Current Students

Finding community and knowing where to start to get involved on campus can be challenging. The University of Washington is home to many different communities. 

Below are some opportunities and resources we’d recommend checking out to begin! 


First Year Programs: 

Commuter & Transfer Commons:  

HuskyLink / Registered Student Organizations (RSOs): & 

Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC): 

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House:  

Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life:  

UW Recreation: 

FYP’s First Gen at UW - Here you will find opportunities open to first-gen students and communications to subscribe to so that you can stay connected:  

NASPA Center for First Gen Student Success - Learn more about your first-gen community and read about tips and tricks as you navigate college and plan your future!  

Navigating your college experience

Utilize the first year, second year and/or transfer advising guides for helpful tips on what you may want to check in on each quarter. These guides can help you feel on track and support you in maximizing your college experience. The first year advising guide also provides a list and description of the main resources utilized on campus. If you are not sure of what support is available to you, check it out! 

Major preparation timeline

Most students will declare their major at the end of their second year, or beginning of their third year of college. It is highly recommended to spend your first year exploring different majors through classes, chatting with department advisers, and more. Many students will work on general education at this time as well, though general education courses do not need to be completed prior to declaring a major. 

As you start learning about majors you may be interested in applying to, you'll want to learn more about their admissions process-- each major has a different process to admit students, so to best prepare yourself, check out what steps you may need to do early! Departmental webpages will detail admissions processes for each major, though a consolidated list of major information can be found here

In your second year, you may want to start narrowing in on prerequisites for your major(s) of interest to make sure you are on time to apply to majors of interest. It is recommended to plan to apply to more than one major to broaden your options for study in the future. Because many majors at the University have competitive admissions processes, having more than one plan also supports you in ensuring you will declare a major at an appropriate time. 

Make sure to spend time reflecting with your adviser along your journey as well! They will be happy to support you and offer additional information that may not be readily available otherwise. 




How many courses should I take?

If you want to attend full-time, you should sign up for a schedule of courses that totals 12-17 credits. If you are on financial aid, or are an international student, or a student athlete, you must register for at least 12 credits.

What is a credit?

You earn credit by completing courses. In general, one credit represents one hour in class per week. Many UW courses are 5 credits, and meet 5 hours per week. Most UW bachelor degrees require 180 credits. If you take 15 credits per quarter and attend three quarters per year, in four years you will have 180 credits.

How much time will I spend studying/doing homework for class?

College courses require much more study time than high school courses. In general, courses require two hours of homework for every hour of class. So, a 15-credit load should end up taking about 45 hours of time per week (15 hours of class time plus 30 hours of homework).

If classes last an hour, how much time do I have to get to the next class?

Actually the University "hour" is 50 minutes, and you have 10 minutes to get to the next class if you're taking courses one right after another. Some classes meet for longer than 50 minutes, though - especially labs. And some classes meet for two long sessions each week instead of five hour-long sessions.

How do I find classes based on General Education Requirements (A&H, SSc, NSc etc)?

The MyPlan course search tool can help you find open general education courses  that are open and are at the time you need. For example, if you want to take an Social Science (SSc) course, but don’t know exactly which one, you can search for all open SSc courses between selected times and find out all your options.

Is there a set standard for assigning grades?

No. Each instructor determines what standards to use in a particular class. Some instructors may give a 4.0 grade to all students they think have done excellent work in the class, even if that's a substantial percent of the entire class. Other instructors grade on a bell curve, which means that more students end up with a grade in the middle, while a smaller percent receive either a very high or very low grade. The course syllabus, an outline of what's assigned and expected for the quarter, should be distributed the first week, and will include information on grading standards in the course.

How important are grades?

It depends on how you intend to use them. If you plan to attend graduate or professional school, you'll need high grades (among other things) to get into better schools. Chances are, though, your future won't hinge on your getting a 3.83 rather than a 3.62 GPA.

When will I register for classes?

Each quarter you attend the UW. There are three quarters in the academic year (autumn, winter, and spring), plus summer quarter if you wish to attend then as well. Courses you register for last only one quarter (normally 10 weeks plus finals). You register for the next quarter about halfway through the current quarter; so, if you are starting school in autumn, you'll register for winter quarter about halfway through autumn. Your registration date is based on your class standing and the registration date will appear in MyUW. You can also find your registration date by looking at the UW Academic Calendar.

First Gen Student Highlights

Pete Dukes

Professor Emeritus of Accounting

Degrees earned

PhD Stanford University (1974), BA Stanford University (1970), BSEE University of Illinois (1964)

What Being First Generation Means

Everything. Neither of my parents completed high school. Their lives were hard and they had virtually no options for ways to improve their lives. Education opened doors for me all my life.

Advice to current students

Have a plan for how to proceed and stay focused. There will be ups and downs, but if you stay focused, work hard, and seek help when you need it, you will succeed. Also, think hard about what you want to pursue. I think it is important to pursue your dreams and passions, not the dreams of others. You will greatly increase your changes of success when you are studying something you are passionate about.