Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

Most common reasons we need new/additional documents from applicants.

Transcripts do not show institution name, or student name
Transcripts unreadable (due to formatting problems or low resolution scans)
Missing pages of transcripts (must save multipage transcripts as a single document to upload)
Missing institutions (did not list all institutions attended- transfer, study abroad, etc.)

Are there fees associated with the graduate school application?

Yes. There is a $100 application fee when you submit your application. If you are admitted, there is also a $100 confirmation fee.

How do I check my application status?

Go to https://www.applyweb.com/cgi-bin/ustat?school=wwugrad and click on the "View Checklist" link. On the checklist you will see status information for references, transcripts (unofficial and official) and test scores

Where can I find information about residency?

Detailed information about establishing and maintaining Washington State residency can be found at the Registrar's Office.

Note to International Students: According to Washington State law, a person who is not a citizen of the United States may be classified as a resident for tuition and fee purposes. Resident status (for tuition and fee purposes) may be obtained if evidence is provided that the applicant holds Permanent Resident, Refugee Parolee, or Conditional Entrant status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Why can't I upload my unofficial transcript?

The unofficial transcript upload will accept PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG and TIF files up to 5 MB. If your file is of a different type, or exceeds the 5 MB limit, it will not successfully upload. The system also cannot accept secure PDFs. Please see our uploading unofficial transcripts page for more information.

What is the best way to save my unofficial transcript off my school's website?

If you want to pull unofficial transcript information off of your university’s student portal, it is generally better to “print to PDF” rather than copy and paste the content into a MS Word document. Printing to PDF preserves page formatting and usually also captures the header that provides institution identifying information.

My unofficial transcript is two pages, but the application will only allow me to upload one. Help!

If your transcript is more than one page long, please save it as one PDF document. Each transcript upload field can only hold one document. If you save a multiple page transcript as a series of JPEGS and upload to the same field multiple times, it will only save the last document.

If you have trouble manipulating your documents into a format that works, please contact us at gradschool@wwu.edu for help BEFORE submitting your application.

I attended the same institution two separate times. Do I need to list it twice?

If you have multiple attendance periods at one institution, list the institution once and indicate attendance dates inclusive of all attendance periods, unless the coursework you completed appears on two separate transcripts (for example, an undergraduate transcript and a graduate level transcript). Do not provide more than one copy of each transcript.

If you earned multiple degrees at one institution, please list only the most recent.

Can I transfer credits taken at different institutions?

Up to 12 quarter credits, or 8 semester credits, can be transferred if specific criteria are met. See the policies page for more information.

Have you received my official test scores?

We are usually able to complete the initial processing of applications within 1 or 2 business days after they are submitted. At that time, any official test scores that have already been received by WWU will be uploaded to your file, and you will see this status update reflected on your application checklist at https://www.applyweb.com/cgi-bin/ustat?school=wwugrad

How do I request Letters of Reference?

Our application features an integrated Letter of Reference request function. You are prompted in the application to provide names and contact information for people who will be submitting references in support of your application. You also indicate if you wish to waive your right to review the reference. Then click the “Submit Recommendation Request” button, and the ApplyWeb system contacts the person at the email address you provided.

The reference request goes out as soon as you click the button. You do not need to have submitted the application to initiate the reference request.

Your recommenders will be prompted to log in to the ApplyWeb reference letter system and complete our reference form and/or upload a letter. Once they have submitted the reference, it is automatically attached to your application and identified by the system as received. For a more visual explanation of the process, please see our Letter of Reference System Overview.

Should I waive my right to view my references?

Generally, Confidential References (where you have waived your right to view) are considered to carry more weight because the person providing the reference is expected to be more candid in his/her assessment of you.
Some people may not feel comfortable accepting a reference request if the applicant has not waived his/her right to view the form and/or letter. In this case, they may decline the reference request, which will be reflected on your application status page. If a reference request is declined, you can either identify a new person and resend the request, or change your waive status and resend the request.
If you do not waive your right to view your references, please keep in mind that the material will not be available for you to view online. We can only provide access to these materials in person for your perusal at our office.

Registration

Why is my student record inactive?

Were you registered last quarter? If not, your student record may be inactive due to discontinuous attendance. Submit a Returning Student Application (RSA) to the Graduate School to reactivate your student record.

Is registration open?

Check the Registration Schedule. You may be attempting to register too early (or too late!).

Why did I get an error message?

Measles hold: If you were born after Jan. 1, 1957, are you immunized? Does the Student Health Center have the documentation?

Graduate School hold: New students- Have you submitted all outstanding application materials (transcripts, official test scores)? Returning students- Have you submitted a Plan of Study? If you were not registered the previous quarter, have you filled out the Returning Student Application?

Instructor Approval: Are you trying to register for a class that requires instructor approval?

Major Code: Is the class outside of your program?

Other Holds: Parking tickets? Overdue library book?

Contact the department that placed the hold and resolve it!

How do I register for thesis credits?

You need both departmental and Graduate School approval to register for thesis credits. Contact your program advisor, then the Graduate School. You may be required to submit the Continuous Enrollment (699) Registration Authorization Form.

New Students

I can't log on to MyWestern. What do I do?

Did you confirm your admission?

If you did not confirm your admission, you do not have a student record and are not eligible to register.

Have you activated your Universal Account?

As a new or returning student or employee at Western, you have received a Universal Account. This provides you with access to a number of technology resources. New students will be able to activate their Universal Account after enrollment confirmation has been processed. Activate your account online at https://www.wwu.edu/webactivate/index.jsp

Have you tried to login too many times?

If you attempted and failed to login more than 5 times, your password has been disabled and must be reset by the Registrar's Office for security purposes.

Assistantships

How often am I paid?

You are paid twice a month: first, on the 10th (for hours worked the 16th-25th of the previous month), and second, on the 25th (for hours worked the 1st-15th of current month) of each month.

Where do I pick up my check?

You can pick up your check in the Student Business Office (Old Main 110), or if you have Direct Deposit, it will automatically deposit into your bank account. See Direct Deposit enrollment instructions.

As a TA, how much will I pay out of pocket in tuition and fees each quarter?

The TA appointment includes not only the stipend but also a tuition waiver (see codes STOW, STTA, STOX, or STTB on your account). This waiver does not cover additional university operating fees. For specific dollar amounts that a TA pays out of pocket, please see Stipend & Waiver.

Where do I submit my employee documents?

Employment documents should be submitted to Human Resources 516 High Street, HU 229 Bellingham, Washington (Humanities Building is #14 on this Campus Map.

As a TA, am I eligible for other employment or salary from WWU?

Students with academic year assignments (fall, winter and spring quarters) are in pay status from September 16 through June 15.

Full-time TAs work 20 hours per week within their department and, in accordance with University regulation at this time, are not allowed additional salary or employment from any other university office or program. Full-time graduate teaching assistants who become employed in other offices during the quarter they have been awarded a TA jeopardize their TA standing.

Half-time TA's work 10 hours per week within their department. They may work additional hours, not to exceed 20 hours per week, in accordance with University regulation at this time. Half-time graduate TA's who become employed in other offices and work more than 20 hours per week during the quarter they have been awarded a TA jeopardize their TA standing.

How do I determine if I am eligible to register for less than eight credits?

Check your academic history (enrollment) against your plan of study. If you have registered for all coursework, with the exception of your thesis or research, then you are probably eligible to register for less than eight credits. If you have completed all the coursework (1) with exception of 690 or 691 (research), (2) or if a remaining course is offered in a future quarter, you also may be eligible to register for as few as 2 credits. Contact the Graduate School at gradschool@wwu.edu, for final approval.

For the graduate assistantship, all credits must be state-supported courses, not credits through the Extended Education and Summer Programs (EESP), or other universities. If you are on federal or state-sponsored financial aid (receiving a Federal Direct Loan, for example), you must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits each quarter for full time aid. This is a condition of eligibility for financial assistance. A student who needs to defer loan payments should check with the lending agency or loan regulations to determine eligibility for deferment status based on the number of credits per quarter for which the student is enrolled.

My student account doesn't look right. What is wrong?

You might be missing your TA waivers. Contact the Graduate School with questions at gradschool@wwu.edu.

I'm an International Student. How do I apply for a Social Security Number?

You should apply for your Social Security number as quickly as possible after you have been awarded the graduate assistantship. The Social Security number is a condition of employment. Official employment cannot begin until you have obtained the Social Security number (or have a note of verification) and the I-9 is completed.

If you need to obtain a Social Security number, please contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Miller Hall 212, (360)650-7971. Please have your assistantship award letter available to show ISSS. It will provide a confirmation memo for you to take to the Social Security Administration office where you apply for the number. The memo states that you are an eligible full time student.

Take the ISSS Confirmation memo, your I-20, and your passport with visa and I-94 to the Social Security Administration office. If Canadian, take your Confirmation memo, I-20, passport and I- 94. In Bellingham, the Social Security office is located at 710 Alabama Street (phone: 360-738-3952, 1-800-772-1213). The application form, available at the Social Security Administration office and also at www.ssa.gov, is brief and simple to complete. When you have completed and submitted the application form, ask for a "note of verification" from the Social Security Administration office. This note provides verification that you have applied for the Social Security number. Attach the note of verification when you submit the W-4. It usually takes two weeks to receive your Social Security Card. Contact Human Resources (360-650-3774) with your Social Security number as soon as you receive it to complete the employment requirement.

What is the Tax Treaty for International Students?

The United States has entered into tax treaties with many countries that may limit or modify the amount of federal withholding income tax you will have deducted from your paycheck. Please contact Payroll Services at hr.payroll@wwu.edu or 360-650-3774 to ensure your tax status is correct.

Page Updated 05.19.2016