Students walk to classes at the UW Bothell campus on May 5, 2018. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Students walk to classes at the UW Bothell campus on May 5, 2018. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

UW Bothell sees unprecedented increase in applications

About 35 percent more incoming freshmen applied to attend the university this fall than last year.

BOTHELL — A sharp uptick in applications is leaving leadership at University of Washington Bothell scratching their heads.

More than 4,200 people applied to be in the university’s freshman class this fall, up from 3,100 last year. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Steve Syverson said there isn’t a clear reason for the almost 35 percent increase.

“I wish we had concrete knowledge of what drives it,” he said. “We’d like to presume it’s increasing due to people having good experiences here.”

Large jumps like this normally come after a university launches a new program or strategy, he said, but UW Bothell has held status quo for the past few years.

“Thirty-five percent in one year is sort of phenomenal,” Syverson said.

Two years ago, the school capped its admittance at about 800 to 850 incoming freshman. Since then, it hasn’t added any new programs that might attract students the university doesn’t have room for.

“We’re out of space,” Syverson said. “Unless we get another building, there’s no more room to teach them.”

While not a new trend, he said incoming students are showing increasing interest in science, technology, engineering and math majors. That’s partly due to students growing up hearing about local career opportunities in those fields.

The admission rates at UW’s Seattle campus have hovered between 45 and 48 percent since 2016, according to Director of Admissions Paul Seegert. It’s too early to tell what this fall’s will be.

Up north, Western Washington University’s admission rates have increased from 83 percent in 2016 to about 88 percent last year.

Henry M. Jackson High School has continued to feed into UW Bothell, contributing 106 applications this year. That’s a 20 percent increase over last year.

Lower admittance rates aren’t necessarily something to strive for, Syverson said. While some universities wear low admissions rates as a badge of honor, he said, UW Bothell isn’t as worried about becoming the most exclusive school.

The school has historically prided itself in focusing on underserved student populations and maintaining a diverse student body.

The college traditionally admits about 78 to 80 percent of applicants. With the growing number of applications, that rate has dropped to 68 percent.

“So there are a whole batch of students perfectly qualified to be here that would have been admitted any other year,” Syverson said.

UW Bothell was founded largely to serve the commuter population and those UW Seattle didn’t have room for.

While the increase in those wanting to attend UW Bothell is encouraging, it also makes that commitment more challenging, Syverson said.

“Right now it looks like we have the same kind of diversity in this incoming class,” he said. “But we’re trying to build into our review process a way to even better pull out the personal qualities as an issue we give the same amount of weight to as academic qualities.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Navy now plans to send 3 more ships to Everett

The destroyer USS John S. McCain is the latest with plans to move here within the next 13 months.

Police find, rescue Shoreline man trapped in Edmonds ravine

Someone heard cries for help near a forested hillside near Marina Beach. He was there two days.

One dead, three hospitalized after Highway 522 crash

An East Wenatchee woman died after a head-on collision Saturday night in Monroe.

Man suspected of child abuse in Hawaii arrested in Shoreline

He was wanted for investigation of seven counts of child sexual assault and abuse in Maui.

New grants aim to retrain aerospace workers

County program offers up to $250,000 per business to help workers acquire new skills.

Marysville man charged in stabbing, trapping of girlfriend

After allegedly keeping her in the car for hours as she bled, he dropped her off at the hospital.

Police: Lake Stevens political sign thief assaults witness

The suspect, 66, removed signs of two Black candidates, then attacked a man who confronted him, police said.

Reader: Are developers responsible for repairing roads?

Development sites have requirements. Paving season is underway in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Most Read