PNW or WUE schools for 2.9 - 3.0 gpa

I am a long time lurker on this site. It has been very helpful over the years with my three oldest children. They were looking at very different college experiences and were much better students than my youngest. We are from Washington state. My youngest, D22 has always struggled academically. She does have organizational issues, ADHD. Her HS transcript is not great, but there has been an upward trend since COVID and she will end up with around a 3.0 unweighted GPA by the end of this semester, having taken only 2 AP classes. In addition to local community colleges, I would like some thoughts about WUE schools or PNW schools that could be possibilities:
Eastern Washington University
Central Washington University
Western Washington University (believe this is a reach, but she will still apply)
Washington State University
University of Idaho
Western Oregon University
Southern Oregon University
Linfield University

She is not certain if she would like a Greek system or not and is not picky about rural versus urban. My budget has been around 30k/ year for her siblings and I would like to keep it that way for her, but I would increase it for a supportive school that she loves. She visited plenty of schools with her siblings, but would not be in the running for any of them with her grades. She has not been able to take her SAT or ACT due to COVID. I can’t see that she would test well, anyway.

Lots of good options in the list. You’d have to say more about what she’s looking for in order for anyone to vet the fit of the schools on the list.

She is unsure about what she wants to major in, but believes something general like communications, media studies, marketing (not a business major, though). She is very artistic, loves drawing, but admits that it may not be something she can do to support herself. She would love a more traditional four year school versus commuting to a community college, but she’ll do that if she doesn’t get in anywhere.
For sure, no math or science. Those have been the bane of her existence. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I checked her Naviance page with her high school and it appears that all applicants were accepted to U of Idaho in the last 4 or 5 years, most to Eastern and Central. However, she is definitely in the bottom half to bottom quarter of her HS school class, so there may not be many applicants with her grades who applied. Western and WSU may be iffy for her. It looks like WUE is tough to get for Montana and Montana State, so probably out of her range.

Also, we’re in a high achieving suburban school district and her counselor is not interested in helping us find schools, so we’ve been doing this on our own. I just didn’t want to miss a school with more “open admissions”. We noticed U of Idaho from CC recently and put it on our list.

as CA residents, we looked at WUE and PNW schools too. it’s my understanding that SOU has a program for kids who struggle with executive function and related. my friend’s son (ADHD, dysgraphia, etc.) has had a great experience there so far, with a lot of supports. ashland is a lovely town and the college is small, with many internships available at the shakespeare festival. we were also impressed with western washington on a variety of levels (my daughter ended up applying and being admitted with merit and WUE but has chosen a UC instead). my friend, a teacher/literacy specialist who grew up in washington state, has known several people who’ve successfully matriculated at WW. finally, we really, really liked Lewis & Clark (D21 also applied and was accepted there; they seem to have a lot of merit available to all sorts of students – two of her friends from CA also accepted). it’s a small, high-quality LAC, beautiful campus near central portland, great international study programs, excellent instruction. best of luck.


Yes, we loved Lewis and Clark when we visited for one of my other kids, but I think it’s a reach with her GPA. Glad to hear about the support at SOU. We haven’t visited any of these due to COVID, but hope to start visiting in person at the start of the fall semester. I am hoping all of them will “show” well for her with students on campus.

She would qualify for WUE at University of New Mexico (1.5x in-state tuition) or possibly WUE plus or Amigo (both are equal to in state tuition). Total cost of attendance at in state rates is less than $20K annually; WUE would be roughly 23-24K annually.

Northern Arizona is another WUE school that might be of interest; it’s smaller than UNM.

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NAU admissions is described at Freshman Admission Requirements for NAU | Admission

WUE is described at Western Undergraduate Exchange at NAU | Admission

There are also scholarships: Merit-based Tuition Scholarships | Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid


Thanks for the suggestions on NAU and UNM. I’ll take a look to see how her low GPA would fare in admissions on Naviance.

What about Design or Industrial Design? Both Utah and Western Washington have good programs. I didn’t see a math or physics requirement at Utah, but there is at WW (pre-cal and 2, probably non-calc based, Physics). It’s a way to parlay art and creativity into a good paying job. She’d need to dig deeper to see if it’s too “sciency.”

Alas, she will barely eek out a C in Algebra II this year. I think any higher math would be beyond her. Thank goodness her older computer engineer brother still lives at home and is able to tutor.

I don’t see that it’s a requirement at Utah. The U is a very good school. If it interests her after looking at it, she could always call the department to get more insight.

Check college graduation requirements, because it is common for colleges to require a math or statistics course more advanced than algebra 2 (e.g. introductory college statistics or high enough score in AP statistics; these have algebra 2 as a prerequisite).

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Did you check out Willamette? They’re not on WUE but reduced their tuition by 20%.

I could be wrong, but my impression is that WUE money at Utah is limited and somewhat stats driven. The Design program is very good there, though.

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True, but cost over 4 years is very similar to WUE if you stay for residency the first summer.

The main thing to consider is that the Design major is a BS (Catalog - The University of Utah). That means you do have to take two lower level math courses (one stats, one math, like “intro to quant reasoning”) and two upper level ones (examples are things like “research methods”), see . But no calculus is required.


Wow! Your kid’s profile sounds like mine. My daughter graduated in ‘20 and we were poised to send her to University of Idaho. Mine has high functioning autism and there’s a program called the Ravens Scholar program that supports kids on the spectrum.

11th hour , we decided to have her stay at home her freshman year at community college vs going OOS. From both saving $ and perhaps not quite ready for the social rigors of college, cc ended up being a great choice. She got a 3.75 first semester and is currently pulling a 3.5 this semester with 4 weeks left in the semester. Her plan now is to transfer into UC Davis as a junior with enough money saved for us to pay for the rest of her undergraduate and probably grad school too.

So, U Idaho is great, but the CC route can also be great as well as provide an opportunity for your kid to go to a school that they couldn’t have gotten into as a freshman.

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Oh yes, my daughter got the WUE at Idaho as well as NAU. They’re not as giving at Montana and MSU. My daughter got a modest scholarship at those schools but not enough to put them in the serious consideration set.

U Arizona also has a great support program for kids with executive functioning challenges but just too expensive as there is no WUE there and we couldn’t justify the cost.

Finally, Cal State East Bay has a really good program for kids with executive functioning challenges. The location is beautiful and the student body is extremely diverse, which we liked


Thanks for the info on Cal State East Bay. I’m also glad to hear about your experience with NAU and the Montana schools. That is very helpful as we will as we narrow down any schools to visit.

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Yes, I’ve gone back and forth between community college and 4 year college. She improved considerably the last few semesters, so I thought it would be appropriate to have her apply to some of these schools in the hope that she gets into a few of them. That way, we can make the decision to send her if she continues to show sustained improvement. U if I is no farther than WSU for us, 4 1/2 hours from home.

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