How many courses should I take?If you want to attend full-time, you should sign up for a schedule of courses that totals 12-17 credits. If you are on financial aid, or are an international student, or a student athlete, you must register for at least 12 credits.
What's a credit?You earn credit by completing courses. In general, one credit represents one hour in class per week. Many UW courses are 5 credits, and meet 5 hours per week. Most UW bachelor degrees require 180 credits. If you take 15 credits per quarter and attend three quarters per year, in four years you will have 180 credits.
What does a normal course schedule look like?
For new students, a normal courseload is usually three courses: two 5-credit courses, plus a third course that is anything from 2 credits to 5 credits. Examples of a few typical freshman schedules:
|Schedule One||Schedule Two||Schedule Three|
MATH 120 (5)
MATH 124 (5)
POL S 202 (5)
So 15 credits would be 15 hours of class each week. If I'm a full-time student, shouldn't I have 40 hours of class each week?No, because college courses require much more study time than high school courses. In general, courses require two hours of homework for every hour of class. So, a 15-credit load should end up taking about 45 hours of time per week (15 hours of class time plus 30 hours of homework).
If classes last an hour, how much time do I have to get to the next class?
Actually the University "hour" is 50 minutes, and you have 10 minutes to get to the next class if you're taking courses one right after another. Some classes meet for longer than 50 minutes, though - especially labs. And some classes meet for two long sessions each week instead of five hour-long sessions. You'll need to read the Time Schedule carefully.
It is smart to note the location of the classes, though, to make sure you don't have to go from one end of campus to the other in 10 minutes; in the Time Schedule, just click on the building name and a campus map will pop up.
How often do I register?
Each quarter you attend the UW. There are three quarters in the academic year (autumn, winter, and spring), plus summer quarter if you wish to attend then as well. Courses you register for last only one quarter (normally 10 weeks plus finals). You register for the next quarter about halfway through the current quarter; so, if you are starting school in autumn, you'll register for winter quarter about halfway through autumn. Your registration date each quarter will appear in MyUW.
Can I take any courses listed in the Course Descriptions?
No. Course Descriptions lists all of the courses that are ever offered at the UW. Only a subset of these are offered each quarter. Many course descriptions note the quarters a particular course is offered (A=autumn, W=winter, Sp=Spring, S=summer).
Okay, then can I take any courses listed in the Time Schedule?
Still no! You'll see in the Time Schedule that some classes have class standing restrictions (e.g., "juniors and seniors only"), major restrictions (e.g., "PSYCH majors only"), placement test requirements, or prior course requirements (i.e., "prerequisites").
Also, in general, first-year students take only courses numbered in the 100s and 200s. Courses numbered in the 300s and 400s are usually taken by sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This is not always true, though; ask an adviser if you want a second opinion about your course choices.
How do I decide which courses to take?
Short answer: Advisers will help you.
Slightly longer answer: If you have a major identified, investigate the requirements and start working on prerequisites and required sequences. This is especially crucial in the majors with long sequences, like science, engineering, and language majors. If you have interest in several majors, take introductory courses to try them out. If you're not sure of your major, explore your interests by taking a course or two in possible majors of interest. If you're thinking at all about a science major, consider taking a math or introductory science course.
Also, work on general education requirements, like English composition, Writing courses, foreign language, and the Areas of Knowledge.
One nice way to do all of the above and start off with a great connection to the UW is to sign up for a Freshmen Interest Group (FIG).
Will I need to take any placement tests?
Math: Unless you took the statewide placement test in high school, scored high enough on the Advancement Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) test, or have college credit for math, you will need to take a math placement test if you plan to take most math courses.
Foreign Language: You only need to take a foreign language placement test if it's the language you took in high school; otherwise, in most cases, you can just sign up for the beginning class.
English composition: The UW does not offer any general placement tests for English composition. All of the beginning English composition courses are at the same level, you just write about different topics.
For more information read through our Placement Tests website.
I've heard that all the good courses are closed. How can I get the courses I want?
Well, sometimes you can't. In your first quarter at the UW you are registering after all the continuing students, and some courses will be closed. Also, the later you register the fewer options you'll have. If you're a freshman entering in autumn quarter, however, we offer loads of space in the courses freshmen typically take: math, chemistry, English composition, and a variety of introductory courses in subjects such as history, politics, and psychology. There are several good online resources at our Tools for Finding Open Courses website.
Do I have to pay tuition when I sign up for classes?
Tuition isn't due until after the quarter starts, so you can set up your schedule and know exactly how much you owe by checking MyUW before paying. Tuition is the same for 10 to 18 credits, but other fees may apply, and there is an extra charge for credits beyond 18. Check the Tuition Rates website for details.