It's finally that time of the year; the much-awaited letter arrives.
And... YOU'RE IN!
I was in the same boat. I couldn't find ANY information about what it was actually like to go to UW other than the basic information the school provides. We go to a very unique school, so here are 15 things that every incoming freshman should know coming into UW.
1. Football rules
I came into freshman year not caring at all about our football team. In fact, it was probably the last thing on my mind. However, the first game arrived and I was the only one of my friends without a ticket. My advice for you: get Dawg Pack tickets ASAP! Even if you end up deciding not to go to the games, you can sell your tickets. But trust me, you do not want to miss out like I did my freshman year.
2. Go Greek
Another HUGE regret of my freshman year. I didn't rush and missed out on probably what would have been the best year of my life. I thought I would never fit into the Greek system - but I ended up joining the perfect house for me. No matter what your personality is, I can almost guarantee you will find a house you fit into. And if you don't end up in a house, the dorms have much better food anyway.
3. Figure out your major early on
Honestly, UW is too competitive for most people (me included). You need to bring your A+ game. If you can, get direct admittance to your major (Foster Business School - I'm looking at you). If at all possible, start taking pre-reqs for your major, or at least the core classes required for every major. I took my first year pretty easy, and even though I'm "on track," I'm way behind. The term "capacity constrained major" gives me nightmares. Prepare accordingly.
4. Get a raincoat (or five)
DO NOT carry an umbrella. You will poke an eye out. Get a good raincoat (my Northface has lasted me 4 years and counting) and carry it with you at all times. Seattle weather is wildly unpredictable, and take it from me, the one time you forget your raincoat it will POUR.
5. You will get lost
Our campus is huge. I'm in my second year and still find myself getting lost. There is no shame in using Google Maps when you go to UW.
6. Apply for a job ASAP
It is really hard to get a job near campus when thousands of other students are trying to do the same. My advice is to apply as soon as possible, so you don't get stuck without a job if you need one (like I did).
7. Don't bring your car
If you don't already know, public transportation in Seattle is BOMB. There is absolutely no reason to bring a car because you can bus, Uber, or light rail anywhere. Plus, as a UW student, you actually pay for an ORCA pass as part of tuition, so get good use out of it.
8. Don't study in Suzzallo
I know they show you Suzzallo on the tour, but honestly, I've been in there 5 times (all coffee-related excursions). The best places to study are Odegaard (third-floor quiet area) and Paccar. Suzzallo is just for show, don't actually go.
9. Jump in the fountain
They clean it bi-annually so next year is your year! Spring quarter after finals is when it happens so don't miss it. Also, do not let anyone tell you otherwise - you HAVE to jump in. This tradition only comes around 2 times in your entire college experience so take advantage of it. (I have never been sicker after jumping in, but SO worth it).
10. The Ave is not that sketch
We live so close to the Ave, so most students are constantly there, getting dinner/groceries/etc. The one thing your mom is probably drilling into your head is to not go anywhere alone. If it's dark, by all means, DON'T GO ALONE, but otherwise, it's not that scary. Avoid the homeless people and get the best pad thai of your life.
11. Ave restaurants
The health department put signs on every establishment that rates their cleanliness, but don't let the "okay" or "needs improvement" signs scare you. I still have yet to get food poisoning from one of the sketchy hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurants. Don't limit yourself to Jimmy Johns and Chipotle, some of the best food I've ever had is on the Ave in a restaurant that I would normally never step foot near.
12. Prepare for the party scene
At UW, you need to be in the frat having the party to go or be a girl in the Greek system (or be friends with one). I learned this the hard way wandering around Greek row as a freshman - if you weren't invited, probably don't go. This sucks, especially if you were expecting to have some wild party stories - again, just go Greek!
13. See the city
Especially if you are out of state, go exploring. Seattle has so many quirky and cool places to visit, spend a couple weekends out exploring the city. Go see the troll, Gasworks park, Pike place market, and the gum wall.
14. Use your TA's
This one I cannot stress enough. In classes of up to 700 people, you usually have no contact with a professor. I have been in a few smaller classes (I once had a class of 5 people), but usually, classes will have no less than 100 other students - so use your TA's! These will be the people you go to for anything related to your class (plus quiz sections), so get to know them!
15. You are about to have the best 4 years of your life
I have had my doubts about UW, but honestly, I wouldn't have my college experience any other way. Just know that you are VERY lucky to have gotten into such a beautiful school, and you are about to get the best education that a public school can offer.
Welcome to UW, and GO DAWGS!