How to Get Into the University of Washington Seattle: Acceptance Rate & Admissions Strategies

July 6, 2023

Sitting in the company of other top public university gems like UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, UVA, the University of Michigan, and UT-Austin, the University of Washington-Seattle perhaps flies a bit under the radar. However, like the others, UW-Seattle is consistently ranked as a top-20 public institution in the U.S., possessing a magnetic pull that attracts high-achievers from all around the country and even the world—Close to 40% of the Husky undergraduate population hails from out-of-state and overseas. Even more impressively, UW-Seattle’s undergraduate programs in business, engineering, and computer science can be found at the very top of any rankings; they are U.S. News neighbors with the likes of Princeton, MIT, and Georgia Tech. Even so, the University of Washington acceptance rate remains at a not-so-terrible 50-ish percent.

The 36,206 undergrads who attend this school, affectionately nicknamed UDub, own increasingly eye-popping academic credentials with each passing year. For example, the average freshman in 2023 has pretty darn close to an A average.

Given this enhanced level of selectivity, this article is intended to educate prospective UW-Seattle applicants on:

  • The University of Washington acceptance rate 2023
  • SAT/ACT, GPA, and class rank of accepted University of Washington applicants
  • Admissions trends
  • The University of Washington’s system for rating applicants
  • A look at the demographics of current UW-Seattle undergraduates
  • The percentage of accepted students that attend the University of Washington (yield rate)
  • Tips for applying to UDub
  • How to assess whether applying to the UW Seattle is even worth the $80 application fee (for you)

Many students applying to UW-Seattle may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

How to Get Into:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

The University of Washington Acceptance Rate – Class of 2026

The University of Washington acceptance rate has declined over the last several years. Last year, there were 52,488 applications for admission into the Husky Class of 2026. Ultimately, 24,9421 individuals were accepted. Therefore, the current University of Washington acceptance rate is 47.5%. Over the previous three years, out-of-staters were accepted at a 51% clip, while the admit rate for residents was a friendlier 60%.

The University of Washington Admissions – SAT/ACT, GPA, and Class Rank

For those enrolled in the Class of 2026 the mid-50% SAT range was 1320-1500. The overall ACT range was 29-34. Enrolled Huskies had an average GPA of 3.83. Sixteen percent had a perfect 4.0 GPA and an additional 59% earned between a 3.75 and 3.99.

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • Firstly, in 2020, the University of Washington went permanently test-optional. Additionally, this policy does not punish anyone for having low test scores or not submitting scores. Instead, they only consider high test scores (1400/31+) for applicants who may otherwise not be admitted.
  • Secondly, the College of Engineering acceptance rate averages around 40%. Looking deeper, the out-of-state acceptance rate was only 33%.
  • Next, only 3% of non-resident applicants were admitted directly to the Paul G. Allen College of Computer Science. However, Washington residents enjoyed a 27% acceptance rate.
  • Lastly, 23% of the UW-Seattle Class of 2026 will be the first in their families to attain a bachelor’s degree.

How the University of Washington Rates Applicants

The University of Washington rates three factors as “very important” to the admissions process: rigor of high school course load, GPA, and application essays. Items that are “important” as part of the admissions process are:  first-generation status, volunteer work, paid work, extracurricular activities, and talent/ability. Considered factors are: character/personal qualities and state residency.

The admissions office wants applicants to know that “despite receiving in excess of 48,000 applications each year, your application will receive a holistic and in-depth review.” In addition to the items of importance mentioned above, the following also receive consideration:

  • Taking full advantage of the senior year
  • Demonstrating a positive grade trend
  • Demonstrating a commitment to community service and leadership
  • Exercising significant responsibility in a family, community, employment situation or through activities
  • Attaining a college-preparatory education despite economic disadvantage (Washington state residents only)
  • Demonstrating cultural awareness or unique perspectives or experiences

University of Washington Seattle Acceptance Rate (Continued)

It is also worth highlighting that recruited athletes enjoy a huge edge. This is because the University of Washington takes great pride in their 22 NCAA Division I sports teams. Overall, 800+ student-athletes are presently attending the university. Of course, other outside-the-classroom endeavors can also enhance your application profile. For additional advice about how to stand out on the extracurricular front, check out our previous blog entitled How Many Extracurricular Activities Do I Need for College?

Who Actually Gets Into The University of Washington?

Let’s look at the demographics of the current UW-Seattle student body. Geographically, the breakdown is as follows:

  • In-State: 64%
  • Out-of-State: 22%
  • International: 14%

Among non-residents, competition is stiffest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from the Deep South or a less-populated state like Idaho or South Dakota, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances at the University of Washington.

International students currently attending UW-Seattle hail from the following countries:

  1. China
  2. Taiwan
  3. India
  4. Korea
  5. Indonesia

University of Washington Seattle Acceptance Rate (Continued)

To illustrate UDub’s diversity, we turn to the ethnic identity of the current student body:

  • African American: 3%
  • Asian American: 27%
  • Caucasian: 36%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 9%
  • International: 14%
  • Two or More Races: 8%

Looking at the gender breakdown, the university enrolls far more women than men:

  • Men: 44%
  • Women: 56%

The University of Washington’s Yield Rate

The University of Washington’s yield rate is 28%. This figure is significantly lower than other powerhouse state universities like the University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill, and UCLA.

Tips for Applying to the University of Washington

If you plan on joining the almost 53,000 Husky hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • The University of Washington does not use interviews as part of their evaluation process.
  • This school does truly pride itself on admitting a high percentage of students who will be the first in their family to graduate from college.
  • The University of Washington does not consider demonstrated interest; Therefore, you will not be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit, contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • Lastly, make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the main Common App Essay and two required supplemental essays required by the University of Washington. In the 2022-23 cycle, they are as follows:

1) Essay prompt [required]

Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Maximum length: 650 words

2) Short response [required]

Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW.

Maximum length: 300 words

University of Washington Seattle Acceptance Rate (Continued)

The UW-Seattle admissions staff offers some advice for penning a winning composition. Those recommendations are as follows:

  • Content is important, but spelling, grammar, and punctuation are also considered.
  • We recommend composing in advance, then copying and pasting into the application. Double-spacing, italics and other formatting will be lost, but this will not affect the evaluation of your application.
  • We’ve observed most students write a polished formal essay, yet submit a more casual short response. Give every part of the writing responses your best effort, presenting yourself in standard, formal English.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

For detailed advice in the 2022-23 University of Washington essay prompts visit our blog on the subject.

University of Washington Seattle Acceptance Rate – Final Thoughts

Those with SAT/ACT scores within the mid-50% band for UW-Seattle who are also near the top of their respective high school class are certainly viable candidates to the University of Washington. If you reside in Washington, your road to acceptance will be a tad smoother than if you are an out-of-state or international applicant. In short, you will need to bring higher test scores and, possibly, a special skill or “hook” if you do not hail from the university’s home state or if you wish to enter into a direct-admit engineering/computer science program. Of course, it goes without saying that all teens applying to a school of the University of Washington’s ilk also need to also have a proper mix of “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.