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First-Year Student Requirements

We take your application for admission to Washington University very seriously. Our admissions committee reviews and assesses each application personally. Admission to WashU is both selective and competitive.

Washington University is looking for students with a high school diploma or equivalent who took a challenging college-preparatory curriculum in high school complemented by extracurricular activities, community service, and work experience. Your senior-year transcript should show that you continue to take demanding courses. Most applicants take advantage of honors, advanced placement, and International Baccalaureate courses, if offered by their high schools.

Most candidates’ transcripts include:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics (architecture, business, and engineering strongly recommend calculus)
  • 3-4 years of laboratory science (engineering recommends chemistry and physics)
  • 3-4 years of history or social science
  • At least 2 years of the same foreign language since the ninth grade
  • The College of Arts & Sciences recommends both chemistry and physics for students who plan to do coursework in pre-medicine or the natural sciences.

Other important parts of your application:

  • Grades and class rank (if your school ranks students)
  • Counselor and teacher recommendations.
  • Essays
    • Beginning with the fall 2019 application cycle, we are implementing a supplemental essay (of 250 words) in addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application essay. This will allow students to further express their interest in their academic area of choice. At the same time, this essay will serve as the merit scholarship essay for scholarships awarded by our undergraduate divisions.
  • Extracurricular and community activities
  • Standardized test scores
    • Either SAT or ACT, writing is not required. (See Frequently Asked Questions about SAT and ACT scores)
    • SAT Subject tests are not required.
    • WashU now accepts self-reported scores on the Common and Coalition applications. We hope this policy will make the application more accessible for you, since you will no longer have to formally request scores and pay for them to be sent to WashU. If you enroll at WashU and submitted unofficial scores, we will then ask you to send official score reports from testing agencies (ACT code: 2386; SAT code: 6929).
    • Test results from any of your high school years are acceptable, though we encourage senior-year testing.
    • We consider only the highest individual scores, whenever they occurred.
    • The last test date accepted will be the December testing (October if applying Early Decision I).
  • A portfolio is required for applicants to the College of Art. Portfolios are strongly encouraged for the College of Architecture.

WashU now accepts self-reported scores on the Common and Coalition applications. We hope this policy will make the application more accessible for you, since you will no longer have to formally request scores and pay for them to be sent to WashU. If you enroll at WashU and submitted unofficial scores, we will then ask you to send official score reports from testing agencies.

Washington University College Codes:

  • ACT: 2386
  • SAT: 6929
  • TOEFL: 6929

Early Decision

If Washington University is clearly your first-choice school, we encourage you to apply under the Early Decision option. Early Decision candidates receive admission and financial aid decisions earlier than regular decision candidates.

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