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Get Admitted to Your Dream University – UW

Founded in 1861, The University of Washington (UW, Washington) is a public research university in Seattle, Washington. UW is the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state. It is known for its medical, engineering, and scientific research. The university has been affiliated with many notable alumni and faculty, including 21 Nobel Prize laureates and numerous Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars, as well as members of other distinguished institutions.

Some Nobel prize laureates whose work is closely associated with the University are

2016 – David Thouless, Physics (deceased), 2004 – Linda B. Buck Physiology and Medicine (Affiliate Faculty), 2001 – Leland H. Hartwell Physiology and Medicine (former faculty), 1992 – Edmond Henri Fischer Physiology and Medicine (deceased), 1992 – Edwin G. Krebs, Physiology and Medicine (deceased),1990 – E. Donnall Thomas, Physiology and Medicine (deceased),1989 – Hans Georg Dehmelt, Physics (deceased)

How to Improve your Chances of Getting into UW

1. Achieve a high GPA while taking the most challenging classes available

It’s extremely important for UW applicants to not only possess outstanding grades but for those grades to come in challenging courses. International students accepted to a top 10 school like UW typically complete between 5 to 8 advanced courses in high school.

The main aim of AP exams is to test your ability and acumen to measure up to the rigors of undergraduate curriculum in US and other global universities. Typically, international students appear for AP exams at the beginning of their grade 12. Students interested in Engineering usually appear for Calculus, Physics, Computer Science or Chemistry. Students interested in Business Studies usually appear for Calculus, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Statistics. Students interested in Medicine usually appear for Biology, Psychology, Chemistry and Environmental Science.

Another reason why UW applicants need great grades is that selective schools use a tool called the ‘Academic Index’ to filter out their enormous number of applicants. At its most basic, the Academic Index is a distillation of a student’s academic performance (grades and test scores) into a single number. This is a single score that represents the strength of your GPA, test scores, and class rank (if your school ranks). Highly selective universities use this (or a similar) metric to filter out students that don’t meet their academic standards.

2. Aim for a 1560 SAT or a 35+ ACT

The middle 50% of UW’s class of 2025 earned SAT scores between 1450 and 1560 or an ACT score of 33 – 35+. Any score in the middle 50% is good, however, the higher the score, the better your odds of admission.

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3. Explore your favorite subjects via Research Papers

One common factor that we have noted in the resumes of students admitted to the Ivy Leagues and other top colleges is the prevalence of research work while still in high school.

There are three main reasons, as to why research papers help students stand out. A high-quality research paper shows that you have the energy and the initiative to go beyond what is taught in the class and apply it to real life problems. It shows that your interest in the subject extends beyond the questions provided at the end of the chapter. Secondly, you learn the discipline of not rushing intuitively to the likely answer, instead using a deliberate process in which you are guided by the data. Lastly, in working with a skilled professor or mentor you learn how to organize your thoughts better, ask the right questions and try to answer those questions in the best way possible subject to the constraints. A good work product provides an insight into your mind, thought process and way of working.

4. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “niche”)

For selective institutions like UW extracurricular activities can play a larger role in admission decisions. Up to 25% of an admissions decision can be determined by a student’s activities outside of the classroom. While it’s true that there is no such thing as a bad extracurricular activity, some extracurricular activities are more impressive than others.

Admissions officers evaluate extracurriculars with Tier one being the most exceptional and Tier four being the most common. For example:

  • Tier 1 activities are rare and demonstrate exceptional achievement or leadership at a national or international level. Some examples are, 1) Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, a national prize awarded to top 20 pre-collegiate musicians, 2) Regeneron Science Talent Award, one of the most prestigious opportunities for high school students to present original scientific research in the USA, 3) World Robot Olympiad, a global competition where youngsters (13 to 19 years age) from different countries participate, 4) International Mathematical Olympiad, a math competition for pre- university students, 5) International Science Olympiads in various areas of the formal sciences, natural sciences and social sciences.

  • Tier 2 extracurriculars show high levels of achievement and leadership but aren’t quite as rare as activities found in Tier 1 (they’re more of state-level achievements). These include making an all-state selection in athletics, serving as student body president, or being selected for a prestigious state-wide summer program like governor’s school.

  • Tier 3 extracurricular activities are great for showing an applicant’s interest outside of the classroom but don’t have the cachet of higher-tiered extracurriculars. These activities are smaller leadership roles and achievements that often appear on applications. These include being captain of a sports team or holding a lesser officer position in a club.

  • Tier 4 extracurriculars are the least impressive and most common activities seen by admissions officers. These activities include playing a sport or instrument, participating in a club but not holding a leadership position, and volunteering.

5. Write engaging essays

Essays are the best way to distinguish yourself from other applicants. UW requires all applicants to submit one *essay and one short *question as part of its application.

The UW essay is on ‘Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it’. (650 words)

UW short answer question prompt is of 300 words:

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.

*Subject to change every year.

Research the university and the faculty of the department you are planning to join. Explain in your essay how your values tie with the expectations of the university and how you expect to utilize the knowledge to make the world a better place.

Also research the extra-curricular activities and the clubs at UW and how you will spend your time outside the classroom. Some of the popular clubs at UW are:

  • American Marketing Association: The UW American Marketing Association provides a professional and fun environment that promotes proactive and passionate involvement. It is the place where marketers are made. Some of their biggest events include hosting case competitions in association with big-name Seattle companies and networking nights for students to meet business executives and understand the difficult transition from college to adult life.

  • Muse Media: Muse Media supports creative and inspiring individuals who share a love for media and fashion.

  • Ascend at UW: Ascend UW enables aspiring leaders to connect with professionals in different fields. They host events that promote leadership and professional development to help all students succeed in their professional and personal goals.

  • WOOF 3D – WOOF 3D is the Digital Fabrication and 3D Printing Club at University of Washington. Its purpose is to educate interested students and other community members about Additive Manufacturing technology.

There are different extracurricular activities and clubs present in the campus. There is something for everyone. And best of all everyone is invited. Students could take up different activities or join a sorority. Joining a sport or activity helps students meet other like-minded people who share common interests with them. It is a good way to make friends.

6. Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation(LoRs) are not required at UW.

Teachers – Not Applicable

Other Evaluations – Not Applicable

7. Apply Early Action/Early Decision

UW does not participate in either Early action or Early decision. Interested students can apply only through the November 15 (Regular Decision) deadline.

UW values students who are committed, dedicated, passionate, have potential to succeed and those students with a genuine interest in expanding their intellectual horizon. Following the above guidelines will help you present your best self to UW and maximize your admission chances.

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About the Author: 

Shubhi Joshi is an Editor at Scholarly. She has a B.A. in English and a M.A. from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. She has an interest in history and current affairs. An avid blogger, Shubhi loves to write about higher education and self-improvement.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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