Important policy updates for applicants in 2022

As part of our commitment to always put students first, Washington University continues to work toward a more accessible and equitable review process. We have made the following policy changes for students applying for first-year undergraduate admission in fall 2022.

WashU is now need blind


WashU will no longer consider an applicant’s financial situation or ability to pay when making admissions decisions. Additionally, WashU continues to guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students admitted to the university. So, whether a student needs a small amount of assistance or the total cost of attendance, they will be considered for admission based on their abilities, not on their ability to pay.

New demonstrated interest policy effective immediately

As part of our commitment to ensure all applicants, regardless of financial circumstance, ability to travel or familiarity with the college admissions process, receive equal consideration in our review and selection of applicants, WashU will no longer consider demonstrated interest (such as visiting campus, attending an event, or emailing with a member of the admissions staff) as a factor in making admission decisions or in the admission decision process. In doing so, we can create and implement a truly equitable admissions process and support our goal to build a community of talented and diverse young people. 

Test optional policy for fall 2022

WashU has extended our test optional policy for applicants in Fall 2022. We believe standardized test scores provide us with information about an applicant’s preparation for success at WashU. However, given the current context, students who are unable to, or who elect not to, submit SAT or ACT scores, will have the standardized testing requirement waived.    

  • First-year and transfer applicants for Fall 2022 have a choice about whether to submit standardized test scores or use the waiver. 
  • Applicants who have taken the SAT or ACT and feel their scores reflect their abilities should submit them. 
  • Applicants who do not have scores, had limited opportunity to sit for exams more than once, or who do not feel their scores accurately reflect their ability and do not wish to share them, should select the waiver option. 
  • All applicants, whether or not they submit standardized testing, will receive full consideration for admission.

Please Note: We will continue to require evidence of English Language proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test) for international applicants for whom English is a second language. 

Common questions

Need blind

Q: What does “need blind” mean?

A: WashU will not consider an applicant’s financial situation or ability to pay when making admissions decisions. Additionally, WashU continues to guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students admitted to the university. So, whether a student needs a small amount of assistance or the total cost of attendance, they will be considered for admission based on their abilities, not on their ability to pay.

Q: Why is this important?

A: We want to make WashU accessible to every qualified student. We do this by removing barriers to admission and providing financial resources to make sure all qualified students are able to attend, regardless of their ability to pay. In our review, we look for evidence of academic potential, strong personal characteristics and qualities, activities and commitment, and potential for fit and engagement in the WashU community.

Q: Why is this possible now?

A: This investment in our students, which the university is calling Gateway to Success, is possible largely as a result of the extraordinary 65% return on the university’s Managed Endowment Pool for the 2020-21 fiscal year. It includes $800 million in endowed funding to support need-blind undergraduate admissions.

Q: What about people who can afford tuition? Will this make it harder for non-aid applicants to be admitted?

A: All applications will be reviewed in a holistic and individualized manner with one goal in mind: to get to know the applicant as a person and understand how that student would both benefit from and contribute to the WashU experience

Q: If you are “need blind” do I still need to submit a FAFSA and apply for Financial Aid?

A: Yes! It is important that you complete your financial aid application by the stated deadline for your decision plan. We will use the information in your financial aid application to ensure we are meeting 100% of your demonstrated need.

Q: Does “need blind” mean that you won’t meet all of my financial need?

A: No, “need blind” simply means that whether you can pay tuition or not, you will be equally considered for admission. We still guarantee to meet 100% of need for all admitted students.

Q: Does this apply to all applicants?

A: Our need blind admissions policy applies to all first-year domestic applicants for undergraduate admission. Not included in this program are international applicants, transfer students, and students admitted from our wait list, although we meet 100% of need for these students.

Q: Does WashU meet 100% demonstrated need for international students?

A: Yes, although international students’ applications for admission are considered on a need-aware basis, if admitted we will meet 100% of the demonstrated need for first-year international students.

Demonstrated interest

Q: What does it mean that you won’t take demonstrated interest into consideration in the selection process?

We believe it is important for prospective students to engage with us as a means of learning about WashU and determining whether we offer the type of personal and professional growth they are looking for. Historically, we have tracked attendance for our programming and campus visits, both as a means of understanding the effectiveness of our programs as well as how interested a student might be in applying and enrolling. Moving forward, as we review applications, we will not look to see how a student has engaged with us and use that information to help in our decision-making process.

Q: If you aren’t going to look to see if I have demonstrated interest, should I still visit or have an interview?

We encourage you to engage with us authentically in any means at your disposal (visit, interview, attend in-person or virtual sessions, communicate with your admissions officer) for one reason: so you can learn more about WashU and decide if you would like to apply or enroll. The more you engage with us, the more you will understand about our offerings and the people that make up our community. But do it because you want to learn about us, not because you think we expect you to.

Q: If you aren’t tracking demonstrated interest, how will you know that I’m really interested?

Depending on your chosen application path, you have a couple of options. First, put your best foot forward in your application. Use it to show us who you are as a person and as a student. Take care in writing your personal essay and short response. Not only will it be used to identify scholarship winners, but it will also help us understand what you will bring with you to our community and what, we hope, you will take away with you when you leave. Second, if WashU is your first choice, and you’ve carefully considered it with your parent or guardian (including the right financial fit), then you may choose to apply under one of our early decision programs. Applying Early Decision I or Early Decision II helps us understand how excited and interested an applicant is about WashU. And, like Regular Decision, we meet 100% of demonstrated need for all students admitted Early Decision.

Q: Why are you making these changes?

We continually review our policies and practices to be sure they are as equitable as possible. We understand that not all students are able to visit campus or have the opportunity to engage with us otherwise. We also know that we are unable to provide an interview to every student who would like one. We acknowledge that our process would be more equitable and accessible if we discontinued considering demonstrated interest. In addition, we recognize that given the current situation with COVID-19 there are applicants who are unable to, or who elect not to, submit SAT or ACT scores.

Test optional

Q: Does the test optional policy apply to international students too?

A: Our standardized testing policy for the Class of 2026 applies to international students as well. Learn more about our existing test-flexible policy for students educated outside the United States. However, we will continue to require evidence of English Language proficiency (through either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test) for international applicants for whom English is a second language. 

Q: How will you review my application without test scores?

A: We take a holistic approach to the application review process in order to understand each student’s educational aspirations and academic readiness to ensure the student can thrive at WashU. As part of that process we promise to:

  • Review the whole application and the whole person within the context of their unique circumstances. 
  • Understand how a student has embraced opportunities and encountered obstacles. 
  • Be open-minded and approach our work in the spirit of advocacy.

Q: If I don’t submit test scores, are there other things I should send?

A: It is important for us to provide greater flexibility for students to demonstrate academic preparedness in multiple ways.

We invite students to share with us information that they feel best highlights their academic potential. While no specific items are required, examples might include: 

  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher in a discipline related to what the student wants to study (for example, a math teacher for students interested in STEM or Business)
  • Other forms of standardized testing or academic assessments (AP or state exams)  
  • Making full use of the application questions to highlight key involvements in extracurricular, research, work or family commitments. 

Q: Do I need to submit test scores to be considered for a Signature Scholar Program?

A: No. Test scores are not required to apply for a Signature Scholar Program.

Q: I am homeschooled. Do I have to submit testing? 

A: Our testing policy applies to homeschooled students. Applicants for the class entering in Fall 2022 have the option of whether to submit standardized test scores when they submit their application. Students who are unable to, or who elect not to, submit SAT or ACT scores, will have the standardized testing requirement waived.  

Q: If I am disciplined at school for participating in a protest about an issue that is important to me, will that affect my chance to attend WashU?

A: We encourage civic engagement. If you are disciplined by your high school for engaging in demonstrations, that disciplinary action will not have a negative impact on how your application is reviewed. If you have already been admitted, your acceptance will not be rescinded.