Parents & Families

Out-of-state families

Below are a few topics that family of out of state students tend to have questions about. By no means is this list exhaustive, but we hope that some of your initial questions might be answered. Please feel free to e-mail Parent and Family Programs at with further questions or concerns.


Campus Life





How do students prepare for Seattle weather and climate?

Our average Northwest weather is characterized by cool summers (mid 70s are the norm) and moderate winters (with days in the upper 30s to low 40s). Although we’re known for our rain, the precipitation we get is usually more like mist. A good rain jacket is well worth the investment, although most locals pass on umbrellas. With a wide range in daily temperatures, layering is a great idea. A common surprise for many out of state students is the brevity of day light between mid-November and mid-February. The lack of sunlight bothers some people more than others and the campus does provide light therapy for students who experience the negative effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Does it really rain all the time in Seattle?

Contrary to popular opinion, a recent study found that Seattle is the 24th rainiest city in the US (38.6 inches) and 6th on the list for frequency (149 days with precipitation). These results are due to the short, mist-like showers that are common to the region What people don’t talk about as much are the clouds—we have a lot of those (300 or more days a year on average), but it’s those same clouds that keep us warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Campus Life

How many out of state students attend the UW as an undergraduate?

About 1 out of every 5 undergraduates at the UW Seattle are not from the state of Washington. Of this 20 percent about half are US residents and half are international students.

If my student is living on campus are there times when the residence halls close?

The residence halls (except Lander Hall, Mercer Court and Stevens Court) are closed to all students during Winter Break (from 12 noon on the Saturday after finals end, until the Sunday before winter quarter classes begin). The residence halls remain open over the Thanksgiving Break and Spring Break; however, there is no on-campus dining service during the Thanksgiving Break. Students not assigned for summer quarter must vacate the halls by 12 noon on the Saturday after finals end in spring quarter

How does recruitment work for out of state students who are interested in joining a Fraternity or Sorority?

The Inter Fraternity Council (IFC) is offering a recruitment program for out of state men interested in joining a Fraternity. The event will be held from August 18-22. Recruitment for women is more formal and happens in September from the 5th through the 12th and is coordinated by the PanHellenic Association. These events offer an introduction to Greek Life and opportunities to visit each chapter. Specific information can be found on the UW IFC and PanHellenic Association websites.

Are there campus clubs that are specifically for out-of-state students?

Among the many student-run UW organizations there are several which may be of interest to out-of-state students. For example, the Hawai’i club is open to all students, and provides opportunities for students from Hawaii to connect with other Hawaiians while they are away from home. For a complete list of UW student organizations visit the Student Activities Office (SAO) website.


Do out of state students return home for Thanksgiving?

Whether or not your son or daughter returns home for the Thanksgiving holiday depends on any number of factors including their schedule and the expense of the trip. The UW is closed on Thursday and Friday of that week, residence halls remain open and dining services are available during these days. It is also common for out of state students to visit the families of local roommates or friends during this break.

How do students get to the airport?

There are multiple ways that students can get to the Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA):
1. Using their UPass, students can take a bus downtown to the light rail and get directly to the airport. This option takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.
2. There are several shuttle services that provide one-way or round-trip transportation to SEA. A list of shuttle providers is available on the SEA website (
3. The fastest (but most expensive) route to and from SEA is by cab. A quick internet search can provide you with Seattle cab options. Fares run approximately $60 and timing depends on traffic.

Is there a best time to book flights back and forth from home to the UW?

While earlier is often better in terms of ticket pricing a good rule of thumb is to hold off on purchasing plane tickets until your student receives their syllabus from each course. The syllabus outlines when assignments are due and when the course final will be administered.


Is it possible for out of state students to establish in-state residency?

Establishing in-state residency is a complicated but achievable process, and will take at least 12 months . Generally speaking, your student will need to be financially independent, and meet a series of requirements. The UW Residence Classification Office coordinates al student requests for changes in residency and can provide your family with specific expectations and requirements. .

Are there scholarship options for out-of-state students?

Unfortunately, the majority of general scholarship opportunities available directly through the UW are open only to Washington state residents. Out-of-state students are usually ineligible for local scholarships given by Washington-based organizations. However, once students have been admitted to a major, they will become eligible for a variety of departmental scholarships. The amounts and application processes for these scholarships vary; and students should consult with their department directly for more information.


Where can my student find storage options?

Storage is not available on campus. Many of our out of state students will meet in state students throughout the year and those students may have garages that can be used for storage over the summer. We also have many students who use storage options throughout Seattle. This Google map search shows some of the storage units located close to campus.

Which stores are located nearby where we could find items for my student’s new residence?

Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond are located about 4 miles away from UW in Northgate. These are easily accessible from I-5. The UW Housing and Residence Life Office offers general suggestions for what to bring to your student’s room in the residence halls. We recommend your student bring the things from home that can’t be purchased here to avoid having to pack and ship so much.

Can my student ship items to the residence halls prior to arrival?

Your student is able to ship boxes directly to their new address if they are living in the residence halls and they can be picked up at the front desk when they arrive. You may ship trunks and luggage prepaid to the appropriate residence hall front desk. Please do not ship items to arrive more than one week prior to move in. All shipped items will be stored until residents retrieve them during the check-in period. The UW does not assume financial responsibility for such items.

What are some resources if my student is sick and I am far away?

We encourage all of our students to have a local physician, but they may also take advantage of Hall Health center on campus that provides minor medical care to students, faculty, and staff. For more information on University health services and local health services, visit the Hall Health website.  Talking with your student about what the options are for them if/when they get sick is wise. A plan now can avoid panic later.

How can I become more familiar with the UW campus?

The UW Visitors and Information Center website has several helpful resources for your next visit to campus. The Seattle campus is about 20 minutes from SeaTac airport. Directions to campus from I-5 and the east side of Lake Washington are located here.  If you are looking for a hotel nearby, the Office of Admissions has some listed recommendations on their website.