Informatics Admissions FAQ
Q: How difficult is it to get in, and how competitive is the program?
A: Informatics has a competitive admission process and will admit approximately 210 students for the 2019-20 academic year. For the past few years, the initial admit rate has been 25-30 percent.
Q: Since the admit rate is so low, why don't you just admit more students?
A: At the present, the Information School does not have the resources (personnel, space, facilities, etc.) to admit more students to the Informatics program. When we admit a student, we are making a commitment to that student that we can support them through their program and provide the best experience possible. Admitting more students may decrease the quality of education and experience that we are currently able to provide. Every single member of our faculty and staff is working hard to find the resources (faculty, space, and money) to correct this, but it will take time. Feedback about this issue can be directed to Amy Ko (email@example.com), Informatics Program Chair and Associate Professor.
Q: Does the addition of a second admissions cycle increase the number of students admitted?
A: No. The total number of students admitted to the program remains unchanged.
Q: Can I apply more than once?
A: Beginning with the 2020 admissions cycles, applicants will be allowed to apply to the Informatics major a maximum of two times. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to be selective and apply only when they have fulfilled all the criteria and feel that they can present a strong application. (Specifically, applicants who have not completed all five prerequisite courses should not apply to the program.)
Q: Assuming the application prompt is the same, can I reuse the same application document for more than one cycle?
A: Yes, you can reuse the same materials if applying for multiple cycles. Note: The application prompt changes from year to year, so applicants should take care to make sure that materials they are submitting are relevant to the current cycle.
Q: When should transfer students apply?
A: At present, transfer students are not able to apply for spring quarter admission (see the UW application timeline) and should plan to apply to the UW for autumn or winter quarter. Transfer students must apply to both the UW by its specified deadline and to the Informatics program by its application deadline. See the admissions timeline.
Q: Is there a minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses?
A: Yes, each prerequisite course must be completed with a 2.0 or higher or AP credit. We are not able to accept non-numeric grades, such as CR/NC or S/NS.
Q: What are the average grades in prerequisite courses and GPAs of admitted students?
A: Data from Autumn 2019:
|UW GPA (30 or more graded credits)||3.48||2.21 - 3.96|
|CS course (CSE 142, 143, 143x, 373 or equivalent)||3.34||2.0 - 4.0||6 students used AP credit to fulfill this requirement|
|INFO 200||3.68||2.2 - 4.0|
|Statistics (many different classes accepted)||3.53||2.0 - 4.0||41 students used AP credit to fulfill this requirement|
|English composition (Any [C] course)||3.83||2.1 - 4.0|
|Individuals and Societies course (Any [I&S] course except INFO 200)||3.91||2.8 - 4.0||5 students used AP credit to fulfill this requirement|
Once the minimum grade requirements were met (2.0 or higher or AP credit), grades and GPA contributed very little to the overall review and admissions decision.
Q: What can I do to increase my chances for admission?
A: Other than providing compelling information in your application essay, the most important criteria for admission is completion of the prerequisite courses (with grades at a 2.0 or higher). The committee considers several criteria, including your understanding of Informatics as a major; your interest in what the program will teach; your exposure to topics related to Informatics in courses, hobbies and jobs; your ambitions; your ability to communicate clearly and concisely; and the overall trajectory of your grades, especially in courses related to Informatics. Most of these are under your control, and because your writing is how you communicate all of the above, it's the most important thing you can improve. The part that's not under your control is how many other students share your same achievements, interests and goals. The volume of applicants is what makes odds of admission so low.
Q: What does the committee evaluate when reviewing the application?
A: After screening applications for prerequisite course completion (see next question) and the minimum 2.0 grade requirements, the review will focus on your application essay and your transcript. The purpose of the essay is for you to express why you want to learn what we teach in Informatics and what you want to do with that knowledge. Students are most successful at learning when they are intrinsically motivated to learn; this essay helps us understand what's motivating you. Our review of your transcript will be holistic and qualitative. If you want, your essay can help us better interpret your transcript.
The prompt is open-ended because each of you has different experiences, interests and goals. Only you know which of those are relevant to your interest in Informatics. All of these are helpful ways for us to understand you as an individual.
Q: Is it required to have completed all the prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program?
A: Yes, in order to be included in the review pool, applicants must have completed all five prerequisite courses. Prerequisites must be completed by the end of the quarter prior to submitting your application to the Informatics program. Note: Transfer students do not need to complete INFO 200 as a program prerequisite.
Q: Will the committee be able to consider prerequisites that are in progress at the time of application?
A: No. All prerequisite courses must be complete prior to the Informatics application deadline.
Q: When will I learn my admissions decision?
A: For 2020-21, decisions will be conveyed in early May for autumn admission and in early November for winter admission. See the admissions timeline.