Likelihood of son getting into University of WA?

Unlike many of his peers, my son doesn’t want to go too far from home (Seattle). He’s hoping for UW, and pretty stressed out about his odds. I’m wondering what others think, based on his stats:

Planned major: music

3.96 GPA, 4.2 weighted

Several AP classes, one College in HS class (run by UW)

Extracurriculars focused almost entirely on jazz and music in general:

-lots of soloist awards, including one from Essentially Ellington, the big festival held in NYC
-participates in a personal combo, not connected to school
-has done a lot of gigs, for pay and as a volunteer; raised money for the George Floyd family by putting on a concert
-worked as an assistant at the jazz camp held at a local middle school
-marching band (lead for his section)

Other than that, just recreational sports, but those ended a couple of years ago when he got too busy with music.

Personal essays:

-the first was on a challenge he experienced. He wrote about dealing with me having an especially nasty cancer when he was a kid, and how music helped him through that. Talked about how music can change lives, discussed the benefit concert as an example.

-second was on how he brings diversity to the school…tricky for a standard straight white guy! He talked about his extended family, which is multi-ethnic due to his grandmother marrying two men who weren’t white, along with his white grandfather. Talking about learning tolerance as a family value thanks to her values and life experiences.

So that’s it! I have no idea, having never done this stuff before (his two older sisters were on completely different paths). Am hoping the smart minds here can help me out, one way or another!

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Assuming that admission as a music major is not by audition,your son should be admitted to UW.


i agree, I think he’s got a great shot.
That said, there is some subjectivity to the process. Be sure to apply broadly.

Good luck

1 Like indicates that the music major is competitive admission with audition, though the student may be admitted to the university without necessarily being admitted to the major.


He sounds like a pretty easy admit in my opinion. He should be able to give a pretty solid audition (soloist award at Essentially Ellington is a huge deal). Having said all that he should have a back up plan. He should look into another couple of universities he would be willing to attend to study music, and also he should think about whether there is another major at UW that he would be interested in studying and participating in music as an extracurricular (marching band, jazz combos etc.) Good luck!


We have some background here in terms of being admitted to UW, being rejected from UW, etc. University of WA is very competitive these days so unless he is admitted because he has the music skills they want it might be difficult. We have 2 who were admitted but they had a lot more AP credit and SAT commendation and diversity. One was rejected for grad college before they even read all of his reference letters because his #'s probably werent high enough. Your son sounds like a really gifted musician and will find the right spot. Just bear in mind that UW seems to only want the local students that are incredible (per their very specific defintion) otherwise they have a high % of international students. Read the seattle times articles regarding this. I would definitely apply broadly - multiple colleges in Washington. Fingers crossed that he gets in! :slight_smile:

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Do you happen to know the title of the article, or some key words I can search? Thx!

If he won a soloist award at EE, then I would assume that his audition will get him in. He’s got the grades, too. Winning a soloist award at EE is a really big deal, pretty much the highest honor one could get in high school jazz, other than perhaps winning a national or international jazz instrumental competition.

I am made very uncomfortable by the “how I bring diversity to the school” essay. Was this a mandatory essay prompt? It’s tricky for any white guy, or white gal, too. The approach of ‘some of my relatives aren’t white, so I’ve learned tolerance within my family’, seems a little odd to me - better than ‘some of my best friends are…’, but worse than ‘my own actions/deeds bringing diversity’ - which in his case, they most definitely do! If he hasn’t submitted it yet, can he talk about the diversity that he brings, by bringing jazz to campus? After all, jazz, from it roots right through to its modern day expression, has been a largely African American art form. Wouldn’t bringing his own jazz skills to campus contribute to diversity, because he is bringing a largely AA form of music to share with others on campus? And since jazz is played in ensembles, by default a diverse group of students learn to work intensively together, to come together as a skilled ensemble.

But yeah, he’s gonna get in, I think. How nice for you that he’ll be close to home!


I think his chances are good — not guaranteed, but I would put UW as a solid match for him. As a possible back-up, you might explore the music department at University of Puget Sound.


The diversity question wasn’t a choice, it’s mandatory! I’d love to know what other kids manage to come up with, as the school is really not very diverse at all.

At any rate, the application is in, and the reality is that playing jazz in this town is so common it would be hard to make any case for diversity there.

My DD22 will also be applying to UW. I read the essay prompt you’re referring to differently. In my opinion it’s asking about the student’s community or family, how that has impacted the student and how that background will add to the diversity of UW.

I agree that talking about his jazz family or community and how he will share that background at UW will be a much more impactful essay. It does not have to be about race and in this case, it probably shouldn’t be.

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If it’s in, it’s in. I’m sure he’ll have good news from them - he’s such a strong applicant. When is his audition?

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The question is “Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW.”

I think it’s pretty clear that race is one factor. A number of years ago affirmative action programs in our state were banned, so this is one way that local colleges in WA address that issue.

My mother’s life and the lessons she passed on to her kids and grandkids are very much a part of our family culture. Her stories of being unable to go out to bars or restaurants in 1940s Santa Fe with her Navajo husband (they literally had “No dogs or Indians allowed” signs!), combined with having many aunts, uncles, and cousins who aren’t white and have had to deal with the challenges of that reality in a white-dominated culture, really imbued our family with a strong sense of the realities of racial injustice and the need for white people to step up and ally themselves with the marginalized in our communities. This is what my son shared in his essay.

That seems pretty relevant to me.

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He’s going to set it up this week. He also gets super nervous with auditions so…whee! We’re in for some interesting times until we get through this.

Interestingly, my kid who was what my father called a “money player”, meaning that when he was performing, or auditioning, he always came through, said he’s getting more nervous as he gets older (and now has no audition stress). If it’s really bad, he could try propranolol, which blocks performance anxiety. He’d have to of course try it out a number of times first. Beta-Blockers for Performance Anxiety and Social Phobia –

Read the above, then talk with his pediatrician right away to see if he/she agrees to your son trying it.

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Interesting…I’ve never heard of it. Thanks for the tip!