Writing Skills Assessment

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Grand Staircase at UW Tacoma campus

Dougan building in winter, 2019

The ability to communicate ideas clearly and concisely in writing is a key skill for success in college and in your career. For your Milgard Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration application to be considered, you must take the Writing Skills Assessment (WSA).

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Autumn 2020 and Winter 2021 Applicants 

Due to the complex situation we are facing from Covid 19, until further notice, the UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business will offer three options for the writing skills assessment admissions requirement:

  1. Writing Skills Assessment (WSA registation for winter 2021 admission is closed)
  2. TOEFL/IELTS score*
  3. Combination of English composition course prerequisite and the Personal Statement (select this option on the BABA application)

This applies to the UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business applicants. Please check the website for UW Bothell and UW Seattle admissions requirements.

*Applicants to the Milgard School of Business who were required to show proof of English Proficiency for admission to UW Tacoma have the option to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores in lieu of taking the WSA (complete test by May 15 for autumn and October 15 for winter admission). 

Timeline for Milgard School of Business Applicants

Applying for... WSA must be taken on or before
Autumn admission May 15
Winter admission October 15


Registration Instructions 


The WSA registration tool allows an applicant to register for a WSA offered by any of the Univeristy of Washington business schools.

  1. UW NetID is required for login. Students may log into the Tri-campus WSA registration portal (the tool is on the Foster School of Business website) with their UW NetID. If you do not have a NetID yet, there are instructions on the registration portal with links on how to obtain a sponsored NetID.
  2. Identity must be verifiable. Students must indicate which type of photo identification they will bring to the test session in their registration form.   The valid identification types are: passport, state issued driver's license, state issued ID card, Husky card, other college photo ID card, or military photo ID card. The name on your photo ID must match the name on your registration form. The University of Washington welcomes undocumented students; the Washington State Department of Licensing issues photo identification to Washington state residents.
  3. Test administration type must be chosen in advance. Students typically register for the Standard WSA Assessment, these sessions are offered on all University of Washington campuses (Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell). See below for Disability and Off-site testing accomodations.
  4. Registration fee is paid online prior to selecting a WSA test session ($35 standard assessment fee/$45 for out of area).
    • Please note the registration system accepts payment even if there are NO available tests remaining in the test period. If you pay after registration closes for the final test being offered in the testing period, then you will log back in at the start of the next testing period to select a WSA session.
  5. Once paid, students will select from test sessions available at any University of Washington campus. Test session registration closes when all available seats are full or 2 days prior to the test (11:59 PM on Tuesday before any Friday WSA), whichever happens first. 
  6. ​​​​​​Students will receive a confirmation email from the campus where they are taking the WSA, which will include the specific campus location of the test.
  7. Your WSA fee is non-refundable. Please read the details below about Refunds and Rescheduling.

Students may take the Writing Skills Assessment once per testing period. The two testing periods are:

Autumn quarter application testing period: December 1-May 31
Winter quarter application testing period: June 1-November 30

About the Writing Skills Assessment

The WSA is given in a proctored setting in which no dictionaries or calculators are allowed. The assessment takes 90 minutes and consists of two essays: a Persuasion Task based on a statement, and a Position Task based on a short scenario. No special business knowledge is required or expected for either writing task.

Each Task is scored on a six-point scale. The two scores are averaged to create your assessment score. Scores are based on the degree to which each essay:

  • Addresses the writing task effectively and insightfully, relativity, and provides a well-reasoned solution that displays analysis of data (numerical or verbal);
  • Is well organized with a clear overall strategy.
  • Fully developed concept with pertinent support for the intended reader.
  • Has consistent facility with written English (grammar, syntax, vocabulary, punctuation, and spelling).

The Writing Skills Assessment may be taken once per application period.

The WSA is applicable at all three University of Washington campuses.  

Preparing for the Assessment

Disability & Off-Site Accommodations

Disability Accommodation Exams

If you require disability accommodations, please select the Special Accommodations testing option in the registration portal. You will be required to upload your accommodation plan. You will be contacted to set up your WSA testing date and time by a representative at the campus you select for testing. You must pay for and schedule your WSA no later than 2 weeks before the WSA deadline of the campus(es) where you will apply.

Testing with special accommodations is available for students with current, documented disabilities. You will be required to upload supporting documentation in PDF format in the registration form and with the campus' Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) before . Documentation must include an academic accommodations plan from your current institution. We do not need, and please do not submit, an evaluation from your health care provider. Your accommodation plan will be verified by DRS and then you will be contacted to schedule a testing time during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. The cost for on-site special accommodation registration is $35.

Off-Site WSA

If you live more than 50 miles from or have more than a 90-minute commute to any UW campus, you may select Off-Site Testing option. This allows you to take the WSA at an institution other than the University of Washington with an approved proctor. If you require special accommodations, please include supporting documentation with your registration form. Note: International testing is not available.You must pay for and register no later than one month in advance of the WSA deadline of the campus(es) to which you are applying.  You must arrange for a location and find a faculty or staff member at your current institution who will administer the WSA, maintain security, and return materials to the University of Washington Undergraduate Program Office (UPO). In the registration form, you will be required to provide the name and email address of your exam administrator. The administrator will be contacted by email to confirm that they are willing to proctor the WSA for you. The administrator you identified must then complete the "Agreement to Administer the Writing Skills Assessment" form. We will independently validate that your administrator is an employee of an accredited institute of higher education and is qualified to act as a proctor.
Materials will be shipped to your administrator within two weeks after the UPO receives your registration form. Schedule enough time for your completed assessment to reach the UPO by the application deadline for the business school you wish to attend.
Once your administrator receives the materials, you will have a maximum of 10 days to schedule your WSA, complete it and have your administrator return the materials to the UPO.
The cost to register for an off-site exam is $45. You are responsible for any additional fees charged by your administrator or institution.

Refunds and Rescheduling

Refund Policy

The $35.00 assessment fee is non-refundable. If a student does not reschedule (see rescheduling details below) and does not show up to their test session, they will be marked as a "No Show" for that test date and will be able to log into the Foster School WSA registration portal the day after the missed session to pay for and register for a new test session.


If you have paid for and selected a test session, then you may log back into the Foster School WSA registration portal to change your WSA test session. Assuming space availability a student may change their WSA date/time until ONE week before their originally scheduled testing session.  For example, if I register to take the WSA on January 18, 2019, then I have until Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 11:59 PM to change my test session.   

If you have questions about the WSA, please e-mail uwtwsa@uw.edu.