The University of Washington (UW) is the largest university in the Northwest. Seattle is the main campus for the university, although there are also campuses in Tacoma and Bothell, plus 50 programs, extensions, and continuing education centers in over 10 countries. There are over 500 buildings on the Seattle campus, which serves more than 92,000 students a year.
The attractive campus attracts visitors from around the world. It is located on the shores of two bays, with mountain views to both the west and the east. Cherry trees with poetic spring blossoms dot the campus. There is a center for visitors on the ground floor of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Many people come to see museums on campus, including the Burke Museum of natural and cultural history and the Henry Art Gallery.
The university places a strong emphasis on holistic education—the school is committed to the development of “mind, body, purpose, spirit, and meaning”. The objectives of the university include expanding world views, enhancing environmental leadership, advancing the world, and creating healthier lives.
The University of Washington was founded in 1861, after the Legislative Assembly of Washington Territory deeded ten acres to be used to create a university. For many years, the school consisted of a single professor who taught history, physiology, algebra, English, Greek, and Latin to a small group of students. In several years the school closed temporarily for lack of funds.
In 1889, Washington achieved statehood. Enrolment in the university grew, and in 1895 the campus moved to its current spot in downtown Seattle and immediately began to expand. The campus was the site of the 1909 world’s fair, which grew the campus considerably. Both world wars also promoted growth on campus, as veterans pursued education. During the World War II era, UW emerged as a leader in research and graduate programs.
The campus gained a strong reputation for student activism in the 60’s and 70’s, even as it continued to grow. Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen have contributed significantly to the university, helping it to be as well-endowed and successful as it is today.
UW has an excellent academic reputation across the nation and the world. The library system is one of the very largest in the United States, with well over 7 million volumes. Both the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing are considered to be among the very best in the country. Other extremely high-rated schools and programs include the graduate program in social work, the Library and Information School, the School of Law, the School of Pharmacy, and the School of Engineering.
UW offers degrees in 140 departments in 17 schools. These include the College of Arts and Sciences, the Information School, the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, College of Built Environments, Michael G. Foster School of Business, School of Dentistry, College of Education, School of Law, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs. College of Engineering, College of the Environment, School of Public Health, School of Social Health, and The Graduate School.
UW spends over a billion dollars on research every year, putting them in the top five school for research in the United States. UW is consistently the very largest recipient of federal funding for research. UW also hosts the Research Channel, a television channel completely dedicated to sharing research among colleges, universities, and research laboratories.
UW is a leader in distance education—over a third of their student body is enrolled mostly or completely in online classes including classes in writing, biotechnology, building construction and design, business, communication, computing and IT, education, engineering, environment and sustainability, social work, health, law, science, and mathematics. Although many online class registrants are engaged in professional or continuing education, UW offers several graduate degrees completely online, especially in engineering and math.
Most Popular Fields of Study
There is a strong commitment to sustainability on the UW campus. All electricity is purchased from renewable resources, a large proportion of food available on campus comes from locally produced, organic, and natural sources, Styrofoam is not used on campus, and all new building projects are expected to meet silver or gold LEED standards. The Sustainable Endowments Institute has identified UW as one of the very best universities for sustainable measures in the nation. There is also a farm on-campus which grows crops for student use and promotes urban farming.
UW admits roughly 60% of their applicants, who have an average grade point average (GPA) of around 3.75 and an SAT score around 1,250. That said, the admissions office prides themselves of evaluating each student and his or her situation individually, rather than relying on a computerized profile.
The admissions office looks at a variety of factors when selecting applicants. In general, they seek students who:
• Demonstrate strong academic achievement as shown by GPA, standardized test scores, academic honors, and difficulty of curriculum.
• Have taken advantage of any available college preparatory classes in high school, including International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), or junior college classes.
• Have improved their grades over time.
• Show the ability to work independently, perform research, and engage with other cultures.
Other factors that are likely to influence the admissions office include:
• Showing a commitment to and responsibility about leadership and community service.
• Achieving in education despite disability, personal adversity, or economic disadvantage.
• Demonstrating noteworthy tenaciousness, originality, creativity, or insight.
UW runs a Transition School and Early Entrance Program to track students younger than 15 into the UW college track as well as an Academy for Young Scholars, which allows highly capable high school students to transition directly into the university after their junior year of high school.
UW is committed to promoting equal academic opportunity for low-income prospective students. Their standards for “low-income” are the highest of any public institution in the nation, which means that they offer significantly more financial aid to more students than the national average.
The financial aid office offers over $250 million in aid to more than half of their undergraduates., consisting of work study, loans, grants, and scholarships. UW offers about $15 million annually in scholarship money, helping to fund 2,700 undergraduate educations. Merit-based scholarships are available through the Business School, College of Engineering, College of Forest Resources, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, School of Music, School of Oceanography, University Honors Program, Washington NASA Space grant, the UW Alumnae Board, and the Diversity Scholar Award Program. There are also scholarships available from the state of Washington and the Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTCs.
Student Financial Aid Details
The student newspaper, The Daily of the University of Washington, is published daily in the fall, winter, and spring, and weekly in the summer. It is the second-largest daily paper in the city of Seattle and has earned numerous awards for excellence among college newspapers. The newspaper also offers a half-hour weekly television news shot, The Daily’s Double Shot. The show has a viewership of two million people in an average week.
UW offers a huge number of on-campus housing options for students, including traditional residence halls with smaller living-learning communities within the halls to allow students to foster strong social and academic connections; apartments for upperclassmen and graduate students; and family housing options for students with children. The university works closely with the Fraternity & Sorority Life program to ensure a good working relationship with students involved in Greek organizations. UW also offers assistance to students who wish to live off-campus.
Students with children aged 12 or younger and meet the university’s low income standards are eligible for child care assistance through the University’s Student Parent Resource Center. This program helps to pay costs at any state-licensed or certified facility in the Puget Sound area. Applications for assistance should be made directly to the Resource Center. There are several changing stations around the campus for students with babies and toddlers.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department at UW is known as the Washington Huskies. The intercollegiate varsity sports participate in NCAA Division I-A and the Pacific-10 Conference. The football team has eight Rose Bowl victories and an Orange Bowl title under their belt (as of 2011). Rowing is a popular sport at the university. The men’s crew has won 14 national titles and 18 Olympic gold medals, 15 of them gold. The women’s team has 10 national titles and 2 Olympic gold medals.
A costumed mascot, Harry the Husky, performs at games and other special events, while a live husky named Dubs leads the football team out onto the field for games. (Dubs lives with a local family and has his own blog for his fans.) According to legend, Husky Stadium is the birthplace of the popular phenomenon known as “the wave”.
Students planning to participate in intercollegiate athletics must submit paperwork to the NCAA eligibility clearinghouse.
The faculty includes many professors who are at the top of their respective fields. They include several MacArthur Fellows, National Book Award winners, Nobel Prize laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Medal of Arts winners, Field Medal winners, Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research winners, and more.
Child Care. University of Washington Seattle. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Scholarships. University of Washington Seattle. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.
Student Life. University of Washington Seattle. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.