Western Washington University was formed as the Northwest Normal School by pioneer Phoebe Goodwell Judson in 1886. After moving from Lynden in 1893, Governor John McGraw signed the school’s charter for an inaugural class of 88. Following the motto “Active Minds Changing Lives,” WWU has grown into one of Washington’s six public, co-educational teaching institutions with a $57.1 million endowment. Across its seven colleges, Western enrolls over 14,400 undergraduates and 650 post-graduates with 83 percent retention. Occupying 215 urban acres, Western Washington University stands in Bellingham, Whatcom County’s seat, just 90 minutes south of Vancouver, British Columbia.
According to the U.S. News, WWU is the 18th best regional university and second top public school in the West. In particular, Western holds America’s 24th best rehabilitation counseling and 199th top speech-language pathology programs. Forbes ranked WWU as the 103rd best public university nationwide. On Niche, Western Washington University was crowned the 42nd “Most Liberal College” with the 38th “Best College Location.” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance picked Western for the country’s top 100 public values. As a President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll member, WWU also places #3 among mid-sized U.S. colleges for Peace Corps volunteers.
Western Washington University Accreditation Details
Reaffirmed in 2001, Western Washington University holds 10-year regional accreditation without sanctions from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This agency oversees a seven-state region from Alaska to Utah for the U.S. Department of Education. Western is also recognized by the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB). Professional accreditations are extended from the following:
• National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
• Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
• American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
• Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
• Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE)
• Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
• National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD)
Western Washington University Application Requirements
Admission at Western Washington University is “selective” with a Fall 2015 acceptance rate of 82 percent. First-year applicants with a high school diploma or GED certificate are reviewed holistically based on academic and extracurricular achievement. Curriculum prerequisites include four units of English, three units of math, three units of social science, and two units of science. Participants in Honors, AP, IB, or Running Start courses are applauded. On average, freshmen present a secondary GPA of 3.42. Accepted Vikings also report a mean SAT score of 1180 and ACT score of 25. International students from non-English countries should score 550 or higher on the paper-based TOEFL.
Undergraduates seeking to transfer to WWU for their academic goals should have 45 quarter credits or more at regionally accredited colleges. If less, the above freshman criteria holds true. Transfers who have completed college-level English composition and math with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA are preferred. Transfer agreements exist for associate holders at several colleges, including Whatcom Community College. The Graduate School at Western only accepts individuals with four-year bachelor’s degrees. The Doctor of Audiology specifically requires a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Presenting an upper-division GPA of 3.0 or greater is necessary for unconditional admission. Most master’s students score in the 85th percentile on the GRE.
Western Washington University has an Early Action deadline of November 1st and Regular Decision deadline of January 31st. Transfers have until March 1st for their review. Interested students must complete the online application via CollegeNET and submit these materials:
• Payment for the $55 fee (unless waived)
• Unofficial high school and college transcripts
• Original standardized testing scores
• Typed, 500-word personal essay response
• List of extracurricular and leadership activities
• At least one professional reference letter
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduates from Washington will pay $6,116 each year. Non-residents taking bachelor’s courses full-time are charged $20,060 annually. Mandatory fees, including health service and technology, add $1,787. Room and board is estimated to cost $10,524 per year. Western suggests budgeting $906 for textbooks and $2,259 for miscellaneous supplies. Total annual cost of attendance is $22,828 (in-state) and $26,772 (out-of-state). Graduate tuition for Washington residents is $299 per unit. Out-of-state graduates pay $642 per master’s unit. Online, term-based courses offer discounts at $250 per unit.
Offering up to $53 million combined yearly, Western Washington University offers financial aid to 83 percent of new full-time learners. Institutional awards, such as the Biella Foundation Emergency Scholarship, Bill Reed African American Scholarship, James Michael Haskell Memorial Scholarship, Lorraine M. Mortimer Scholarship, and Nabhi Ram Joshi Scholarship, are abundant. Low-income students may obtain the Pell Grant or FSEOG Grant based on EFC. Natives of the “Evergreen State” pursue the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, State Need Grant, and Washington Aerospace Loan. Federal Work-Study (FWS) jobs like reading tutor or resident assistant are available. Vikings can also borrow interest-incurring Federal Direct, PLUS, and Perkins loans.
Western Washington is an energized, diverse master’s-granting university offering over 160 academic programs. Some unique bachelor’s majors include the Canadian-American Studies BA, Design BFA, Financial Economics BA, Geophysics BS, Recreation BA, and Urban Planning BA. The Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies provides self-designed concentrations. Aspiring scientists can also benefit from the Marine Science Scholars Program at the Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC). Western has an average class size of 29 for meaningful interactions with faculty, over 72 percent of whom hold terminal degrees. Connections are further developed with the IE3 Global Internship from Spain to New Zealand.
Studying at WWU provides unparalleled, experiential opportunities. The Bellingham campus is conveniently positioned near the Whatcom Museum, Lake Padden Park, Lummi Island, Mt. Baker Theatre, and more. B.S. in Industrial Technology students can conduct experiments in the Vehicle Research Institute. Eco-friendly advocates can engage in “green” sciences with the Huxley College of the Environment. Young artists can get inspired at the Western Gallery’s acclaimed, 36-piece outdoor sculpture exhibit. Future teachers may work with youth in grades 4-12 within the SEA Discovery Center. Community Engagement Fellows also volunteer with causes like Habitat for Humanity and Sustainable Connections.
Campus life is extremely active with over 200 student-run organizations. Depending on their interests, students could head to the Viking Union to make laughs with the Dead Parrots Society, innovate with Collegiate DECA, worship with Episcopal Campus Ministry, find Zen with Mindfulness Club, and explore the Puget Sound with Recreation Club. Each year, students participate in the Ski to Sea Race and Highland Games. The Bellingham Festival of Music also draws instrumentalists like Joshua Bell and Lynn Harrell. Western Washington University also cheers on 15 varsity teams in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, including the five-time women’s rowing national champs.