Frequently Asked Questions


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 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 get my unofficial transcript to upload?

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 info off my school's website?

If you are pulling unofficial transcript info off of your university’s student portal, it is generally more successful to “print to PDF” rather than copying and pasting the content into a MS Word document. Printing to PDF preserves formatting of the page and usually will also capture the header that often 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 the us at 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.

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

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 you waive your right to review the reference. Then you click the “Submit Recommendation Request” button, and the ApplyWeb system contacts the person at the email address you provided.

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

They 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 it is expected that the person providing the reference will be more candid in their assessment of you.
Some people may not feel comfortable accepting a reference request if the applicant has not waived their right to view the form and/or letter. In this case, they may decline the reference request. If they do so, you will see that reflected on your application status page. If a reference request is declined, you can identify a new person and resend the request, or you can 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 are only able to provide you access to these materials in person, in our office.


Why is my student record inactive?

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

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: 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?

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'll need both departmental and Graduate School approval to register for thesis credits. Contact your program advisor, then the Graduate School.

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 onlline at

Have you tried to login many times?

If you have attempted and failed to login more than 5 times, your password will have been disabled, and must be reset by the Registrar's Office (a safety feature).


How often am I paid?

You are paid twice a month on, or close to the 10th (for hours worked the 16th-25th of the previous month and 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. Direct Deposit form and information.

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 waiver of the operating fees portion of tuition and fees (see codes STOW, STTA, STOX, or STTB on your account). 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 standing as TAs.

Half-time TA's work 10 hours per week within their department. They may work additional hours, but 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 standing as TAs.

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 course work, 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. Then contact the Graduate School at, 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 for 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 Graduate School with questions at

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

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

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, 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 (650-3326) with your Social Security number as soon as you receive it to complete the employment requirement.

You should apply for the 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 have any questions about obtaining the Social Security number, please contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) , (360) 650-7971.

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 (360-650-3565) to ensure your tax status is correct.

Page Updated 03.08.2016