If Not Admitted


Students applying to the CSE department should consider alternative degree options as well. UW offers many other excellent computing-related majors that are far more than "back-up" plans. Choose a major you enjoy and that will help further your personal, academic, and professional goals. Students in any major may take a non-major CSE course to build technical skills.

For some students who are denied admission to CSE on their first application, applying a second time may make sense. Reapplying does not automatically improve your chance of admission. You must identify what specifically kept you from being competitive the first time, and resolve these issues. Note, however, that the primary reason most students are denied is that space is limited; CSE denies many very strong applicants and sometimes there is no specific issue. 

For students who decide to reapply, here are some things to consider:

  • If your grades in a key area (math, science, English, or CSE) are below the range that is typically competitive for CSE, you might improve your application by taking more-advanced classes in the same area. If you have not maintained consistantly strong grades across multiple quarters, evaluate the options you have to create stability and work hard at maintaining strong grades. If you tend to pay attention only to the courses that interest you at the expense of everything else, focus on taking a more balanced approach to your coursework.

  • Most students planning for a second application will take additional challenging courses in math, science, English, or computer science. Keep in mind that although it may seem appealing to take a non-major CSE course, these classes do not count toward CSE major requirements. Applicants should speak with a CSE advisor before taking a non-major CSE class.

  • Consider general requirements needed to graduate instead of just courses needed to apply. For example, finish your math and science courses, work towards a minor or another major, and complete your general education requirements.

  • Ask for feedback on your personal statement. You might ask friends or family if it captures the most interesting and important details of who you are. Be open to making changes. Also, address what has changed since your first application. Spend time proof-reading. Remember that it is more important for us to hear what you are doing presently and hope to accomplish in the future, rather than details about the first time you sat in front of a computer or played your first video game.

  • If you have trouble taking tests or organizing your time, consider talking to a counselor at the Counseling Center about test-anxiety, test-taking tips, or time management.

  • If you would like to speak to an advisor, there are two pre-major advising centers available to you: Undergraduate Academic Affairs Advising in Mary Gates Hall and pre-engineering in Loew 301. You may also attend drop-in advising hours for the CSE department.