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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice


Admission to Willamette University is selective. Each year approximately 450 first-year and 50 transfer students are enrolled for the Fall semester from a group of slightly more 3,000+ applicants. As a selective institution, Willamette University does not operate on a rolling admission basis. Willamette reviews all applicants as a group, selecting those students who show the greatest likelihood of benefiting from and contributing to the academic and co-curricular richness of the campus community.

Each application is reviewed for its individual merits, with consideration for diversity as well as a balance of academic and personal strengths. Although a personal interview is not required for admission, it is strongly encouraged. A student body demonstrating high intellectual achievement, curiosity, social awareness, interesting personal qualities and ethnic, religious, socioeconomic and geographic diversity is sought.

In keeping with Willamette's academic nature, academic transcripts receive the greatest consideration in the admission decision. Preference for first-year applicants is given to those who have completed a minimum of four years of college preparatory English and mathematics and three years each of foreign language, laboratory science and social studies (history). It is expected that a student's work in academic subjects will include Honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses where those are available in the secondary school curriculum.

The record of a transfer applicant is reviewed in much the same way except it is the college record that is given greatest emphasis. Successful transfer applicants should present previous college coursework suitable in subject matter and level of challenge for transfer to a rigorous liberal arts and sciences program.


Willamette offers three options for applying for the Fall semester. Early Action I has a postmark deadline of November 1 and notification by December 15. Early Action II applications should be postmarked by December 1 and the decisions will be mailed by January 15. Early Action is non-binding, requiring no non-refundable Advance Deposit until the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1. The Regular Decision deadline (postmark) is February 1 and notification is made by April 1.

To receive maximum consideration for admission, as well as merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid, all application credentials should be postmarked by the respective deadline. Late applications will be considered if space is available. Willamette also accepts applications from students wishing to enter the university in the Spring semester. The postmark deadline for Spring applications is November 1 with notification by December 1.

Scholarship (merit-based) consideration is given to all applicants at each stage in the admission cycle based on the quality of the academic record. All students wishing to be considered for need-based financial aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible and no later than February 1 for priority consideration. Students applying for an Early Action admission cycle who wish to be considered for need-based aid must also file the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE (CSS PROFILE) by November 1 (EA 1) or December 1 (EA II) in order to receive a priority, need-based estimated financial aid award.

National Candidate Reply Date (May 1)

May 1 is the nationally agreed upon reply date by which students are expected to notify colleges of their plans to attend (or not). To reserve a place in Willamette's entering class, the Acceptance of Enrollment & Housing Intent Form and the $200 non-refundable Advance Deposit must be postmarked no later than May 1. Deposits postmarked after May 1 may be returned if the entering class has already been filled. If the class is not complete by this date, later deposits will be accepted on a space available basis.

First Year Application Procedures

To apply for admission to First Year standing, the applicant must submit:

  • An Application for Admission accompanied by the $50.00 non-refundable fee. The application fee is waived for students who submit their applications online. Willamette uses the Common Application© exclusively. The form can be accessed at
  • An official secondary school transcript showing grades and courses from the freshman year through the first trimester or semester of the senior year. For students applying Early Action, the transcript should be complete through the junior year of high school.
  • The School Report Form (counselor recommendation) completed by the secondary school guidance counselor or a teacher of an academic subject (i.e., English, math, history, science, etc.)
  • A second Teacher Recommendation also completed by a teacher of an academic subject (i.e., English, math, history, science, etc.)
  • Standardized test results from the SAT-I or the ACT with the writing section . Students are strongly advised to take one or both of these tests early in the spring of the junior year. This allows for an opportunity to re-take the tests, if the applicant desires, in the fall of the senior year with sufficient time to meet application deadlines.

Transfer Application Procedures

To apply for admission as a transfer student, the applicant must submit:

  • An Application for Admission accompanied by the $50.00 non-refundable fee. The application fee is waived for students who submit their applications online. Willamette uses the Common Application© exclusively. The form can be accessed at
  • Official transcript(s) of all previous college work. The names of all colleges previously attended must be listed on the Application. Failure to do so constitutes cause for cancellation of the student's registration at Willamette. Transfer students must be free from both academic and disciplinary action at all colleges attended previously in order to be eligible for admission to Willamette.
  • An official secondary school transcript.
  • A Transfer Reference Form completed by an academic advisor or professor from the college the student currently attends (or most recently attended). If the majority of coursework was completed at a different institution than the one currently attended, a professor/advisor from the former institution should complete this form. Students who have not been enrolled in college for five years or more consult the Office of Admission to determine an appropriate source for the transfer recommendation.

Home-schooled Students

Willamette University is interested in enrolling students from diverse educational institutions, including those who have received much or all of their education in non-traditional settings. Home-schooled students whose goals and values complement the mission and philosophy of the university, and who are therefore likely to benefit greatly from all that the campus offers, are encouraged to apply. Students who are successful at Willamette are typically self-directed, creative and service-minded. Any information the applicant can present that demonstrates these qualities will allow us to make more informed comparisons to other applicants.

The guidelines below represent our best effort to fairly assess a home-schooled student's educational preparation and achievements and to appropriately make comparisons to the educational achievements of other applicants in our competitive admission process.

Home-schooled applicants must include the following information in addition to completing the Common Application©:

  • A portfolio of work to include samples of work from the two most recent years; a comprehensive list of books/texts read over the course of the secondary education; a detailed outline of the curriculum studies during this same period; and a list of any activities in which the student participated outside of the home during the secondary education. NOTE: It is assumed that a home-schooled student's secondary education will encompass a four-year period of study, allowing for appropriate sequences of coursework in the college preparatory subjects of English, mathematics, foreign language, laboratory sciences and history/social studies.
    • One sample of work should be a writing sample such as a term paper, thesis or literature analysis.
    • The curriculum outline can include descriptions of course work/content from recognized, published curriculum guides and programs or a detailed transcript from the teacher/parent.
    • The list of books should include only those read as part of the academic program.
  • SAT I or ACT test with writing scores.
  • A minimum of two letters of recommendations, one from a parent/teacher and one from a non-family individual who is knowledgeable about the student's academic abilities/potential or who can address personal qualities such as responsibility, creativity, service and initiative.
  • An interview and campus visit is strongly recommended. The interview may be with an admission counselor or an alumni admission representative.

Home-schooled students who have completed course work at an accredited college or university should include official transcripts of that work. No more than eight Willamette credits (the equivalent of 32 semester or 48 quarter credit hours) will be granted for credit completed prior to what would be considered the high school graduation date. Students who complete an Associate of Arts degree from a community college or the equivalent of a high school diploma with community college courses will enter Willamette with no more than sophomore standing.

Home-schooled applicants who are admitted to Willamette University are eligible to apply for federal and state financial aid programs. In addition, admitted home-schooled students are considered for the same merit-based scholarships as all other first-year applicants.

Transfer Credit/Advanced Standing

Transfer Students

In most cases, courses taken at regionally accredited colleges or universities will receive full credit if they are comparable to courses offered at Willamette. Courses with grades below a C- (C minus) will not receive credit. Six quarter hours or four semester hours of transfer credit equal one Willamette credit. Although students admitted with a college transfer Associate of Arts degree from an accredited community college will be automatically granted 15 Willamette credits (Junior standing) upon entrance, satisfaction of specific general requirements and major requirements will be determined on the basis of a course-by-course evaluation of the transcript(s). A maximum of 16 credits (15 credits for junior/community college) will be granted to transfer students.

Once a Willamette student has accumulated a total of 15 Willamette credits (60 semester or 90 quarter hours), including any transfer work, no further credits from a two-year college will be accepted toward the degree, although such courses do remain part of the official record.

Freshmen Students with Advanced Standing

Willamette University encourages student participation in the Advanced Placement (AP) program sponsored by the College Board and the International Baccalaureate program.

All AP scores of "4" and "5" will be granted a minimum of one credit (4 semester hours). For a current listing of AP course equivalencies, contact the Registrar's Office Willamette will grant one credit (4 semester hours) for each IB Higher Level examination passed with a score of "5" and two credits each for Higher Level exams passed with a score of "6" or "7." Willamette will also grant one additional credit to students who earn the full IB Diploma with a score of 30 or above. For a current listing of IB course equivalencies, contact the Registrar's Office.

A maximum of eight credits total may be earned from the AP and IB programs. This credit may be applied to major and minor programs with the approval of the academic departments concerned. Credit earned based on AP or IB scores may not be used to satisfy Mode of Inquiry (MOI) requirements.

College credits earned prior to secondary school graduation in concurrent enrollment programs may transfer to Willamette University if the credits are earned in regularly scheduled college classes taught by college professors to classes of primarily degree-seeking college students. Such courses must be more advanced in the discipline than courses normally offered at the secondary school. In order to be eligible for transfer for college courses must be described in the college catalog. College credit is not awarded for college courses taught at the high school.

In preparing for enrollment at Willamette University, secondary school students should have four years of college preparatory study including English, mathematics, foreign languages, history or social studies, and laboratory science. Secondary school students who take college courses that are replacements for courses available in their secondary school are considered to be doing their college preparatory work outside the secondary school curriculum, rather than accumulating credit toward the baccalaureate degree. Therefore, introductory courses taken at a college instead of a secondary school are viewed as college preparatory and not transferable. Credits that apply to secondary school diploma cannot be applied a second time to the baccalaureate degree.

Secondary school students who have completed an introductory course offered at their secondary school and who go on to do more advanced study in that subject at a college may earn baccalaureate transfer credit if their secondary school does not offer more advanced courses in that subject. No college credit is granted for College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

College credits earned prior to secondary school graduation that do not fall under the above specific policies are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Secondary school students should consult the Office of Admission or Office of the Registrar with any questions regarding the transferability of college credits earned prior to high school graduation. Under no circumstances will more than eight Willamette credits (the equivalent of 32 semester or 48 quarter credit hours) be granted for credit completed prior to secondary school graduation.

International Applicants

Willamette University welcomes the diversity and richness that international students contribute to the campus and encourages applications from well-qualified citizens of other countries. Scholarship support from the University for international students is limited, so international students are strongly advised to realistically assess the personal and family resources available to them prior to initiating an application for admission. International applicants must complete the Common Application© and the International Supplement which are both available at

Early Admission

Some outstanding students may be admitted to the University prior to graduation from high school, providing the Committee on Admission believes they will benefit from early college enrollment. Early Admission candidates must have the full endorsement of their secondary school before their applications will be considered.

Special, Non-degree and Part-time Students

Students may apply to the University as non-degree and part-time candidates. Application procedures vary with individual circumstances for these special students. For further information and the appropriate application forms, contact the Office of Admission.

General Education Diploma (G.E.D.)

Willamette University recognizes the G.E.D. as the equivalent of a standard high school diploma for purposes of admission, providing a student has received an average score of 600, no individual score lower than 550 and a total score of at least 3000.


The procedure students must follow to re-enroll (readmission or reinstatement) at Willamette after an absence will depend on the length and circumstances of that absence:

  • Students returning from approved off-campus study or an approved leave of absence may register for classes through the Registrar's Office as long as the approved leave has not expired.
  • Students who leave the University because of Medical Withdrawal must submit the form "Return after Medical Withdrawal" to the Registrar's Office to request reinstatement before they may register.
  • Students who receive an Academic Dismissal and wish to be reinstated may, after a one-year absence, petition the Academic Status Committee for reinstatement through the Registrar's Office.
  • Students who wish to return after having been suspended for behavioral reasons may apply to the Registrar's Office, which will verify that all conditions stipulated by the suspension have been met.
  • All others must apply for readmission through the Admission Office if they have been gone for one or more semesters.