The College of Arts & Sciences Office of Undergraduate Admission at Willamette University recruits and enrolls a diverse and talented class who seeks a rigorous, impactful, student-focused liberal arts experience. Our purpose is to enroll curious students who represent a variety of ideologies, cultures, and identities, and who will maintain our shared commitment to community, collaboration, and service. We demonstrate to prospective students the many distinct advantages Willamette University has to offer, including world-renowned faculty, robust graduate professional partnerships, and a comprehensive interdisciplinary education. The Admission Committee is charged with selecting the most academically and personally qualified students who show the greatest likelihood of both benefiting from and contributing to the academic and co-curricular community.
There is no precise set of academic and personal credentials that will guarantee admission to Willamette University’s College of Arts & Sciences. 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 many co-curricular opportunities for personal, social, emotional, physical and spiritual 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.
Willamette University is selective, meaning many more students apply than can be offered admission. 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 will contribute meaningfully to the learning community.
To ensure adequate academic preparation for success, we recommend the following pattern of secondary school coursework. Please note this list is recommended but not necessarily required for admission:
- four years of English, emphasizing literature and composition
- three to four years of science (two or more lab sciences such as biology, chemistry or physics)
- four years of mathematics
- four years of social science
- a minimum of two (preferably four) years of the same second language
The College of Arts & Sciences is a member of the Common Application and uses the online version of this form as the primary vehicle for application for admission. It may be accessed through commonapp.org or through Willamette’s College of Arts & Sciences Admission webpage. To complete the admission application process, all candidates should submit the following materials to be received in the Office of Admission by the deadline associated with the selected application round:
- Application for Admission (Common Application)
- Official High School Transcript
- Personal Essay and Short-answer Response
- Activities List
- Counselor Recommendation and School Report (first-year applicants only)
- Teacher Recommendation (optional but highly recommended; first-year applicants only)
- Official College Transcript(s) (from any college attended previously full- or part-time
- Official SAT or ACT standardized test scores (optional)
- Admission Interview
Application for Admission:
The Common Application collects a broad range of personal, academic and co-curricular information to help the Admission Committee comprehensively and holistically assess an applicant’s readiness for Willamette. Every component of the application is reviewed and thoroughly considered to understand the applicant’s preparation, fit, and enthusiasm for Willamette. Details matter and care should be taken to include as much context as possible.
Official High School Transcript:
The transcript is of primary importance in the application 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 successfully handle. This may include honors, AP and/or IB courses, dual-enrollment courses, or whatever is deemed rigorous within the context of the secondary school. Although the Committee does not expect students to achieve equally in all academic areas, they do expect students to challenge themselves and earn strong grades that indicate academic growth and potential. Successful first-year candidates should take a minimum of five academic core courses per semester throughout high school and generally achieve at the A/B level. Successful transfer candidates should carry a full load of transferable coursework and achieve no less than a B in all courses.
First-year applicants are expected to submit official transcripts of work completed through the junior year of high school. Transcripts will be requested through the Common Application and will be sent directly from the high school to Willamette. First-year applicants who have completed some college-level work that has generated a college transcript should also request that those transcripts be submitted.
Transfer students who have completed less than 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours of transferable college credit must submit a final high school transcript, G.E.D. certificate, or proof of other official completion documentation demonstrating that the student has passed a state authorized examination that is recognized as the equivalent of a high school diploma. Final college transcripts documenting an associate’s degree completed post high school graduation will relieve transfer students of the requirement of submitting high school transcripts. In all cases, transfer students must submit transcripts for any and all college-level work that has been completed.
Personal Essay and Short-answer Response:
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 as part of their Common Application as well as a short-answer response to the question of the applicant’s specific interest in Willamette. Writing samples are carefully reviewed as a measure of the applicant’s academic preparation for college given their ability to communicate meaningfully and effectively 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 careful preparation and revision.
The Admission Committee finds value in school and community involvements, as this demonstrates the level of activity a student is likely to pursue at Willamette. Examples of the kind of involvement often seen include school clubs and organizations, athletics, political and/or environmental activities, music and theater performance, community service, religious involvement, family commitments 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.
Counselor Recommendation and School Report:
The Counselor Recommendation includes the opportunity for your high school counselor to submit a written letter of recommendation as well as provide information concerning school opportunities and context. The counselor is also expected to submit the School Report form which helps the Admission Committee understand the high school offerings both academic and co-curricular.
While teacher recommendations are not technically required for an application to be considered complete, they are submitted by the vast majority of applicants. A recommendation is preferred when it comes from a teacher of a core academic subject in the junior or senior year. The Admission Committee hopes to glean additional understanding of the applicant’s academic growth, persistence, and promise through the teacher recommendation. If an applicant wishes to submit a second or third letter or recommendation to provide additional context for excellence in another subject or passion for a co-curricular area, those letters are welcome.
Official College Transcripts:
First-year students who have completed college coursework outside of their high school should submit those transcripts along with their other application credentials at the time of application. Transfer students must submit transcripts for any and all college work that has been completed post-high school graduation, regardless of how much time has passed since last enrolled.
Standardized Test Scores:
Willamette is a test-optional institution, allowing applicants to choose whether they would like to submit standardized test results on the SAT or ACT. Those who feel their test results are an accurate and helpful reflection of their academic ability may decide to submit them, providing an additional credential for the Admission Committee to consider. Those who do not submit scores will not be penalized in any way in the admission or merit aid processes.
Applicants who choose to submit standardized test scores must provide an official score report. Score reports sent directly from the testing agency or scores included on official high school transcripts will meet this requirement. If the SAT and/or ACT are taken more than once, the Admission Committee will consider the highest scores from each section, resulting in what is widely known as a superscore. Official scores available at the time of the application review will be considered; scores submitted after the application has been reviewed will not be retroactively considered.
Willamette adopted our test-optional policy in 2016 following a multi-year study by our Faculty Admission Committee. It found that success in an academically rigorous college preparatory curriculum was a stronger predictor of success at Willamette than standardized test performance.
Admission interviews are highly recommended for all applicants and specifically requested for some. The interview 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 virtually/over the telephone. Admission interviews at Willamette are meant to be informational and evaluative, meaning the staff member is charged with learning about the 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 applicant’s application file and is reviewed by the Admission Committee.
Deadlines and Application Rounds
Application for Admission Deadlines
- Early Action: November 15
- Early Decision: November 15
- Regular Decision: February 1
- Fall Semester Entry: April 15 (priority)
- Spring Semester Entry: November 1
Financial Aid Application (FAFSA) Deadlines
- All First-year Rounds: February 1
- All Transfer Applicants: March 1
Application Rounds for First-year Applicants
Early Decision (binding):
Early Decision allows students the opportunity to apply for admission in the fall and learn the Admission Committee's decision by December 30. Early Decision candidates have until January 15th to pay their non-refundable enrollment deposit and reserve their place in the class. By choosing the Early Decision application round, an applicant is communicating to the admission committee that Willamette is their first college choice and, if admitted, the student will withdraw all other applications and enroll. Early Decision applicants are admitted at a higher rate than candidates applying in the Early Action and Regular Decision rounds.
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 Action candidates have until May 1 to pay their non-refundable enrollment deposit and reserve their place in the class.
Regular Decision 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 submitted by January 15th for Early Decision applicants and by the National Candidate Reply Date of May 1 for Early Action and Regular Decision applicants. On rare occasions an applicant is admitted late in the cycle, in which case the enrollment deposit is required by the date stipulated in the letter of admission, if later than May 1. Enrollment deposits submitted after the due date will be accepted only if space remains in the class. The enrollment deposit is credited against the first semester charges. Students admitted for the spring semester will be given a specific deposit deadline, typically about two weeks from the admission offer date, due to the expedited timeline and university closure over the winter holiday break.
Financial Aid Application:
As the primary beneficiary of the investment in a college education, the applicant is ultimately responsible for financing the education. Understandably, many families cannot afford the entire cost of college and Willamette seeks to make its transformative educational experience available to students and families across the economic spectrum.
Various levels and forms of financial aid are available to help fill the gap between what the family can provide and what it will cost to attend Willamette University. All students who apply for admission are considered for a merit scholarship. Merit scholarships will relate directly to the quality of the various components of the application and the care with which the application is completed. All students are also encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for additional grant, loan, and employment aid. Merit scholarship amounts will be communicated to the applicant at the time of admission. Need-based aid awards will be communicated at the time of admission if the FAFSA has been completed, or post-admission if the FAFSA is completed later in the process. Timely and thorough completion of the application for both admission and aid will ensure optimum consideration.
Information for Special Populations
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 April 15 for fall semester admission or 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 colleges 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 in addition to completing the Common Application:
- A detailed outline of the curriculum studied during the period equivalent to high school. 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, secondary language, laboratory sciences and history/social studies.
- 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 (virtual or in-person).
Home-schooled students who have completed coursework at an accredited college or university should include official transcripts of that work. No more than 32 Willamette credits (the equivalent 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. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (“TOEFL”), International English Language Testing System (“IELTS”), or the Duolingo English Test 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. A minimum score of 105 is required on the Duolingo test.
Willamette's scholarship funds for international students are limited, so students should plan for the costs including 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
- Personal Essay and Short-answer Response
- English Proficiency Scores
- Official high school transcript(s)
- Secondary School Report
- Photocopy of the first page of the passport.
All international students are under the supervision of the director of international education and the international student advisor. Willamette University is authorized by the federal government to issue the I-20 and DS-2019 forms to international students who are admitted to the University and indicate their plans to attend.
Non-degree and Part-time Students
Students may apply to the University to take one or two courses on a non-degree basis. Options are available for credit and as non-credit auditors. Application procedures vary with individual circumstances for these special students. For further information and the appropriate application forms, contact the Office of Admission.
Veterans and GI Bill Benefit Recipients
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. 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.
G.E.D. (General Education Diploma) Students
Willamette University recognizes the G.E.D. as the equivalent of a standard high school diploma for purposes of admission.
Candidates for Readmission
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 "Re Enrollment Questionnaire" to the Registrar's Office to request reinstatement before they may register.
- Students who are academically suspended and wish to be reinstated may petition the Academic Status Committee for reinstatement through the Registrar's Office.
- Students who wish to return after having been suspended for behavioral reasons should contact the Office of Student Affairs to ensure that all conditions stipulated for return have been met. Once all stipulations are met and any conduct hold is removed, they may apply to the Registrar's Office to re-enroll.
- All others may apply for readmission through the Registrar's Office if they have been gone for one or more semesters.
Additional Admission Policies
Transfer Credit Policies for Transfer Students:
Students may apply a maximum of 64 semester transfer credit 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. Courses with grades below a C- (C minus) will not receive credit, nor will courses taken at a sub-100 or remedial level. Transfer courses are not used in computing the Willamette University grade point average. To be eligible for transfer credit, college courses must be described in the college catalog and recorded on the college transcript. Once matriculated at Willamette University, students must submit a Transfer Credit Request form prior to enrolling in proposed transfer courses. Satisfaction of specific general education requirements and major requirements will be determined on the basis of a course-by-course evaluation of the transcript(s).
At least 32 semester 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.
Students admitted as transfer students with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from an accredited community college will be automatically granted 60 semester hour credits (junior standing) upon entrance. Students transferring from Tokyo International University (TIU) in the Scholarship Exchange Program will be automatically granted 60 semester hour credits (junior standing) upon entrance. Students admitted as transfer students with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree will automatically have satisfied all of the general education requirements except for the upper-division writing centered course, the writing-centered course in the major, the study in a language other than English requirement, and the Power, Difference, and Equity course requirement. The language requirement may be satisfied by transferring in language courses or by taking a language placement exam.
Transfer Credit Policies for First Year Students:
In most cases, college credits earned prior to secondary school graduation, including those earned in concurrent (or dual) enrollment programs will receive full transfer credit.
Willamette University encourages student participation in the Advanced Placement (AP) program sponsored by the College Board, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and concurrent (or dual) enrollment programs. No college credit is granted for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Many AP scores of "4" and "5" will be granted a minimum of 4 semester credit hours. Willamette will grant four semester hours for many IB Higher Level examinations passed with a score of "5" and four to eight semester credit hours for many Higher Level exams passed with a score of "6" or "7." Willamette will also provide four additional credit hours to students who earn the full IB Diploma with a score of 30 or above. A current listing of AP and IB course equivalencies is available on the Registrar's Office website.
For students admitted as first year students, no more than 32 semester or 48 quarter hours of Willamette credit will be awarded for courses taken prior to matriculation. This includes college, AP, IB, and concurrent (or dual) enrollment credits. Those earning an Associate’s Degree through a dual-enrollment program such as Running Start will receive no more than 32 semester credit hours and enter with sophomore standing. Students should consult the Office of the Registrar with any questions regarding the transferability of credits.
Willamette University reserves the right to rescind admission or cancel enrollment from the submission of application, prior to and after the admission decision, and until the start of classes should a prospective student:
- Provide application materials, including educational records, recommendations and writing that is not their authentic work, false or incomplete;
- Fail to successfully complete in-progress coursework, including a significant drop in grades;
- Fail to complete an intended degree, including completion of high school; or,
- Fail to uphold high standards of character in school and their community or the university learns the applicant has engaged in behavior prior to attendance that indicates a lack of judgment, integrity or moral character aligning with University values.
Each year, a number students who have been offered first-year or transfer admission choose to defer their enrollment to a future entry term. In order to request to defer enrollment to Willamette, students must:
- Submit the $500 non-refundable enrollment deposit on the applicant status page by the normal deposit deadline, signifying the student's intent to matriculate.
- Send an email requesting a defer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Watch for an email containing instructions for formally requesting a deferral which will allow additional details concerning the deferral period to be explained to the Admission Committee.
- Complete the Request to Defer Form on the applicant status page by the Friday prior to the start of the semester.
Terms for approved deferrals
- The student is required to reply to Willamette’s offer of admission by submitting a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold their place in the future class by May 1 of the application year
- The student may not submit deferral deposits or hold spaces at any other institution.
- The student must notify all other colleges to which they have gained admission of their decision to enroll at Willamette.
- The student may not matriculate and/or enroll on a full-time basis at another college or university during the deferral period. However, students may take limited coursework to maintain academic focus.
- Deferrals will be granted for first-year students to enroll in the spring semester (January) OR fall semester (August). Requests to defer enrollment for two years will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Should the student choose to apply for admission to other colleges or universities during the deferral period, they will forfeit the deposit paid to Willamette, and must contact Willamette to officially close their application.
- The student is required to reconfirm their intention to enroll for fall no later than February 15 in the year they plan to enroll. Instructions on how to reconfirm will be sent via email in December. Students granted a one semester deferment will be sent instructions in October and must reconfirm their intention to enroll by November 20.
- Deferral requests are generally approved provided the applicant satisfies the required steps within two weeks of the date the request was submitted.
- If the Office of Admission does not hear from the deferred student by the deadline, the student will forfeit the enrollment deposit and a place in the class.
- Eligibility for merit aid will be matched to the prior year award. While need-based aid generally stays the same, families are required to submit a FAFSA for renewal. FAFSA submission is encouraged by our February 1 priority deadline for new students.