Willamette University is selective in admission, meaning that many more students apply than can be accommodated. The Admission Committee is charged with selecting the most academically qualified students who show the greatest likelihood of benefiting from and contributing to the academic and co-curricular community. Willamette believes that a diverse student body not only enhances the learning environment, but also better prepares students to participate in a diverse workforce and society. Accordingly, Willamette seeks qualified students from many environments, cultures and viewpoints who we believe will contribute to the learning community.
There is no precise set of academic and personal credentials that will guarantee admission to Willamette University. In general, successful candidates demonstrate strong academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, the desire to learn from and with others in a collaborative setting, and a lively interest in taking advantage of the many campus opportunities for personal and social development. The greatest weight in the admission decision is given to evidence of superior academic accomplishment and a passion for learning. While the Admission Committee evaluates each applicant individually, they also compare candidates to general university academic and personal standards and to the other applicants in a particular year.
The transcript is particularly important because it illustrates the rigor of the academic program as well as the grades earned. It is the Admission Committee's expectation that students will be taking as rigorous an academic program as they can handle including honors, AP and/or IB courses if offered. Although the Committee does not expect students to achieve equally in all academic areas, they do expect students to challenge themselves and earn excellent grades. Successful first-year candidates should take a minimum of five academic solids per semester throughout high school and achieve at the A/B level. Successful transfer candidates should carry a full load of transferable course and achieve no less than a B in all courses.
To ensure adequate academic preparation for success, we recommend the following pattern of secondary school coursework:
- four years of English, emphasizing literature and composition
- three to four years of science (two or more laboratory sciences)
- four years of mathematics
- four years of social science
- a minimum of two (preferably four) years of the same foreign language
SAT I and/or ACT scores are another component of the application review. Because no two high schools are the same, standardized test scores help measure knowledge across the broad educational opportunities students experience in the United States and around the world. Although the single best predictor of academic success at Willamette University is the academic transcript, both courses taken and grades earned, standardized testing is helpful in substantiating student achievement.
Beyond the applicant's academic record, the Admission Committee is very interested in a prospective student's facility with the written word. Applicants have the opportunity to submit a personal essay. The writing samples are reviewed with interest, and the Admission Committee members will evaluate applicants' ability to communicate their thoughts in writing. Both form and content are important. Students should focus on a subject of particular interest to them and write to the best of their ability, remembering that everyone's work improves with advance preparation and revision.
The Admission Committee is also very interested in school and community involvements, as they demonstrate the level of activity a student is likely to pursue at Willamette. Examples of the kind of involvement we often see include school clubs and organizations, athletics, political and/or environmental activities, music performance, community service, religious involvement and part-time employment. There is no preference for one kind of activity over another. Rather, the Admission Committee looks for evidence that applicants are making significant contributions in one or more areas that hold meaning for them.
Admission interviews are highly recommended for all applicants and specifically requested for some. It is an important way for students to personalize the admission process and breathe life into the information they provide on an application. Interviews may occur on campus during an admission visit; in the student's home community in conjunction with an admission staff member's visit; or over the telephone. Admission interviews at Willamette are evaluative, meaning the staff member is charged with finding out each applicant's academic and personal goals, and exploring with them how or if those goals are well suited to Willamette University. Students are asked to respond to questions about their academic preparation and record, school and community involvements and goals for the future. Information gained during these interviews becomes part of the applicants' application files and is reviewed by the Admission Committee.
Recommendations from counselors, teachers and academic advisors are considered carefully, as well. Recommendations provide insights into students' academic achievements and promise and are very helpful in providing additional context in which to evaluate candidates.
Applying for Admission
Candidates may complete a fee-waived online application on the University's Admission Web site, or download an institutional application form. Willamette is a member of the Common Application and the University welcomes its use. The Common Application may also be accessed from the Willamette admission Web site.
To complete the admission application process, all candidates should submit the following materials to be received in the admission office by the appropriate due date:
- Application for Admission
- Official SAT I or ACT with writing scores
- Official high school transcript
- Secondary School Report (first-year applicants only)
- Teacher recommendation (first-year applicants only)
- Official college transcript(s) from each college attended previously
- Registrar Report (transfer applicants only)
- Application fee
Any student receiving GI Bill education benefits while attending Willamette University is required to obtain transcripts from military training and all previously attended schools and submit them to the school for review of prior credit.
Application for Admission Postmark Deadline Dates
Early Action November 15
Regular Admission February 1
Transfers April 1
Financial Aid Application (FAFSA) Due Dates
Early Action February 1
Regular Admission February 1
Transfers March 1
Early Action (non-binding)
Early Action allows students the opportunity to apply for admission in the fall and learn the Admission Committee's decision by December 30. Early Notification candidates have until May 1 to pay their non-refundable enrollment deposit and reserve their place in the class.
Regular Admission candidates apply for admission by February 1 and, if admitted, have until May 1 to pay the non-refundable enrollment deposit that reserves their place in the class.
The non-refundable enrollment deposit should be postmarked by the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1 (or by the date stipulated in the letter of admission, if later). Enrollment deposits postmarked after the due date will be accepted only if space remains in the class. The enrollment deposit is credited against the first semester charges.
Transfer students are encouraged to apply to Willamette University if they have achieved B grades or better in their college-level work. All materials noted above should be received in the Admission Office by March 1 for fall semester admission (November 1 for spring semester admission). The non-refundable enrollment deposit is due on the date stipulated in the letter of admission. Transfer students must be free from both academic and disciplinary action at all college attended previously in order to be eligible for admission to Willamette.
Final transfer credit evaluation will be made after official transcripts (and course descriptions, if requested) are received by the Office of the Registrar. Credits are accepted for transfer only if granted by an accredited institution and carrying grades of C- or above. For more complete information, see Transfer Credit section below.
If additional transcripts of college-level work are presented that were not made available to the Admission Committee, the University reserves the right to deny transfer credit or to withdraw the student from the University if pertinent information has been withheld.
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.
The guidelines below represent the information Willamette requires 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 provide the following information in addition to completing the Common Application:
- A detailed outline of the curriculum studies during this same period; 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.
- SAT I or ACT test with writing.
- 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 and potential
- An admission interview and campus visit is required for home-schooled candidates who live within 100 miles of the Willamette campus and strongly recommended for all other home-schooled candidates.
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.
International Students are encouraged to apply for admission to Willamette University. All international students must take the SAT I or ACT with writing to be considered for admission to Willamette, unless they reside in a country which does not offer the SAT or have been enrolled for at least four years in a school where the primary language of instruction is English. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international students. A minimum score of 560 paper-based, 220 computer-based, or 83 internet-based is required on the TOEFL. A minimum score of 6.0 is required on the IELTS exam.
Willamette's scholarship funds for international students are limited, so most students should plan to assume full financial responsibility for the costs of their education. These costs include tuition, room and board, fees, books, insurance, SEVIS fees, personal expenses and travel between their home and Willamette.
To complete the admission application process, all international degree candidates should submit the following materials by the appropriate due date:
- Application for Admission
- Official SAT I and/or ACT (with Writing) scores
- Official TOEFL or IELTS scores
- Official high school transcript(s)
- Secondary School Report
- Application fee
- Photo copy of the first page of the passport.
Early Admission is possible for highly qualified high school juniors who wish to forgo their senior year and enroll at Willamette without earning a high school diploma. A student considering Early Admission must present an excellent high school academic record and have the unqualified support of the secondary school and family. An interview on campus with an admission officer is required to assess the emotional, social and intellectual maturity of the applicant. Students enrolling without a high school diploma or GED must meet an Ability to Benefit test to qualify for federal and state financial aid funds.
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.
The Office of the Registrar works in partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans and their eligible dependents to participate in the VA's Education Benefits Programs. Please visit the Registrar's Veteran's Services page for more information.
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 may apply for readmission through the Registrar's Office if they have been gone for one or more semesters.
Transfer Credit/Advanced Standing
Students may apply a maximum of 16 transfer credits toward a Willamette degree. 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. Transfer courses are not used in computing the Willamette University grade point average. Six quarter hours or four semester hours of transfer credit equal one Willamette credit. Students must submit a Transfer Credit Request form prior to enrolling in proposed transfer courses.
Students admitted with an Associate of Arts degree from an accredited community college will be automatically granted 15 Willamette credits (junior standing), less any credits applied to the secondary school diploma, upon entrance. Students transferring from Tokyo International University (TIU) in the Scholarship Exchange Program will be automatically granted 16 Willamette credits (junior standing) upon entrance. In both cases, satisfaction of specific general requirements and major requirements will be determined on the basis of a course-by-course evaluation of the transcript(s). At least 15 degree credits must be earned in residence at Willamette University.
Additionally, at least 8 of the final 10 degree credits must be earned in residence or in Willamette-approved off-campus study programs.
*A minimum of three MOI credits must be earned while in residence at Willamette University. Satisfaction of particular MOI requirements by transfer will be approved only in cases where such courses are reasonable substitutes for approved Willamette University MOI courses.
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. No college credit is granted for College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
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, 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 should consult the Office of the Registrar with any questions regarding the transferability of college credits. No more than eight Willamette credits (the equivalent of 32 semester or 48 quarter credit hours) will be awarded for courses that a student completed prior to secondary school graduation.
For incoming Freshmen with advanced standing, a maximum of 8 Willamette credits can be transferred. This includes AP/IB and college transfer credits.