The UW Academy is the premier early university entrance program for high school students in Washington State. A small cohort of up to thirty-five highly capable and motivated students are admitted to the UW Academy each year. Students apply to the UW Academy during their 10th grade year, and if accepted, withdraw from high school at the end of 10th grade to enroll as freshmen at the University of Washington. The UW Academy is not a Running Start program. Academy students may not be enrolled simultaneously at high school and at the UW, and Academy students do not earn a high school diploma. This has not hindered Academy students in securing internships or jobs during university nor in gaining admission to graduate or professional schools after graduation.
“The UW Academy provides a unique gateway into one of the nation’s premier research universities. For
Washington’s brightest young scholars, it is an opportunity not to be missed.”
- Mark Emmert, Former President, University of Washington
The University Honors Program
UW Academy students are directly admitted into the UW’s University Honors Program. Students in the University Honors Program complete the Honors Core Curriculum and pursue Departmental Honors in their major(s). The Honors Core focuses on modes of thinking across disciplines and the integration of academic and experiential learning.
Academy Students’ First Year
Students enter the UW Academy through the Bridge Program, which is designed to ease the transition from 10th grade to university. Bridge begins with Academy Camp, an overnight adventure in mid September where students meet one another, older Academy students and UW Academy staff. In the week following camp, students attend workshops on college student survival skills and tips for success led by Academy staff and students.
Bridge continues into Fall Quarter with two required Academy courses: a weekly seminar designed specially for Academy students and an English composition course that is linked to the seminar. The Fall Quarter Academy Seminar is titled “Stem Cell Research: When Politics, Science, and Religion Collide” and is taught by the Director of the Undergraduate Program in Neurobiology. The English instructor is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department’s Interdisciplinary Writing Program and has taught Academy students since the program’s first cohort. The goal of the Academy courses is to provide students with a common experience and an opportunity to bond as a group while also helping them to develop college-level writing, reading and discussion skills. The professors who teach the Academy classes enjoy working with bright young students, and they work closely with Academy staff to understand students’ special needs and requirements.
In addition to the Academy courses, students enroll in general UW courses and Honors Program courses beginning their first quarter at the UW. During Winter Quarter, students are encouraged to take a seminar instructed by the Robinson Center’s Academic Counselor where they explore majors, meet departmental advisers and learn about campus resource centers and opportunities, including undergraduate research and international study. Academy students have regular required advising appointments with the Robinson Center’s Academic Counselor throughout their first and second years at the UW. In addition, social programming is offered to encourage community both within the first year cohort and among Academy cohorts.
Admission to the UW Academy
Admission to the UW Academy is competitive. We are looking for students who love to learn, who actively seek out academic challenges, and who have the personal motivation to succeed at university two years early. As Academy students are automatically admitted into the UW’s University Honors Program, we are also looking for students who will contribute to and benefit from the Honors community and who will flourish in the program’s unique curriculum.
In line with the admissions processes of the UW and the University Honors Program, the Academy employs a holistic admissions model. This means that we carefully evaluate all elements of an applicant’s admission file to determine whether the UW Academy, University Honors Program, and the UW are the right educational match for him or her. Selection to the Academy is based on high school grades and curriculum, standardized test scores (ACT with Writing Exam or SAT Reasoning Test), required essays, a record of extracurricular involvement, and teacher recommendations. While there is no minimum high school GPA or test score required to apply to the UW Academy, admitted students tend to have excellent test scores and grades. For the incoming class of 2012, the average ACT composite score was 31 (range of 25-35), the average SAT score was 1962 (range of 1690-2370). The average high school GPA was 3.91 (range of 3.65-4.0).
Students planning on applying to the UW Academy should take the ACT with Writing Exam or the SAT Reasoning Test in the Fall or Winter of 10th grade. (NOTE: The I-ACT exam is not acceptable for UW Academy applicants. The I-ACT does not contain the Writing Exam portion, and this portion is required for all UW Academy applicants.)
Applications are typically available in early November and due in March. Offers of admission are typically made in early May.
Eligibility to Apply to the UW Academy
Tuition and Fees
Academy students pay regular UW tuition and fees directly to the University. Financial aid is available. FAFSA applications should be submitted by mid-February in order for students to be eligible for the maximum amount of financial aid for the following academic year. Academy applicants are automatically considered for a handful of merit-based scholarships offered by the UW Honors Program and Robinson Center.
Stats & Facts about UW Academy Students
What majors do Academy students pursue? How long does it take them to graduate? Where do they study abroad? Download the Academy Fact Sheet for the answers to these questions and more.