SAT, ACT, AP, IB, and Running Start are accepted.

Check your application status

It can take 6 to 8 weeks for the UW to process applications. You’ll receive an email when your application status changes to “Complete”, meaning all materials have been received. The final decision will be posted to your MyUW account.

Most freshmen applicants will receive one of three decisions: Admit, Admit to an alternate major, or Deny. Transfer students may also receive a “Pending” decision. If admitted, you must accept your offer by May 1st and pay the required admission deposit to secure your spot. Congratulations, and welcome to the University of Washington!

University of Washington FAQ


Are you hoping to become a Husky? The UW receives over 50,000 applications each year, so competition is fierce. The good news is they evaluate applicants holistically. Focus on maintaining a solid GPA, participating in extracurriculars, and crafting a compelling essay. Out-of-state students will need to aim even higher to overcome the higher admission standards. The middle 50% of admitted students have GPAs of 3.7-3.95 and SAT scores of 1270-1490.


With over 200 majors and programs, the UW has something for everyone. Popular choices include Computer Science, Nursing, and Business. The UW is also recognized for top programs in Medicine, Law, Engineering, and more. Regardless of your major, you’ll learn from world-class faculty and have access to cutting-edge research opportunities.

Campus Life

The UW campus, located in Seattle, is a vibrant place to live and learn. When you’re not studying at one of the university’s libraries or research centers, enjoy all that campus has to offer. Catch a football game at Husky Stadium, go for a hike in the scenic University District, join one of over 700 student clubs, or relax at the student union. With a city like Seattle right at your doorstep, boredom is never an option.

Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of attendance for in-state students is around $25,000 per year. For out-of-state students, it’s over $50,000. The good news is the UW offers generous scholarships and financial aid. They meet 100% of need for in-state students and offer merit scholarships for outstanding out-of-state students. Be sure to submit the FAFSA and other financial aid applications on time to get the best aid package possible.

With world-class academics, an unbeatable location, and school spirit galore, the University of Washington should be at the top of your college list. Go Huskies!


So there you have it – a glimpse into what life is like as a student at UW. From the beautiful campus scenery to the challenging academics, it’s easy to see why this school is one of the top in the nation. Sure, you’ll have to brave those rainy Seattle days, but with so many activities, clubs, and a vibrant social scene, you’ll never run out of things to do. If you’re looking for a big school experience with top-notch professors and research opportunities, then UW just might be the place for you. With a little luck, maybe you’ll even meet Bill Gates one day on campus! Wherever you end up for college, enjoy it – these will be some of the most memorable years of your life.

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