First-Year Requirements

Are you a first-year student?

You’re considered a first-year student for admission purposes if you’re applying to WSU for the academic year immediately after graduating from high school. This includes high school seniors who participated in Running Start or College in the High School.

You’re also considered a first-year student if you haven’t attended college since high school graduation. Your age also affects how you apply, so if you’re 25 or older, check out the adult application process below.

The state of Washington maintains the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs) that all first-year students have to meet to qualify for college admission. More information on CADRs is available from the Washington Student Achievement Council.

How to apply as a first-year student

The priority application date for fall semester is May 1 and November 15 for spring semester, but we accept applications throughout the year. To be considered for merit-based awards you must have a completed application by the priority application date.

To make sure you receive the highest possible amount of financial help, file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid for HB 1079 students only) by May 1.

Your next step depends on your education background.
Note: WSU no longer using SAT and ACT in admissions process.


If you are still in high school at the time of application, please do the following in addition to filling out the admission application:

    • Send your high school transcript to WSU by uploading the transcript when filling out the admission application, by using the document uploader in your myWSU account, by using an accepted documentation service such as Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, Scribbles, or eScrip-Safe, or by mailing or faxing it to us. We do not accept transcripts via email.
    • If you earned college credit, ask the college(s) to send official transcripts to WSU.

Are you currently a local sophomore or junior high school student interested in our Running Start program? 

Whether you’re applying for the semester directly after your high school graduation or have been out of high school for awhile, here’s what you need to do:

    • Ask your high school to send your official transcripts to WSU. If you have earned a GED, have the testing agency send us your official GED transcript instead.
    • If you have earned college credit, ask the college to send those official transcripts to WSU as well.
students gathered inside during orientation

Did you complete some or all of your schooling at home? You’re welcome at WSU Tri-Cities.

    • Have your official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended sent to our office.

And send one of the following two items:

    • An academic resume that provides documentation of all subjects studied and textbooks used, including the signature of the parent or guardian; responsible for the student’s curriculum, OR
    • An official transcript from the GED exam, if taken.

You’re considered an adult student for admission purposes if you’ll be 25 years or older on your first day of classes at WSU and have completed less than one year’s worth of transferable college work.

If you’re considered a first-year student, please include the following materials:

    • Have your high school send us an official transcript with graduation date. If you have a GED, have the testing agency send us your official GED transcript instead.
    • If you have completed some college courses, also have the college (or colleges) you attended send us your official transcripts.

In addition to your application and transcripts, please also send:

    • A resume covering the last five years; and.
    • A brief essay (no more than one page) addressing why you want to attend WSU Tri-Cities.

Get Credit for AP, IB, and Running Start

WSU awards credit for Advanced Placement (AP) and  International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, as well as for Running Start and similar college-in-the-high-school programs.

AP Credits

WSU awards credit for scores of 3 or higher on College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams. See a list of AP exam credits awarded by WSU.

IB Credits

WSU awards credit for each International Baccalaureate (IB) higher-level pass with a grade of 5 or better. See a list of IB credits awarded by WSU.

Running Start

To get credit for Washington’s Running Start or a similar program that lets you take courses for both college and high school credit, simply have an official transcript of your college-level work sent to WSU Tri-Cities. Aside from that, you’ll follow the usual steps for applying as an incoming first-year student.

If you are a high school student interested in learning more about Running Start at WSU Tri-Cities, then visit the WSU Tri-Cities Running Start page.

Please note: When ordering an electronic transcript from a school that partners with e-Script Safe, National Student Clearinghouse or Parchment, DO NOT enter an email address. The partner agency will send us your transcript directly.

If your school does not partner with one of the listed agencies, request that your school mail a sealed official transcript to the address above.

Note: This is a guide to the admission process, not a statement of policy. See the WSU General Catalog for official requirements and regulations.