College Info & Support
Selecting a college can be one of the most important and fun experiences of a student’s high school career. Becoming educated on college options takes time. Don’t wait until the fall of your senior year to decide where you will apply; it’s a stressful enough time as it is. Generate a potentially broad list of 10-15 schools which you will then research in depth. Explore their websites! Attend college fairs and college visitations at MHS! Talk to college alumni! Talk to your parents! Talk to your counselor! Visit the campuses!
At the end of your college search, you should come up with a list of 5-8 colleges to which you will apply. In addition to your first choice “dream” school(s) which may be a reach for you, be sure to include a few “target” schools where you stand a greater chance of acceptance, and at least one “safety” school where you know you would likely be admitted and you would enjoy attending. Remember, Community College transfer programs are always an option too.
Find Out If College Is Right For You
Selecting the college that is right for you can be an overwhelming task unless you study the differences between colleges and establish your personal priorities in regards to your college experience. Factors which are usually considered in selecting a college include the following:
- Size – Size of colleges range from very small (500 students) to very large (>35,000 students)
- Location – Some students prefer to attend college close to home while others want to experience a new environment and would be able to adjust and function as well or better farther away.
- Type – Colleges are either privately or publicly funded. Private colleges may or may not be religiously affiliated which may add certain expectations for students who attend that college.
- Cost – This includes tuition, fees, room and board, and travel expenses. Tuition at state-supported schools is substantially lower than that of private schools. Students who wish to attend out-of-state public schools pay out-of-state tuition fees, which in most cases equate with tuition at a private institution. However, private institutions often provide significantly more financial aid.
- Admission Requirements – In addition to presenting acceptable scores on entrance exams, some colleges require a certain number of units in high school preparatory courses, as well as essays, recommendations, or interviews.
- Curriculum and Degrees Offered – A sizable consideration for choosing a college should be the availability of adequate programs in the area you intend to study, as well as the requirements for achieving a degree in your major at that particular college.
- Honors – Distinctive academic programs may be available to students who meet requirements.
- Facilities – Some students are interested in the quality of the facilities, including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, residence halls, etc.
- Financial Aid – Along with federal and state aid, many colleges offer institutional aid to bridge the gap. Some private colleges even offer financial aid that places the cost in line with that of public colleges.
- Extra-Curricular Activities – The college should offer a variety of activities which are of interest to you, e.g., student government, social organizations, athletic or intramural activities, etc.
- Family Tradition – Your family may have strong ties to a particular college.
- College Priorities Checklist
- Comparing Your College Selections
- Don't Want to go to College? Alternative Pathways
Four Year Colleges
Washington state is home to six public four-year colleges and universities and more than 300 independent colleges, universities and career schools.
The colleges and universities listed below offer bachelor's degrees and are regionally accredited by the
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
- Bastyr University
- Central Washington University
- City University of Seattle
- Cornish College of the Arts
- Eastern Washington University
- Gonzaga University
- Heritage University
- Northwest Indian College
- Northwest University
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Saint Martin's University
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- The Evergreen State College
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Washington
- University of Washington Bothell
- University of Washington Tacoma
- Walla Walla University
- Washington State University
- Washington State University Tri-Cities
- Washington State University Vancouver
- Western Governors University
- Western Washington University
- Whitman College
- Whitworth University
Admission requirements can vary by institution (rigor of high school course load, cumulative GPA, extracurricular involvement, SAT/ACT scores, etc), but all Washington four year colleges do have minimum admission requirements.
Washington Public Four Year Colleges Minimum Admission Standards
Guide for Students and Parents - College Admission Requirements
Application Process and Procedures
Detailed Information on the four year college application process can be found here.
Community & Technical Colleges
The Washington Community College System is home to 34 technical and community colleges. Whether you want to train directly for a specific career (automotive technician, radiologist tech, law enforcement, cosmetologist, etc.) or transfer to a university the community college has you covered. For many students, the community college offers a quality lower-division academic or vocational college education at value prices.
- Associate degree programs in arts and sciences
- Certificate programs in arts, sciences, technical, and occupational fields
- Credit and non-credit classes
- English training
- Remedial or "catch-up" classes
- Community education classes
For more information on the Washington Community Colleges, visit https://www.sbctc.edu/our-colleges/explore-colleges/default.aspx
When and How to Apply
The Community College application typically opens up each year in late September or early October. The deadline for fall application typically falls in August, at the end of senior year. Applying much earlier will give students better access to available courses, scholarships, and financial aid options. Each college has a different process for new students to sign up for classes. To enroll, visit the website for the college of your choice and follow its steps to enroll.
Each student's case will vary, but you may need to take one or more steps — admissions, financial aid, placement test, advising, transcript evaluation — to register for classes at the community or technical college of your choice.
Transferring to a Four-Year Institution
It is extremely important for students who are considering transferring to work closely with their community college counselors at the time of admission to discuss this goal. If you know the specific campus or major you want to target, you will be more successful in transferring courses. Students should balance their course load by taking both general education courses and lower division courses in their proposed major. In addition, many community colleges offer transfer guarantee programs for specific universities.
Refer to the college catalog of the institution you wish to transfer to and check transfer requirements. Visit the web-based ASSIST student transfer information system for more information about the transfer process.
Admissions officers look at several factors, including:
- Completed transferable coursework.
- College GPA. Some impacted majors and campuses may require a higher GPA.
- Whether or not you are in "good standing" at your last college.
- Some campuses also require you to complete certain English and math