WWU tops 10,000 freshman applications for the first time

For the first time in its history, Western Washington University received more than 10,000 freshman applications for fall. University officials say Western’s reputation for academic excellence and value are important factors drawing students to WWU.

The deadline for freshman applications for fall quarter 2016 was Jan. 31. As of that date, Western had received 10,272 freshman applications for about 2,800 freshman slots for fall quarter, up by over 600 applications from last year and exceeding all previous years’ totals.

“We’re glad to see Western’s reputation for an outstanding and affordable education catching on with more and more college-bound students.  Western really occupies a ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to size, exceptional undergraduate research and learning opportunities, and the chance to work closely with first-rate faculty.  And it doesn’t hurt to be a stone’s throw from the North Cascades, Vancouver, B.C. and the San Juan Islands,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Applications from students of color are at 3,678, up 101 over the previous year, and nearly an all-time record number. Applications from first-generation students (those whose parents did not attend college) are at 3,453, up by 139 over the previous year, and an all-time record number. And high-achieving students from all backgrounds who have been admitted with highest honors or distinction also are up, though those exact numbers won’t be known for a few weeks.

"Western really occupies a ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to size, exceptional undergraduate research and learning opportunities, and the chance to work closely with first-rate faculty."

“The increases Western continues to receive in freshman admission applications affirms we are doing a good job of meeting the needs of students and parents in the state of Washington and beyond,” said Clara Capron, WWU assistant vice president for Enrollment and Student Services. “We strive to provide a quality education at an affordable cost and are committed to helping our students succeed throughout the course of their Western experience.  Also, the fact that Western is located in a uniquely beautiful and livable part of the country adds to the enjoyment of attending classes here.”

As part of efforts to match available resources with enrollment, Western anticipates a steady overall enrollment to continue at about 15,000 students.

There is a determined effort on the part of Western to hold costs down as much as possible, without compromising strong academic quality. That combination of outstanding education with value are contributing factors as students make Western their destination of choice. Those same factors are reflected in national rankings; for example, Western is one of the 100 best values in public colleges, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. See: the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2016.

Western also is the highest-ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2015 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, which are based on a variety of criteria including academic reputation, student selectivity and retention, faculty resources, peer assessment and financial resources.