General Information for Applicants to all Colleges and Universities

  • High School Transcript

    The transcript must present the applicant's record for grades 9-11.  Depending on the deadline, the transcript may also reflect the 7th semester (first half of senior year).  A transcript is official if it is sent directly by the high school to the college/university or sealed by the school and mailed or delivered by the applicant. If the applicant opens the envelope, it is no longer official.

    Test Scores: SAT I or ACT

    Test scores are official if they are sent directly from the testing agency to the institution or sent directly from the high school (handwritten scores are not acceptable).  To speed up processing of applications, applicants should, at the time they register for SAT/ACT, request that their scores be sent directly to the institutions to which they plan to apply.

    Transfer Applicants - Contact each institution for specific instructions.
    Applicants Expecting to Participate in Athletic Programs - Contact each institution for detailed information.
    Running Start and College-in-the-High-School Participants - Consult each institution for detailed information about its admission and transfer credit policies.

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

    If you are a resident of a WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) state, you are eligible to request a reduced WUE tuition rate of 150% of the resident rate at more than 150 participating institutions in the West. The WUE database includes which institutions participate, and which programs are available at the WUE rate. More information, including how to request the reduced rate, can be found at the WICHE/WUE website: http://www.wiche.edu/wue.

    WICHE states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    Applicants with Disabilities - For accommodations in the application process, contact each institution or the Washington State Relay Service TTY at 800/833-6388.

    Freshman Admission to Public Baccalaureate Colleges and Universities in the State of Washington - Check each college’s website for specific admission information and requirements.

    Minimum College Admission Requirements 

    New minimum college admission standards apply to students who aspire to enter a baccalaureate institution directly from high school. They spell out the numbers and types of high school credits needed for college admission.

    Required courses are known as the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR). Completing the CADR Courses does not guarantee admission to college. The CADR Courses are one of a number of criteria institutions consider when making admission decisions.

OSPI overview text

  • Overview of Minimum College Admission Standards

    Revised 9/2014

    The Washington Student Achievement Council Sets Minimum Standards

    The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has responsibility to: establish minimum admission standards for four-year institutions, including a requirement that coursework in American Sign Language or an American Indian Language, shall satisfy any requirement for the instruction in a language other than English that the board or the institutions may establish as a general undergraduate admissions requirement. (RCW288.77.020, Section 7a)

    Freshman Admission Policy

    This overview of freshman admission requirements applies to all applicants to the public four-year colleges who enter directly from high school, and students who enter college with few than 40 credits of college-level coursework or equivalent.

    Running Start and other dual-credit earning students, including those who have earned more than 40 quarter hours of college-level credit, who enter a public baccalaureate institution directly from high school, must meet minimum college admission standards:

    • 2.0 Minimum GPA
    • Official SAT/ACT test scores sent directly to the college or university (Fee waivers for these tests are available – consult with your high school counselor).
    • CADRs – (College Academic Distribution Requirements)

    College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR)

    CADRs reflect the minimum number of credits required in six subject areas that students must earn to be eligible for routine admission consideration by four-year public baccalaureate institutions.

    CADRs guide students to take high school courses which will prepare them for college-level coursework. High school courses meeting CADRs are determined by the school district and are noted on the student’s transcript with a “B” designation.

    CADRs are not the same as high school graduation requirements which are determined by the SBE and local school districts. S

    Students who plan to attend a four-year college or university should be aware of both their high school graduation requirements and the CADRs

    Meeting the minimum college admission standards does not guarantee admission to a public baccalaureate institution. Therefore, students are encouraged to go beyond meeting minimum college admission standards to improve their chances for gaining entry to a public baccalaureate institution.

    Students should obtain admission information directly from the institution they wish to attend.

    Holistic Review of Applications for Admission

    Currently, each of the public baccalaureate institutions employs a holistic review process for at least a portion of their applicants. Holistic review is an additional means of ensuring students access and may include a review of many factors beyond GPA, SAT/ACT scores and completion of CADRs, which indicate evidence of the student’s preparedness for college

    In cases where students do not meet the minimum college admission standards, the policy provides for alternative admission policies which may be more appropriate for certain students. Each student is encouraged to contact the admissions office of the institution they wish to attend if they have questions.

    Further Details

    K-12 and college personnel who advise students on admission to public four-year colleges and universities should review the d4tailed version of the College Academic Distribution Requirements at:
    http://www. WSAC.wa.gov/college-admission
    Relevant Legislation
    RCW 28A.230.097 (AP computer science)
    RCW 28B.77.020 (setting admissions standards)
    WAC 392.415.070 (designating CADRs on high school transcripts
    Students should consult with their local high school to obtain complete information about minimum college admission standards, and to be aware of which course at their high school meet CADR guidelines, as determined by the local school district.

    A PDF version of this document is available HERE


    For students entering four-year colleges or universities

    College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs) Coursework

    (See details at http://www.wsac.wa.gov/college-admission)
    Students are encouraged to take a minimum of three credits of CADR courses each year of high school, including the senior year.

    Students who take college level course work and complete 5 quarter credits or 3 semester credits, will have earned the equivalent of one CADR credit. In addition, pre-college course in English and math may be equivalent to CADR courses, provided they are designed to meet the same learning outcomes as the high school courses for which they substitute.

    Students may meet high school requirements with courses taken in middle school, provided the courses are part of a sequence which is successfully continued in high school, or the courses are included on the high school transcript as high school-level courses.

    Previous minimum college admissions standards used the term ‘year’ to designate completion of what is now referred to as ‘one credit’ of high school coursework. The use of ‘credit’ recognizes that the school districts may use alternative or block scheduling that permits students to earn a full credit in a given subject area in less than an academic year.

    English – 4 credits

    Including 3 credits of college preparatory composition or literature. One credit may be satisfied by courses in drama as literature, public speaking, debate, journalistic writing, business English, English as a Second Language or Learning Support English. Passing the state mandated high school assessment in Reading is equivalent to earning the first 2 CADR credits of high school English.

    Mathematics – 3 credits 

    Algebra I, geometry, and Algebra II (intermediate algebra), or integrated Math I, II, III. Passing the state mandated high school assessment in math is equivalent to earning the first 2 CADR credits of high school math (Algebra I & Geometry or integrated Math I and II).
    Note: Successful completion of math through pre-calculous meets the requirement for 3 credits of math and the senior-year math requirement (below).

    Senior Year Math-Based Quantitative Course 

    During the senior year of high school, students must earn a credit in a math-based quantitative course. This requirement may be met through enrollment in one of the three required math courses listed above; by completing a math-based quantitative course like statistics, applied math, appropriate career and technical courses, a senior year AP Computer Science course, or by completing an algebra-based science course taken during the senior year that would satisfy this requirement and part of the science requirement below. Note: the senior-year math requirement does not mean a 4th credit of math is required, nor does it require a higher level of math; the intent is for seniors to take meaningful math. Exception: Completion of higher-level math prior to the senior year exempts students from the senior-year quantitative course requirement (e.g., pre-calculus, math analysis, or calculus).

    Science – 2 credits

    Laboratory science are required for admission to public baccalaureate institutions beginning summer of 2010. One credit must be in an algebra-based science course as determined by the school district. One credit must be in biology, chemistry, or physics (this course may also meet the algebra-based requirement). Principles of technology7 courses taught in Washington High Schools may satisfy the laboratory science requirement. Note: Western Washington University specifies that one credit must be an algebra-based chemistry or physics course.

    World Languages – 2 credits

    Must be earned in the same World Language, Native American Language, or American Sign Language. Schools may award credit based on a district approved competency assessment consistent with the State Board of Education policy and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. Note: A World Language course taken in middle school may satisfy one credit of the requirement if the second year level course is completed in high school grades 9-12.

    Social Science – 3 credits 

    Of history of other social science (e.g. anthropology, contemporary world problems, economics, geography, government, political science, psychology).

    Arts – 1 credit 

    Of fine, visual, or performing arts – or 1 additional credit in other CADR academic subject areas as defined above. Acceptable course work in the fine, visual of performing arts includes art appreciation, band, ceramics, choir, dance, dramatics performance and production, drawing, fiber arts, graphic arts, metal design, music appreciation, music theory, orchestra, painting, photography, print making or sculpture. Note: the University of Washington and Western Washington University specify one-half credit in fine, visual or performing arts. The other half may be in the arts or an academic elective.

    Students should consult with their local high school to obtain complete information about minimum college admission standards, and to be aware of which courses at their high school meet CADR guidelines, as determined by the local school district.

    A PDF version of this document is available HERE