Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Summerstart?

Summerstart is WWU's orientation, advising and registration program for new freshmen and their families.  There is no additional fee for students to participate in Summerstart - the cost is covered by the one-time $250 enrollment fee.

Students will:

  • Receive academic advising and register for fall quarter classes
  • Learn about campus life and resources
  • Learn about Western's academic expectations and programs
  • Spend the night in a residence hall and enjoy on-campus dining
  • Meet with helpful faculty, staff and student advisors
  • Develop friendships with new and current WWU students
  • Gather resources, explore campus, get their student ID and more

Summerstart includes an optional Family Orientation for family members.  The day-only fee for Family Orientation is $65 per person, and includes all family sessions, workshops, program materials, lunch, dinner and breakfast the following morning.

Family members will:

  • Receive information on Western's academic programs, financial matters, housing, campus life, health and counseling services, and becoming more involved with Western
  • Meet WWU staff and faculty members
  • Connect with new and current WWU students and family members
  • Gather resources, explore campus and more

Family members also may choose to spend the night on campus.  The fee for Family Orientation with Overnight is $90 per person, and includes all components of Family Orientation (listed above), plus:

  • Evening programming with new and current WWU students, families, staff and faculty
  • A shared double-occupancy room in one of the residence halls, bed and bath linens

Additional meal tickets for the dining halls (for siblings and guests) can be purchased in the dining hall for the following cost (+ tax): breakfast - $8.31, lunch - $11.03, dinner - $12.71. For guests age 4-11, reduced dining rates may apply; please inquire with the dining staff.

2. When is Summerstart?

Summerstart is a 2-day program. Eight sessions are available in August - choose the session that works best for you and your family:

July 31 - August 1

Monday - Tuesday

This session is for High Credit Freshmen (60+ credits) ONLY.

August 2 - 3

Wednesday - Thursday

This session is not available for Fairhaven or Music students due to limited advising options.

August 4 - 5

Friday - Saturday


August 7 - 8

Monday - Tuesday


August 9 - 10

Wednesday - Thursday

This session is not available for Fairhaven or Music students due to limited advising options.

August 11 - 12

Friday - Saturday


August 14 - 15

Monday - Tuesday


August 16 - 17

Wednesday - Thursday

This session is not available for Fairhaven or Music students due to limited advising options.

Reservations are completed online at the NSSFO website - - with registration opening around 1:00pm, Wednesday, June 1st. The deadline for reservations is 5:00pm, Thursday, July 20th.

3. What is the High Credit Freshmen session and how is it different than a regular session?

The Summerstart Session for High Credit Freshmen is for freshmen entering with 60 or more college credits earned or expected to be earned while in high school.

The High Credit Summerstart session is designed for new freshmen who have up to 105 transfer credits fulfilling many, or possibly all, of Western's General University Requirements (GURs). It is not recommended for students with fewer than 60 credits.  All Summerstart sessions offer the same program schedule; the only difference is in the type of academic advising received for students with higher credits coming into Western who may need advanced course advising.

Students may review their Admitted Students page on the Admissions website to confirm the amount of anticipated transfer credits indicated on your application. The Admitted Students link will be available in mid-March. As a reminder, High Credit students are expected to provide official transcripts from the institution providing the credit.

High Credit Freshmen who cannot attend the July 31 - August 1 session must call the New Student Services / Family Outreach office directly at 360.650.3846 to make a reservation on an alternate date.

4. Is there an advantage to attending an earlier Summerstart session?

No - availability of classes is similar across all Summerstart sessions. Choose the session dates that work best for you and your family. Each Summerstart session, as well as the Fall Advising & Orientation session (for freshmen who cannot attend Summerstart), a certain number of common classes for first year students have had blocks of seats held to help make all the Summerstart and Fall experiences as equitable as possible.

Do keep in mind, some classes (e.g. upper division courses, courses in a specific major, etc.) may be filled as new transfer students and matriculating students have also been registering. Even so, students should still have a variety of options for a schedule.

5. Can I come to just one day of Summerstart?

No - Summerstart is a two-day program.  Your participation in both days of the program is required in order to receive appropriate academic advising and register successfully for classes.

6. I cannot attend any Summerstart session - do I have another option?

Yes! Although Western highly recommends attending Summerstart, there are new students who are unable to attend for various reasons. New fall freshmen who are unable to attend Summerstart will participate in academic advising and class registration during Fall Advising & Orientation.

Similar to Summerstart, you will meet with faculty, staff and student advisors to develop an appropriate class schedule and register for fall courses. Spaces in common freshman classes are also held for students who attend Fall Advising & Orientation. You are not at a disadvantage for registering if you need to attend Fall Advising & Orientation. Detailed information about Fall Advising & Orientation will be emailed to you in early August

If you would like the opportunity to reserve a space in a cluster of courses designed and intended for first quarter freshmen, we recommend you check out the Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs). These classes provide 10-12 credits of GUR and elective credit.

7. How much does Summerstart cost?

There is no additional fee for students to attend Summerstart - the cost is covered by the one-time $250 enrollment fee.  Optional program components include the following:

  • Family Orientation -- $65 per family participant (covers the two day program)
  • Family Orientation with Overnight -- $90 per family member (covers the two-day program + overnight in an assigned residence hall)
  • Meals/Dining -- Additional meal tickets for the dining halls (for siblings and guests) can be purchased in the dining hall for the following cost (+ tax): breakfast - $8.75, lunch - $11.54, dinner - $13.36. For guests age 4-11, reduced dining rates may apply; please inquire with the dining staff
  • Parking -- Parking fees are anticipated to be $4 to park in the Commuter Lots and $10 to park in a designated Residential Lot. (See FAQ #23 for Parking details)

REFUNDS - PLEASE NOTE: As we are obliged to cover costs for housing, dining and family orientation fees, refunds are not available after the reservation deadline, 5:00pm, Thursday, July 20th. Please contact the NSSFO office if you have any questions.

8. Should my family members attend Summerstart?

Yes - we encourage family members to attend, and have a separate Family Orientation designed specifically for family members.  The cost for Family Orientation is $65 per person; Family Orientation with Overnight is $90 per person. Every year, around 50% of new students have parents and family members join them for orientation.

9. Which residence halls do we stay in for Summerstart?

Students and family members stay in separate residence halls, and rooms are assigned at Summerstart check-in. Guests stay in one of the buildings listed below, based on their Summerstart session. Typical rooms sleep two people and are furnished with standard residence hall furniture. Bedding and bath linens are also provided but guests should bring their own toiletries. Additionally, each building below is equipped with an elevator and wireless internet.

Students stay in Nash Hall, Mathes Hall and Edens North. These are corridor-style residence halls with gender-specific floors and community bathrooms. Students can expect to have one or two roommates.

Family members stay in Edens Hall and Higginson Hall. These are suite-style residence halls that sleep up to four people per suite who all share a private bathroom. Family members within the same reservation are typically housed together in one suite. Individual family members can expect to have another Summerstart family member attendee of the same gender, as a roommate or suitemate.

All students and family members who want overnight housing should submit their housing details and contact information in the Summerstart Overnight Housing survey. This survey link will be sent in the email and printed confirmation materials sent to students after a Summerstart reservation is made.

How are roommates assigned?

After making a Summerstart reservation, students will receive confirmation information via email and postal mail. These confirmation materials will include a link to the Summerstart Overnight Housing survey. Students should complete this short survey prior to their arrival to confirm their specific overnight housing needs, such as gender, accommodation requests and contact info for any family members staying overnight.

10. Where can I or my family stay off campus?

For a list of accommodations near Western, visit

11. When will I receive more information about Summerstart?

Information will be sent via postcard to your permanent address and to your WWU e-mail address in late May and early June to students who have confirmed their intent to enroll. Students who confirm thereafter will be sent information accordingly.

12. How do I make a reservation?

Reservations will open around 3:00pm on Thursday, June 1st. All reservations occur online via the Summerstart Reservations page. If you need assistance, please contact New Student Services/Family Outreach at 360.650.3846 or

We strongly encourage students to make their own reservation. Students and family members should keep in mind that due to federal privacy laws, we may not be able to share certain personal student information with a parent or family member – e.g. Western ID #, WWU login-in information, etc. – should they have difficulty with the system.

In order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not done so, activate your Universal Account now. After your reservation has been processed, you will be sent a confirmation email to your WWU email account and a confirmation packet will be mailed to your permanent address indicating your program date and further information about check-in, parking and other important details.

13. How do I log in for my online reservation?

In order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not done so, activate your new Universal Account at a Once you have activated your Universal Account you may log in to myWestern (student information portal) which provides access to your WWU student email, tuition & billing information, etc.

14. When is the reservation deadline?

The Reservation deadline is: Thursday, July 20 at 5:00pm. Students must complete an online reservation by the deadline. Family members may sign up and pay to attend Family Orientation as part of the online reservation process. Additionally, Family members can sign-up and pay on the day of Transitions.

The Refund deadline is also Thursday, July 20 at 5:00pm; after this time, refunds are not available.

15. What if I don't have access to a computer/internet to make a reservation?

Fortunately, our Summerstart online reservation system is open for a considerable length of time: June 1st at 3pm – July 20th at 5pm. If your circumstances are such that will not have access to a computer during this length of time, please contact the New Student Services/Family Outreach directly at 360.650.3846 for assistance.

16. How can I make changes to my reservation?

Any changes to your reservation must be made by contacting New Student Services/Family Outreach directly at 360.650.3846 or Adjustments cannot be made online after your request has been submitted or after the deadline. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes requested prior to the deadline, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Students and family members should keep in mind that due to federal privacy laws, we may not be able to share certain personal student information with a parent or family member – e.g. Western ID #, WWU login-in information, etc. – or make certain changes to a student’s reservation without their permission.

17. Can I room with my friend?

Students are pre-assigned into roommate pairings prior to their arrival. Therefore, rooming with a specific friend is unavailable. Students stay in the same residence hall, so it is easy to connect with specific friends throughout Summerstart while also meeting new people!

18. I cannot attend any Summerstart session - can a parent or friend register for me?

No - Summerstart is designed to teach you about WWU's course registration process in a setting with direct support of faculty, staff and student advisors so that you are able to register effectively on you own in the future. Students who do not register for classes during Summerstart will register for classes on September 25th during Fall Advising & Orientation.

19. How important is getting cleared for measles prior to Summerstart?

Very important! You will not be allowed to register for classes if your measles vaccinations/immunity documentation has not been received prior to your registration appointment at Summerstart.  Options for providing proof and additional information are available from the Student Health Center. If you have any questions regarding the measles immunity requirement, please visit the website, or call 360.650.3400.

20. Do I have to take the Math Placement Assessment?

Most freshmen will need to complete Western’s Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) as part of Western’s General University Requirements (GURs). To register for Math course at Western, a student must first take the MPA. The MPA also serves as a prerequisite for courses in other departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geology, Physics and Science Education.

The ALEKS assessment and learning system offers many benefits to students, including the advantages of individual access, 24/7, from virtually any web-linked computer. This new Math Placement Assessment system is available to all new and continuing students. To view the details of this process, visit the Summerstart Highlights page.

21. Do I have to take the Spanish Placement Test?

If you are planning to take Spanish in Fall quarter, you should take the exam. If you are planning to take Spanish, but not in the Fall, do not take the exam during Summerstart as you will be asked to retake it again later. The WebCAPE Spanish Placement Test is a multiple-choice computerized exam that tests a student’s knowledge of Spanish at different levels of difficulty. The exam discerns a student’s solid knowledge from partial knowledge, which allows the assignment of a score that will predict accurately a student’s ability to succeed at a particular level of Spanish course. The exam measures knowledge, rather than experience, so students will place into the appropriate class based on their language skill rather than number of years/classes completed.

The Spanish Placement Test is a 45-minute test and will have a $5 fee charged to the student account.

22. What should I bring with me to Summerstart?

  • Your confirmation checklist you receive in the mail after you’ve made a reservation
  • Valid photo ID
  • Your Universal Account username and password
  • Copies of any college transcripts (if applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes, a water bottle
  • A raincoat or umbrella
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.); note that bedding and bath linens are provided
  • A pen and notepad

23. Where should I park for Summerstart?

For detailed directions, parking instructions, and maps, please review the Summerstart Directions and Accommodations page.

24. Whom should I contact regarding a request for accommodations?

For requests concerning accommodations such as Sign Language Interpreter services, note taking services or similar services during your time at Summerstart, please contact New Student Services/Family Outreach at 360.650.3846 or contact disAbility Resources for Students (DRS) directly via email at or by phone at 360.650.3083.

For requests concerning housing accommodations, please complete the Summerstart Overnight Housing survey link contained in the confirmation email and printed materials you will receive after you have made your Summerstart reservation. A member of the Guest & Housing Operations office may contact you regarding availability.

For requests or questions concerning dietary requirements / allergies during your time at Summerstart, please contact University Dining Services by email or at 360.650.2970.

25. Can I stay overnight on campus for more than one night?

If space is available, students and family members (who are staying on campus for the night of their Summerstart) are able to self-pay for one night’s stay either before OR one after their Summerstart session. Due to space limitations and sequential Summerstart sessions, we can only house students/family members for one night before or after their Summerstart session.

The cost is $53.50 per night/person for a single-occupancy room (subject to availability) and $35.40 per night/person for a double-occupancy room, paid prior to stay. Cost includes bed and bath linens but no meals.

After you have made your Summerstart reservation, please submit a request for Summerstart Extended Stay Request by filling out this survey. A member of the Guest & Housing Operations office will contact you regarding housing availability and confirmation. It is recommended to submit an Extended Stay Request at least 5-7 business days in advance of your Summerstart session.

26. Do I have to stay overnight on campus?

We strongly encourage all students to stay overnight on campus. Students’ overnight housing on the evening of their Summerstart session is included in the $250 enrollment fee. Students benefit from experiencing the residence halls first-hand, participating in fun and engaging evening programming, building friendships with other new and current WWU students, and the convenience of staying on campus.

If you do not intend to stay on campus, please see the Visiting Bellingham information for off campus accommodations.

27. Are there other unique new student programs to know about?

Yes! Check out these academic and orientation opportunities for first-year students:

Viking Launch 2017: Sat. 9/17 - Fri. 9/22
Viking Launch offers incoming freshmen a strong, focused start up to college life at Western. Students will arrive on campus seven days early for an intensive week of study and preparation for a successful Western Experience.
The Viking Launch Experience includes:

  • Move-in to the Fairhaven or Kappa Residence Halls and spend the whole year with other Viking Launch students
  • Receive an extended and supervised orientation to campus life
  • Complete a 1-credit, 2-credit or non-credit thematic seminar or high interest preparation course
  • Participate in a community service-learning project
  • Explore academic support services and other campus resources
  • Experience recreation sites and team-building activities in and around campus
  • Gain skills and knowledge in effective study skills, note taking, academic reading, personal finances, career planning and healthy living
  • Learn to navigate your way around campus
  • Meet peers, make friends and form study groups before fall classes begin

For more information about Viking Launch, please Click Here!

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT)
The Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) provide a unique opportunity for incoming Western students to spend a week backpacking and exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest with a group of fellow students prior to the beginning of their first quarter here at WWU. WOOT is sponsored through the Associated Students Outdoor Center and offers amazing outdoor excursions.

Registration for WOOT trips opens May 2nd and they usually fill quickly! You can learn more by visiting the Outdoor Center’s WOOT website!

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs)
Get your college experience off to the right start by reserving a spot in a FIG! The First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) Program at WWU presents an exceptional opportunity for new college students.
Students who register for a FIG will enjoy many advantages:

  • Lock in the most popular classes early
  • Get a guaranteed basic schedule
  • Meet some of the best professors
  • Make new friends
  • Get help from experienced Western student advisors
  • Learn new technologies

The learning community environment created by a FIG cluster can help students connect more quickly to university life, and foster a smoother transition from high school to college learning and expectations. For more information, please visit Advance registration for FIGs in anticipated to open May 20.

28. If I attend Summerstart, do I attend Fall Advising & Orientation as well?

No - Fall Advising & Orientation is only for freshmen who did not attend Summerstart, the summer advising, orientation and registration program for new freshmen.

ALL new and returning students are invited to participate in Western Welcome Week activities – a weeklong series of informational, social and educational programs and events offered September 23-29 (and beyond!). Western Welcome Week offers a great opportunity to get connected and settled in to campus.

29. What is Western Welcome Week?

ALL students are invited to attend a wide range of fun, social, information and educational events and works as a part of Western Welcome Week. Western Welcome Week begins a few days prior to classes starting and offers a great opportunity to get connected and settled in to campus. Additional information will be mailed to you in late summer.

Program highlights for Western Welcome Week include:

  • Out of State Student Dinner - Sat. 9/23
  • Fall Advising & Orientation – (freshmen who didn’t attend Summerstart)
  • Associated Students Information/Club/Resource Fair in Red Square
  • Library/Learning Commons Tours
  • Workshops (anticipated: student accounts, student employment, study skills, etc.)
  • Bike Tours and Bus Tours of Bellingham
  • Late Night Socials and Activities
  • Welcoming Convocation & Associated Students Outdoor Movie - Tues. 9/26
  • First Day of Classes - Wed. 9/27

30. Convenient Campus Extension Listing

Academic Advising Center




Conference & Guest Housing


disAbility Resources


FIGs Office


Financial Aid


Math Department


New Student Services / Family Outreach




Registrar's Office


Student Business Office

  • Student Accounts
  • University Cashier
  • Loans & Collections


Student Health Center


Student Outreach Services


Testing Center (MPT)


University Residences


Veteran's Affairs


Page Updated 04.24.2017