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Frequently asked questions

Do I apply as a freshman or a transfer student?
You should apply as a freshman if any of the following statements describe you:

  • You plan to enter UW Tacoma immediately after graduating from high school.
  • You are in the Running Start program and you plan to enter UW Tacoma right after graduating (regardless of how many college credits you have earned or will earn).
  • You have never attended college since leaving high school (regardless of your age or whether you ever graduated).

I'm a Running Start student. Do I apply as a freshman or transfer?
Running Start students should use the freshman application. If you are admitted, college credit will be awarded for those college-level courses that have been successfully completed and meet UW transfer credit equivalencies. Running Start students still need to meet high school core requirements and submit SAT or ACT scores.

When is the deadline for freshman admission?
The application deadline for freshman admission is February 15. Applications will continue to be accepted after February 15 and will be considered on a space-available basis. Applicants who submit completed applications by January 15 will receive priority consideration for scholarships.

How do I send my SAT or ACT test scores to UW Tacoma?
Students must arrange to have scores sent directly from the testing agency. Arranging to have scores sent directly from the testing agency will speed up the processing of your application. Learn more about submitting your SAT or ACT scores.

What if I have taken the tests more than once (or taken both tests)?
When students submit scores from more than one sitting of the same test (for example, March and October SAT) or scores from the SAT and ACT, the highest combined score from a single test date will be used. The best mathematics score from one test date will not be combined with the best verbal score from another test date.

How are freshman applicants evaluated?
Applicants will be evaluated on a number of factors, including: grades and test scores; rigor of curriculum; activities and accomplishments; educational goals; diverse life experiences; and first-generation status. The factors are not of equal weight and no single factor will be sufficient to confer admission.

The university will offer admission to applicants who will most benefit from and contribute to the university's educational community. In selecting the freshman class, the university does not make admission decisions solely on the basis of past academic accomplishments. The intention is to enroll a freshman class that, as a whole, represents the diversity of our community.

What is the average GPA/test score for incoming UW Tacoma students?
You can find statistics on the incoming freshman class here (PDF). It is important to keep in mind that your admission is based on many factors besides your GPA, including the rigor of your curriculum, test scores, extra-curricular activities and your essay.

Does the major I list on my application affect my chances of admission?
No, we do not use your intended major (or lack thereof) in the admissions process. We ask the question only to be able to provide you information on the program you are interested in  and academic guidance. You are not locked in to the major you select on your application and, in fact, are not required to select a major until the beginning of the junior year, so you have a lot of flexibility to explore majors.

Can I get credit for Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores?
Typically, a score of 3 or 4 (for AP courses) and 5 or higher (for IB courses) is required to earn credit.

Is foreign language required?
Study of a foreign language must be completed before you can earn your degree. This can be satisfied by completion of either:

  • Two years of the same language in high school
  • 10 credits of the same language in college

It is strongly recommended that students complete this requirement in high school. UW Tacoma currently offers a very limited selection of language classes in Spanish and Chinese.

Can I still get financial aid if I apply after February 28?
UW Tacoma's Office of Student Financial Aid will strive to ensure that students receive aid commensurate with their need no matter when they apply. But the earlier you apply, the more aid options will be available.

What housing options are available on the UW Tacoma campus?
UW Tacoma currently offers student housing at the Court 17 Apartments. There are also a variety of housing options within a short distance from campus. More information on housing.

Can home-schooled students be considered for freshman admission?

Homeschooled students bring unique qualities to our campus, and we welcome their interest in UW Tacoma. The following guidelines can help homeschooled applicants become eligible for admission consideration.

College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR)

All freshman applicants are required to meet minimum academic distribution requirements as set by the Washington Student Achievement Council and the faculty of the University of Washington.

Test Score Requirements

CADR subjects completed at a high school or regionally accredited college do not require test score validation. CADR subjects completed through homeschooled coursework require validating test scores.

The UW Tacoma does not have an established list of predetermined minimum scores but reviews each homeschooled applicant in light of their unique educational history.

CADR Examination Options

Scores from ACT with Writing or SAT Reasoning Test are required of all freshman applicants and may also serve as a validation option for some CADR subjects.

English: SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with Writing
Mathematics: SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with Writing
Lab Science: Validation is required for at least one of the following: Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. ACT with Writing or SAT Subject Test or Advanced Placement (AP)
World Languages: SAT Subject Test or Advanced Placement (AP)
Social Science: No additional test required.
Fine Visual & Performing Arts: No additional test required.

Required Documents


An official homeschool transcript is required for all homeschooled coursework. For each subject studied, the transcript must include:
Course title, Duration of study, Short description of course content, and Grade for performance (or comparable qualitative assessment).
To be considered official, the homeschool transcript must be signed by the teacher of record; this may be a parent.
Official transcripts are also required for any coursework completed at other high schools or regionally accredited colleges.

Please contact an admissions adviser for more information.

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