How to Get Into the University of Washington: Acceptance Rate & Admissions Strategies
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 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 53%.
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 2022 has pretty darn close to an A average.
Given this enhanced level of selectivity, this article is intended to educated prospective UW-Seattle applicants on:
- The University of Washington’s Class of 2026 acceptance rate
- 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 percent 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 Class of 2026 acceptance rate has not yet been released. Last year, there were 48,840 applications for admission into the Husky Class of 2025. Ultimately, 26,121 individuals were accepted. Therefore, the current University of Washington acceptance rate is 53%. Over the last 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 2025 the mid-50% SAT range was 1220-1440. Admitted students possessed an average SAT score of 1240-1450. The overall ACT range was 29-34. Admitted Huskies had an average GPA of 3.82. Fourteen percent had a perfect 4.0 GPA and an additional 60% 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 was 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, over 30% of incoming UW-Seattle students will be the first in their family 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 the 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
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 as follows:
- In-State: 60%
- Out-of-State: 24%
- International: 16
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:
To illustrate UDub’s diversity, we turn to the ethnic identity of the current student body:
- African American: 5%
- Asian American: 27%
- Caucasian: 38%
- Hispanic/Latino: 9%
- International: 16%
- American Indian: 1%
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 (45%), UNC-Chapel Hill (45%), and UCLA (44%).
Tips for Applying to the University of Washington
If you plan on joining the almost 49,000 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
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.
Should I Apply to The University of Washington?
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 or “target” and “safety” schools on their college list. More on creating a balanced college list can be found here.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).