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Transfer Students FAQ

Who qualifies as a transfer student?

  • Anyone who has, or will receive, college-level credit from an accredited institution as a degree- or non-degree seeking student after completion of high school graduation or GED requirements.
  • If you are currently dually enrolled in an early start program with your high school and a partnering college and will graduate from high school this year, please apply as a first-year student, not as a transfer student.
  • After we receive your application, it is at our discretion to move you to first-year status, based on the number of transferable college credits determined by the Registrar and the Associate Dean for Student Success.

Why should I transfer to Willamette?

Willamette is one of an elite group of 44 "Colleges That Change Lives," schools where dedicated professors and diverse experiences lead students to rich intellectual and personal growth — making us a great place to continue your education. As you get to know Willamette, you'll find numerous reasons why we're a place like no other — you can explore some of our distinctions here.

How will my credits transfer?

Our credit system might look different from what you are used to! Our credit system is on the semester hour policy. Keep in mind that six quarter hours equals four semester hours of transfer credit.

  • Transferability of credits is bound by our undergraduate departments of academic study (list of majors and minors). Courses taken in a department that Willamette does not offer as an undergraduate major or minor will not transfer.
  • Students may transfer a maximum of 64 semester hours, or 96 quarter hours, 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, or otherwise consistent with the goals and standards of Willamette's undergraduate degree programs.
  • Courses with grades below a C-minus will not receive credit.
  • Transfer courses are not used in computing the Willamette University GPA.
  • Students admitted with an Associates of Arts or Science degree from an accredited community college will be automatically granted 60 credits (junior standing) upon entrance. Students transferring from Tokyo International University (TIU) in the Scholarship Exchange Program will be automatically granted 64 Credits (junior standing) upon entrance. Satisfaction of specific general education requirements will be determined on the basis of a course-by-course evaluation of the transcript(s).
  • At least 60 degree credits must be earned in residence at Willamette University, and at least 32 of the final 40 degree credits must be earned in residence or in Willamette-sponsored off-campus study programs.

To learn more about our transfer credit policies, visit the Registrar's page.

What do I need to do to graduate from Willamette?

To earn a degree, you must successfully complete the General Education Program, specific degree and major program requirements. To learn more about our education requirements, visit the College of Arts & Sciences Catalog.

As a transfer student, you may satisfy the distribution requirements, and one writing- centered course with transfer credits. You may fulfill the entire World Engagement and math requirements with relevant transfer credits, and a proficiency exam.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Transfer students are eligible for merit awards. Don’t forget to add Willamette University to your FAFSA to be considered for additional grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study. Keep in mind that this financial aid package will probably look different from the one you are currently receiving.

Transfer students are also eligible for talent scholarships for Music, TheatreDebate, Art, STEMPhi Theta Kappa, and Heatherington — these require separate applications and/or auditions; see the program websites for information.

Who is Willamette looking for?

Willamette seeks transfer students who are bright, intellectually curious and well-prepared for a challenging academic program. We’re looking for students who will both benefit from and contribute to our rich campus community through their academic, athletic, musical, artistic and leadership abilities.

How will you evaluate my application?

1. Academic Record

While we do not require a minimum GPA, the most successful transfer students at Willamette have maintained at least a 3.0 average GPA prior to enrolling at Willamette. Your transcripts should reflect a rigorous academic program throughout high school and college, with competence in the same areas we expect of our first-year students, including four years of English, college preparatory mathematics, and three years of history/ social studies, foreign language and lab science. Classes in art, music or theatre are also desirable.

We seek students who have engaged in similar fields of academic study at the collegiate level. If you are expecting to transfer in with junior standing, it is strongly advised that you take preparatory courses in your desired major before transferring. If you were a strong high school student, you may want to consider transferring early from your two- or four-year institution. If your high school record wasn’t as strong, you'll need to complete at least one (preferably two) years of full-time coursework elsewhere.

2. Test Scores

If you feel submitting test scores will be a barrier to completing your application, Willamette offers test-optional admission with the completion of a supplemental essay question as part of the Common Application. If you decide to include a standardized test score, please send your official scores from either the SAT or the ACT.

If you take the SAT or ACT more than once, the Admission Committee will review your highest scores from each section, resulting in what is widely known as a superscore.

3. Letters of Recommendation

We look for an endorsement that you are ready for a rigorous and engaging academic experience, not one that simply restates your co-curricular resume or your transcript.

4. Co-Curricular Activities

Your contributions to your school and community — including athletics, student clubs and organizations, leadership roles, community service, religious activities and part-time employment — are important aspects of your application.

5. Admission Interview

One of the best ways to help us better understand you as a potential Willamette student is to visit campus and interview with a member of the Admission Committee. An interview gives us the opportunity to get to know you as more than a particular set of admission stats, and gives you the chance to experience Willamette first-hand and see if it is a good fit for you. If you are unable to visit campus, we are happy to accommodate a phone interview.

Do you have other questions that are not answered here? Need help with the application process? Contact us at 503-370-6303 or

Willamette University

Office of Admission

Salem Campus

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
1-844-BEARCAT toll free