While the deadline for the University of Washington as a whole was February 15th, many students applying to the Foster School of Business are still taking the Writing Skills Assessment and working on their personal statements for the Foster deadline of April 5th. Are you one of them?
Last month, a group of 25 GRCC students and advisors visited the Foster School at the UW campus in Seattle. Michael Prabowo, a business major from Indonesia, was part of the group that visited on what happened to be mid-terms for the UW students. “We got to actually see the campus itself, the students, and perhaps have a little sense of what it’s like being a Foster student. We got to see them with their game faces on while preparing for presentations and tests,” he says.
He adds that one of the best parts of visiting the campus was getting to meet current students, who can be an invaluable resource. (You can also read about what current students have to say on the Foster Undergraduate Blog). “They gave me further insights to the application process and how to ace it. They also told me the good and the bad side of being a student of Foster,” Michael says.
Michael says it was also a chance to get a feel for campus life, such as checking out nearby restaurants: “Now I know why advisors keep telling us to do campus visits. I would definitely recommend my peers to do it.”
Vicky Yan is the Undergraduate Outreach Counselor at the Foster School. If you have any questions, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here she answers a few questions about the application process and what they are looking for:
Do you have any advice on how to increase my chances of admission to the Foster School? What are you looking for in potential business majors?
There are several factors that can help make an applicant competitive. We are looking for high cumulative and pre-application GPAs, as well as a strong WSA score. In Autumn 2011, our entering class had an average cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a pre-application average GPA of 3.65. The average WSA score was a 4.2 (out of 6). We create an index score based on these three factors, which is then weighted. This is a benefit for students: you could do very well on the WSA, with an average GPA, and still be considered a competitive applicant. Keep in mind, though, that these are only average scores.
There’s more. We practice a holistic admissions process, so that means we look at the whole student beyond the numbers in the personal statement and grade trends. We ask for a personal statement, so you can tell us about your leadership skills, educational or economic disadvantages, cultural awareness, and personal adversity. Let’s say you started with low grades, but have improved tremendously since then; we will take those grade trends into consideration when reviewing your application.
If I apply to the UW as another major, can I later apply to enter the Foster School once I am already on campus?
After you are admitted to the UW, you can apply to the Foster School at a later date. However, once you have 135 or more credits, it is harder for us to admit you (if you are applying for a single degree), so it is best to come in and see a business adviser to plan ahead.
Any advice on how to prepare for the WSA?
Practice, practice, practice!
Visit your campus writing center to get help on writing persuasive and position essays. The key is to practice responding to prompts so you won’t be stressed during a 90-minute timed test.
I also tell students to read the business section of the newspaper, and write a response to it for practice. This will help you analyze data both numerically and verbally, which is an important factor in the scoring guide.
Finally, if you are taking English composition courses at GRCC, try to take it in the quarter in which you apply so that the skills you learn in your class are still fresh in your mind. Coming from a bilingual background, I know that sometimes international students shy away from courses that require a lot of writing, but I cannot stress enough that the more you expose yourself to academic writing and reading, the more prepared you will be for the WSA. I wish you the best of luck!
A student can take the WSA only once per application cycle. If you are applying for Fall 2012, you can take it once during the spring cycle before the April 5th deadline. You could take it in an earlier cycle (before the October 5th deadline), too, just not twice in the same cycle. Your score is good for two years.
For more details about the WSA online, so check out our website: http://www.foster.washington.edu/academic/undergrad/WSAworkshop/Pages/OnlineWSAWorkshop.aspx
Do you have any advice on writing personal statements?
The Personal Statement is part of the review, because we consider things outside of academics. Students will be asked to respond to four components: cultural awareness, economic and educational disadvantage, personal adversity, and evidence of leadership skills. The purpose of the Personal Statement is for the admissions committee to examine the whole student, beyond their grades.
A student can choose to write anything that he or she finds relevant to the four components. We only ask that the response be as specific as possible. For example, a student can talk about having leadership skills in at a job, but it is important to be specific about what he or she did at the job, what was learned, etc.