What Does it Take to Get Into Washington University in St. Louis?

Strategies by School
March 26, 2020
Not To Be Confused With The University In Washington State, Washington University In St. Louis Holds Impressive National And State Rankings...

From campus quality to academic programs, Washington University is unique because they offer specific, targeted programs in an unforgettable campus setting. Washington’s ideal students are some of the most passionate learners in the country; while the school’s requirements are considered elite, they balance this with philanthropic and environmentally-friendly groups and activities, making them a welcoming campus for all..

Best of all, this one-of-a-kind college experience all takes place in St. Louis, an iconic American city with a rich history, and this directly affects Washington’s vibrant campus culture. If you’re interested in diverse programs in a metropolitan environment, keep reading to find out how to get into Washington University!

What You’ll Find In This College Guide:

Washington University's Ideal Student

The average GPA and standardized test scores for incoming Washington students are:

  • GPA: 3.92
  • SAT: 1520
  • ACT: 33

While Washington’s acceptance standards are certainly elite, there’s more to students than just their test scores. Every year, Washington admissions looks for their ideal students in a large influx of applications, and the qualities they’re most interested in are consistent across the board.


Washington University believes that they are training the next world leaders. To train their student leaders, they need students who are willing to get creative with their research projects and take ownership of their education.

  • In what ways do you see yourself taking ownership of your education at Washington University?
  • How did you enjoy getting creative with research methods in high school?
  • In what ways will Washington assist you in your growth towards becoming an innovator?
  • How do you see yourself taking ownership of your career after you graduate from Washington?


Washington University in St. Louis is famous for their groundbreaking School of Medicine. Their efforts to advance human health covers the rest of campus and nearly every other academic program. Whether it involves physical or mental health, Washington believes that health is all-encompassing and their students are dedicated to advancing the human condition.

  • In what ways will your research efforts at Washington advance human health?
  • What do you hope to study at Washington that will immerse your involvement in their efforts to find new ways for health?


Washington University is home to the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (InCEES), making it one of the most sustainability-conscious universities in the world. In fact, this initiative is so important to them that they specifically recruit students who can jump on board with this important cause.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to inundate your application with your passion for sustainability. Simply put, if you show that you’re a caring and empathetic person through your essays and extracurricular activities, you’re already showing Washington admissions that you’re capable of getting behind whatever initiative they choose to dedicate their energy to.

  • Are you passionate about green initiatives like clean energy and sustainability? Why or why not?
  • What current issues are you passionate about and how do you hope to use your Washington education to make change happen?


Lastly, like any great college, Washington University is extremely passionate about inviting students from all different countries, backgrounds, and demographics. Don’t shy away from being open and honest on your application about the kind of neighborhood you grew up in or what kind of people you were surrounded by growing up. Just by being yourself, you’ll be showing them your own uniqueness and contributing to their desire to be inclusive.

  • How will your attendance at Washington advance their efforts towards diversity and inclusion?
  • Why do you think diversity and inclusion is important for today’s society?


Among Washington’s impressive rankings for their on-campus departments like housing and dining are stellar rankings for their academic programs.


Washington’s ideal students are dedicated to their academics, their progress as leaders, and to the advancement of the human condition. Whether their work is geared towards the sciences, the arts, or politics, every facet of a Washington student’s experience is connected to the betterment of their surrounding communities.

Don’t be afraid to be open and honest about your background on your application. Show them your empathetic side and that you’re a team player. Also, don’t be afraid to show how you bring fun and creativity into every project or assignment. By showing Washington admissions the best parts of you and even the parts that need growth, you’ll be one step closer to joining their vibrant community.

What You Need To Get Accepted Into Washington University

Washington’s acceptance rate is the second lowest rate in Missouri at 15%. In 2018, 4,708 students were admitted out of 31,320 applicants. While keeping in mind that Washington University is a highly competitive school, there are ways for you to highlight your greatest strengths on your application to show Washington admissions that you belong there.


To begin your college application process with Washington University, use one of the following applications:

In addition to creating an account with either of these platforms, you’ll be directed to activate a WashU Pathway account. This personalized account will help you stay on track with deadlines and stay updated with the latest changes to the application.


Before you begin filling out the application, it may be helpful for you to know what kind of questions to expect. Be prepared to have answers ready to the following questions:

Note: Perhaps one of the strongest reasons for WashU’s competitive nature in college admissions is due to their bold promise to meet 100 percent of all demonstrated need for their students. If financial aid is important for you in your college years, you’ll be in great hands at WashU.


You’ll need to provide Washington admissions with your school report and official transcripts. You can obtain these documents through your counselor. Your counselor can also help you send your SAT or ACT scores to Washington admissions.

If you’d like to opt out of sending your official scores, you can self-report your results through your application. Be prepared to provide Washington admissions with proof of your standardized test scores if they request it.


For your Washington application, you’ll need to provide two kinds of recommendations. Try to select the teacher that oversaw your favorite classes or the area of study you plan on pursuing at Washington University:

  • One letter of recommendation from a counselor
  • One teacher evaluation


In addition to your personal essay on the Common App or Coalition App, you’ll have the chance to write a Washington-specific essay that gives you a better chance to show more of your skills and personality. This essay is used by Washington admissions to determine admission and scholarship opportunities.

It is recommended that you keep your essay to around 250 to 300 words. There are two prompts you can expect to see; one of them is for general admission and the other is for students who expressed interest in Washington’s Beyond Boundaries program. Both of these prompts are available on Washington’s admissions site as well as some helpful resources to assist you in crafting an excellent essay that will capture their attention.


If you’re planning on applying for any of Washington University’s Art or Architecture programs, it’s highly encouraged that you include a portfolio of work in your application. Your application automatically provides you with a space to upload images or scans of your best work.


Washington’s application fee is $75, and fee waiver requests are available in both the Common App and the Coalition App. Washington’s deadlines are:

  • Early Decision I: November 1
  • Early Decision II: January 2
  • Regular Decision: January 2


Washington University in St. Louis is known for many amazing initiatives.

From their passion for clean energy to groundbreaking research in neuroscience, it seems too good to be true that a university of this prestige also promises 100 percent financial aid coverage.

By being honest on your application and creative with your essays, you can get closer to joining the ranks of the students who are lucky enough to call St. Louis their home. Be sure to stay on top of deadlines, educate yourself on Washington’s numerous programs, and look into what kind of scholarships you would be eligible for.

Overall, Washington admissions is looking for enthusiastic students who have something unique to offer their campus culture. Highlight the parts of your experiences that you know Washington admissions will love, and you’ll be presenting yourself as Washington’s ideal student!

Washington University's Campus Life

Washington University provides an inviting and exciting campus experience for their students. Regardless of why you’ve chosen Washington, St. Louis has plenty of opportunities for students to grow and have fun.

St. Louis is home to the world-famous Gateway Arch, the Cardinals baseball team, the St. Louis Blues hockey team, and the unique and underrated St. Louis-style pizza. It’s also a city with a booming economy and fulfilling career opportunities. With combinations like this, it’s easy to see why students love attending Washington. Not only is St. Louis an exciting place to explore, there’s more than enough to do on campus.


Washington’s campus culture seeks to accomplish many goals involving diversity and inclusion, leadership growth, educational growth, and community engagement. Whether you’re interested in the performing arts, Greek Life, or activism groups, you’ll have no problem finding a niche on campus.

Over 60 percent of Washington students participate in community service groups that go throughout St. Louis and use their gifts and talents to improve their own neighborhood. Because Washington treats their students like individuals, students are encouraged to create their own organization if they can’t find one that fits their interests.


Every year, Washington’s athletic program continues to set high standards for other colleges. The Washington University bears hold 23 NCAA championships, 254 conference titles, and host over 150 All-American athletes. With 17 varsity sports and 35 intramural teams, there are countless opportunities for students to get involved in the athletic program.

If team sports aren’t your thing, you can still stay active by participating in fitness classes at the student recreational facilities. Any student can take advantage of Washington’s self care services to help them recover after a tough workout or a long practice.


Washington University is ranked #2 in the U.S. for best college campus and best college dorms, and #4 in the U.S. for best food.

Washington’s campus culture is designed to both empower and challenge their students and these intentions carry over into their housing program. When it comes to choosing where you live in St. Louis, Washington gives you countless options.

Whether you want to live on campus in any of the ten residential colleges, off campus apartments, or upperclassmen housing when you reach junior year, Washington’s housing program is dedicated to you finding your ideal community. The residential colleges make up a tight-knit community and appear to be like its own neighborhood in the middle of Washington’s campus. This “small town” is complete with its own fitness center, dining facilities, study rooms, music practice rooms, and intramural sports fields.

Washington’s dining program goes hand-in-hand with their housing too; through their Bear Balance Movement, Washington strives to provide every one of their students with the greatest amount of options for any dietary needs.


Every semester, Washington University organizes one of the largest concert experiences in St. Louis’ history.

WILD, otherwise known as Walk In Lay Down, was named for the tradition of students bringing sofas onto the campus quad to watch musicians, bands, and other artists perform. As the event’s popularity grew over time, more popular musical acts were featured, including Childish Gambino, Carly Rae Jepsen, T-Pain, and the All-American Rejects.

From Application To Career: What You'll Experience At Washington University

Washington University boasts an extremely streamlined application process; whether this is your first time applying for college or you’re a seasoned researcher, Washington admissions has you covered. Even after you submit your application, Washington’s administration is committed to you having a positive on-campus experience and a smooth transition into the workforce.


As you’re completing your application, continue to discover connections between you and Washington University. Familiarize yourself with their goals for the future and help them see how you fit into that picture.

Highlight your creativity and innovation in research projects, and explain how you plan on taking ownership of your education at Washington. Be sure to share your leadership experience with them or if you’re seeking more opportunities to lead in college. Overall, make sure that Washington admissions knows your intentions with your degree. Clarify how a degree from Washington is the best way for you to pursue your career goals.


As part of your Washington application, the supplemental essay requires a smaller word count among most essay prompts at 250-300 words. With a word count this small, Washington admissions hopes their applicants keep their essays concise.

You’d be surprised how easy it is for students to write essays with an excessive amount of information that doesn’t serve their core narrative. Be sure to start your essays early so you have plenty of time to edit them. Focus on using your own unique voice, be clear and concise, and most important, be honest.


While attending Washington, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to grow in your strengths and build on top of your weaknesses.

Join clubs, go to sporting events, and take part in all of the amazing events Washington puts on every year. Also, be sure to make time to get off campus and enjoy all that St. Louis has to offer.


Washington’s career center is one of the best resources for students on campus. This department of the university partners with organizations and employers from St. Louis and all over the country to provide their students with matchless opportunities for internships and jobs.

In 2018:

  • 74 percent of students graduated with a job secured at graduation
  • 23 percent of students were accepted to graduate programs before they completed their undergraduate degree

Your Future At Washington University

Washington University in St. Louis promises its students an unforgettable, positive experience from the moment you submit your application to the day you graduate.

As you’re completing your Washington application, connect with any of WeAdmit’s professional counselors to polish and refine your materials. Washington’s requirements are considered elite and their curriculum’s focus includes very specific topics like sustainability, environment protection, and world health. With specific focuses like these, don’t hesitate to connect with a counselor so they can find areas of your application that Washington admissions will highlight.

The Earlier You Start The Better, So Begin Your Washington Application Today!



Need more Information?

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