Admissions Policies and Procedures

All applicants receive a holistic application review and the final admission decision is based on the student’s potential for attaining a degree at Western. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of a variety of factors, including previous academic achievement, test scores, essay, letter of recommendation, rigor of academic history, leadership potential, diversity of experience, and the depth of participation in extracurricular activities. 

Academic performance is not the sole criterion of admission to the university.  Western Colorado University recognizes that academic preparation may take several forms and that students contribute to campus in a variety of ways.  

How to Apply

All students are encouraged to apply for admission online using The Common Application or at https://www.western.edu/admissions-office/apply-now.

Criteria for Admission of First-Time Freshmen

Unless otherwise indicated, all freshman applicants are required to submit the following documents in order to complete an application for admission. In some cases, additional information may be required before an admission decision can be rendered. 

All correspondence about undergraduate admissions should be addressed to the

Office of Admissions
Western Colorado University
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

All credentials submitted to the Admissions Office become the property of Western Colorado University and will not be returned.  

Application for Admission

All students are encouraged to apply for admission online using The Common Application or at https://www.western.edu/admissions-office/apply-now. There is a non-refundable application processing fee.

  1. Official High School Transcripts- All Freshmen applicants must have their high school submit official transcripts directly to the Admissions Office. Applicants from non-accredited high schools and homeschooled students are considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens and have completed their schooling in countries other than the United States (excluding U.S. overseas schools) should see the section on admission of international students.
  2. ACT or SAT Scores- All Freshmen applicants should request that the Student Profile Reports be sent to Western Colorado University (profile codes: ACT-0536, SAT-4946). Western does not require the writing portion of either the ACT or SAT.
  3. Personal Essay- Applicants are asked to write at least a 250 word essay. A student’s essay will help the review committee better understand the applicant as a person through leadership potential, diversity of experience, the depth of participation in extracurricular activities and overall interest in attending Western.
  4. A Letter of Recommendation- A letter from a teacher, school counselor, or other person who can attest to the applicant’s personal and professional character and potential to succeed academically at Western.
  5. Completion of High School Classes- The Admissions Office encourages freshman applicants to complete the following secondary school units by high school graduation:
    1. four years of English,
    2. four years of math, including Algebra I & II and Geometry
    3. three years of natural science (two years lab-based),
    4. three years of social science, and
    5. two years of academic electives, including one year of foreign language.

Fall 2016 Freshman Class Profile

Middle 50% of Enrolled First-Time Freshmen
High School GPA: 2.8 - 3.6
ACT Composite: 20 - 25

GED Applicants

Applicants who have not graduated from high school are considered for admission if they have successfully completed a GED program with an average score of 500 overall and a minimum score of 410 in each subject area. All GED applicants are required to submit their ACT or SAT scores, and can submit an essay and letter(s) of recommendation to support their application.

Criteria for Admission of Transfer Students and Students Seeking an Additional Bachelor’s Degree

Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts from all prior colleges and universities. Transfer applicants must have a combined grade-point average of at least 2.3 from all prior colleges or universities to be considered for admission. Transfer applicants must have completed at least the same level of high school course work required of freshmen applicants.

Test scores, recommendations, high school records, interviews, and other relevant information may be used in assessing the application for admission. Transfer applicants who have earned fewer than 24 semester credits are required to submit scores from either the ACT or the SAT, along with final high school transcripts.

Grades earned at other institutions are not included in the calculation of grade-point averages at Western.

Admission of International Students

International students seeking admission must submit an application to the Office of Admission by October 1st for the Spring Semester, and May 1st for the Fall Semester of the term for which they apply. Students must also submit official high school and/or college transcripts in conjunction with their application. All documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by certified English translations of these documents. All official copies of academic transcripts and diplomas of secondary and post-secondary education must be submitted directly to the Western Office of Admissions by the institutions attended. These documents must be original copies with an official signature and bear the school’s official seal, or a certified copy.

All academic credit documentation for work completed outside of the United States must submit transcripts to a NACES member credential evaluation service for a course by course evaluation. For a complete list of members, go to: http://www.naces.org/, or http://www.aacrao.org.

Applicants must be graduates of high school or secondary programs equivalent to similar programs in the United States. Applicants from countries where English is not a national language must have a minimum score of 550 on the paper version Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), an Internet-based Test (iBT) of 80, or a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS test.

For international students transferring to Western from another US College or University who have completed 24 semester credit hours or more, and have completed a college level English composition course with a 3.0 GPA or higher, a TOEFL of IELTS score is not required.

To be considered for merit based scholarships, applicants must submit either an ACT or SAT standardized test score directly from the administering organization. http://www.actstudent.org , or http://sat.collegeboard.org/.

Applicants must demonstrate that an adequate sum of money in U.S. currency is available to cover the costs of each year of anticipated study by completing and submitting Western's Affidavit of Support form. Refer to Western's web site for the form and current required amount. Bank statements showing financial solvency must also be provided directly from the Financial Institution where funds are held in conjunction with the Affidavit of Support form. Additionally, a photocopy of the applicant's passport, or, if the applicant is in the U.S., a photocopy of the visa and I-94 in which the applicant entered the country must be provided.

Documents will not be accepted if received via email or fax or in a language other than English. Western will not generate an F-1 visa until all required documents have been received and a student has been officially accepted to the University.

Students Seeking an Additional Undergraduate Degree

Students seeking an additional undergraduate degree must meet all residency and major and/or minor requirements. This includes a minimum of 30 credits in residence at Western. Students are considered to have satisfied freshman and sophomore-level General Education requirements by virtue of the work completed for their first undergraduate degree.

Non-Degree Admission

An applicant not wishing to pursue a degree at Western may be admitted as a non- degree student by completing the “Non-Degree Application Form” and submitting a written statement of his/her educational intentions. Western sets policies regarding the non-degree admissions process, criteria for acceptance, limitation of credit, and the courses available to non-degree students.

Should the student wish to pursue a degree in the future, a regular application form must be completed, and the admissions requirements in effect at that time must be met. A maximum of 12 credits taken as a non-degree student will apply toward a degree at Western. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. For further information, contact the Admissions Office.

Concurrent High School Student Enrollment

Qualified high school students, 9th-12th grade, may take courses at Western through the Concurrent Enrollment program, earning both high school and university credit. Western sets policies regarding the admissions process and criteria, limitation of credit, and courses available to Concurrent Enrolled students. Contact Extended Studies for more information.

Deferral Policy for Offers of Admission

Any new student who is offered admission to Western Colorado University who would like to defer their enrollment must contact the Admissions Office. All deferring students will be required to complete a new admission application. Once the new application has been received, the Admissions Office will correspond with the student if additional information is required. The original admission decision will stand unless other negating circumstances occur, such as the student fails to graduate from high school or has unsatisfactory performance at a transfer institution.

Readmission of Former Students

Students who leave Western and wish to return are required to apply for readmission. Upon readmission, a student will receive the same academic standing under which she/ he left. For example, a student who left the University in good standing will be readmitted in good standing; a student who left while on academic probation will be readmitted on academic probation.

Students who have attended other institutions during their absence from Western must also request that official transcripts be sent to Western Colorado University by all colleges or universities attended. Courses that have a letter grade of “C-” or better may be considered for transfer credit. Grades earned at other institutions are not included in the calculation of grade-point averages at Western. Contact the Office of the Registrar or navigate to www.western.edu/reg/forms to obtain a readmission application.

Transfer Credit, AP Credit, CLEP, Other Credit

Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policies and Procedures

College-level academic courses with grades of C- or better, completed at an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency, are generally accepted. Western accepts up to 90 credits, combined total, from accredited institutions, military credit, AP, IB, and CLEP exam.

  • Western only applies grades earned through Western toward the calculation of GPA.
  • Western will only grant upper division credit if the transfer course is taken at an upper division level, regardless of Western equivalency.
  • No credit will be granted for remedial or vocational-technical courses; except for some military training or as part of an articulation agreement.
  • Courses recommended by the American Council on Education may be considered for credit.
  • Total combined credit permitted under CLEP, AP and other programs leading to credit by examination is limited to 40 semester credits, with a maximum of 18 semester credits allowed for CLEP.
  • Continuing students must receive approval in advance for transfer credit. 

Exceptions to evaluations of transfer credit by the Office of the Registrar may be requested by the appropriate academic department.

Credits accepted in transfer that are comparable to those offered at Western, or are State guaranteed transfer General Education courses (gtPathways), may apply toward satisfying requirements of the major and minor programs. Non-equivalent courses, or those excluded from acceptance toward any of Western’s program requirements, may be accepted as electives.

Transfer credit accepted on a provisional basis from a college, which is a candidate for accreditation (as recommended in the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Transfer Credit Practices), can only be validated by the student completing 30 credits at Western with a 2.000 cumulative grade-point or better.

Foreign Institutions

Credit will be considered for courses taken at foreign institutions that are formally recognized as an institution of higher education by a given country’s Ministry of Education. The same general parameters apply for course content and grades as they do for U.S. credit consideration. 

Study Abroad

Credit earned from non-Western Study Abroad programs are treated as transfer credit.

Credit for Advanced Placement

Western awards credit for Advanced Placement in all subject areas. A minimum score of 3 is required for credit to be granted for most AP tests (for some tests, a score of 4 is required). Scores must be submitted by the College Board directly to the Admissions Office.

Credit for International Baccalaureate Program

Western recognizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. Western grants credit based on performance on individual IB exams for students who have completed the IB diploma program as long as all scores are 4 or greater. Students who have not completed the diploma program may be awarded credits for individual IB certificate courses as long as the scores are 4 or greater. For further information on how IB certificates will be awarded credit, contact the Office of the Registrar. Official IB scores must be sent to the Admissions Office from the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Credit for Military Service

Military service credit is evaluated when official copies of transcripts for military schools are received. Army, Navy, and Marine personnel submit a Joint Service Transcript (JST). Air Force personnel submit a Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) Transcript. Courses are evaluated according to the American Council on Education (ACE) Guidelines. A maximum of 25 semester hours of credit is counted toward a baccalaureate degree.

Credit for Transfer from Two-Year Colorado Public Colleges

Articulation agreements and transfer guides have been developed with all of the Colorado two-year institutions. Transfer students from Colorado two-year programs who graduate with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree will be considered to have satisfied Western's General Education Program.

Credit for Transfer from Non-Traditional Programs

Western may accept credits for both military service training and non-traditional training as recommended by the American Council of Education. The maximum number accepted by Western toward a Bachelor’s degree is 30 semester credits. Western will not grant credit for “life experience,” that is, credit for experience gained from “work-related” activities, unless demonstrated through CLEP. 

Credit for College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Western will award credit for both the general and subject CLEP exams for a maximum award of 18 semester credits for any combination of CLEP and challenge examinations. In awarding credit, Western generally follows the recommendations of the American Council on Education, who award on the basis of a scaled score of 50, with the exception of some foreign language exams. For a list of subjects and courses awarded CLEP credit, contact the Office of the Registrar. Scores must be submitted by the College Board directly to the Office of the Registrar. 

Credit for Challenge Examinations

Western will award course credit for prior learning to students who successfully test out of GT Pathways courses by receiving a score equivalent to a grade of “C-”on a course challenge exam. Challenge exams are created by discipline faculty for GT Pathways courses for which a CLEP exam is not available. A list of GT Pathways courses with challenge exams, as well as challenge exam policies, is available on the Office of the Registrar web page. Western allows a maximum of 18 credits for any combination of CLEP and challenge exams. Credits received through challenge exams will not count toward satisfying Western’s residency requirement.

Resolution of Transfer Disputes among Colorado Institutions

Students transferring from Colorado institutions may file an appeal of Western’s evaluation of their transfer credits by adhering to the following procedure. The Office of the Registrar is responsible for the appeals process. The appeal must be filed in writing to the Office of the Registrar of Western Colorado University within 15 calendar days of notification of the evaluation. Failure to file in this timely manner means that the original evaluation will be binding. Western will respond to any timely appeal in writing within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the appeal.

If the initial appeal does not resolve the dispute, the student may appeal in writing to the student’s previous institution(s) within 15 calendar days. The presidents of the two institutions (or their representatives) may then resolve the dispute. If the issue is still not resolved, the student may file an appeal with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) within 15 calendar days of receipt of written notification by Western of the presidents’ decision. The CCHE may then resolve the dispute. The decision of CCHE will be final and binding.