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Welcome to the UW!

Each of you brings a unique set of values to your UW education. You have come to learn how to build communities. You are here for the diverse experience the University can offer. You want to explore the world. You hunger for a deep intellectual challenge. You seek lifelong friendships. There are many ways to be a UW student. 

In the next four years, we give you permission to become who you want to be, and along the way to discover a world of new ideas and people. Have high aspirations for yourself and high expectations of us. If, together, we do this well, your life will never be the same. This is a place of discovery, understanding, and possibility. Welcome to the UW tradition—you belong here.

The Husky Experience is a major…and more

Being a Husky has always meant making a contribution through career and community.  In the 21st century, successful Huskies need to be lifelong learners with the vigor and flexibility to tackle new challenges and to help shape a fast-paced world.

For success in your career and fulfillment in your life, you need to gain specialized knowledge, broad skills and the wisdom to chart your own future. Our schools and colleges provide the major, but the whole campus works together to help your gain more.

This is a big charge, and one the University readily embraces. We will work together to make the most of the short, yet crucial years, you spend at UW. Our goal is for our students to grow as self-directed thinkers who can connect and synthesize what they have learned inside and outside the classroom, and communicate those insights with clarity.

Starting early, we ask—and encourage—our students to become purposeful and strategic about their UW education and their future.  We help students navigate their personal, academic, civic, and professional choices strategically through guided reflection, focused on:

  • Identity:  Who are you becoming and what will you stand for?
  • Choices:  What will your time and effort at UW be dedicated to? 
  • Relationships:  Whom will you meet, what will these people teach you, and what opportunities do you hope will result from these connections?
  • Trajectory:  What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and how will you make them real?

We want all students to be positively transformed by their education at the University of Washington, becoming empowered to discover their passions in life and work, becoming independent thinkers and citizens, and eventually pursuing meaningful and rewarding careers. 

A major:  We aim to provide all students with deep learning in a field that interests and challenges them. 

And more:   What are the knowledge and skills that help students make the best use of their major?  All students bring with them different experiences, skills, and knowledge bases to build on, and follow many paths, as they navigate their UW experience in ways unique to them.  Regardless, every graduate leaves with more than they started.  There are at least six major areas of student achievement and engagement.  These six areas are ones we aspire to strengthen for all students who engage fully with their Husky Experience:

Lifelong learning

Every UW graduate will leave the university with experience in thinking critically, addressing new problems with creativity, and engaging in thoughtful analysis and research. You will develop these skills in challenging classes that require you to read, think, write and research in new and deeper ways; allow you to develop increased expertise in a chosen field; and ask you to demonstrate, integrate and reflect on learning.  These are the tools for lifelong learning—which are absolutely crucial for resiliency, reinvention and success:

  • Analytical reasoning demonstrated through the ability to do research—defining a problem (or research question); gathering, analyzing and synthesizing information or data to address the problem; and presenting those findings.
  • Critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and analysis that can be applied to new ideas in settings with people of diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Knowledge of how to learn, including awareness of the process of learning; confidence that you can repeat the process in the future to gain expertise in new areas; and awareness of both formal and informal resources for lifelong learning.
  • A sense of curiosity, possibility, and empowerment around seeking and pursuing new opportunities and challenges such as advanced degrees, new careers, new technologies, or new interests.
  • The courage, confidence, and patience to address the world creatively.

Leadership

Every UW graduate will have the skills needed to take on leadership roles in their careers and communities.  Our students will know that true leadership is not conferred by job titles or privilege, but by collaborative team work, principled self-awareness, accountability, collegiality, organizational commitment, and a future-oriented, entrepreneurial spirit. As leaders, they will have:

  • Confidence in navigating the transition from UW to creative and meaningful engagement within diverse communities and work teams.
  • Knowledge of how to find and use their voices in ways that influence the communities and organizations in which they live and work.
  • Experience leading and collaborating in team settings as well as an understanding of individual contributions, group dynamics and strategies that help navigate challenges to collaboration.

Career strategy

To be prepared for post-UW professions, Huskies graduate with an understanding of the complexities of the world of work and a strategic approach to pursuing career opportunities (both near- and long-term), including:

  • Development of major- or field-specific skills and areas of interest and expertise both in and out of the classroom. 
  • Experience navigating a complex work environment in which they can contribute by applying general skills—such as being a productive part of a team, meeting deadlines, working independently, flexibility. This can be achieved through on or off-campus experiences such as internships, volunteer work, or jobs.
  • Knowledge of successful job search techniques.

Cultural understanding

Every Husky graduates with the cultural understanding (local, regional, and global) that will enable them to excel in cross-functional, multicultural environments and engage meaningfully in diverse groups, teams, and communities. Our graduates will respect and understand the complex, dynamic nature of human cultures and interactions on personal, local, and global scales (interpersonal, multicultural, cross-cultural).  Cultural competence encompasses many things, including:

  • Understanding of diversity issues in the US.
  • Awareness of and a respectful approach to cultural differences and values in the global community. 
  • Understanding of the issues of diversity, injustice and inequities in societies from a broad philosophical perspective.
  • The ability to apply awareness and understanding to real-life situations at home and abroad, in the workplace and in the community.
  • Knowledge of how to communicate across cultural boundaries with those who have learned one’s language and the ability to make oneself understood to speakers of at least one language other than one’s own.

Community engagement and public service

All Huskies are encouraged to have experiences that help them develop a connection between their academic work and the community; a sense of social responsibility; and the ability to apply the strengths, skills, and talents of a Husky grad in service of a broader community. This may mean serving communities of which you are a member, building on existing relationships and interests, or exploring new community groups that build new relationships and fostering new interests. Community-based learning includes:

  • Discovery of the community in which the university resides, gaining exposure to and participating in a selection of the great variety of organizations and experiences in the city and beyond.
  • A sense of social responsibility and understanding of what it means in ethical and practical terms to give back to communities of one’s own choosing and use one’s skills to help others. 

Health & wellness

College is a time for you to explore who you are as an individual and as members of different communities.  It is also a stressful time, whether you are exploring new-found independence; returning to school after years of working, raising children, serving in the military; or managing lack of sleep, grades or financial anxiety, illness, depression, or issues related to sexual health.  We encourage Huskies to meet these challenges through:

  • Reflection on personally held beliefs, examining them in light of people different from you, balancing personal needs with those of others, and enhancing self-respect and mutual respect in ways that build community.
  • Discovery of your aptitudes, effectiveness, and healthy habit goals that will carry forward throughout your life.
  • Awareness of the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, financial, and spiritual aspects of wellbeing; how to access campus and community-based resources to navigate challenges to wellbeing; and how to advocate for self and others in ways that improve wellbeing.
  • Ability to see beyond their current situation, address personal barriers, identify resources, and challenge roadblocks to success.

Husky Principles

The values upheld at the University of Washington serve as the foundation for our excellence in higher education. As a member of the UW community, students strive to:

  • Practice high standards of honesty and integrity
  • Respect the dignity and rights of all persons
  • Support freedom of thought and expression
  • Pursue ongoing intellectual and personal development
  • Engage in critical thinking and discovery
  • Improve our university community and the world

Photo by UW Admissions