Washington University in St. Louis has a long list of exciting programs, distinguished faculty achievements, and local cultural amenities to attract students in search of a dynamic college experience.
Let’s start with the learning environment. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 and two-thirds of class sections composing fewer than 19 students, those searching for an intimate class atmosphere will gravitate toward WashU.
In recent years, the most popular degrees conferred have been in engineering (15%), social sciences (14%), and biology (12%). Many degree-seeking candidates also experience internships through the business and marketing program.
The faculty at WashU has earned a plethora of national and international accolades, including four Pulitzer Prizes, three US Poet Laureate honors, and 26 Nobel Prizes.
Most recently, Dr. Charles M. Rice – faculty of medicine from 1986-2001 – completed most of his prize-winning work at WashU for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In 2022, Olin Business School faculty member Phillip H. Dybvig won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.
Students maintain an active social presence on campus, with approximately 15% of males joining fraternities and 14% of women becoming members of sororities.
About 75% of undergraduates participate in one of more than 30 intramural sports offerings, and one in three choose to study abroad for at least a semester.
The environment of St. Louis leaves little to be desired. Ample green spaces, museums, and zoos sustain a thirst for cultural stimulation, and the MetroLink light rail system connects undergraduates to various significant locations, including the downtown area, Lambert Airport, and more.
Students who choose to apply early decision to Washington University in St. Louis are generally already aware of its allure, as early decision acceptance is a binding agreement. High school seniors are certainly welcome to apply to other schools via the regular decision process, but upon admission to WashU, they must rescind applications at all other institutions.
Ahead, we’ll share the most up-to-date information regarding Washington University in St. Louis’ early decision acceptance rates (there are two rounds!), application deadlines, decision dates, and steps for submitting a stand-out application.
WashU Early Decision Acceptance Rate
The early decision acceptance rate for WashU is 27% – high school students who choose to apply early decision to Washington University in St. Louis have an advantage over regular decision candidates, who were accepted at an 8% rate.
While the Common Data Set for 2022 is not publicly available, we can learn much about WashU’s acceptance rate by analyzing statistics from the previous year.
For the fall 2021 entering cohort, 3,754 early decision candidates submitted applications, and 1,098 were admitted – a slightly higher percentage than the 2022 year.
WashU has recently claimed the #15 spot in U.S. News’ annual ranking of best colleges in the U.S., which could partly contribute to its increase in competition among degree-seeking candidates.
WashU’s incoming cohorts have also continued to increase in diversity. Members of the class of 2026 hail from 48 U.S. states and 27 countries around the world.
Overall, Washington University in St. Louis secures 55-60% of its incoming class through its two early decision rounds, which are both binding.
As a reminder, if you apply to either early decision round and are accepted, you are obligated to enroll in the institution.
This binding agreement creates a win-win scenario for the applicants (typically more certain than regular decision candidates of their desire to attend WashU) and the admissions team (which processes over 30,000 applications for fall admission annually!)
Applicants can feel confident in their post-high school future and focus on finishing strong academically in their last semester, and admissions can have a better idea of how many regular decision candidates they can admit in the following application round.
Admitted early decision students also have more time to manage financial aid considerations and apply for merit-based scholarships.
WashU ED Decision Date
Early decision I students will hear back by December 16th.
Early decision II students will hear back by February 17th.
The university has arranged these decision dates in order to give early decision candidates time to process financial aid decisions.
In each scenario, students will have approximately two weeks between the time they receive their financial aid packages and the deadline for submitting their reply.
Officially accepting a spot at Washington University in St. Louis – or any college of your dreams – is an exciting milestone in one’s educational journey.
Suddenly, you can allow yourself to envision day-to-day life on campus more clearly. 100% of first-time, first-year WashU students live in college housing. Something important to know is that all dormitories are co-ed, and additional apartment units are available.
89% of undergraduates entering the fall 2021 semester came from out-of-state. Applying (and getting accepted) early can provide more time to arrange moving services and travel plans, especially if you’re journeying from far away.
The time following your reply is additionally a time to become oriented to work-study placement policies and procedures, if applicable, and to work part-time in order to save additional funds for fun activities.
WashU Early Decision Deadline
There are two early decision application rounds for admission to Washington University in St. Louis, each with separate deadlines. The deadline for early decision I is November 1, which is also the latest date for these candidates to submit their (optional) standardized test scores.
Early decision II candidates have two more months to submit their application materials and optional standardized test scores, as their deadline is January 4 (the same deadline for regular decision candidates).
What would prompt a high school student to apply in the early decision I round versus early decision II?
For many, financial aid significantly impacts this decision, as many students may not be able to attend certain colleges without the assistance of grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study placements.
Applying (and gaining early entrance) to a college provides students more time to make important decisions about their futures.
A year at WashU costs almost $60,000 per year in tuition, which does not include $20k+ in other expenses, like room and board, books and supplies, and additional fees.
In 2021, the university met 100% of all demonstrated financial need with average packages of $63,820 for first-time, first-year students.
To get the financial aid process rolling, early decision I candidates should submit the FAFSA, CSS Profile, and (optional) noncustodial profile by November 15.
Early decision II candidates have until January 12 to submit these materials, while regular decision candidates have a deadline of February 1.
WashU ED Deferral Rate
Washington University in St. Louis does not publish statistics regarding early decision deferrals; however, the admissions office remarks that some applicants not admitted under early decision rounds are deferred to the regular decision period for re-assessment. That said, some of these degree-seeking candidates may ultimately be denied.
In its annual Common Data Set, WashU publishes information regarding its waiting list, which is unranked.
There were 3,981 applicants hoping to enroll in the fall of 2021 who accepted a place on the university’s waiting list – none of whom were admitted. This detail could indicate that deferral rates are low and acceptance rates following deferrals are equally unlikely to yield admission.
Of course, there is always the possibility that an unforeseen space could open up. This is because Washington University in St. Louis does allow students to defer their enrollment once they have been admitted. They can defer for a maximum of two years, and each year must go through an approval process.
Why would an accepted student choose to defer? Some wish to complete military service obligations, while others embark upon religious pilgrimages. Other students simply want to experience more of the world via travel, while others encounter personal circumstances they need to manage before beginning a rigorous collegiate program.
WashU in St. Louis takes each deferral request on a case-by-case basis, which military and religious commitments generally being honored. Admitted students must submit their enrollment deposit and acceptance form prior to requesting a one-year deferral. The deadline is May 15 and enrolled students will receive a deferral decision by June 1.
How to Apply to WashU Early Decision
Students can begin applying to Washington University in St. Louis as early as August 1, when both the Coalition App and Common App become available.
Before starting an application, it is important to be aware of a school’s minimum requirements for acceptance. While many schools share similar requirements, the specific program you’re interested in may stipulate additional application materials.
In general, WashU asks that degree-seeking candidates complete four credits in English language arts, three credits each in math and science, two foreign language units, two social studies courses, and two classes in history.
If you’re likely to declare a science major, for example, you will want to have completed at least four laboratory credits. WashU is unique in that it does not require completion of health/physical education, visual/performing arts, computer science, or other specific electives.
If your official high school transcript includes the minimum requirements for admission, you can move to the application process.
Choose to complete either the Common App or Coalition App. Next, a school counselor must submit a School Report, official transcript, and counselor recommendation on your behalf. Choose a teacher who can best qualify your aptitudes and exceptional personality traits via a teacher recommendation.
You may wish to upload additional optional items. Students applying to WashU whose first language is not English will need to submit the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English test. Candidates applying to the College of Art or College of Architecture are highly encouraged to submit portfolios that include 10-20 recent work samples.
At WashU, submitting standardized test scores is optional. 66% of recently enrolled students submitted either the SAT or ACT, and it is worth noting that the school does not consider the writing component for either exam. We recommend submitting standardized test scores only if they demonstrate the highest level of achievement. Few recently enrolled students scored below 700 on either SAT section, for example.
The Common Data Set reveals that the most important factors for admission consideration are the following: rigor of school record, overall class rank, cumulative GPA, standardized test scores, application essays, and teacher recommendations. 89% of recently enrolled students were in the top 10% of their high school graduating cohort, and the average high school GPA was 4.2.