UW reports nearly 16% more applications

30,000 people apply to be first-year students next fall; Tacoma campus also sees increase

Staff and news servicesMay 26, 2013 

The University of Washington says it received more first-year applications than ever before, and even though the university plans to enroll 150 more Washington students this fall, it was still more difficult to get into the UW this year compared with last.

UW admissions director Philip Ballinger can’t explain why the university saw a nearly 16 percent increase in freshman applications, with more than 30,000 applications for fall 2013 admission, The Seattle Times reported in Friday’s newspaper.

Ballinger speculated, however, the increase might be tied to a decision by the University of California system to tighten admissions for its own resident students.

Meanwhile, UW Tacoma had received 1,164 freshman applications as of May 6, not quite two months before the application period is set to close. That’s more applicants than the downtown Tacoma campus had at the same time last year.

Spokesman John Burkhardt said UWT’s applicant pool has grown steadily since the school started accepting freshmen in 2006.

“We have a goal of enrolling 375 freshmen this year, a record number,” he said.

At the main Seattle campus, the biggest increase in applications came from out-of-state students, but the number of in-state and international applications also grew.

Other Washington four-year colleges and universities saw their applicants hold steady or drop slightly because of a demographic shift. There were fewer Washington state high school graduates in 2013.

Washington State University at Pullman saw applications increase slightly from 13,700 for 2012 to 13,779 for fall 2013. Western Washington University reported a slight drop from 9,791 to 9,500. Applications also dropped at Central, Eastern and Evergreen.

About 61 percent of Washington students who applied to UW received a “Congratulations” letter, telling them they’d been admitted. Last year, about 65 percent were admitted.

The out-of-state applicant pool grew by 23 percent. Those students made up nearly 40 percent of all applications received, and they’ll make up about 17 percent of the freshman class.

Many of those students are from California. Earlier this spring, UC officials said they cut admissions to in-state residents by more than 2 percent, and increased out-of-state and international admissions by a combined total of 21 percent. Out-of-state students pay about double the rate that in-state students pay, and like most states, California is short on cash for higher education.

Ballinger thinks California students may be eyeing UW because of the cuts. And with the UC system accepting more out-of-state students, “it goes in the other direction to some degree, too,” he said — that is, Washington residents may stand a better chance of getting into California schools than they have in the past.

The average GPA for an admitted UW freshman remained 3.77, the same as last year, but the average SAT combined score for critical reading and math rose by about 10 points, to 1,238.

Ballinger said the UW admitted slightly fewer international students than in previous years; he expects 950 students from other countries to become part of the freshman class, or about 15 percent. In previous years, that number has been as high as 18 percent.

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