University of Washington Admissions Statistics

Learn About Washington and the GPA and SAT/ACT Scores You'll Need to Get In

The University of Washington
The University of Washington. Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The University of Washington main campus in Seattle is a large public university with selective admissions. Successful applicants tend to have both grades and standardized test scores that are significantly above average. With a 45% acceptance rate, the university rejects more students than it accepts.

Why You Might Choose the University of Washington

The University of Washington at Seattle is the flagship campus of the Washington state university system. It is also the largest university on the West Coast. The attractive campus sits on the shores of Portage and Union Bays, and some locations have views of Mount Rainier. Spring sees the campus explode with cherry blossoms.

The University of Washington has strengths in both academics and athletics. It was elected to the Association of American Universities because of its achievements in research and education. Strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences earned the university a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. The university has a 17 to 1 student/faculty ratio. In athletics, the Washington Huskies compete in the Division I Pac 12 Conference (Pac 12).

Because of the University of Washington's many strengths, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the school made our lists of best public universitiestop West Coast colleges, and top Washington colleges.

Washington GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

University of Washington GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
University of Washington GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. See the real time graph and calculate your chances of getting in at Cappex. Data courtesy of Cappex.

​Discussion of the University of Washington's Admissions Standards

With an acceptance rate below 50%, the University of Washington is a selective public university. In the graph above, the green and blue dots represent accepted students. As you can see, the majority of students who got in had an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or higher, an SAT score (RW+M) above 1050, and an ACT composite score of 20 or higher.

Your chance of getting accepted goes up significantly as those numbers go up. Students with an "A" average and an SAT score above 1200 are extremely likely to be admitted if they have completed adequate high school course work and have been involved in meaningful activities outside of the classroom. Nevertheless, it's important to realize that some strong students do get rejected. Throughout the graph, there are red data points (rejected students) hidden beneath the blue and green — some students whose scores are on target for admission to the University of Washington get rejected (see the graph below for more information).

On the other hand, a number of students were accepted with test scores and grades a bit below the norm. The University of Washington has holistic admissions, so the admissions officers are considering qualitative as well as quantitative information. Students who show some kind of interesting talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look even if grades and test scores aren't quite up to the ideal. To quote the university's admissions website, "admissions is about helping to create a rich educational environment for students at the University, and not simply about numbers." A rigorous academic record, winning essay and interesting extracurricular activities all contribute to a successful application. Note that the University of Washington does not use letters of recommendation. Also, the university does not have an Early Action or Early Decision option.

Admissions Data (2016)

  • University of Washington Acceptance Rate: 45 percent
  • Test Scores: 25th / 75th Percentile
    • SAT Critical Reading: 540 / 660
    • SAT Math: 580 / 710
    • ACT Composite: 26 / 32
    • ACT English: 24 / 33
    • ACT Math: 26 / 32

University of Washington GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Rejected Students

University of Washington GPA, SAT and ACT Admissions Data for Rejected and Waitlisted Students
University of Washington GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Rejected and Waitlisted Students. Data courtesy of Cappex.

When we strip out the blue and green accepted student data from the Cappex graph, we can see that there is a lot of red (rejected students) and yellow (waitlisted students) spread throughout the graph. This shows that many students whose grades and standardized test scores were easily on target for the University of Washington were not admitted. Don't let this discourage you if you are a strong student, but it is a reminder that you need to focus on all pieces of the admissions equation, not just numerical measures such as grades and test scores. 

Strong students can be rejected if they don't have meaningful extracurricular involvement, or if the admissions committee concludes that the application doesn't convincingly show how the applicant will contribute to the campus community in a meaningful way. Also keep in mind that the admission equation isn't just about grades, but also about the rigor of your high school curriculum. High grades in challenging AP, IB, and Honors courses carry a lot more weight than good grades in less challenging courses.

More University of Washington Information

When it comes to public universities, it's hard to go wrong with the University of Washington. That said, be sure to compare costs, financial aid, graduation rates, and academic offerings with other schools you are considering.  

Enrollment (2016)

  • Total Enrollment: 45,591 (30,933 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 48 percent male / 52 percent female
  • 92 percent full-time

Costs (2016-17)

  • Tuition and Fees: $10,753 (in-state); $34,791 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $825 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $11,691
  • Other Expenses: $2,679
  • Total Cost: $25,948 (in-state); $49,986 (out-of-state)

University of Washington Financial Aid (2015-16)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 58 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 42 percent
    • Loans: 28 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $13,126
    • Loans: $6,066

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Accounting, Biochemistry, Biology, Cellular Biology, Communication Studies, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Finance, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 94 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 65 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 84 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Football, Track, and Field, Rowing, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball
  • Women's Sports: Rowing, Soccer, Track and Field, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis

If You Like the University of Washington, You May Also Like These Schools

Applicants to the University of Washington tend to consider other public universities in the Northwest such as Washington State University, the University of OregonWestern Washington University, and Boise State University. Some applicants also consider California schools such as UCLA and UC Berkeley (just be forewarned that tuition in the UC system is quite high for out-of-state applicants).

On the private side, applicants to the University of Washington frequently consider Gonzaga University, the University of PortlandSeattle University, and Stanford University.

Data Source: Graphs courtesy of Cappex. All other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "University of Washington Admissions Statistics." ThoughtCo, Jan. 25, 2018, Grove, Allen. (2018, January 25). University of Washington Admissions Statistics. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "University of Washington Admissions Statistics." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).