How to WU

A guide for First-Year students' next steps into the Willamette University experience

Dear First-Year Bearcat,

Welcome to Willamette University! We’re excited to have you as part of our community. Now that you’re officially a Bearcat in the Class of 2022, we offer this guide to your “Next Steps.” We’ve organized the information by month so that you know what you need to do this summer. Follow this checklist and by August you’ll be ready to begin your college career at Willamette.

You know our motto, right? “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.” Well, in typical Willamette fashion, “Not alone was this guide written,” as it is the product of several authors. The original version was created for students from Hawaii by Matt Tom WU ‘15. The next version was created for Native American students by Faith Kebekol WU ‘15 and Gabby Klein WU ‘15 under the guidance of Liz Bahe, former Director of Native American Programs (sage, guide, and mentor). We are indebted to them for their ideas and the foundational content. We’ve modified their guides, but we claim any errors as our own.

In this version we broaden the audience, addressing those of you who may -- for any reason -- be unfamiliar with what to expect from a small, private, liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you may wonder what distinguishes a liberal arts education from any other college education. You may be the first in your family to go to a four-year college (a first-generation college student), Pell eligible or from a working-class background, Indigenous or Native American, a student of color, a nontraditional student, a student with disabilities, and/or unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest. We recognize and value that students come to Willamette from a wide variety of backgrounds, and with this guide we anticipate your concerns and address them. Feel free to use the information that applies to you.

We hope your questions are answered before you even know what to ask! And if they aren’t, contact us at or, 503-370-6737.

Multicultural Affairs Committee 2017-2018