Applying to Washington University
I submitted my application. When can I log in to the WUSTL Pathway?
Once you submit your Common Application the process begins. See the example below to understand how it works:
- You submit your Common Application on Saturday.
- Common Application sends us your application electronically on Sunday morning.
- Your application processor reviews the transmission from the Common Application and enters your application into our system on Monday.
- We will send you an email with instructions on logging in to the WUSTL Pathway Tuesday afternoon.
- If you are an applicant for financial assistance, it will take another day to match your application with any forms or data you have submitted directly to Student Financial Services. By Wednesday you should be able to see the "My Checklist" function on the SFS website.
Near the deadlines, when many students are submitting applications, your application processor may not be able to key all applications received in the same day. In that case, the above process may take an extra day. (The lesson here is do not wait until the last minute to apply, especially if you want to apply for academic scholarships online through the WUSTL Pathway.)
Why am I asked to choose one of the five divisions when I apply?
Washington University's five undergraduate divisions offer different curricula for different areas of academic interest. We encourage students to think about where their interests may lie at the time they apply, in terms of a major and a degree path to pursue, and to select one of the five schools as the primary point of interest. Keep in mind that students can change their minds and majors and take courses in other schools. For example, art students may study history, business students poetry, engineering students music, and so forth. But, we ask you to indicate which of the five schools is your primary choice now so we can provide effective academic advising from the start to help you realize your goals.
Are there different admission standards for the five schools?
While there are university-wide admission standards common to all of the schools, we look for the right preparation for each curriculum. Students applying to the Olin Business School should have completed coursework in math at least through the pre-calculus level with calculus highly recommended. Students applying to the School of Engineering & Applied Science and/or students who are interested in pre-med should have completed coursework in physics and chemistry as well as coursework in math at least through the pre-calculus level with calculus highly recommended. Students interested in studying architecture or art should demonstrate interest, skill, or background in art and design by highlighting relevant course work or extracurricular activity. A portfolio is required for applicants to the College of Art and encouraged for applicants to the College of Architecture.
What weights are attached to grades, test scores, responses to the questions on our application, and so forth during the application process?
Admission decisions at WUSTL are based on a combination of factors, including the high school transcript, test scores, personal essay, teacher evaluation, and extracurricular activities. We do not attach specific weights to individual components of the decision (a holistic view of each student is taken). However, a student’s academic record in high school is of critical importance in the admission decision because it is the best indicator that we have of how well a student will do in college.
Does Washington University take into account the rigor of an academic program, the rigor of a school’s grading system, or the difference between weighted and unweighted grade point averages or ranks in class?
The academic rigor, high school’s grading system, whether GPAs and/or ranks (if available) are weighted or unweighted are all taken into account when reviewing each student’s application. We evaluate each student’s academic record in the context of how well he or she took advantage of the opportunities that were available in his or her particular high school.
How do you weigh extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities are one of the factors considered when making admissions decisions at Washington University. We try to get a sense of what a student is passionate about beyond the classroom. We look to see what occupies the student’s time when he or she is not in class. Instead of a laundry list of activities, we look for those to which the student has shown commitment over time, the leadership roles that have developed, etc. We also understand that for many students, an after-school job or caring for a sibling or relative will be the primary extracurricular activity or commitment.
Does it help to have extra letters of recommendation sent on an applicant’s behalf?
Washington University requires information from the high school guidance counselor and one Teacher Evaluation from an academic teacher in high school with whom the student has taken a course. Extra letters are not required, but if you would like to submit an additional letter, you are welcome to do so. While some students choose to submit an additional teacher recommendation, others choose to submit an extra letter of recommendation from a coach, an employer, or a member of the clergy because that person can provide unique insights that teachers may not include.
What standardized test scores does Washington University accept?
We accept the following standardized tests:
SAT Test (includes a writing test)
ACT Test (with the optional writing section)
ACT Test (without the writing section)
We do not require the writing test if you submit ACT Scores.
We do not have a preference for either the SAT or the ACT. Test results from any of your high school years are acceptable, though we encourage senior-year testing. Consideration will only be given to the highest individual scores, whenever they occurred. Washington University considers your highest section scores across all SAT and/or ACT test dates that you submit. Final admissions decisions will be made using only your highest scores. Each time you submit scores, we will update your record with any new high scores (so-called “Super Scores”). We strongly encourage you to submit your scores each time you take the SAT and/or ACT. Sending your scores each time you take the SAT and/or ACT can only benefit you by allowing us to consider you for all available enrollment related opportunities. The last test date accepted will be the December testing (October if applying Early Decision).
Do I need to take any of the SAT Subject Tests (SAT IIs) to apply to Washington University?
Washington University does not require SAT Subject Tests (formerly SAT II: College Board Achievement Tests). However, if you do take them and submit your scores, we will only consider them if they strengthen your application.
Are there required minimum GPA, class rank, or standardized test scores?
Although we do look for students who are strong academically, Washington University does not have any minimum requirements for GPA, class rank, or standardized test scores. A combination of academic and personal factors is considered in making the admission decision for each student.
Which college or school at Washington University will offer me the best chance of admission?
Washington University offers students admission based on their academic interests, high school transcript, test scores, personal essay, recommendations, and extracurricular activities. While overall admission percentages may vary somewhat from year to year, there is virtually no difference in the annual admission percentages ("admit rates") by school at Washington University. We encourage you to apply to the school that offers courses and majors in which you are most interested at the time you apply.
Is it better to take an advanced class in high school and get a B, or take the regular course and get an A?
Of course, it is best to take the advanced class and get an A! If you get a B in the advanced class, that’s fine, too. Your main goal should be to challenge yourself in high school to the extent that your high school allows so that you’ll be better prepared for the academic challenges in college.
Does Washington University rank high schools?
Washington University does not rank or compare high schools. Instead, we work to understand each student within the context of his or her high school.
Does Washington University limit the number of students admitted from a particular high school?
There are no limits or quotas for the number of students we admit from any high school, city, or state. While Washington University is a diverse community — for example, geographically, ethnically, and economically — our diversity is not contrived.
Is a portfolio required for applicants to the College of Art?
A portfolio is required for applicants to the College of Art. To be considered for an academic scholarship, your portfolio must be submitted in digital format. Portfolios are strongly encouraged for the College of Architecture and should follow the guidelines for the College of Art. The portfolio may include drawings, paintings, design models, sculpture, ceramics, etc. Do not include CAD drawings or examples of drafting skills. For details, please visit the Portfolio Guidelines page.
I'm an Early Decision applicant. What does Washington University mean when it asks for my mid-year grades?
Washington University needs to see your progress in your senior year. If your school issues quarter or trimester grades, please have your school send them. If not, we will accept a progress report from your school that includes each class in which you are currently enrolled and your current grade in that class.
How many letters of recommendation can I submit?
We require one letter of recommendation from a teacher and one letter of recommendation from your counselor. Students are able to submit one additional letter of recommendation through the Common Application if they wish. Although you may include a letter from a coach, mentor, etc., most applicants include a second teacher letter.
Can an applicant who has been admitted defer enrollment?
An applicant who has been offered admission to Washington University may request to defer enrollment after completing enrollment materials and submitting the enrollment deposit. Typically, students who defer do so because they wish to travel, complete required military service, or participate in a year-long gap year program. Students must request to defer enrollment in writing. Students generally do not attend another university during a gap year, however, if they do complete coursework they must contact their dean's office at Washington University to have an assessment of any credits earned to see if they will transfer. The dean's office has the final say on transferability of any credits earned.
Does Washington University accept credit from Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations or A-Level results?
In a highly selective applicant pool, transcripts that include AP, IB, or A-Level coursework help Admissions advocate for applicants. Admitted students may benefit from the results of this coursework in terms of placement and/or credit. A maximum of 15 units of pre-matriculation credit may be counted towards any undergraduate degree. These units will count towards graduation, but will not meet general education requirements. Placement and credit policies vary by subject area and academic division, detailed information may be accessed through the links below:
- College of Arts & Sciences
- College of Architecture (follows Arts & Sciences policy)
- College of Art
- Olin Business School (follows Arts & Sciences policy)
- School of Engineering & Applied Science
Can I change the school to which I’ve applied after I’ve submitted my application, but before the admissions application deadline?
Yes. Simply send your request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name as it appears on your Common Application and the name of the high school you attend. If you have questions, call our office at (800) 638-0700 or (314) 935-6000, and ask to speak with an admissions officer or your application processor.
Can I change my mind about what I want to study and switch undergraduate colleges (schools) at Wash U, after I’ve been admitted and/or after I’ve enrolled?
Freshmen entering WU in the Fall of 2015 will be able to request a college change prior to enrollment and will be allowed to change colleges if:
- they have completed the required change form,
- they have met the requirements of the college they want to enter, and
- if there is space available.
To request a change, please email your application processor who will send you a link to a simple form to complete. This form will ask you to indicate why you wish to change schools.
Younger students, please note: Beginning with the freshmen entering WU in the Fall of 2016, students will be required to wait one full semester before requesting a change to another undergraduate college at Wash U.
Please keep in mind that:
- you will be able to take courses in all of the colleges as you explore your academic interests,
- you can work with your academic advisor to add a major or minor in another Wash U college,
you have three full semesters to decide on your academic major.