WashU Transfer Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

Named for the first president of the United States, Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853 to address the need for midwestern institutions of higher learning. Since then, it has become one of the country’s most respected private research schools.

Designated a tier-I research institution, WashU has a proud history of excellence. Over its nearly 150-year history, the school has been affiliated with 25 Nobel laureates, including several whose primary research occurred at WashU. Among medical schools, only three other institutions have received more funding from the National Institutes of Health.

From this impressive foundation, WashU has trained a wide range of important figures. Alumni include actor Peter Sarsgaard and director/actor Harold Ramis, as well as J.P. Morgan CEO George Gatch and Oakland Athletics owner Lewis Wolff.

While studying at WashU, these luminaries took advantage of the school’s incredible resources. The University’s fourteen libraries make for the largest collection in the state and are considered by many to be among the best of any college. 

Since 1881, WashU has been home to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, which houses works from legends such as Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, and Jackson Pollock.

Even more impressive are the research initiatives found at WashU. The campus hosts NASA’s Planetary Data System Geosciences Node, a partnership that has allowed WashU students and faculty to participate in several uncrewed Mars missions.

With such a proud history, it’s no wonder that WashU would attract attention from even those who already attend a respected school.

WashU Transfer Acceptance Rate

Washington University In St. Louis
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The transfer acceptance rate at Washington University in St. Louis is 20.2%.

The overwhelming majority of universities accept a far lower percentage of transfer students than regular admission students. Several reasons account for this tendency, including the limited number of students a school can admit to a bias against those who do their prerequisites at another school.

WashU does not follow this tendency. The school’s 20.2% transfer acceptance rate is much larger than its acceptance rate for freshmen. For the 2022 school year, WashU sent offers of admission to just 10% of its applicants, down from 16% in other years.

Although nearly double the standard acceptance rate, make no mistake – it is extremely difficult to transfer to WashU. For every ten students who apply to transfer to the school, eight will be rejected.

With the odds against you, it’s important to craft the strongest possible application. The successful transfer student will know what Wash U looks for in looks for when bringing in someone from another school.

Application Requirements & GPA

The minimum GPA to be accepted for transfer at Washington University in St. Louis is 3.5.

As you might guess from the relatively low transfer rate, WashU has high expectations for those who want to join their campus. 

Just under eight out of ten applicants are rejected by the school, indicating that they failed to meet the institution’s expectations.

At a minimum, WashU expects transfer students to have earned a GPA of 3.5 at their initial institution. In other words, they extend admission only to those who get mostly A’s, with only a handful of B’s.

Furthermore, that’s the minimum to apply, which means everyone trying to switch to Wash U earns those grades. The lucky few who get accepted likely have a higher grade average, something closer to a perfect 4.0.

Outside of the GPA, WashU does not have too many other requirements for all transfer applicants. Students can transfer during their freshman year, or they can apply as late as their Junior year. 

If a student has been away from higher education for more than two years, the school recommends they take a few classes at a different institution before applying to transfer.

That said, certain academic programs do have their own requirements. Some expect transfers to complete all pre-requisites before applying, while others need to see a portfolio or audition as part of the application package.

WashU Transfer Deadline

Washington University in St. Louis
Doc2129, WashU Danforth Campus, CC BY-SA 4.0

The transfer deadline for WashU is March 1.

If you’re going to transfer from your current school to Washington University in St. Louis, you have a lot of things to remember for your application. 

But the most important thing to remember is that all materials must be submitted by March 1st.

The deadline is particularly important because WashU, like most schools, only allows transfer students to enroll in the Fall. 

Where first-year students can choose from multiple early decision dates and the standard deadline of January 1st, transfers get only one shot. If you miss that deadline, you’ll need to wait a full year before you can apply again.

You might also notice that the transfer deadline comes quite a bit later than the deadline for first-year students. 

The reason for the distinction is the preference WashU shows for incoming freshmen. The University first needs to know the number of new freshmen it’s accepting before they can decide on the number of transfers to bring in.

Some might consider this a slight against transfers, but the later deadline does work out in your favor. Those extra months can be spent gathering application materials and making the best possible argument for your acceptance.

What Is the Decision Date for WashU?

The decision date for transfers to Washington University in St. Louis is April 1st.

First, the good news. WashU does not make transfer students wait any longer than first-year students between submitting an application and hearing a decision. In both cases, the University takes three months to respond.

Now, the bad news. While freshmen joining WashU have several months between getting their decision on April 1st and the start of the Fall Semester, transfer students have just over three. That’s not a lot of time to register for classes and secure materials for the upcoming semester.

You might think that this difference indicates a bias against transfer students, but the opposite is actually true. WashU waits until later because they want more transfers to come to their school, not fewer.

In the month between making decisions for freshmen and making decisions for transfers, the university looks at the number of available slots. Like every other university, WashU has to give priority to incoming first-year students. 

But once they’ve determined that number, they can then send offers of admission to the highest possible amount of transfers.

Does that make the wait, or the rush to register, any easier? Probably not, but at least it’s a process that works in your favor.

Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to WashU

Without question, Washington University in St. Louis asks a lot of those trying to transfer to their school. So much, in fact, some may wonder if it’s worth the effort. But a quick look at the school’s reputation reminds us why so many want to switch to WashU.

The most respected observing outlet is U.S. News & World Report, which places WashU in fourteenth place on its list of schools in the United States, tied with Vanderbilt University and Ivy League institution Brown University. 

On the outlet’s specialized lists, WashU stands out even more. In addition to claiming the school has the 45th best undergraduate engineering program, U.S. News puts WashU in 17th place on its list of Best Value Schools.

The ranking site Niche.com comes to a similar conclusion, as it gives WashU an A+. The school earns that high mark for its academic reputation, its beautiful campus, and its overall economic value.

On the site’s unique lists, WashU receives even higher praise. Niche.com gives the school the #3 spot on its lists of Best Colleges for Architecture in America and Best Colleges for Design in America, #2 on the Best College Campuses in America list, and the top spot on the list of Best College Dorms in America.

This strong and varied praise makes it easy to see why someone goes through the hard work of leaving their current school to study at WashU.

RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to WashU

Washington University in St. Louis may be receptive to transfer students, but that doesn’t mean that they take everyone who applies. 

The school has an acceptance rate of 20.19% for transfers, much higher than that of most institutions. However, even that number means rejections for eight out of ten hopefuls.

To be among the fortunate group, you must not only meet the required minimum 3.5 GPA but actually exceed it. The most likely to be accepted for transfer to WashU will earn almost nothing but A’s at their current institution. 

However, the University allows students to apply for transfer no matter how many credit hours they’ve already earned and does not limit itself to Juniors.

Transfer applications are due to the University by March 1st of each year. Because WashU only takes in transfers during the Fall semester, it only reads applications once a year. The school informs hopefuls of its decision three months later, by May 1st.

Without question, that’s a lot of work to be done when the odds of acceptance are relatively slim. But few would pass up the chance to graduate at Washington University in St. Louis.